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Last April, former 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum warned it would be "suicidal" for the Republican Party to change its stance on gay marriage, despite the RNC's recent assessment that the party's social positions are costing it elections. The evangelical Family Research Council jumped in by urging conservatives to withhold financial support from Republicans until they reiterated their opposition to gay marriage. Within 24 hours, the RNC obediently passed new resolutions against same-sex marriage by unanimous vote.

Yes, change is difficult. But it may embolden moderate Republicans to know that the right wing conservatism which defines today's GOP is actually a recent phenomenon —  one that displaced a progressive tradition whose resurrection will ultimately determine whether the GOP is built to last, or whether it will follow the Whigs into oblivion.

Though it sounds strange today, the Republican Party was once home to progressives — many of whom saw the social upheaval of the 1960s as an opportunity for the party of Lincoln to outflank Democrats in matters of racial equality, poverty, and social justice. While conservatives had always been a splinter group within the party, their power had been held in check by moderates like Eisenhower, who derided them as "negligible" and "stupid." Richard Nixon was seen as the epitome of moderation, and after his defeat to Kennedy in 1960 this fragile coalition quickly unraveled.

Two men saw an opportunity for the right wing to gain ascendancy within the GOP. They argued that Republicans should give voters a real choice between the extremism of the left and a countervailing extremism on the right. National Review co-founder William Rusher and Young Americans for Freedom organizer Clifford White studied the organizational tactics used by Communist infiltrators and employed these methods to take over the party. They started with Young Republican organizations on college campuses whose members sought to mirror the passionate activism of the student left. Rusher and White then trained their sights on flipping the Republican National Committee, and secured the 1964 presidential nomination for their hero, Barry Goldwater. A well-organized, determined minority had pulled off a political coup which would eventually drive moderates and progressives from the party.

But not all accepted this hijacking by the right.

Nelson Rockefeller was the leader of progressive Republicans. Alarmed by the unchecked power of the far right, he addressed the Republican convention and urged his fellow delegates to reject this new extremism. He warned that:

"The Republican party is in real danger of subversion by a radical, well-financed and highly disciplined minority... wholly alien to the sound and honest conservatism that has firmly based the Republican party in the best of a century's traditions, wholly alien to the sound and honest Republican liberalism that has kept the party abreast of human needs in a changing world, wholly alien to the broad middle course that accommodates the mainstream of Republican principles."

He was interrupted several times by the unruliness of the crowd, which had been packed with true believers by Rusher and White.

"There is no place in this Republican party for those who would infiltrate its ranks, distort its aims, and convert it into a cloak of apparent respectability for a dangerous extremism... The Republican party must repudiate these people."

His remarks captured the precise moment when the Republican party abandoned its heritage of inclusivity for the politics of division. Within five years, Nixon staffer Kevin Phillips would publish "The Emerging Republican Majority," which argued that the GOP could start winning national elections again by actively courting Southern racists alarmed by the Democratic Party's embrace of civil rights. Aided by a well-financed media machine and an organized campaign to purge progressives and moderates from its rolls, the party of Lincoln would soon become the party of Limbaugh.

Rockefeller was the last strong voice of dissent within the GOP — a political Cassandra whose warning that extremists would destroy the Republican Party went sadly unheeded. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg all continue this tradition of progressive Republicanism today despite being pariahs within their own party. Rick Santorum may see himself as a standard-bearer, but the flag he hoists is not that of the Republican Party. It is of the radical right, and it is fighting like hell to maintain its grip even as the vast majority of America rejects its agenda.

The Republican Party holds more extreme views today than at any time during the last 100 years, yet its leaders refuse to acknowledge the need for real change. A business school exercise in re-branding won't be enough to lead the GOP out of the wilderness. Only abandoning ideological extremism and rediscovering its progressive roots will do that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (195+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MartyM, Horace Boothroyd III, Gemina13, Dogs are fuzzy, Trix, Pluto, Youffraita, elwior, sceptical observer, a2nite, this just in, jacey, EJP in Maine, skillet, exterris, Lovo, xxdr zombiexx, BadKitties, Linda1961, Habitat Vic, rodentrancher, defluxion10, Pinto Pony, expatjourno, Yellow Canary, koosah, Tommy T, devis1, Its any one guess, terrybuck, Buckeye54, Catsmeat, BYw, citizen dan, p gorden lippy, Tinfoil Hat, ord avg guy, psnyder, Hillbilly Dem, ctexrep, Shippo1776, NYC Sophia, terabytes, Mike Kahlow, ARS, Hammerhand, notrouble, GrannyOPhilly, anodnhajo, CitizenJoe, dotsright, Word Alchemy, Byron from Denver, AJ in Camden, DBunn, flowerfarmer, BlueInARedState, kerflooey, Stein, Pandoras Box, NJpeach, Aunt Pat, metal prophet, hlsmlane, karmsy, Pandora, CubanDem, howabout, efrenzy, 3rdOption, The Lone Apple, TracieLynn, tmservo433, FisherOfRolando, blueoregon, jrooth, niteskolar, zerelda, Sychotic1, GDbot, wader, exNYinTX, Sun Tzu, science nerd, frsbdg, Gowrie Gal, golem, newinfluence, Radiowalla, 4CasandChlo, Nowhere Man, Oye Sancho, kevinpdx, purplepenlady, thomask, lineatus, seefleur, leftist vegetarian patriot, llellet, sawgrass727, Tunk, nomandates, Fury, JVolvo, Josiah Bartlett, turdraker, Lefty Coaster, linkage, allensl, muddy boots, Cronesense, Janet 707, jfromga, tin woodswoman, CPT Doom, slowbutsure, tacet, Witgren, OllieGarkey, Matt Z, marleycat, tomephil, Loudoun County Dem, Judgment at Nuremberg, frankzappatista, Jollie Ollie Orange, boran2, Wary, cotterperson, sostos, blue aardvark, wagster1969, AllanTBG, opinionated, fixxit, leonard145b, katrinka, VickiL, ricklewsive, tegrat, alasmoses, JBL55, TX Freethinker, papercut, edwardssl, slapshoe, Dissentinator, Themistoclea, onionjim, jts327, Dodgerdog1, orangecurtainlib, Norm in Chicago, The Lesser Gazoo, ER Doc, mofembot, Sylv, NormAl1792, Polly Syllabic, PatConnors, TrueBlueMajority, DEMonrat ankle biter, Fonsia, unfangus, gizmo59, kevin k, greenomanic, retLT, BlueOak, ericlewis0, JerryNA, petulans, helvknight, jrfrog, Front Toward Enemy, cececville, pixxer, DanC, offgrid, alain2112, Nag, LSmith, cassandraX, SouthernLiberalinMD, rapala, Shockwave, millwood, Kombema, GAS, Only Needs a Beat, BentLiberal, Bonsai66, Emerson, Geenius at Wrok, ArthurPoet
    •  I agree. The title really says it all. (57+ / 0-)

      The Conservatives betrayed the party they forced their way into, took it over, and are now destroying it.

