Saturday, November 24, 2012

JOHN MCCAIN: SHAM HERO, REAL SHAME


A balanced analysis and assessment of John McCain’s life diminishes his reputation as a war hero and political independent of courage and integrity.  Much of his reputation depends on a carefully crafted biographical narrative which discounts or disregards details revealing a man troubled by ambiguous responses to authority.  An account of his life must address his inability to resolve life-long tensions arising in his responses to his family’s expectations that he would repeat his paternal grandfather’s and his father’s success in their position and prestige as four-star admirals.  For McCain rebelled against these expectations but exploited the privileges accruing from his pedigree.

This account explains his lack of success as a military officer and an elected official—with no record of accomplishment in the Navy or Congress.  He has never been a leader; instead, he has been a hellraiser, a jet jockey, a POW, a “maverick,” and, more recently, a frequent guest on television talk shows.  Even if McCain were the hero he is reputed to be, none of these roles is a leadership role.

As a child, McCain reacted to authority with temper tantrums; as a youth and as an adult, he has reacted to authority, resistance, or frustration with anger, rebellion, or passive aggression.  At prep school, he was known for his quick anger and fast fists.  He complied with his father’s insistence on a Navy career, graduated from the Naval Academy, and responded with off-beat choices, disobedient behavior, and a mediocre overall record.  He preferred literature and history to science and mathematics but was a poor student who earned poor grades.  He was a prankster, partier, and heavy drinker who loved escapades and adventure, and received hundreds of demerits; his moniker was “John Wayne McCain.”  At graduation, his class ranking put him near the bottom of his class, 894th out of 899, to be precise.

As befitted his tendency to thrill-seeking and risk-taking, McCain chose a career as a jet pilot, but his performance as an aviator was as mediocre as it had been as a student.  Although some debate the details of his flight record, no one questions that his five crashes involved human error or mechanical failure—a number not approached by, because not tolerated in, pilots without influential connections (his father crashed five planes as well and also received a pass because of his father).  Despite a problematic flight record, he secured a prestigious position as a flight instructor, his only stateside military assignment.  Though disobedient and reckless in the military, he accepted family influence to prevent his grounding and keep him flying.

His combat record in Vietnam was equally undistinguished.  Shot down, McCain was captured; interrogated, he disclosed classified information; later, tortured, he signed confessions; later still, he was brutally tortured when he refused early release.  However, his experience and his responses to it were little different from those of many others of his rank, duty assignment, and situation.  Along with other POWs in Hanoi Hilton, McCain resisted his captors as much as he could and survived captivity and torture.  Like others who adhered to the rule that later prisoners forego release until earlier prisoners had been released, McCain refused his captors’ offer of out-of-turn release.  However, he was subjected to unusually severe punishment because his captors were angry at his refusal because they wanted to exploit his identity for propaganda purposes: a soldier accepting favorable treatment because of his family connections.  For the first and perhaps only time, McCain was punished for them.  He had no choice; if he had accepted this offer, he would have broken the rule, betrayed his fellow POWs, and accepted a favor reflecting his father’s rank as admiral—not what most people would do.  Still, McCain behaved honorably, but his fellow prisoners behaved similarly and equally honorably.

Some claim that McCain was too easily compliant with his captors because, within days of capture and under the duress only of his injuries, he provided operational intelligence in return for medical attention.  (Oddly, though he knows that he later made false confessions under torture, he supported torture by the CIA.)  These rumors about “Songbird” McCain seem unduly harsh, but they linger, neither refuted nor confirmed, because, rather suspiciously, McCain, as a Senator, has ensured that the Department of Defense permanently sealed his military record.

Although McCain’s prison experience was little different from that of other POWs, some of whom spent more years in prison, his reception upon release and return to America was different from theirs.  He was no more or less a hero than many others, yet, as the grandson and son of four-star admirals, McCain alone received a hero’s welcome and has accepted without reservation or modesty the acclaim and adulation of a hero.

