"There’s no end to the rascality of these flinty-hearted bastards…"
— Sen John Dingle (D.Mich) speaking of Republicans, quoted on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, Nov. 11, 2003
What is the matter with the Republican Party? As one born within a tiny, tree-shaded Republican enclave in Missouri, raised by compassionate family-values-oriented Christian conservatives, and whose entire family remains staunchly, even militantly conservative, I think I have earned the right to ask that question.
So–what the hell is wrong with you guys?
History bumps along from dateline to dateline with no regard for party affiliation. That’s why last week during the second presidential debate, when President George Bush slid off his stool, assumed his arms-akimbo "Super Hero" stance and childishly blurted out, "You can run, butcha can’t hide," I was jerked into the realization that it’s not possible for such a horrid, vacuous little creature to be the cause of the rampant madness zigzagging throughout our society today. Bush is the effect of it — the natural result of a cruel, thoughtless and destructive movement within the Republican Party that had lain dormant from its inception, but like Stephen King’s evil "Christine," shivered into life on November 22, 1963.
Both parties have been running and hiding ever since.
This is not a treatise on the assassination of a popular American President, nor of the massive manipulations of an investigative commision to cover it up. That tragic November day marks the "bump" in our history that began the evolutionary implosion of the Republican Party into neoconservatism and the sheer, bleak cruelty of a loveless Christianity.
Before that fateful 1963 bump, New York Govenor Nelson Rockefeller was truly the face of a kinder, gentler Republican Party. Rich, philanthrophic, and middle-of-the-road, as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America in the 1940’s, Rockefeller was responsible for the success of FDR’s "Good Neighbor" policy. During his four terms as governor, Rockefeller began large-scale welfare and drug-rehabilitation programs, reorganized the New York transportation system and built major public works projects.
At the 1964 convention, Rockefeller pleaded with a booing crowd to "keep the Republican party the party of all the people." He warned them of the danger of allowing extremists to gain influence, and of the threat they posed, not only to the party but to the entire nation. "These extremists feed on fear, hate and terror," he said. "They have no program for America and the Republican Party."
Rockefeller sounded the alarm that hateful neoconservatism would only get stronger and more destructive. "They operate from dark shadows of secrecy," he said, and his warning that "extremist groups" would ultimately subvert the values and morality of the Grand Old Party were lost in a wave of jeers — "We want Barry! We want Barry!
Rockefeller, in what was considered possibly his finest moment, lost the ideological battle for the Party to Arizona’s "Mr. Conservative," Barry Goldwater. The miracle it would take for either man to win the presidency didn’t happen, of course, but the ideology embraced by the conservative wing of the party would result in a Nixon, a Reagan, and two Bushes — all swept along under the evangelical influence of a Pat Robertson and the warmongering cabal of New World Order neoconservatives.
If ever there was a "flinty-hearted bastard," it was Barry Goldwater. In his acceptance speech for the nomination, he brazenly admonished his followers, "…Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice…and moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue." Although Goldwater lost in a landslide to Johnson in 1964, he succeeded in putting a new face on the Republican Party. He achieved his goal of shifting control from the "liberal" Eastern wing to the radical extremists.
"First let’s take over the party," Goldwater told his aides. "Then we’ll go from there."
That’s exactly what they did. And, they’re still going — still imploding, still evolving. The faces change…yet remain the same. They do not intend for their "forward movement" to be halted and, as the election date looms, they’re increasingly desperate. Frantic. Shrieking. Lying. Totally out of control.
And that’s just Rush Limbaugh. The self-proclaimed Most Dangerous Man in America.
If Limbaugh — Rush…El Rushbo…Rusty — is not the "face" of the Republican Party, he is its heart and soul — and its mouth. He’s the coward who crouches behind the "golden microphone" at the Exellence in Broadcasting (EIB) AM Radio Network and spews hate and filth 15 hours a week, wallowing ecstatically in his own vomit. He’s the guy — married three times, divorced three times — who brags that he’s a shining example for the "yoots" of America.