        But worse yet, they betrayed America with their anti-democratic and corrupt nonsense, and the Nation is worse off for what they've managed to "accomplish."

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:04:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think for those reasons (12+ / 0-)

        you will see Democrats pick up seats....not liberal or progressive seats - but with Republican moderates leaving the party - will set up more "Blue Dog" Democrats.  For this reason, the Democratic party continues to shift to the right.

        So the good news is the Republican party is imploding - the bad news is the Republican party is imploding.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:42:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't discount gerrymandering (12+ / 0-)

          Combine gerrymandering of state and congressional districts with the constant barrage of righteous right propaganda from pulpit and press and TV...we're left with a steep hill to climb.

          •  Add to that, the undemocratic Senate and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Electoral College and they can still screw things up for the majority.

          •  and that hill mae steeper by the constant attacks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Merry Light

            by the frustrati on the left.

            EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

            by edrie on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:13:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  um...made, not mae... nt (0+ / 0-)

              EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

              by edrie on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:32:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That's crap. Hill made steeper by Dem abandonment (0+ / 0-)

              of the working and middle classes, is more like it. It has allowed itself to be taken over by big money (just as the GOP to a greater extent). The conservative trajectory of the Democrats was made possible by the vacuum left by the far far right Repugs, but much of the electorate, unable to see enough difference between the Dems and the GOP on key economic issues, is all-too-frequently tempted to vote GOP instead of for the former workers' party.

              The crisis of the GOP is also the crisis of the Democratic Party, and the weakening of American association and alignment with BOTH parties is the result. The Dem drift to the right is endangering it -- especially IF the GOP ever gets rid of the far right Teabagger/Talibangelical yoke and moderates. THe vacuum now is on the left, with working folks and paycheck-to-paycheck lower and middle class Americans left without any substantial representation among the Beltway political elite.

              "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

              by Kombema on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:21:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  anyone who cannot see the difference (0+ / 0-)
                I've tried to explain the FISA bait-and-switch to a number of intelligent, over-educated people.  But unless you're steeped in surveillance law, it's hard to understand.
                only has to be female and childbearing age and need an abortion.

                when that wand is rammed up inside her (and it should be mandatory for the male who impregnated her, also, imho), then they will damned know the difference!

                EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                by edrie on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:32:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're confusing some social issues (which are (0+ / 0-)

                  held out often like scraps to the hungry Dem base) with core economic issues. Yes, Dems still more protective of gay, women's, minority social rights than Repugs. But on economic core issues, including role of government in society, much of the Dem Party is bought and sold to the corporations and the rest of the 1%.

                  Tell me you firmly believe this to be a lie. If you see the Dems steadfastly defending the economic position of the rapidly declining middle class, then there's little to debate. If you will at least acknowledge the rightward fiscal and economic swing under Clinton and Obama, then we can debate about how much. how bad, and how important. Otherwise, it's just a rightwing talking point to trash "the left" as being an impediment to Democratic ascendancy. And a myth.  

                  "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                  by Kombema on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:53:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  i've had a very bad day and night tonite so i will (0+ / 0-)

                    not respond to you tonite.  otherwise i might take your head off - and that would be unfair as other issues would be incorporated with my frustration at your position.

                    we can pick this up later when i'm not in "green" mode (hulk).


                    EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                    by edrie on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:57:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  I see that happening in Maine (9+ / 0-)

          Governor Le Page probably snuck into office because nobody liked either the Democratic candidate Libby Mitchell or the Independent candidate Eliot Cutler but most people voted for one or the other of those choices rather than the Republican LePage.

          Maines coast and urban areas are pretty dependably blue, but in a three way with independents enough of the vote gets siphoned off to be a problem unless the Democratic candidate is a strong contender.

          This year the first "Democratic" candidate to jump in the ring was Steve Woods whose idea of enlightened piolicy would be to take all the infrastructure funding from 108 small rural Maine villages and give it to urban areas on the premise that urban areas create more jobs than rural areas. The people living in the villages could just be relocated he says. Woods has previously run for office as independent or unenrolled.

          The second Democrat District 2's representative Mike Michaud recently formed an exploratory committee. Mike is a pro life member of the Blue Dog coalition who is good on healthcare,  labor, and veterans.

          Despite his being pro life NARAL gave Michaud a 100% rating because of the votes Michaud made in favor of allowing and expanding stem cell research, and his vote against banning abortion from federal health care coverage.

          Mike stands a pretty good chance of winning the primary. He has served seven terms in the Maine Legislature, including two in the Maine House of Representatives and 5 in the Maine Senate where he was President of the senate before becoming District 2 representative to the US Congress.

          As of April of this year The Bangor Daily News claimed

          AUGUSTA, Maine — If independent Eliot Cutler ran for governor as a Democrat in 2014, he would lead incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage by almost eight percentage points, according to a poll released Wednesday.
          The Bangor Daily News also opined that
          Mike Michaud, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 2nd District, would fare slightly better than Baldacci, garnering 22.8 percent compared with LePage (33.5 percent) and Cutler (25.6 percent) if those three men competed to be Maine’s next governor. Those finding mirror January Public Policy Polling results that indicate LePage would win a three-person contest.
          Cutlers FB page shows that a lot of people who previously voted for Cutler see him as a spoiler and would vote for Michaud.

          My opinion is that in the general election Mike should win in a three way with Cutler and LePage because of the political skills that made him senate president.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:06:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I hope you're right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            61% of Mainers did not vote for LePetomaine.

            My first response to Michaud's exploratoring a bid for Blaine House in the wake of Cutler's announced candidacy was consternation at the prospect of another split-the-non-GOP-vote election result, along with the possibility of a Republican snagging Michaud's 2nd District seat in the House.

            But the evidence does suggest Michaud has a much better shot than my fears allow, and yes, I know an awful lot of people who hold Cutler directly responsible for the last result and would either vote for the Democratic candidate or stay home.  (The thing that would most surely keep those folks at home IMHO would be Baldacci's return.)

            Another possibility would be a change in the election laws (e.g. instant run-off, weighted voting) that would ensure the governor would be elected by a majority of Mainers, by either a first or second choice vote.

            But I'm not sure how that would fly with Mainers -- a lot would depend on how any proposed change to the system is designed and explained to voters.