However, the Navy did not offer him a path to higher rank.  Given his poor academic performance at the Naval Academy, his mediocre performance as an aviator, and his years in captivity, he lost has chance to attain to flag rank as an admiral.  After some liaison work to Congress, McCain retired as a captain from the Navy to pursue a political career in Arizona.  Having found his wife, a former beauty, much changed by injury, he began an adulterous relationship with another, much younger beauty, divorced his wife, married his lover, and entered into a rich, powerful Arizona family.  He accepted their and their friends’ support in winning elective office.  With this support and his reputation as a war hero, he won office, first as a representative, then as a senator.

Although he exploited his imprisonment to give him an attractive story of personal heroism, his military experience was narrow in range and gave him little knowledge of, and insight into, the military and foreign affairs which he tacitly claims for himself or which others casually impute to him.  Moreover, the torments of long confinement appear to have distorted his judgment and disturbed his stability.

Since the beginning of his political career, McCain has associated with corporate moguls or lobbyists; his part in the “Keating Five” revealed, not an aberration, but an affinity.  Insulated and isolated by this small circle of support, McCain developed few links to Arizona citizens or politicians and had little experience with the give-and-take of negotiations.  He has worked well with members of both parties when they agree with him on issues and legislation, but not when they do not.  He bears grudges.  His temper is famous inside Washington—Congressional peers and staff privately refer to him as “Senator McNasty”—and so worrying that, long before his presidential campaign, even fellow Republican Senators like Pete Domenici expressed fears about its dangers if empowered by executive position.

McCain is an intelligent, but an intellectually lazy, man, who maintains an abiding ignorance unremedied by study.  Despite his long years of imprisonment and his many years in Congress on important foreign affairs committees, McCain has made little effort to educate himself on important issues.  In discussing matters of foreign policy, he makes frequent mistakes of fact.  Despite his many votes on budgets, regulations, and financial policies, McCain admits knowing little about economics.  He remains unable to operate a computer and to access the Internet, and thus shows that he does not understand many modern technologies which influence government, military, business, and educational activities.  He seems to be a man whose blank mind endorses blank checks.

Although McCain made a reputation for himself as a straight-talker, his recent record is one of retreat on issues, reversal of positions, and revision of past views.  His changes of position have been attempts to curry favor with the conservative Republicans who dominate Arizona politics out of fear of defeat from rivals farther to the right on many issues.  He has altered positions on tax cuts, energy policy, environmental protection, affirmative action, immigration, free trade, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These dramatic changes in position in the face of challenge do not suggest the courage of convictions which his claim to resisting as best he could his Vietnamese captors suggests.

The sum of his character is a man whose feelings guide his thinking, not vice versa.  Evident since he lost his bid for the presidency in 2008, McCain has shown bitterness in defeat.  Invited by Obama to work with him after the election, McCain has spurned such overtures, smeared Obama, and obstructed many of Obama’s legislative proposals and appointments.  This behavior does not suggest a man focusing his energies on serving his country more than settling the scores of a sore loser.

McCain is a tragic tale of a person raised to meet expectations beyond his ability and to have aspirations beyond his reach.  Parental pressures inculcated resentment of, anger at, and rebellion against, authority.  Defeated ambitions for success on his terms intensified these feelings and increased his attacks on others.  As a result, the president and his peers care less and less about him or his views, and his frequent expressions of vitriol tarnish his integrity and diminish his respect.  Sooner or later, McCain will realize that he betrayed what was best in him and what he professed to serve.

Monday, November 19, 2012

THANKSGIVING BLESSING(S)

I offer an account of one of my Thanksgiving blessings in the hope that my readers, especially the animal lovers among them, may reflect on theirs.

My Thanksgiving blessings begin with my wife and my children, but my list is long. My particular blessing this year, because of his limited time left, is Cowboy, my collie/chow “blend,” who has given his love to me for 13 years, to Jen for 11 years, and to his cat and dog companions since I adopted him as a puppy in 1999.


