Ichabod's Kin
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America the Moderate Again, At Last

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    In recent weeks I have cautiously observed a  morphing towards change-for-the-better that trumps my prior heightened sense of alarm at the political direction of this country. And of late I have heard this echoed by other observers of the national scene. Let me explain.
    Not to say that there won’t be disappointments and temporary setbacks between now and 2015 when we are looking beyond an Obama presidency and considering who will carry on. But I do feel the Tea Party has turned the corner toward its own death, along with extreme Republicans and their right wing fellow-travelers. They will always be around but much less as the brats who disrupt the entire classroom.
    America always has countenanced, for a time, all expressions, however nutty, and proposals however extreme (both of the Left and the Right), but at last is always seeking moderation. This is one of those times. The populace begins at last to sense that extremism is deadly to its future and well-being, and is finally sizing up the list of pretended saviors in a more realistic light.
    The age that is about to come to an end began years ago with a damaging assault on both the body social and politic, launched during the “Reagan Revolution.” People more extreme than Reagan ever was, used him to advance a cause that was beyond the pale of traditional conservatism. Unlike Eisenhower, who saw danger in, e.g., the Military-Industrial Complex, Reagan misjudged the extremist wing of conservatism and used its tide to carry his own agenda–which was much less ambitious than theirs has since been.
    The architect of the “Politics of Personal Destruction” was Lee Atwater who, before his untimely death, came to regret what he had wrought, politically, in America. Regardless of his second thoughts, it poisoned the political well in America thereafter, leading to right-wing extremism of the most vitriolic sort, from the launch of Fox News to what we now know as the Tea Party.
    We should be cautious as to the mythical dimensions of this. Whether this is divine justice is limited to the realm of speculation. We must also consider that the deity that is preached in the most righteous sense is one of mercy and forgiveness– meaning that those deserving of judgment would probably be given an overabundance of the above. But our civilization does rest on a “natural” justice, one given by laws, morals and ethics which humankind has imposed on itself and that exacts a more perfect impartiality, or what is known as “a fair field and no favor.”
     Everywhere it turns at present, extreme conservatism is confronted by its own undoing. The most caustic critics even of global warming are changing their tune and defecting to the side of facts: before, they were against the evidence because right wingers opposed it. Now, to save their reputations as scientists, if such they are, they announce with great fanfare that truth lies elsewhere.
    There have been recent elections involving political Recalls that are giving extremists representatives in Congress pause to think of their own fates in future elections. A newer attempt to squash bargaining rights of unions took a tumble in a state where a popular GOP governor had denied them with a great flourish of his pen. He found that you can’t fool all the people all of the time. And the nutty attempt to declare “personhood” as at the time of conception, as a thinly veiled attempt at outlawing abortion, in as conservative a state as Mississippi, fell on its nose as well.
    And none can overlook the political demise of state senator Russell Pearce of Arizona, author of the anti-immigration bill there. That recent election washed him from office at what he thought was the height of his power. I personally sat in sessions of that legislature and over years saw him stand to say the most godawful things about migrants that shouldn’t be said about any human being. I save my most fond good riddance to him and his ilk, wherever their ultimate fate.
    The latest sign of weakening in right wing ranks was the the Occupy movement. At first, led by Fox News, the demonstrations were used as pinatas on evening news, but that was before they noticed that it was rife not only with young people, but with hard hats, jobless veterans and the unemployed in general. At which point the “fair and balanced” so-called “journalists” at Fox switched their concerns to Solyndra and to calls for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, a ploy that gets as much traction as a treadless tire in mud.
    The saddest moment in this Twilight of the False Gods has been the Republican presidential campaign debates. The flirtation with anyone who will spout radical notions, however lacking in substance, is symptomatic of an extremist base that is fatuous to the max. Had Obama made any single one of the misstatements, misrepresentations and outright gaffes we have heard from them, he would have been declared unfit for office and impeachment proceedings would have long been underway.
    For Michele Bachmann to have even the gall to think of herself as presidential shows that bad taste is foremost within the GOP. For Rick Perry to think the country, with all its problems, was ready for a hick with cracker-barrel witticisms, would slap their thighs and knees on their way to polling stations to vote for the likes of him, was another sign of political dementia.
    This is not to forget Herman Cain, intended to be the foil to charges that the GOP is racist–no mind that he lacks political experience and even less judgment. It is impossible to imagine debates in 2012 between him and Obama, but too many Republicans harbor dreams that would make Freud have to revise his theories. Cain’s blow-up in the face of journalists’ questions regarding Libya shows his complete ineptitude for anything more than, well, leading a pizza company. We were generous to a fault to have entertained his lack of political experience and, of late, the growing revelations of years of womanizing; now we know for sure that such was a waste of our time whilst he used it all to self-aggrandize in our presence.
    Perhaps the worst in political judgment is the notion of Pudge Gingrich as the “intellectual” force in modern conservatism, the “idea” man who is now being reconsidered to lead next year’s charge against the president. How soon they forget all his past foibles and foolishness, inconsistencies and crackpot notions, all of which would be revisited by the Democractic machine once the campaign was underway. And this is not counting what would be his future blunders of mind and indiscreet opinion. Certainly he would rely heavily on his penchant for hyperbole–words like “astounding,” “incredible,” etc., to convince voters that he would end an era of darkness and introduce one of beatific light.
    We are so used to the worst of thought and behavior as the “new normal” that we can actually believe that the current aggregate of GOP nincompoops are credible candidates to be the face of our country.
    Whoever wishes to review my post of months ago, “Why It Will Be Obama and Romney in 2012,” in the Political category on this blog, will find my reasons, stated prior to most other pundits, why it can and must be the Mittster to carry the Republican banner.
    I have observed him for a long time and am convinced that he is Moderate to a keen degree, which is precisely what the Tea Party & Co. dislike about him. I am also convinced that, when one looks beyond the little bit of red-meat rhetoric he is obliged to throw to the goofy crowd at the current debates, it is clear that he wants to save the GOP from itself.
    Debates between him and Obama could be among the most enlightening of modern political history. They would be absent, for the most part, of one-liners intended only to get crowd reaction, and devoid of evasion. There would be a real airing of substantive issues, to the benefit of all.
    Fox, of course, will not know what to do with Romney under such circumstances. That mis-named “news” corporation gets no oxygen from rationality and reasonableness, and will be sucking for air throughout the campaign. They will do their best, of course, to turn any good point made by Mitt into an outlandish, extremist point of view.
    It won’t work. Romney can’t win because the self-righteous religionists in the American South and elsewhere won’t vote in sufficient number for him; and from the Tea Party right on down to the right wing gutter there will be, at last, great disinterest in the outcome. Whatever else is going on at any time in America will be the salve of their injuries that have been brought on by themselves.  