          •  One quibble to a very well-written comment: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            They're provably not "pro-life", not the way they cut SNAP and health funding.  Don't use their own propaganda terminology.  They're forced birth.  

            •  Michaud is pro SNAP and Health (0+ / 0-)

              and has 100% rating from NARAL.

              As for Cutler I know some of the State Committee and the County Executive committees have been discussing whether to offer him some support if he changes his mind and decides to run against Collins instead of LePage.

              Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

              by rktect on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:43:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Just like the conservatives learned from the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          communist, I think we need to learn from the conservatives.   We need to create a challenge within the Democratic Party that will result in three non-partisan schisms that give voters three real alternatives:   a.  crazy religious extremists/Paulites  b.) corporatists/establishment/status quo and c.) left of center/socialism lite

          Something different has to be done.   It cannot continue like it is.   Our kids will be wearing yokes and plowing fields or in jails.

          What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Warren/Spitzer 2016

          by dkmich on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:56:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So WHO financed Rush and White ? (6+ / 0-)

        Their groups are described as well organized and well financed so following the mney, who financed them in those early days?

        Holy Cow!!! 06/18/2013 and I've got my mojo back!!!! A new signature will be written shortly.

        by Josiah Bartlett on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:40:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  rec'd just cause of the title. n/t (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, linkage, Matt Z, Only Needs a Beat
  •  I would love to see the GOP (45+ / 0-)

    render itself into Oblivion.

    Perhaps a third party could, phoenixlike, rise from the ashes.

    But the radical rwnuts need to be squashed like the Kochroaches they are.

    For the health of the planet Earth, if nothing else.

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:50:58 PM PDT

  •  Now if we would just stop compromising with them. (32+ / 0-)

    We know that they're completely batshit insane Right Wingers, one hair from being out and out Fascists.

    Meeting them halfway seems... counterproductive at this point.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:57:34 PM PDT

  •  The orientational moniker is really (8+ / 0-)

    inappropriate. It would be better to apply a functional designation such as "punitive pols" to tell us what they do. Language is important, especially when it is used to obscure and deceive. Deprivators have to deceive because only masochists are attracted by the prospect of punishment, which is what the Republican party is about.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:32:20 AM PDT

  •  Abandoning ideological extremism, and (12+ / 0-)

    recapturing the middle ground could save the GOP from the great fall it is headed for.
       The thing is, they can't seem to do it, either because they're afraid, or perhaps they have been too corrupted over time to recover.
       Given the current track they'll be relegated to obscurity within a decade's time.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:56:29 AM PDT

  •  I feel that one could see even within the last (6+ / 0-)

    five years the "takeover" of extremism within the GOP.  It has surprised me how little push back there has been.  I guess when you sell your soul to Rupert, Rush and the Koch Bros to name only a few you have to pay up.

    I am equally concerned however that the Democratic party does not cater to the extremes of libertariansim or anarchism.  Push back is just as important there.  Lately this site seems to have been taken over.

    •  GOP certainly has a death rattle to it. eom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  Do you have any realistic idea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, Sychotic1

      of what anarchism is?

      People use this term frequently without having any informed view of what it actually is. In what way do you see anarchism in the democratic party as a threat?

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:50:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think anybody that feels there is anarchism (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, blueoasis

        spinelessness and needless wimpiness that sort of describes much of the party.

        Now...I could be mistaken: that perspective comes from my assumption that the Democratic Party is supposed to be an "alternative" and/or "opposition" party instead of a clerical appendage for our oppressors Republicans.

         Please accept my apologies if I have just expected too much.

    •  When you write .... (0+ / 0-)
      ...libertariansim or anarchism.
      I read anarcho-libertariansim, and, yes, it is a problem on this site, but, hey, the largest Bradley Manning protest at Fort Meade attracted a grand total of 3,000 people. That's an urban-high-school-assembly-sized crowd.  

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:22:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  • that's how they became an unAmerican (15+ / 0-)

    party of assholes, freaks, dimwits, and total fuck-ups.

    Have always wondered where "intelligent republicans" (pardon the term, English is a limited language) went.

    We do need to insert the Powell Memo in this context too. That really is the 'blueprint" for all the hateful shit these freaks perpetrate. It appears to have been dumped on us in 1971.

    The sources are varied and diffused. They include, not unexpectedly, the Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries who would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more numerous, better financed, and increasingly are more welcomed and encouraged by other elements of society, than ever before in our history. But they remain a small minority, and are not yet the principal cause for concern.

    The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism come from perfectly respectable elements of society:

    from the college campus,

    the pulpit,

    the media,

    the intellectual and literary journals,

    the arts and sciences,

    and from politicians.

    In most of these groups the movement against the system is participated in only by minorities. Yet, these often are the most articulate, the most vocal, the most prolific in their writing and speaking.

    A veritable blueprint for all the stuff they consistently have attacked endlessly for nearly 40 years.
  •  The evil racist RW Rs aren't going anywhere; (10+ / 0-)

    They have evil, evil big money, evil racists, evil he-man woman. They are persistent in their evil. Their good people did nothing because they all profited from that evil doing. They can all go to hell; the problem is they are creating hell in America.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:50:40 AM PDT

  •  This trajectory is not new, (19+ / 0-)

    it's gotten steeper in the past five years, partly from ODS, but they've been on the crazytrain since Carter. The treasonous plot with Iran to hold the hostages until after the election to put St Ronnie in office, marked the beginning of the criminal phase of the GOP spiral. Since then the GOP has engaged in RICOable organized crime but due to their ownership of the media (accomplished under RWR) the stories of this crimewave have been neatly buried and/or ignored by all but the
    Like any untreated psychopathology, the crazy builds on itself. Ronnie isn't radical enough for today's TeaBagger-driven GOP. In Ronnie's day, the leading edge of crazy were the Operation Rescue/Megachurch fruitcakes. The infection spread to Congress with the Gingrich Revolution and the obsession with Bill Clinton's zipper. Again, with the help of a leashed media and now a Republican packed SCOTUS, we got 8 years of violently crazy, actually some of that still dragging on due to the incredibly complicated quagmire that BushCheney charged in to.
    Once Obama was elected, a new level of outright crazy hit the streets. Come on, staple tea bags to your hat, make a misspelled sign, imply bloody violence in your threats against Gubmint and expect people to take you seriously? Not even the craziest hippies and yippies would have tried that. Abby Hoffman and Jerry Rubin knew that they were pranking the straights, humor was a major part of their arsenal.
    The TeaBaggers are not joking, they are a symptom of political insanity.
    I believe they've gone past the point where they can be cured. The party has become toxic to it's members (it has long been toxic to the rest of us) and the best thing that could happen is that the party envelope finally tears apart and the separate contents fly off in their own directions. I believe this process is inevitable and in fact already happening, just not fast enough.
    I would like to find a way to speed the wheel. The longer their death throes continue, the more damage they do to us as a Nation and to us as individuals.
    Granted that a permanent single-party dominance, for a half century or more would eventually be just as ruinous in other ways, but a decade or two of unobstructed Democratic rule in all three branches would go quite some distance in restoring the damage done by five decades of methodical destruction by the radical Right.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:25:29 AM PDT

    •  Amen. (7+ / 0-)

      There have always been crazies out there, but it wasn't until Fox mainlined the Right's brand of Delusional Paranoia directly into the veins of America's low hanging fruit that resulted in electing these cretins to office.