Cowboy was frail and suffering great pain 5 years ago; I was able to restore him to health. But I cannot, though I wish that I could, reverse the ravages of old age. He is very frail without any pain now. But his heart, his tongue, and his tail work just fine; he is happy to be surrounded by all six of us who love him; he still has the enthusiasm for life which comes from loving his extended, mixed family unconditionally and being loved unconditionally in return. He thus blesses all who live with him, and Jen and I know and feel ourselves blessed by him. We give thanks that he has graced our lives with his love.

We wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and a long list of blessings to count.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

REGENTS PRETEND TO TRANSPARENCY IN NMSU PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH


The NMSU Regents have embarked upon a listening tour to obtain the views of interested citizens about the characteristics desired in the next NMSU president.  They appear perfectly serious about this undertaking, but they cannot be taken seriously.  The sole but conclusive piece of evidence is their payment of nearly half a million dollars in hush money to the previous President, Barbara Couture, who, they claim, resigned on her initiative and from whom the public has heard nothing.

From these facts follow three inferences.  One, the Regents have used (and will continue to use) public money for the political purposes of preventing embarrassment from the exposure of unsound or unsavory university policies and practices.  Otherwise, they would have invited President Couture’s views of important university issues as the interim President has invited such views from Executive Vice President and Provost, Wendy Wilkins, who did resign on her initiative.

Two, by paying for Couture’s silence, the Regents prevented the public from acquiring a better-informed understanding of the problems—educational, administrative, financial, personnel—which the next president will face, and, thus, of the qualifications which the next president should have to address them.  In other words, the Regents are pretending to seek advice the value of which they have diminished by denying the public pertinent information.

Three, by thus diminishing the likelihood of pertinent advice from the public, the Regents have enhanced their opportunities to select someone less prepared to address NMSU problems and more prone to comply with guidance from themselves and the powers-that-be to whom they really listen.  Their appearance of openness—the vogue word is “transparency”—is really their cloak for continued secrecy and intrigue in the conduct of the university’s affairs, including the choice of the next NMSU president.

The qualifications which the Regents and their advisors in the senior staff desire in the next NMSU president will be those appropriate to puppets.  When new to the job, Couture probably acceded to the advice of Ben Woods and Bruce Kite and even, though unwisely, made Woods her Chief of Staff.  Their interests have not been in Couture’s or NMSU’s success, but theirs to wield power in the university and the community.  Later, as she attempted to improve NMSU’s performance of its fundamental land-grant missions: teaching, research, and service, Couture increasingly struggled against their efforts to control her.  Meanwhile, they betrayed her by encouraging discontent among prima donors and athletic supporters (pun and double entendre intended).

Under the circumstances, we need to look at the NMSU Regents, who, though devoid of educational expertise or commitment, are appointed because they are compliant and complaisant.  Their willingness to do the Governor’s bidding and eagerness to please the Governor by avoiding anything controversial, even if meritorious, portends no good for NMSU.  So, after sitting through hours of public testimony giving them interesting but inconsistent recommendations across the board, they will have the freedom to decide as they always intended but to justify their decisions by reference to compatible comments.

The Regents know, or should know, what qualifications which NMSU requires in its next president.  The question is why they do not state those requisite qualifications and launch a search for suitable candidates.  The answer is that they would reveal either their incomprehension of NMSU’s real needs or their concern that an impressively qualified candidate would not tolerate direction by the powers-that-be.  Otherwise, they would declare that NMSU needs a president who, unlike recent ones, has the essentials of strong leadership suitable for a major state university.

NMSU’s next president should be (1) a nationally recognized, distinguished scholar who can command the respect of the university community (the Governor and state legislators must learn to appreciate someone of academic distinction, managerial competence, and strength of character and conviction); and have (2) a solid record of commitment to excellence in the missions of land-grant universities, (3) a cogent, compelling, and communicable long-term vision, goals, and objectives suitable to NMSU, (4) a strong record of effective managerial or administrative experience at senior levels in higher education, and (5) fluency in Spanish.

