The Unprecedented Nature of Today’s Republican Party: Introduction

Summary: I have now given a basic description of the nature of the evil we are facing. Next I will lay out some of the concrete ways in which the Republican Party has conducted itself in a manner unprecedented in American history. (I give some examples and thought exercises.) Invariably, these instances of unprecedented conduct have been damaging of the nation, its institutions, its political culture, and/or the social order. Focusing on what’s unprecedented provides another means of discerning the dark nature of this force that’s arisen on the right.

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The goal of my “campaign” is to put at the center of our national discourse the proposition: “The once-respectable Republican Party has become an instrument of an evil force.” I’ve claimed that I can make that charge stick, that I can paint the picture of this “evil force” so that the American people can see it and, seeing it, repudiate it.

One fleshed out version of this picture I’ve provided here — in “The Republican Party’s Extraordinary Pattern of Destructiveness” emphasized patterns in its behavior: insatiable in its lust for wealth and power, makes a fight over everything, preys on the vulnerable, is deceitful in its communications, etc. All the patterns have in common that they are destructive of the good of the nation.

This destructive force can be revealed from other angles as well. The more ways we can see it, the more thoroughly it will become integrated into our image of the reality. Time now to provide another way of viewing this ugly thing that is right before our eyes.

In the next several entries, the focus will be on another way of gleaning the nature of what’s taken over the Republican Party: by looking at those aspects of its conduct that are unprecedented in our nation’s history.

Behavior never seen before in a system suggests that forces alien to the system are newly arrived within it. Hence, the record of unprecedented developments can serve as a kind of fingerprint of this alien force.

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In 2012, two prominent and essentially centrist political analysts – Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution – wrote about the Republican Party as an “outlier” in American politics. They did so in a book, It’s Worse than You Think, and more briefly in a Washington Post column, where this passage appears:

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

It was an important statement. But in terms of the sickness that besets our nation, it was also disturbing in several ways. First, what they say is so blatantly true, that it is disturbing that it needed to be said at all, let alone that it would be big news that they said it.

Our national discourse continues to grant this Republican Party the status of acceptability, even respectability, as if it were a normal political party, when it has clearly become something quite abnormal.

Second, so resistant is much of the mainstream media to this blatant truth that Ornstein and Mann were apparently shunned by their usual mainstream media platforms because of having said the obvious.

And third, the word “outlier” hardly does justice to the unprecedented and monstrous nature of what the Republican Party has become.

One might add a fourth disturbing element, which is that it took these two intelligent men until 2012 to see what has been visible for years before that.

In the following installments of a series-within-the-series, I will lay out some of the concrete ways in which, to the best of my knowledge, the Republican Party has conducted itself in ways unprecedented in American history.

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A few thought experiments can get the ball rolling.

Imagine a list of all developments in America in the past fifteen years that the national representatives of the Republican Party (the Republican president, and/or Republicans in Congress) played some role in shaping. Then imagine a list of those developments in which the outcome was better for America because of the efforts of the Republicans.

Isn’t it clear that while the first list is very long, one is hard pressed to find any entries to place on the second?

Isn’t it clear that during the presidency of Barack Obama, the Republicans have helped produce an outcome that was worse than it would have been without them — on the stimulus, on health care reform, on cap and trade, on reviving the American economy and getting people back to work?

Another experiment. Imagine a list of all communications that these Republicans have put into our national discourse during the past fifteen years—every idea and assertion that has been voiced by national Republicans or its media allies (in right-wing talk radio or Fox News) in an effort to inform and/or influence the public.

Imagine further a second list of those statements that have improved their listeners’ grasp of reality or understanding of the truth of the matters under discussion.

Again, it seems that the first list is very long, and that there are precious few entries on the second. Whether the subject has been the war in Iraq, or climate change, or Acorn, or where the president was born, or Benghazi, or what the government should do about the economy, isn’t it clear that powers on the right have consistently led their listeners astray?

By the standards of more than two centuries of American history, the record of the Republican Party over the past decade-plus –with respect to both destructiveness and dishonesty — a most dramatic “outlier” among American political parties. Really quite astonishing.

Really quite unprecedented.

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15 Comments

  1. Not necessarily to be posted:

    Some questions that need answers ?

    What really happened on 9/11/2001 ?

    Why Iraq ?

    Why so many constant lies were necessary FOR THE ADMINISTRATION THEN ?

    Where goes Iraqi oil now ?

    Why Afghanistan ?

    What is the strategic nature of Iran ?

    Why the constant non productive and personal attack , yes, on even the person
    of the next president ?
    Answer: To divert public and political attention away from the out going administration and distract public focus which would have rightly been on a full and complete investigation and trials if necessary to obtain the answers to the above yet unanswered questions .

    ………………………………………………………………………………………

    Of course, another unanswered question . . what is the current administration itself really all about, anyway ?!

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………

    I think many are ready for some major reform; surely hope so.

    BUT what would that really look like say in 2016 ?