He’s the guy who accused the President of the United States of murder, the First Lady of resembling a grotesque Pontiac hood ornament; the guy who referred to the First Daughter as the "White House dog." He’s the guy who recently called John Kerry, a respected US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate, a "stupid SOB…"
Limbaugh’s the guy addicted to Hillbilly Heroin (OxyContin) now facing ten felony drug counts who once declared that "too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer," he said, "is to find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river…" For once, as he so often reminds us, Rush is right. A trip up the river for Limbaugh just might heal some of the wounds he continues to inflict upon this nation’s once proud Republican Party…
There are many frightening things about Limbaugh, but none more so than the influence he exerts upon his millions of robotic "Dittohead" listeners, many of whom I suspect would do anything he asked them to. He launched them into a scary crusade against the music group, The Dixie Chicks, one of whom dared to criticize George Bush. Think how easily they accepted his explanation of the torture, abuse and even murder of Iraqi citizens held captive at the now infamous Bahgdad Abu Ghraib prison.
When a caller suggested in early May that the helpless pile of naked bodies — the hooded, electrically wired figure forced to stand on a box — were nothing but "fraternity pranks," Rush shrieked, "Exactly! Exactly my point! …This is no different than what happens at the skull and bones initiation and we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I’m talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?"
Three months later, George Bush, the Dittohead in Chief, called Limbaugh, who is an "official unpaid advisor" to the Bush/Cheney Campaign, from Des Moines, Iowa, to explain that we really could win the war on terror after admitting to Today Show’s Matt Lauer that we could not win the war on terror.
If that’s not enough to make the few Republicans who still have the ability to think for themselves remove their partisan earphones, carefully back away from AM radio, and race out to make an honest effort to retreive their party from the edge of the abyss, maybe they should consider that Bush 41 routinely calls Limbaugh during campaigns — that Vice President Dick Cheney is a regular caller to the "Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies."
I would like to think there are some Republicans who would even agree with those of us who think it a bit strange that three of the most powerful men in the world, when faced with a critical necessity to address all the citizens of the United States would choose to dial up a foul-mouthed, lying egomaniacal college drop-out and stroke a bunch of Dittoheads.
Republicans don’t seem to realize that they are no longer individual members of a coherent "party," but are merely part of a mean-spirited and dangerous movement that is theatening to sweep away democracy as we know it. For example, on C-Span’s July 31 Washington Journal show, Kellyanne Conway, CEO and president of the Polling Company, angrily demanded — "Where does the middle class get the idea they’re entitled to a big house, foreign cars and tuition for all their kids? We got off track in the mid and late 90s — we need an administration that will get people back to the reality…"
Reality? Well, according to George Bush’s little brother and Florida governor Jeb Bush, some people just can’t handle the truth. Jeb once told retired Naval Intelligence Officer Al Martin (cited in Bushwhacked, Sept. 2002, by Uri Dowbenko)…
"The truth is useless. You have to understand this right now. You can’t deposit the truth in a bank. You can’t buy groceries with the truth. You can’t pay rent with the truth. The truth is a useless commodity that will hang around your neck like an albatross — all the way to the homeless shelter. And if you think that the million or so people in this country that are really interested in the truth about their government can support people who would tell them the truth, you got another think coming. Because the million or so people in this country that are truly interested in the truth don’t have any money."
Each generation of Republicans appears to get a little more malicious, more dangerous to the common good — more, well –flinty-hearted. Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe, who is no less than God’s spokesman here on earth, was recently outraged at the release of photos of the Abu Ghraib inhumanity. "These prisoners wake up every morning thanking Allah that we are torturing them instead of Saddam." Inhofe snarled self-righteously during a nationally televised Senate hearing on the abuse.
Where have all the good guys gone? Where are the "Rockefeller Republicans?" Do they all buy into the "new" conservative ideology espoused by ultra right-winger Adam Yoshida in Insight Magazine, that social programs shouldn’t be viewed as an effort to "help" anyone because those who depend upon the government are "beyond help" anyway?
Yoshida does not advocate cutting off benefits, because he warns doing that "will simply rouse them from their stupor and get more of them to the polls on Election Day. Rather," Yoshida continues, "we should consider maintaining (or even increasing) their benefits while, at the exact same time, making it harder for them to vote."
This compassionate conservative admits that it "might cost the government some extra money in the short-term to keep the dregs relatively happy and silent but, in the long term, it will be a great investment, as fewer of them vote and therefore allow us to make up for the money spent by electing wiser governments which will allow for faster economic growth."
Yoshida says keeping the "dregs" poor but happy is "a necessary amputation. We will discard a diseased limb to save the whole…"
Americans — both Republicans and Democrats — must face the reality that, since November 1963, we have evolved from a government of all the people to pacification and amputation of the most vulnerable and needy among us. Think about it.
Americans are on this trip together, and together we must work to change direction. We can no longer run and hide. Because we are hurtling headlong into a deadly fascist wall. And that final bump will be fatal.