In addition, the next president should understand the need to educate the Regents to their responsibilities in supporting their choice; to encourage intra-college, intra-department, and inter-disciplinary cooperation; and to inform the public about NMSU’s problems, challenges, undertakings, and achievements.  He or she should insist on the authority to hire, re-assign, or fire senior administrative and academic personnel on the basis of their performance in support of his or her vision, goals, and objectives for NMSU.  He or she should have unqualified support in dealing with donors and ancillary programs like athletics to ensure their support of NMSU’s land-grant missions.  Anything else means a repetition of the insiders-rule approach to university governance.

The Regents’ recent performance, now extended to this charade, forebodes their selection of another NMSU president unable to advance, or prevented from advancing, its core missions.

Friday, November 9, 2012

POST-ELECTION ODE TO BILLY-JOE AND BETTY-LOU


It already looks as if as much silly stuff will be said or written in the aftermath of the election as in the run-up.  I have listened to the explanations offered by Karl Rove, Fox News commentators, and various Republican officials, for GOP losses in the presidential and senatorial races.  So I have learned that Republicans are not likely to abandon their alternative reality.  I shall try to avoid the silliness which I have detected in others by sticking with the original, not to say only, reality.

The two states which tried hardest to suppress the vote of cohorts inclined to vote Democratic still failed to steal the election for Romney and down-ticket Republican senatorial candidates.  Ohio and Florida became irrelevant to the Electoral College count providing Obama with his victory.  Without Ohio’s 18 votes, Obama would have 285; without Colorado (9) and Iowa (6), he would still have the necessary 270 to win.  Without Florida’s 29 votes—forget it: they were unneeded because the national race had been decided two days before the state race was decided.

The poetic justice of Ohio’s and Florida’s irrelevancy is that Republican machinations putting party power ahead of democracy and country roused voters to overwhelm their Republican presidential and senatorial candidates.  This party-defeating misconduct of Ohio’s corrupt Republican secretary of state and Florida’s criminal Republican governor not only intensifies contempt for them, but also implicates their state parties, other party officials, and their party enablers.  Meanwhile, Ohio’s and Florida’s Democratic senatorial candidates beat their challengers.

In these and other states, Republicans made fact-free claims of virtually non-existent voter fraud to justify legislation to suppress the vote of hundreds of thousands citizens inclined to vote Democratic.  For an example close to home, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, a Republican touted for higher office immediately after her election only because she is Hispanic and female (to Republicans, the political attributes equivalent of good looks), claimed 64,000 suspicious cases of possible voter fraud, loosed the state police across the state, found nothing, and retreated into silence.

Nationwide, Republicans revealed that the only significant election fraud has been theirs.  The National Republican Party contracted $3-million-dollars worth of efforts at voter suppression.  Republican legislatures passed laws, often at the last minute, requiring hard- or costly-to-obtain forms of identification.  Republican administrations shortened voting days and hours, reduced the number of polling locations, and issued confusing and changing instructions for voting.  None of these Republican efforts had anything to do with preventing voter impersonation.  By contrast, no such efforts occurred in states with Democratic governors.  Again, it is clear which party believes in democracy and which misleads that it does.

The reason for this disparity is clear.  Democrats are for liberty and justice—economic, social, as well as legal—for all; Republicans are radically inconsistent, divided between small government for economic and racial Darwinism and big government for social Big Brotherism—succinctly, unregulated banks and regulated bedrooms.  This division in the Republican Party means that addressing the problems acutely and visibly presented by Obama’s election (and re-election) is unlikely to be healed by patchwork concessions to diverse constituencies.

The current Republican circular firing squad is blaming everyone and everything:  Romney was too conservative or not conservative enough; his staff was inept; Chris Christie overpraised Obama; Sandy diverted attention from Romney and showcased Obama—where is Pat Robertson when we need him to declare that the hurricane was God’s punishment of the GOP?  The consensus among most Republicans seems to be that they were, of course, right on substance, just rough on style.  So the GOP agrees with Rush that Sandra Fluke is a slut and with Romney that Rush should have used sweet talk to say the same thing (women fall for sweet talk every time).

