The Republican crack up

One of the interesting things about the current government and debt ceiling impasses is that some of the harshest criticisms of Republican party tactics are coming from conservatives who can’t seem to believe how rapidly their party is going downhill. Here is Rod Dreher writing in The American Conservative asking, “Is this what American conservatism is turning into?” He cites a memo about what a focus group of Republicans revealed about what is driving the Republican party extremism.

Reading the entire memo (PDF), I found myself agreeing with some — some — of the things people in the various factions believe. For example, the Evangelicals are right that elite culture looks down on them and marginalizes them. The thing that alienates me in the extreme from the GOP base is the hysteria, and the apocalypticism. It’s not enough to call Obama a conventional Establishment liberal, which he plainly is; he has to be a “Marxist” in their eyes. They cannot seem to grasp that if Republicans in Congress compromise, it’s because they control only one house in the legislative branch of the government. They have to compromise. This is what happens when you emote instead of think, when you give your mind over wholly to ideology, abandoning empiricism, and live inside an information bubble that enables confirmation bias: you lose touch with the real world, and make decisions based on what you feel.

Dreher quotes David Freddoso who says:

Symbolism is trumping substance. Conservative lawmakers and activists are plunging into dead-end conflicts that do little more than inspire e-mail fundraising pitches; at the same time, they fail to stand up for basic conservative principles when given opportunities to win.

It’s almost as though conservatives are determined to fight only the battles they can’t win, and ignore those they might.

The Guardian reports that the Congressional Republican caucus began their meeting today by singing, of all things, Amazing Grace.

Opening meetings with a prayer is bad enough but singing hymns? Apart from the oddity of turning a political meeting into something resembling church, this particular hymn is one that is often sung at funerals and denotes redemption from sinful ways and thus does not exactly inspire confidence.


  1. Great American Satan says

    So… This is how the economic apocalypse goes down, huh? With Michele Bachmann holding hands with Sweatsack Boehner and singing “Holy Holy Holy”? I already live like an Estonian. These peeps are gonna downgrade my living standard to rural Chinese. Well… Solidarity, my poor brothers elsewhere. We’re coming down to your level soon.

  2. Henry Gale says

    “It’s not enough to call Obama a conventional Establishment liberal, which he plainly is….”

    He is?

  3. thascius says

    @2 Of course he is-as long as you accept the Tea party definition of liberal as “anyone slightly to the left of Michele Bachman.”

  4. invivoMark says

    “Establishment Liberal” doesn’t necessarily mean liberal. After all, there aren’t many liberals in the establishment.

  5. raven says

    For example, the Evangelicals are right that elite culture looks down on them and marginalizes them.

    Something they’ve worked very hard for and fully deserve.

    As their magic book that they never read says, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

    They are refusing to take personal responsibility for their own actions. Oh well, hypocrisy is one of their 3 main sacraments, after lying and hate.

  6. raven says

    It’s not enough to call Obama a conventional Establishment liberal, which he plainly is; he has to be a “Marxist” in their eyes.

    Oh gee.

    If the christofascists ever gain power, they will probably stone Dreher to death. For being soft on Democrats and worst of all, a heretic.

    Obama is a Marxist, Kenyan born, Moslem, atheist, terrorist and a Reptilian shapeshifting alien. And he timeshares being the antichrist with the Pope and Hillary Clinton.

  7. Rob says

    Compared to my country pretty much everyone in American politics looks slightly to the right of Genghis Khan. Funny thing is, our politicians have swung to the right over the last 30 years like many in the west.

    Left and right are very much frame of reference terms where your perception of centre is inevitably skewed by where you see your own position.

    That said, it’s hard to express the disgust I feel for the current expression of American political life and the absolute contempt for the GOP in particular. They have proven themselves completely unfit to govern anywhere, let alone the most powerful country on earth. We shudder in fear to think of North Korea or Iran getting nuclear weapons. What about the likes of Ted Cruz or Michelle Bachman (to name just two) having a finger on the trigger? The potential harm to the US and world economy may not be as spectacular as Armageddon, but make no mistake, people will die as a result and lives will be blighted.

  8. atheist says

    As far ask I’m concerned, the writings of Rod Dreher are without value when he’s disagreeing with me, and without value when he’s agreeing with me as well. He’s a bullshit artist. He spends his days writing crap for idiots. He may possess a kind of animal cunning, but his views on what conservatives think are about as valuable as his views on what liberals think, or what marxists think.

  9. colnago80 says

    For anyone who thinks that the Democrats and the Rethuglicans are Tweedledum and Tweedledee, this should be a wakeup call. The Democrats are far from perfect but, for the most part, they are relatively sane. IMHO, the religious nutcases described by Schaeffer are deliberately trying to destroy the US government under the theory that if a default leads to a depression, it will be blamed on Obama and they and their ilk will find electoral victory in 2014 and 2016. The situation here is reminiscent of the situation in Germany in 1930 where the Nazi Party was able to take advantage of the situation and the inability of the established parties to govern to enhance their electoral prospects to the point where they became the largest single party in the German Parliament. Once Frankenberger was appointed Chancellor, it was all over. I fear that an electoral victory for someone like Ted Cruz in 2016 would lead to an all too similar result. Cruz is at least Frankenberger’s equal as a demagogue and has a far superior intellect. Saying that he is the most dangerous man in the Rethuglican Party is no exaggeration. What concerns me is the evidence that he is being written off as a kook by the mainstream media, much like Frankenberger was written off as a kook by mainstream German media in 1930 and beyond. All of this is in addition to the real religious nutcases who believe it’s all irrelevant as the return of Yeshua ben Yusef of Nazareth is immanent (they believe that Obama is the anti-Christ).

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    The non-sequitur between the two lead sentences and the remainder of the first paragraph quoted above resolves itself quite ironically in the last word.

    After all, much of the general critique against evangelists focuses exactly on their proclivity to believe “what they feel.”

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    Here is Rod Dreher writing in The American Conservative asking, “Is this what American conservatism is turning into?”

    He’s just now noticing? This has been building for decades. Heck, Christine Todd Whitman’s realization of same was published seven years ago.
    It’s My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America
    With Tea Party (bleep) threatening to blow up the world economy, this is really going to encourage people to believe in free market solutions to retirement funding instead of relying on government programs, right?

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