      The sane (or semi-sane) must GOTV, so we can fix the mess created by the guano loco Sarah Palin Fan Club segment of the Republican Party.

      1st step - delete Murdochism from our airwaves. His cult is a clear and present danger to America.

      Nature created the human race, but humans created racism.

      by GrannyOPhilly on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:26:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Corporations are by nature rightinst (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The more power private capital gets, the more right-wing yuor society will be.  The media is one example.  They didn't need Reagan to be rightist.   He just allowed them not to bother with the mask so much anymore.  As it happened, they didn't need it.  The vast, overwhelming majority of Americans saw no change, and they were correct not to.  Meanwhile the Dems have sought to "compromise" by pursuing pro-corporate, pro-capital policies of their own, which has only served to drive the entire national ethos rightward.  Oh yay.

      "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

      by ActivistGuy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:44:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He allowed them to consolidate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        from several hundred individual media outlets to 7 to now 4 or 5 major media corporations. Just as he allowed agglomeration across the business sector, the rise of mega corporations, if not started under Reagan, they got their rocketfuel from his deregulation and non-enforcement.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:21:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Entryism (4+ / 0-)

    This is historically a left wing tactic. A relatively small group of tightly disciplined activists, infiltrates a larger and vastly more popular organisation in the hope of taking over the brand and using that to further the ends of the small group.

    Moderate left wing parties, in Europe, are familiar with the tactic and have evolved methods of weeding out (usually Trotskyite) infestations, before they prove fatal to the main stream party.

    For example in the 1970s a Trotskyite group tried infiltrating the British Labour Party. They had some success in taking over moribund local Labour parties (typically in the urban areas where large Labour majorities could be obtained with minimal effort, so the local parties had not recruited many members for decades).

    Having taken over the organisation and having driven out rivals (often by making meetings so long, boring and unproductive that normal people stopped going to them), the militants could set to work electing followers to office.

    By working within a party culture where a majority vote
    of a Council group could normally compel all party members to vote party line, the militants first made themselves the largest faction of the broad left. They could then mandate the militant tendency view as the policy of the left and leverage a majority vote in the whole Council group. They could then determine how the party members voted in full Council. As a result a small minority of the whole membership of a City Council could control its decisions, at least until enough of the electorate noticed what was happening and found an alternative party to vote for.

    Eventually the national party set about expelling the trouble makers (which by then included a couple of MPs). The militant tendency re-organised itself as the Socialist Workers Party, with a predictable lack of popular support.

    I suppose the problem, in an American context, is that the parties do not have the sort of structure that could control entryism. As power is not concentrated in dues paying members and national organisations, it is difficult for traditional party elites to effectively intervene.

    There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

    by Gary J on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:30:24 AM PDT

  •  Far right, radical, intolerant, bullying, nasty... (7+ / 0-)

    Hmm, where have we seen that before? In the 30's, perhaps, in a certain central European country known for rigid dogma and authoritarianism?

    No, sorry, Godwin would not object. They're this extreme.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:09:21 AM PDT

    •  Both groups living in fantasy worlds (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, JerryNA

      in which everything would be just peachy (for them) if not for the eeevil lefties & minorities who have deliberately sabotaged their way of life. For the Germans it was the Dolchstosslegende--the myth that the Kaiser's armies were "stabbed in the back" by Jews & socialists when they were still in enemy territory & on the verge of winning the war. (In fact it was the Army leadership, in particular Erich Ludendorff, that insisted on the armistice--& Ludendorff's evil genius that left the Social Democrats holding the bag & the blame.)

      Today everything would be just peachy (for old white males & racists) in the USA if it weren't for those eeeevil libruls & minorities, who are blamed for every bad thing that happens to the "good ol' boys"...


      by Uncle Cosmo on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:40:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My parents were Rockefeller Republicans (10+ / 0-)

    ...and spent the rest of their lives frustrated by what was happening to their party. My father died in 1984, or I'm sure he would have become a Democrat. Mom never went quite that far, but she registered independent in 1992. While I'm the only registered Democrat in the family, I am the one who strayed the least from the Republicanism my parents taught us.

    Oh Nelson... I wish they'd listened to you in '64....

    "Do not believe in any thought that dehumanizes you." - James H. Cone

    by Word Alchemy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:25:20 AM PDT

  •  The current GOP is dying... (7+ / 0-)

    ...and is exquisitely dangerous in its death throes.

    I look forward to the day when we have a vibrant party of reasoned progressivism (to the left of today's Democratic Party), a reasonable conservative party that Eisenhower or Nelson Rockefeller (updated to today's sensibilities) would be comfortable in, and a few minor parties to keep us all honest.

    Won't stand a chance, as long as Citizens United stands.

    "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

    by CitizenJoe on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:35:54 AM PDT

    •  Could you tell me (0+ / 0-)

      where you expect that party to the left of today's Democrats to come from?  Who would build it, how could it be built?  Why would today's Democratic leadership even tolerate theoretical discussion of such an entity, and who would provide the foot-soldiers to put it into place in the face of total hegemonic resistance?

      "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

      by ActivistGuy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:54:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From Greens/Working Families parties, inter alia. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Only Needs a Beat

        They are already building. The word "socialist" is no longer less popular than "lice" and many of us regard the current parties as corporate subsidiaries, so the armies await their generals. And "today's Democratic leadership" has no power to tolerate or to sanction left-flanking actions--but such actions will, in fact, benefit more centrist Dems.

        "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

        by CitizenJoe on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:25:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The right is not killing the GOP; they are the GOP (30+ / 0-)

    My new book, Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right (Beacon Press) tells the story of the rise of the John Birch Society in the 1960s. You may not realize it, but the Birch Society was the largest, most effective and most controversial right wing organization in the US.