  The Republican leadership—elected officials, party officers, and party czars like Rush Limbaugh and Roger Ailes (we can now forget about Carl Rove)—will likely avoid anything like reflection, which conservative ideologues believe is for liberal weenies and Harvard professors.  Instead, the GOP will resort to its reflexive approach to all problems: money, misrepresentation, and manipulation.  Some have already begun suggesting that it need only offer a few marginal concessions on a few issues which matter to women, Hispanics, blacks, other minorities, seniors, students, and the poor.  The GOP expects these people to appreciate the condescension of Republican white males, seasoned by ethnic and gender self-promoters like Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Susana Martinez.

For example, the GOP approach to disaffected Hispanics will be amnesty leading to permanent residency for illegal immigrants, but, note, no pathway to citizenship.  That is, the Republican solution to the presence of illegal immigrants is to create a large group of Hispanics unworthy of citizenship and, therefore, unable to vote (Democratic).  No doubt, Republicans will think that the Hispanic community will be, or at least should be, grateful to them for dividing it into two groups, Hispanics first-class and Hispanics second-class.

But trinkets and tinkering will not win the votes of these constituencies.  They know the Republican game and will go for real, not cosmetic, change.  Yet Republicans are not likely to recognize what they need to do to survive as a party or to do what they cannot conceive or would not accept.  For they are blinded or self-deceived by their assumed supremacy, whether racial, religious, cultural, or economic.  To abandon their smug sense of superiority and descend to political equality is unthinkable or undoable.

The Republican Party may be unable to address, and adapt to, the implications of a diverse demography of races, religions, gender identities and orientations, and cultural allegiances—for reasons ironic.  For its “Southern strategy” exploiting pre-existing racist animosities and specific racist opposition to the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s has created a largely white, male-dominated party with an intensely intolerant, ideologically rigid “base” now unlikely to amend its attitudes and adopt policies attractive to others in time for near-term elections in 2014 and 2016.  It certainly cannot win those elections by allowing the “base” to pick extreme GOP’s candidates in primaries and then appealing for the votes of moderates and independents as well.  Since the GOP did not win the presidential and most senatorial races in 2012 by relying on its “base,” it cannot hope to win in the future as trending demographics continue to diminish the proportion of whites.

So the inter-party squabble will be ugly.  On one side, cultural, social, and religious conservatives like Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee; on the other side, economic and political moderates like Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Jon Huntsman, and—who else?  Caught between the two sides, the Tea Party will have an identity crisis as it is pulled in different directions and will likely splinter.  Likewise, the Republican Party will split if it persists in trying to accommodate these contending sides by expedient but unprincipled vote-swapping.  If the Republican Party splits into its two main constituent parts, the result will be a dominant Democratic Party and two smaller conservative rivals.

Meanwhile, the “base” of the Republican Party—the Billie-Joes and Betty-Lous, and their racial and religious kith and kin in the South, the Plains, and the Rockies—continues to decline in importance and power.  So, I write, not an ode in praise, but a dirge on the demise, of the young to middle-aged white males, along with their girlfriends or wives, with little more than their white skin and their high school sheepskin, if that, as measures of their attainment.  As they are discovering, their race does not signify superiority or even validate their worth, their poor education in a changing economy limits their opportunities, so they are stuck in low- or no-skill jobs which barely pay the bills.

Meanwhile, these Billie-Joes and Betty-Lous see themselves being bypassed by better-educated and harder working women and minorities.  They sense, though they may not speak, their plight: trapped, powerless, even despairing as they—at least some of them—realize that they made clearly wrong and possibly irreversible choices.  For, although they knew that they lived in changing times, they made no effort to change with them.  Instead, they chose to resist change, to protect their way of life, and thus, as the world passed them by, to feel resentment and to act out of fear and anger.

Thus, their insistence on intensely self-righteous, ideological positions on abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage, among others, which positions, even if implemented throughout society, can do nothing to improve their lot in life.  For example, the Billie-Joe’s, with the support of their Betty-Lou’s, may think that legislating a definition of marriage as only monogamous and heterosexual will protect the sanctity of marriage and ensure the survival of civilization as we imagine it, but it will not stop adultery or lower the divorce rate.