  2. Think tanks are used to promote the interests of corporations and delineate foreign policy. i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Advancement_of_Sound_Science_Coalition
    Those who populate these “tanks” are sprouted from the soil of major universities. 9/11, like the assignation of JFK, remains the perfect crime. Irag was placate “W” for the attempted assignation of his “Daddy.” The rest is predicated upon the Oil companies and their ownership of resources.

  3. Robin M. Pettit

    James, slightly simplistic but delineates the primary sources of influence and propagandizers.

  4. No point in going into laborious detail, when all we see around us are piles of wreckage from the ideas used to enact the overlord of American world domination. Besides, my ability to parse at length is limited by my calculus of talent and limited educational background, which I refuse to elucidate. I should clarify my reply to David with Iran intervention being revenge for the revolution and the Afghanistan invasion being an excuse for pursuing terrorists.

  5. Oh, and the current administration is about Wall Street being in control of the speculative tyranny, ( the president has surrendered himself with Wall Street executives, to make this possible) and 2016 is out of sight `cause foretelling the future is impossible due to our actions causing the usual unintended consequences.
    PS What would I do without my electronic dictionary. Gosh, everything is sooo boring – everything.

  6. I agree as most would that Obama has surrendered to Wall Street, that is what I call a Corporate Democrat. There are shades and nuances but a broad brush approach is fine too. Just keep in mind for all the Wall Street coziness of Barack Obama, that he showed from the get go, mind you, he is still better than any of the Republican options that have been presented. I hope that the Democratic party will be ready to jettison the DLC side, so to speak, if not in this next election, definitely for the one after that. That will be about 12 years from now if a Democratic candidate wins in 2016. I will be getting close to my retirement by then.

  7. “No point in going into laborious detail, when all we see around us are piles of wreckage from the ideas used to enact the overlord of American world domination.”- James

    I wonder if the idea that ‘we’ can just run on without demanding the answers from the true perpetrators, acknowledge what ‘we’ have allowed to be done to the world in ‘our’ name and do what is right is a fault of ‘we the people’ that is
    a fault that that is really clouding our own future.

    Where are the trustworthy leaders stepping forward now to guide this nation back to a semblance of political ‘sanity’? Not ?

    Something radical has changed and trying to see Hillary Clinton elected will fix it. Amazing !

  8. Yes – often we blame ourselves for what is done to others in our name but, the answer does not lie in the stars, it might be in the intelligence anchored within the leadership culture of which, we have no access other than corporate controlled medias. Clues are offered in the historical snipits of leadership bios and the secret societies they attended i.e. (Skull and Bones) etc. with their unknown plots to make things right or not or the planning for this world change they might be considering. Bringing this all together, the world leadership culture, the corporate culture, the banks and their absolute control, Bilderberg, etc; it might be to one`s advantage to have been schooled in ancient Greece (Hellas) or the other grecian tongues – but which one? The leaders know where they are going and we are segregated from their intelligence that is creating a society on this earth that is a diamond in the rough to one that is polished: many of us will be hurt along the way but that seems to be the price that must be paid to get there.

  9. The elites were not included in my preaching and I can`t confirm these suspicions all I should say is its a desperate effort to try, as an outsider, to understand what is beyond understanding by a mutt.

  10. Hillary Clinton? A person who has her feet planted firmly on the ground, balanced and assured with a rock solid approach, not easily thrown off stride.

  11. Robin M. Pettit

    David R. Thanks for your post. Hillary Clinton will fix some of it, but being of the DLC side of the Democratic Party, she will not likely fix the Corporate ties that bind. If she does, I will be quite pleasantly surprised. It is primarily a problem with the two party system we have in this country. I hope and pray that before I retire, 2024, a true non-corporate Democratic candidate will run and win, i.e., a populist, perhaps Elizabeth Warren or maybe even Dennis Kucinich.

  12. Never have studied much about moles but a few times I have come upon a lawn or field where they are or have been. You can see there are tunnels just below the surface, the ground is actually pushed up a little so you can see where they have gone doing whatever it is they do.
    The tunnels seem to go here and there . . not like from point A to point B so where they are going you can’t really tell . . only I have never seen where they
    arrive up in the light of day.

    So many ‘interesting’ things in the world . . .

  13. Here is a good article that helps to connect the dots on what causes people to believe all these untrue things and make them impervious to valid arguments. Guess what, it’s not self-identification as a Republican, self-identification as a evangelical Christian, nope, it’s watching Fox News and believing it’s the most trusted network to present the news. So to keep you and others that you care about from going down that path, the best thing would be put parental control or whatever and make sure they don’t watch Fox News.

    http://crooksandliars.com/2014/06/fox-news-must-die

    Hence the title of this article, Fox News Must Die, and the idea is this must happen to save America from the lies and misinformation from Fox News to keep America from being destroyed from within.

    • “Parental controls” is right: that study found, if I recall, that the average Fox News viewer is 69 years old. So some people in their 30s and 40s need to exercise some control over their parents’ viewing habits. 🙂

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