    Today's right wing is a reincarnation of those old right wing radicals with more money, more media support and more electoral muscle. But, their ideas sound like the Birch leaders who hung out at my house.

    We make a mistake to think that the right are cranks or kooks. These folks are intent on changing America into a theocratic, non-democratic system with a paralyzed federal government. All power will reside in the states.

    Please look at my book (available on-line and in stores). We have to understand the past in order to avoid repeating it. And we have to start figuring this out now.

    The right wing is NOT killing the GOP; it's taking it over. Whether they ever win the White House will matter little when they control 30 states, one branch of the government, local governments and the judiciary. The right loves the gridlock we now have in DC; stopping the federal government from doing anything is exactly what they want.

    •  Thank You Claire - I Will Definitely Order Your (12+ / 0-)

      book, your reasoning is very astute. I agree - the John Birchers have taken over the GOP, and have the wealthy Birchers on their side (having driven away wealthy moderate Republicans like the Rockefellers). It is up to Progressives to make sure we elect Progressive Democrats at the local level, and in state legislatures and in governors seats, so judicial appointments to the courts can stay friendly to Progressives. Meanwhile we can't forget the Federal level either, but we have got to stop the right wingers at the local and state level first.

      •  Will Daily Kos review my book? Kirkus did. (0+ / 0-)

        “Prompted by the rise of the modern-day tea party, Conner writes of her experiences as the child of leaders in the radical right-wing John Birch Society. “My parents are back.” That was the author’s response to the rise of the tea party after the election of Barack Obama in 2008. In this memoir/history, she opens new insights into the conservative political movement, with the echoes of the profoundest aspects of family life providing the links between then and now. Her parents, Stillwell and Laurene Conner, were among the 1958 founders of the Birch Society, an organization that opposed racial integration, welfare programs, the United Nations and other seemingly progressive programs and organizations. Conner’s parents were involved with the organization’s national leadership for more than 30 years. Like her parents, the Birchers went too far with their anti-Semitism and extreme economic and social theories. She details how they were pushed out of the Republican Party and shows how they adopted what the author calls “Plan B,” in which monied Birchers redirected their funds into think tanks and foundations. Among them was Fred Koch, founder and national leader of the Birth Society and father of current tea party backers David and Charles Koch. In 1993, some Birchers, including the author’s mother, even offered mild support for the Oklahoma City bombers for “defending the rest of us from the government.” Conner’s parents employed threats and violence to condition her to represent her parents’ politics to the broader world and accept the consequences of physical retaliation, ostracism and ridicule in return. The author’s personal struggle to free herself from those whose minds “the facts never changed” shapes her memoir and enriches the accumulating literature on the tea party. An invaluable contribution to understanding the mentality of extremist conservatism and its supporters.”
        Starred KIRKUS Review

    •  Exactly right... (14+ / 0-)

      The tea party is nothing more than the John Birch Society with a haircut and a new suit.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:24:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

        I remind people that the ideas of today's GOP are re-writes of Birch ideas. Time for the left to stop laughing at the goof with tea bags hanging from their tri-corner hats and wake up. Those people are NOT running the show. The Kochs and company are calling the shots.

    •  I think your post is closer ... (10+ / 0-)

      ... to the truth than the diary, Claire Conner, and I would just add what bluestatedon posted below. Palin, Santorum and Bachmann were distractions as the GOP stole whole state houses and governorships.

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:28:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Forgot To Mention That Fred Koch - Father Of David (12+ / 0-)

      and Charles Koch (aka the Koch brothers ) was a founding member of the John Birch Society - that says it all!

    •  NO they aren't that's why I am concerned when (5+ / 0-)

      people call them nuts.

      They are evil and dedicated.

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:44:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  All power will reside in capital (0+ / 0-)

      But I guess by this point, that is "Mission Accomplished".

      "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

      by ActivistGuy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:56:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Colin Powell is "progressive"??? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, blueoasis, ActivistGuy
    Colin Powell ... continue[s] this tradition of progressive Republicanism
    The guy who blew his entire credibility in order to get us into the Iraq War is "progressive"? Really?
  •  Well said, though I would disagree... (12+ / 0-)

    ...with diarist's use of the term "progressive" to describe those of the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party. Primarily because I come from a part of the country where "Progressive Republican" carries a specific meaning that's markedly to the left of the traditional, pro-business, non-theocratic, mainstream, Republican "moderate" wing.

    Mind you, I'd quite welcome the return of the GOP to that kind of Republican. They were sane, their agenda wasn't necessarily intrinsically evil, and you could cut a deal with them. The kind of Republicans they had in mind when making Kelly's Heroes and put these words in the mouth of the inimitable SSgt Crapgame, as played by Don Rickles: "A deal deal! Maybe the guy's a Republican! Business is business."

    But if we rewind in history for a century, the fact that their wing is named "Rockefeller" serves as a healthy reminder of just which kind of business they'll first and most defend when the rubber hits the road, and it ain't Mom and Pop, local-money merchants. The first Rockefellers were no friends to the original Progressives, and indeed I would argue served among the greatest examples of that which the Progressives were inspired to oppose.

    In those days, Progressivism was fusionist--it's not that it found its home in no party, but rather in all of them. There were fusionist Progressive wings of both the Republicans and the Democrats, not to mention the Progressive Party itself, the Populist Party, and various other (often state or regional) fusionist agragrian-left parties such as the Nonpartisan League, which fused its way to majority control of both major parties in North Dakota, giving them a nearly unbreakable hold on the ND legislature and in the process scaring the bejeezus out of anyone who believed political power belonged only in the hands of Rs and Ds.

    And among the giants of that era were truly Progressive Republicans with names like Robert La Follette, William Henry McMaster, Hiram Johnson, Peter Norbeck, and last but not least, Theodore Roosevelt.

    Nelson Rockefeller, while you could certainly cut a deal deal with him--and I certainly would welcome a return of the GOP to his sort over the current crowd, for the good of the country--does not warrant being mentioned in such company. Indeed, his father and grandfather were among the primary reasons that Progressive Republicanism--pro-business but anti-conglomerate--became necessary.


    "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." --MLK

    by Progressive Witness on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:48:48 AM PDT

    •  George Norris (2+ / 0-)

      A Nebraska Republican.  We'll never see a Democrat as progressive as he was.  Such a Dem would be preempted as "unelectable fringe leftist" by the Dem establishment itself.

      "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

      by ActivistGuy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:05:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I threw my (short) list together on the fly (and could have added a few more less-well-known South Dakotans than Norbeck and McMaster since that's where I live) and absolutely, Norris was absent the list to my shame.