The 2008 and 2012 elections have shown the declining trajectory of the political power of the Republican Party and especially its “base,” and suggested the diminished chances of reasserting their power in future elections.  They will gain nothing by political shenanigans or ideological rampages.  Instead, the Republican Party must rethink its attitudes toward “others” as the starting point for adopting political policies which serve all people.  Similarly, its “base” must also rethink its attitudes toward “others” as the starting point for accepting education as the best means to serve its needs for a better life.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

IF REPUBLICANS TAKE WASHINGTON: FOUR PREDICTIONS AND ONE SPECULATION


[PREAMBLE: The election is nearly over, and a good thing, too!  Aside from the expected last-week smut of Republican and conservative PAC advertisements, I am appalled by a Republican presidential candidate of unprecedented dishonesty and duplicity.  One side contradicts facts; the Romney campaign long ago promised that it would not let fact-checkers dictate its message--the one promise which his campaign has kept.  The other side has, until recently, ignored them; the Obama campaign has been late to tout its successes and its intentions.  Both sides have indulged the usual sweeping generalities, unrealistic promises, and simple-minded slogans.  Neither side understands that one function of leadership, and one means of demonstrating it, is education: show and tell what needs to be done and why.  For the second term, Obama ought to adopt, as he should have adopted four years ago, Roosevelt's custom of giving fireside chats to inform the public and explain the issues.  At a time when so many know so little about the many and complex issues now before the country--neither energy nor the environment was an issue in the 30s or 40s, not to mention international macro-economics and global warming--regular, non-crises talks would be a great benefit to the country and to government.

So, I am also appalled by the little more, often less, than the occasional mention of major issues facing this country, and then mainly for the purposes of scoring points:
  • basic issues: jobs, housing, education
  • financial issues: student and consumer debt, regulation of financial markets, market distortions (too big to fail), the Euro crisis
  • energy and environment issues: production versus pollution versus short-and long-range prices and costs, climate change
  • gender and health issues: abortion, contraception, women's health, marriage and GLBTQ rights, health care (ACA improvements)
  • immigration
  • governance: voting rights, civil liberties, filibuster reform, Supreme Court
  • infrastructure--communications (including cyber-security, net neutrality and Internet regulation), transportation, transit
  • others: drug policy, agriculture, drug and food safety
Does anyone know what either man would try to do in the next four years if elected?  The honest answer is no; the honest response is that we vote for what we project in hope or fear that they would do if elected.

By the way, the latest job numbers are doubly encouraging.  One, the number of new jobs is up.  Each job represents a person and usually a family better able to support people, with little or no government assistance.  Two, the percentage of unemployment is up.  Paradoxically, the news is good, not bad.  For the increase does not represent newly unemployed; it represents a return of those unemployed who, once too discouraged to seek employment and thus not counted, have hope and have returned to the job market; they are hopeful because the economy is improving, not worsening.  Are you spinning, Mitt?

If there has been a moment of humor--gallows humor, I admit--it is Mitt the Shift's relationship with cars.  First, he wants to let the companies go bankrupt because of a lack of private-sector funding.  Second, he declares that Obama took his advice to let them go bankrupt by infusing them with government loans.  Third, he criticizes Obama for losing money on the deal, despite the fact that the government will make money on its loans.  Fourth, he brags that he likes American cars because, lest we forget, his daddy made them.  Fifth, he mongers the lie that GM and Chrysler are exporting jobs and production to--hiss, boo--China.  The humor arises, not in the changing positions, but in the slap-down by those car companies.  Imagine: two large, right-leaning car manufacturers calling out the Republican candidate for president.  Do we really want to think that Romney understands even the only industry which he ought to understand?  Perhaps American cars made in Michigan are not the just the right size, as the trees are.]




