OK

Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.
I see on the intertubes that the tea-bagging Republicans are taking their freak show on the road to Nevada, promising to hold a "Conservative Woodstock" in Harry Reed's back yard. This act of attempted cultural mis-appropriation is coming in for the ridicule that it so richly deserves, but it made me think a little bit more deeply about the links between then and now, and so Karl Marx's famous summary comes to mind:

"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

But there is another even more foolish parallel from the 1960s that the Republicans are about to re-enact as farce; the Long Hot Summer of 1967 -

The summer when the simmering discontent of so many years of racial oppression boiled over in riots across America. In place of the insensate fury of a mass of forcibly subordinated citizens rising up in spontaneous wrath, we are going to see a "long, hot summer" of contrived, ginned-up posturing, punctuated by so-called "isolated incidents" of "spontaneous" violence directed against the democratic will of the people. The farce will not stop until the November elections; but the likelihood that the
Republicans will benefit politically from their outbursts is, needless to say, quite small. The original long hot summer produced the "white backlash" that empowered George Wallace in 1968, and delivered the White House to Richard Nixon - this year's frantic antics will deliver more tools to the Democratic Party, which if properly used will lock the Republicans ever more tightly in their minority status. By their deliberate strategy of calling for violent revolution, the tea-baggers have "jumped the shark", by trying and failing to make health care the President's Waterloo they have "shot their bolt", and by continuing to call for revolution they will cover themselves with humiliation. They still haven't figured out the trap that President Obama set for them with the whole health care debate (hint: he was using integrative bargaining to get all the stakeholders to buy into a minimally acceptable plan, in order to shut the obstructionists out of the discourse - hence the failure to put up his own plan first, the compromises that benefitted the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, the sop to the anti-choice Democrats at the end to get them on board - all with the objective of showing the Republicans to be obstructionists who don't care about the common good of the country). Now he has them in jeopardy, and he is going for the checkmate.

Originally posted to In Memory of Norman Bethune on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 02:49 AM PDT.

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