        What an absolutely superb example, AG, from just south of me. What an incredible and frankly inspiring record Norris had; from across the aisle FDR called him "the very perfect, gentle knight of American progressive ideals."

        People like him are why I really think had I lived in other times of history, I wouldn't have been a Democrat any sooner than FDR but instead have been a Republican (a Radical in the early days, a Progressive later), and never a Republican after--and gratefully so after the Bircher insurgency and the Southern Strategy.

        I come from Abolitionist folk, staunch Republicans all of course, and it's painful to see what the Party of Lincoln (and of my ancestors) has become. They've embraced nearly every value of those who were once the Republican Party's enemies from its inception.


        "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." --MLK

        by Progressive Witness on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:23:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, but there's a critical factor at play (16+ / 0-)

    I can't tell you how many articles I've read about the alleged efforts to "rebrand" the Republican Party and its long-term prospects that completely and totally ignore the issue of religion. Today's Republican Party is a de facto theocratic party, whose philosophy, ideology, and practical politics are controlled by willfully ignorant fundamentalists who believe that Adam and Eve had vegetarian dinosaurs for neighbors in the Garden of Eden 5,000 years ago, that evolution is a Satanically-inspired fraud, and that their interpretation of the Bible is all that's needed to direct the affairs of a highly complex and diverse nation in the 21st century.

    This strain of highly-selective Biblical literalist Christianism is philosophically wedded to—and financed by—a thoroughly reactionary business class that believes American capitalism is ordained by God and specifically blessed by Jesus, that anything to the left of the mythical "rugged individualism" of their John Wayne-inspired fantasies is communist-inspired, that America went to hell starting with the Progressive movement of a century ago, and that any governmental regulation of any economic activity is godless Bolshevism.

    The highly toxic combination of science-hating fundamentalist Christianism and government-hating reactionary businessmen explains the Republican stance on virtually every question of public policy and politics. The Christianist loons use the financial resources of the moneymen to push their agenda of defunding public education, forcing rape victims to bear their rapists' babies, or shutting down government use of statistics on climate change or gun violence, and the reactionary business predators use the political muscle of the Christianists to elect politicians who will gut regulations, cut taxes on corporations, eliminate benefits for the poor, sick, and unemployed, and transfer wealth from the middle class to the super-wealthy.

    Since today's GOP is the party of aging white Christians, the recent demographic data about the decline in the white birth rate in combination with the data about the declining religiosity of young Americans explains the paranoid, unhinged panic that underlies Republican psychology and politics.

    It's undoubtedly true that there are Republican Christians who accept evolution, reject Creationism, support abortion rights, and believe in climate change, but they have absolutely no meaningful influence in Republican politics at any level. If you doubt this, just ask yourself this question: would any Republican who openly professed belief in the scientific fact of evolution have any chance of succeeding in Republican Presidential primaries?

    The most extreme of any group of extremists are those who are motivated by a fervent belief in religion that in their eyes justifies what normal people would regard as thoroughly immoral behavior. Given the theocratic nature of today's Republican Party, there is no possibility for any real moderation to take hold, since religious fundamentalists never relinquish power voluntarily. There are only two options for the few remaining sane and moderate Republicans: stay within the party, and become ever more marginalized, powerless, and hated; or recognize reality and join the Democratic Party, at least in the voting booth on election day.

  •  Unfortunately, Even Though The Republican Party (6+ / 0-)

    is more extreme and right wing than ever before, it still continues to hold onto political power - because of a mixture of corporate money buying off politicians, cheating (gerrymandering, voter suppression tactics, etc.), lying (the 24/7 RW noise machine), and certain spineless Democrats who refuse to stand up to the RW extremists.
    Nothing is going to change until ALL those elements are dealt with by Progressives. In other words - we have a whole lot of work to do to rescue our democracy from the plutocracy it has become. I would like to think the GOP is dying a slow death - but I'm not counting it out, because of its criminal ability to lie, cheat, and steal elections, and because of some Democrats unwillingness to stand up for true Progressive principles.

  •  Title is wrong!! (7+ / 0-)

    They're not conservatives, they're radicals, and the sooner we start calling them out the better.

    •  We have a system (4+ / 0-)

      where the far fringe of the right is considered mainstream conservatives, while a centrist Democrat like Barack Obama is a flaming leftist out to destroy the nation.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:41:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's because the right has established the framing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wasatch, unfangus, JerryNA

        They started talking about Obama's "radical agenda" before he took the oath of office.  Long ago they learned that they can dominate the discussion by seizing the framing early on and then repeating it over and over until it sticks. Even when what they say is manifestly a lie.

        We haven't figured out how to do that.  

        It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by Radiowalla on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:53:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's hardly complicated (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Long ago they learned that they can dominate the discussion by seizing the framing early on and then repeating it over and over until it sticks. Even when what they say is manifestly a lie.

          We haven't figured out how to do that.

          There's not a damned thing that's hard to figure out about that.  It's been allowed to happen for 40 years since the Powell Memorandum, continues to be allowed to happen.  That can only be the case if complicity in the agenda is at root.

          "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

          by ActivistGuy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:14:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  For this remark, (6+ / 0-)

    capturing so nicely the core distinction between conservatism and the progressive movement:

    His remarks captured the precise moment when the Republican party abandoned its heritage of inclusivity for the politics of division.
    I'm tipping AND recommending your diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:59:47 AM PDT

  •  We Celebrated This During 2009-10 Just Before (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, p gorden lippy, blueoasis

    they gave us a defeat that was historic for either party in 2010. They're doing the same things they did before that midterm, and we're doing the same things we did.

    Image Hosted by

    This time it'll work. You have my word on it.

    Image Hosted by

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:05:55 AM PDT

  •  partyoflincoln > party of limbaugh says it all (7+ / 0-)

    the use of the talk radio megaphone by the think tanks and the roves to keep the GOP in line, purge moderates, and elect sycophant loons is the single most important factor in not only the lurch to the loony right in the GOP but the perception of a lurch to the right in the general pop.

    they did it with coordinated repetition to 50 mil a week and it worked because dems and the left ignored it, and still do. the loony tea party/talk radio minority is a fluid radio controlled constituency for any occasion and along with secondary apathetic voters and an approving MSM they've been able to wreak havoc on democracy.

    with that coordinated blowharding they have been able to create their own conventional wisdom and alternative reality and it's taking the party off the deep end. unfortunately, because the dems and the left refuse to recognize talk radio's role, the rest of the country is suffering too.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:10:52 AM PDT

  •  Legitimate opposition (6+ / 0-)

    Helps mak your arguments and positions better, and compromise reasonable.  This group isn't about legitimate opposition ... It's just about hate

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:12:43 AM PDT

  •  Southern strategy less racist than today's GOP (7+ / 0-)

    The original Southern Strategy, as outlined by Phillips, was very much geared towards the working class. Note some of the ideas that Phillips thought could appeal to the "emerging Republican majority" - national health insurance, guaranteed employment, reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps, etc. No Republican would ever promote these ideas today.