If Republicans Take Washington: Four Predictions and One Speculation

The Republican Party, with its now-controlling Tea Party caucus, has faced, and fears, the demographic facts of an increasingly multi-racial and multi-ethnic populace—Obama has been its face, and fear—and decided to undermine   democracy.  The economic elitism of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the anti-Constitutional fanaticism of the Tea Party, and the reli6gious zealotry of Christian fundamentalists—all three boosted by bigotry against “others”—have created a perfect political storm threatening big changes in America as we know, imagine, or profess to want it to be.  Going is its ideal of the Founding Fathers’ first principle: “all men are created equal.”
Accordingly, my four predictions assume that Republicans retain control of the House, regain control of the Senate, and win the White House.
One, on the first day of the new Senate, when it amends or adopts rules by majority vote, Republican senators will eliminate filibusters and restrict holds to make Democratic resistance to extremist legislation or appointments difficult, if not impossible.
Two, Republican politicians will intensify steps which Republican-controlled state governments have attempted or taken to suppress voting in ways disproportionately affecting minorities, seniors, and students, to expand or make permanent the means to future electoral success.  They will not only make voting requirements and arrangements more stringent and limited, but also limit the franchise in other ways.  They will make legal challenges to define the vote as a privilege, not a right, for states to award.  The Republican Attorney General will not investigate or take action against voting-related irregularities, including voter fraud by the National Republican Committee.
Thus, three, Republicans politicians will establish permanent rule of an economically and ethnically apartheid country.  Between Romney’s 1-percent socio-economic elitism and his campaign-co-chair John Sununu’s all-purpose racism, we see the gamut of Republican values and attitudes.  For the means by which Republicans eke out victory in this year’s election, if they win, will be the means, augmented as the possession of power gives them greater opportunity, to ensure victories in future years’ elections.
Four, Romney’s political strategy will be to trade off his support on social-cultural-civil issues which he has not strongly or consistently supported, like abortion, for support on any economic, environmental, health, and military issues.  Given the opportunistic inconsistency, and collective incoherence, of his positions during the campaign, no matter what he does, he will claim that he told us so and that his victory means that he has a mandate for whatever he does.
My speculation concerns abortion without exception for rape—a likely provision of proposed Republican state and federal legislation, one not considered in light of the national history of race relations.  In the 1930s, two white women accused nine black men, soon known as the Scottsboro Boys, of raping them.  In the notorious course of trials, convictions, appeals, and more convictions, one of the alleged victims recanted her accusation in its entirety.  Nevertheless, racial prejudice demanded convictions and the death penalty, the standard sentence for black men convicted of raping white women.
Twenty years later, as the Civil Rights Movement attracted national attention, racial prejudices persisted.  Segregationists opposed desegregation with one argument and two motives.  The argument: states rights, whereby states seek exemption from Constitutional restraint in order to discriminate against, and to abuse, selected populations of their residents.  The motives: the preservation of the Southern way of life, and the prevention of miscegenation and thereby the protection of the moral virtue and racial purity of white womanhood.
Today, such talk about the sexual pollution and racial contamination of white women by black men is rare or reserved.  Political correctness requires self-censorship in the public square but not in homes, bars, and diners.  Only the na├»ve think that such fears have gone with the wind 
Many people who have such fears are among the many people who define life as beginning at conception and believe that the unborn deserve the fundamental rights of the born.  Not quite so many people, including prominent Republican politicians—Indiana Tea Party candidate for the U.S. senate Richard Murdoch, among others—oppose, and would support legislation against, abortions in cases of rape.  Murdoch probably speaks for most of them that a pregnancy resulting from rape is a “gift from God.”
The right questions make clear the potential clash between enduring racial prejudice and anti-abortion purism.  Would anti-abortion white women, white husbands of white wives, and white parents of white daughters think that a pregnancy resulting from rape by a black man is a “gift of God,” give thanks for His “gift,” and gladly carry the “gift” to term?  If such a pregnancy is a “gift of God,” would the woman, before learning whether she is pregnant, pray to God for this “gift”?
Negative answers expose the collision of bigotry and ideology.  But my greater concern is that Republican rule and religious zealotry presage bad times for civil government and the enumerated freedoms under the Constitution.