The elections of 2010 established that “GOP” stands for “Group Of Phonies,” with secret agendas and stealth candidates. In that election, the GOP took control of 21 state governments, with Republicans dominating both the executive and legislative branches. So, if you want to know how Republicans run and how they rule, you have only to look at the issues of their campaigns before, and the issues of their concern after, November 2010.
The first thing to say, of course, is that the election of 2010 followed the election of 2008, when the country elected its first black president (per racist miscegenation theory, to which most Americans tacitly subscribe, half black, half white equals black). From the start, Republicans made Obama’s defeat four years later the GOP’s first priority. Within hours of the Inauguration, long before he took any action in office or advanced any Democratic, when not bi-partisan, proposals, a large group of Republicans gathered to organize themselves to defeat Obama. Within a year, Senate Minority Leader McConnell stated that the GOP’s top priority was the 2012 defeat of Obama, not legislation to better the country. When Republicans deny the president the “honeymoon” period previously given a new president, the question why has only possible answer: racism.
Of course, racists deny the charge, and few have said that they hate Obama because he is black (even racists can be politically correct). Their code language, more politically acceptable, covering their basic racism is their lexicon of other terms to establish his differences from white Americans. Thus, he is variously labeled as Muslim, anti-Christian, secular, Indonesian, Kenyan, socialist, fascist, and communist. Thus, the charges about his citizenship (alien birth) and education (elitism of his Harvard degree). The Republican refrain is that Obama does not understand Americans because, so they imply, he is not one of them, but one of Them.
For over three years, Republicans have been using this Obama-as-“other” mantra to transfer their race-motivated smears of Obama to other Democrats—Nancy Pelosi and Henry Reid, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, respectively—and their agenda. Republicans brand traditional Democratic politicians and policies as secular, socialist, and un-American—in a word, alien. Many, like local wise man Dr. Michael Swickard, distinguish between “socialists”—Obama, those in his administration, and those who elected him—and “Americans.” If Obama and Democrats save the automobile industry, he and they promote state fascism. If he and they advocate health care for all, he and they promote “socialized medicine.” If he and they address issues of economic fairness, he and they are conducting Marxist “class warfare.” So say the Republicans. Some, and ironically those who profess Christian values, like former Fox TV commentator Glenn Beck, even scorn the idea of “social justice” because its secularity distracts us from seeking salvation by faith alone.
Republicans started with race-based demonizing of Obama, continued by demonizing other Democrats, and finish by demonizing Democratic legislative proposals, even those built on originally Republican ideas. When race prompted Republicans to pivot from anything associated with Obama, they pivoted from and abandoned their past, even the past as recent as the latest Bush administration. Thus, Republicans offer no coherent philosophy or platform and take no position consistent with formerly first principles or former policy positions or legislative proposals.
Case in point: Keynesian economics. Until Obama’s election, Republicans and Democrats were Keynesians. They believed in government deficit spending to fight recessions or depressions, and debt retirement upon economic recovery. In the late 70s and early 80s, even Republicans knew, though they kept silent, that the supply-side Laffer Curve was a laugher; David Stockton, Reagan’s OMB Director, admitted as much. Why did Republicans as well as Democrats accept Keynesian economics? Because it works. Since World War II, deficit spending during recessions has alleviated or abridged them. Shamelessly, Republicans accuse Democrats of being big spenders; ironically, only Democratic administrations have had balanced budgets in the post-war period.
But to defeat Obama and defeat Democrats, Republicans have reversed course, have urged the repetition of Republican policies which created the Great Depression, and have made deficit reduction in the midst of a recession more important than recovery. They know that these steps will be damaging to the economy, the country, and the people, but their race-based Obama-hatred, now metastasized into Democrat-hatred, transcends political responsibility. Like their Confederate predecessors, they prefer to damage the country than to permit blacks and other minorities of the newly emerging demographic majority a role in an otherwise democratic country.
Republicans talk less about states rights because of its Southern pedigree and more about the Tenth Amendment, which they claim substitutes state interposition for federal authority. In the 2010 election, Republicans pretended to run on the major issues of the day—jobs, a sluggish economy, and budget deficits, and then passed legislation having nothing to do with those issues. They said little or nothing about much of what they have attempted or have done, especially at the state level—secret agendas by stealth candidates, indeed. Their strategy: campaign on issues attractive to a majority, smear the opposition, win, claim a mandate for change, then advance legislation on other, usually partisan, pro-business, or social, issues. Republicans will repeat this strategy, supplemented by massive PAC smear campaigns, on a larger scale in the 2012 election. (Given this strategy, the accelerating influence of unregulated money, restrictions on the franchise allowed by a conservative-corporatist Supreme Court, and the election of Republican candidates beholden to, if not bought by, Republican individual and corporate donors, I worry that the 2012 election may be the last election approximately democratic.)
At the state level, Republican-dominated governments have voted not only for items traditionally Republican—smaller government, fewer regulations, lower corporate taxes—but also for laws specifically beneficial to favored corporations, especially those pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC): corporate tax breaks, subsidies, and other benefits. The results: reduced government services and fewer government workers—police, firefighters, teachers, disproportionately large numbers of women government employees—to do them, attacks on unions, job losses, weakened economies, and bigger deficits. Case study: Wisconsin under its governor Scott Walker.
Republicans have also pushed items on the ALEC agenda to restrict “the consent of the governed” by pushing voter ID laws purporting to prevent virtually non-existent voting fraud but intending to disenfranchise inclined to vote Democratic—black and Hispanic minorities, women, senior citizens, and students—with burdensome registration and election laws having nothing to do with voting fraud. Case study: Florida governor Rick Scott (but don’t forget New Mexico governor Susana Martinez and her police-state—oops! State Police—investigation into her claim of 64,000 possible cases of voter fraud, which turned up exactly nothing).
I give the Gates Foundation and companies like Kraft, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Intuit, McDonalds, and Wendy’s—all with large numbers of minority customers—less credit than others do for withdrawing their support of ALEC. They did their dirty work; then, under attack, departed with their dirty work intact; and have done nothing to repudiate or remediate the damage which they did. (Subway provides better food without a political agenda harmful to its customers.)
It is noteworthy that Marco Rubio, the Cuban Hispanic Senator from Florida, proposes a “Dream Act” for the children of illegal immigrants. It would allow them to live, study, work, pay taxes, and serve in the military, but not become citizens. I know no Hispanic equivalent of “Uncle Tom,” but Rubio would be the exemplar. Some commentators have noted that the denial of citizenship serves Republican political interests by retarding the growth in numbers of likely Democratic voters and creates a group of Hispanic second-class residents. No one has pointed out that Rubio defies the idea which prompted the Boston Tea Party of 1773: no taxation without representation.
Despite their silence during the campaigns, federal and state Republicans have sought legislation making abortions virtually impossible, requiring women to undergo invasive and medically unwarranted procedures at their expense, eliminating coverage for contraception, and reducing assistance to the unfortunate: unemployment assistance, job training funds, food stamps, health care and children services, and more. Notice that Republicans and Tea Partiers did not campaign on any of these positions. Notice that they are quick to favor government intrusion into the lives, even the bodies, of citizens when they want it to do so.
Some people quip that you can tell when Republicans are lying: they are moving their lips. Perhaps. But Republican may also be lying when they are not moving them. So, if you vote for Republicans, you may be voting for what you want for yourselves, but you will get what they want for you—which ain’t much or much to your liking.