  •  The thing is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    p gorden lippy, Fury, elwior, Janet 707

    a significant part of the population shifted with them. What I find interesting about the extremism of the Republican party is they way they have managed to brand their ideas as being populist/mainstream. If anybody is to argue that the Republican shift is a betrayal what about those who voted for them especially the tea baggers. Either those voters are a) dumber than a box of rocks or b) basically on board with the shift. There is no "center" in the Republican Party now and while many people gleefully predict demise, it has not happened because a large chunk of the American population is reactionary and no amount of factual discussions can persuade them. Sadly people are down with this shit.

  •  Bank of America money rode in from of Cali and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johanus, mkor7, JerryNA

    challenged the New York $$ establishment with St. Ronnie as their standard bearer and Bechtel as their operational arm. To accomplish their coup, they put in place all the unification plans for gathering the crazy under one tent – evangelicals, racists, USA uber all-ers, rabid deregulators, plus fiscal conservatives. The media blitzes were effective, there was a ton of moolah, between the western banks just itching for deregulation and crazy Birchers like the Kochs. They were awash with oil money not already aligned with the staggeringly huge Rockefeller empire.

    Not to throw cold water on the spirit of many of the commenters, but anyone who thinks the crazy wing of the GOP is going to sunder itself and die is not correct. There are, sadly, many millions of infected ideologues out there who have trained another generation to hate and fear The Other. They will not go away peacefully. They are armed, they are paranoid, they hate from their guts. This is not a mere matter of fading away. Toothpaste don’t go back into the tube. They will be around, they will find new ways to divide people and make them fear their neighbors and give more power to the Big Brother state that has emerged under their leadership.

    But, one of the reasons this truly wonderful site’s overall goals give me pause is that liberal Democratic politicians also have a history of betraying the interests of the people. Kennedy installed McNamara. He also oversaw the largest peacetime buildup of the MIC in our history. Massive amounts spent on upsizing intelligence, the NSA, the CIA, mobile airborne government, etc. LBJ oversaw the greatest cvivil rights expansions in our modern history (driven by millions of activists), but also crashed and burned in Viet Nam in a horrifying anti-communist, imperialist misadventure. And beyond liberals, the Overton window for “moderates” has now shifted so far to the right that we don’t seem to have any sane voices reaching the public on just how bad it is to torture, to lock people up without trial or the right to an attorney, to give legal fig leaves to massive constitutional violations.

    The fascistic aspects of the right wing takeover are now firmly entrenched and will require a generation of relentless political surgery to fix, from replacing some pretty crazy judges, to putting civil libertarians in positions of power, to undoing some of the damage done to us around the world by naked imperialistic jingoism. It won’t be easy. As George Carlin so wisely stated,

    Just think of how stupid the average person is. Then realize that            50% of the population is DUMBER THAN THAT.

    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

    by p gorden lippy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:48:45 AM PDT

  •  I will be one of the first... (7+ / 0-)

    ..... to celebrate the irrelevance of the Repugnican party but despite all the evidence that they are facing demographic hurdles that they appear to be raising of their own accord. I cant help but feel we are being naively optimistic about the party's demise.

    We all know the electorate is a credulous mob, easy to hoodwink and completely comfortable in voting against their own self-interest if it means they get to listen to whatever dog whistle sets them off. You cant break through the cognitive dissonance that surrounds them like an impenetrable fog bank that no light can filter through.

    Case in point:
    A friends family, very religious, two children. Both children have been going to private religious schools as opposed to public. Mom is on state disability, Dad (my friend) was unemployed for very nearly the entire time permitted by the State of California.
    Both rail against the so-called "takers" those that live on the publics back by taking government support. You can point out until your blue in the face that both of them have or presently do accept government largess.
    The eldest child who is hooked on you-tube (and will be eligible to vote in the next presidential election) loves to go on about Obamabots and last time I was over was going on about Obamaphones. This while dad was educating his youngest (eligible to vote in the mid-term following his elder brother) in the reality of work in America, wherein you work, the government takes 75% of what you make and gives it to lazy malingerers and homeless people who buy lobster and TV's with their food stamps.

    Never mind that Lifeline started under Reagan, or that it was Bush that opened the program to the cell phone market, all they have to do is look at the fact that the cell phone portion of Lifeline has exploded since '09, therefore "Obamaphone". No matter how much I pointed out that the percentage taken out of any given paycheck is no where near 75%, no matter how much I pointed out that even if it were 75% that percentage pays for every single thing government does, including the military, paying for their moms disability, keeping the roads well maintained....well ok not that....and that a small, a very small portion of that goes to those on welfare. I guarantee you these kids will be almost certainly voting republican in their first elections.

    We know there are families like this all over the country, I am also less than comforted by the demographic changes going on, Hispanics (for example) are no less credulous than any other group and while their voting history so far is heartening all it takes is finding the dog-whistle that throws their cognitive dissonance switch.

    I'm sorry I'm not convinced that the death of the Republican party is "all over bar the shouting" In my opinion they aren't going anywhere and they aren't going to be irrelevant for decades to come IF EVER. I cant point to any evidence fortunately and I will be greatly pleased to be proven wrong.

    So far though, I'm not convinced.

    Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.

    by fauxrs on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:53:27 AM PDT

  •  The Southern Strategy is yesterday's news (6+ / 0-)

    The GOP doesn't need to be a national majority party to accomplish its goals. The extremists are capturing state houses across the country to push their extremist ideas. It's a good strategy given changing national demographics and the fact that most voters do not pay as close attention to state politics. Additionally, it will be easy for corporate lobbyists to peel away enough Democrats in Congress to ensure progressive ideas never take root at the national level. The Southern Strategy served the GOP well but times have changed and they are already one step ahead.

  •  The Republicans I don't understand (5+ / 0-)

    My job often involves meeting with local "Main Street" Republicans for business reasons, not political reasons.  

    But I know who they are and what they do politically...the type of folks who are provide vital behind the scenes support for significant local politicians. They organize fund-raisers, help to make connections with people who "need" connections, etc.  They never evangelize and, to a person, are very nice people whose company I enjoy.