Then all will begin to be, if not well, at least better in America. Ugly town hall meetings will fade at best into memory, and Lee Atwater will turn over in his grave.
    And the worm, too, will have turned, so to speak. And we now know for certain who the worms are.

5 Responses to “America the Moderate Again, At Last”

  1. Thank you for another insightful and delightfully written assessment of the current political climate. It does appear there is a shift in public opinion away from the extremists on the right. Let’s hope the shift is toward a more moderate position. But the road is not guaranteed.

    We in Wisconsin just yesterday launched our campaign to recall Governor Scott Walker, his Lt. Governor, and several Republican extremists in the state legislature. We need to acquire 540,000 signatures on recall petitions within the next 60 days. No doubt that will happen. But the outcome of the recall election sometime in the spring of 2012 remains to be seen. The folks in Ohio certainly set the bar high for us and we will do our dead level best to meet their standard. Wish us well!!!

    Keep posting on your blog, the more often, the better.

  2. I didn’t see many moderates in Madison when they seized the Capital building. I don’t see many moderates at the occupy camps. So good luck with this… I’m sticking with the Tea Party and which takes a pretty focused platform of fiscal reform and staying out of the social and foreign policy areas. That’s a kind of self discipline not often seen in American Politics. It builds winning coalitions.

    • Keep in mind that there were Neo-Nazis and people carrying guns at Tea Party events. Extremists of all stripes try to latch on to popular uprisings of both Left and Right.

  3. You must have really got involved with this one, and shows a great deal of insight. But can Obama win by default because of the lack of a qualified opponent. It seems to me that he has to overcome racism this time much more than the first. Romney and racism might win, next year.

    • Racism will never go away and is deeper than we think regardless of progress made in past 50 years. I agree with you that anyone running against Obama will benefit from veiled racism, but I don’t think Romney himself is racist.


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