    And if it didn't jeopardize my work, I wish I could ask them, "Why are you a Republican?"  Although we don't talk about these things, I'm confident they are social moderates.  Yes, they want fewer taxes and fees but they know that you have to have revenues too, and have supported revenues.  Yet they provide support for for long-time Republicans who swing right because they don't want to get primaried,. They support newer Main Street Republicans who say all the right tea party things but don't really mean it (cuz they are not consistent on those topics.)

    I know they sometimes kinda of shake their heads at mistakes their party make.  Some even admit (very quietly) that they voted for Obama because McCain picked Palin. Others silently nod their heads in agreement. But they otherwise think McCain was a qualified candidate for all the speaking-points reasons.  (There does seem to be a group-speak mentality overall--rarely any new or original insight.)

    Unfortunately, they also rationalize by subscribing to the narrative that the Democrat Party just want to raise taxes and take us to a socialist state.  

    In effect, I view these important but non-office-holding  Republicans as the Main Street equivalent of Log Cabin Republicans--in denial of what their party has become and unable--or unwilling--to do any real that might actually influence the GOP.  

    I think the bottom line for these local Republicans and the only way I can figure them out is that it's all about them staying in their comfort zone.  
    They can and do work with prominent Democrats in business.  But like family blood, party blood is always thicker than reason when it comes time to support a politician.

    They grew up in Republican families, they are relatively affluent and are heavily influenced by other affluent people.  Though they support charitable and community causes, it's usually just support at the resume-building board level.  (It's the Democrats who are more prone to do day-to-day support, not Republicans.  Attend a parade with the politicians at the front, and the Democrats are the ones who get the loudest cheers and call-outs from the crowds.)

    At this point you may wonder how I know so much if I  don't talk about politics. I don't, but their politics often comes up in casual conversation. And I listen but never rebut.  I think they assume I'm Republican, and they've even invited me to Republican fund-raisers which I've attended out of curiosity.  I've never misrepresented my's just that no one asks. Again, I think this is part of the comfort-zone/ group speak situation.

    Until Main Street Republicans change--and I don't know what it will take--the GOP will never go back to its roots.

  •  And the media that continues to treat them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, JerryNA

    as normal? That's corporate-owned journalism at work.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:27:35 AM PDT

  •  The main problem with that is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    now some of the traditionally "moderate" Republicans are escaping to the Dem. party and pulling it further to the right.
      I don't care if the GOP "dies out" because of extemism and/or demographics.  I do care if former GOP influence the Democratic party from the inside.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:59:41 AM PDT

  •  They're the TaliChristoBan Party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Norm in Chicago

    Their particular blend of religion, patriotism and bigotry doesn't play well with the current crop of young voters. They know from socializing online that your sex or skin color or sexual inclinations don't matter.

    Imagine making friends without your perception being tainted by preconceptions!

    I have a bunch of gay friends, interracial friends, and one typing iguana online!

    If the GOP continues to doggedly cling to its outdated and superstitious platform, they will continue to decline. Right now they're just laying the groundwork for a HUGE "unpopularity contest."

    And they refuse to see how they appear to the rest of the nation, but that's okay. I think their bible had something to say about that, or maybe it was Robert Burns. I get them confused.

    THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. -- L. Ron Hubbard Technique 88

    by xenubarb on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:03:50 AM PDT

  •   (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ......One wing to find them; One wing to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them."

    Sometimes I feel that the darkness spreads over the land, spreading out from Mordor, I mean, Washington.....

  •  For failures, they sure were successful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ike was right about them, and Rockefeller too. And even though the wingnuts may eventually destroy the Republican party, in the meantime, they elected Reagan twice, and a Bush three times. They took over the House in 1994, etc.

    For failures, that looks a whole lot of success.

    Our problem is two-fold. Republican wingnuts are but half the problem. The other half is, we are, half of us, a nation of poorly educated, bigoted Archie Bunkers, and we vote for them. I don't know what to do about that.

    “Americans are fighters. We're tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one - no one - can stop us. ”-- Elizabeth Warren

    by Positronicus on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:50:04 AM PDT

  •  Religious Freedom (0+ / 0-)

    The Tea Party / Born Again types demand religious freedom, meaning the freedom to dictate what everybody else does, based on a very selective reading of the Bible. (I'm surprised we haven't seen a movement demanding the removal of the "separation of church and state" provisions of the Constitution(?). Maybe next year.)

  •  the radical right is not the Republican Party? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rick Santorum may see himself as a standard-bearer, but the flag he hoists is not that of the Republican Party. It is of the radical right, and [the radical right] is fighting like hell to maintain its grip ...
    When is an organization something other than the views of its current members? If the radical right controls the Republican Party, dictates its policies, provides the bodies that fill the offices, and is not contradicted by any Republican with any hope of gaining real power, how can you say anything but that the radical right IS the Republican Party?
    The Republican Party holds more extreme views today than at any time during the last 100 years, yet its leaders refuse to acknowledge the need for real change.
    It may be that there used to be good-hearted progressive Republicans (just as the South used to be filled with racist Democrats), but, really, we must speak of the organization that exists, not the organization that used to be something else.
  •  "Radical right" needs to replace the incorrect (0+ / 0-)

    description of  the extremists in the party as "conservatives". "Conservative" is an appropriate stance - a protective, cautionary one, not at all like the ripping, tearing, destruction-oriented teabag wing of the current party.

    Like this:

    Rick Santorum may see himself as a standard-bearer, but the flag he hoists is not that of the Republican Party. It is of the radical right, and it is fighting like hell to maintain its grip even as the vast majority of America rejects its agenda.
    Let's continue to keep that last phrase true...

    We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
    Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

    by pixxer on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:58:19 PM PDT

  •  One wing to wule them all, you wascally (0+ / 0-)


    Sorry, couldn't resist. Good diary.

    Tipped and rec'd.

    Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:07:33 PM PDT

  •  Hey, thanks! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for all the kind comments and recs, guys. Really appreciate it!

  •  Just the headline set me off. (0+ / 0-)

    The right-wing extremists that has highjacked the Republican Party are not conservatives. They are radical (even pathological) rightists.

    The centrists in the Republican Party are conservatives. Even white supremacists are conservative. Conservative ideology requires adherents to resist change. All change.

    Radicals want to pull down what exists and replace it with something that has never been tried before. THAT is what neo-cons and other right-wing extremists want to do.

    It may be true that these radical rightists have convinced themselves that all they want to do is return the country to some earlier "golden age," but a quick glance at even a junior high-school history book will show that what these authoritarian rights want to "return" to never existed. What they want is far far worse than anything that ever existed in the USA.

    "An egg is not poultry.” An old Blues tune's brilliant insight into the notion that a zygote can, in any sense, be "a person."

    by carbonman1950 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:29:49 PM PDT

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