So, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past week or so, the inspiration for this thread is an article posted to Truth-Out.org by a former Congressional Republican Staffer
. The article is a little long (it clocks in at a bit over 6000 words), and if you've been paying attention for the past decade or so, doesn't really tell you anything you don't already know. However, if you're going to be posting in this thread, you should at least read the article, so you know what we're referencing. And no, I'm not going to tl;dr it for you.
So, if there's nothing really new here, then why does it matter? A big part of the reason why it matters is that it's just gotten a lot of play. Unlike a lot of the blogs talking about what's wrong with the Republican party, this one has bee nspread around a lot. I've been linked to it at least half a dozen times in the last couple of weeks. So, people are paying attention, and that matters.
The second reason it matters (and is probably the main reason people are paying attention) is that this article isn't from a Michael Moore, or a Markos Moulitsas, or even an Al Franken. Mike Lofgren is a guy who, up until last year, was pulling down six figures working for Congressional Republicans
. According to James Fallows, a longtime journalist and former Carter speech writer
, the guy is fairly reputable. He's been working on the Hill for 28 years, almost entirely for Republicans, and up until he wrote that article, was fairly well-respected.
So, the reason this is such a big deal is the source. It's not coming from the crazy left, it's not coming from rage-filled young people, it's not coming from Marxists, it's not even coming from Democrats; this is an old, white, Republican who made his bones on Republican values. The money shot of this article, I think, is:
It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.
Essentially, the modern Republican party is what the KKK has morphed into. The difference is, instead of summoning the specter of minorities to scare people into supporting them, they're summoning the specter of big government and
minorities to scare people into voting for them. They are nakedly manipulating people through lies and astroturfing groups (like Freedomworks' Tea Party). Lofgren presents the arguments very well.
I mean, just to illustrate a recent point, at the debate tonight, the Republican candidates were asked whether it would be better for a 30-year-old without insurance to die, or to have the government pay for their healthcare, the audience actually cheered
when they said "die." These are people who are rooting for you and me to fucking die
, and yet every single candidate, when asked about social security and Medicare, said "oh, we need to keep it for current recipients." So, what these people are really
saying is "I have mine, fuck the rest of you."
So, that being said, the questions I'd like to ask are: 1) why
does it matter? and 2) What should we do about it?
It matters because where you have reasonable people disagreeing, I think there are tactics you refrain from using. If this was a debate about whether we should have an income tax or a sales tax, there is absolutely room for disagreement; however, this is a debate about whether we should have a functional government, or a non-functional one, and we're being engaged with tactics that we need to meet with a proportional response.
So, the solution for this, I think, is to remove the kid gloves. Stop playing with the Republicans. Stop pretending that this is just reasonable people disagreeing, that they have anything at all positive to contribute to this country. They get secret million-dollar donations from God knows where
(this guy came forward, but that doesn't really prove anything), that they use to pander to the politically disengaged via PACs that are unconnected to them. I mean, the left has MoveOn, but what does MoveOn have on a group like American Crossroads (Karl Rove's Super PAC)?
It's time to start getting creative, and start fighting dirty. For instance, start a Super PAC that is dedicated to "promoting Biblical values and Biblical candidates for election." Hire a bunch of kids with clipboards to gather donations from Republican strongholds. Then, use those donations to run ads in moderate districts pointing out that Republicans endorse candidates who think women should be executed for adultery; flash pictures of Jihadists during these ads. Run ads in conservative districts saying that the Republican candidates think that rich people should give away all of their money. Candidates who say they believe in the literal truth of the Bible are actually saying this shit, and it's such a thoroughly retarded position that it should be brought to light. And it's not like you're going to offend people who were going to vote Democrat, anyway.
So, what are your ideas for fighting the anti-democracy forces that dominate the Republican party right now? Or am I (and this article) wrong? Do Republicans just have a difference of opinion from the rest of us? Are they just being reasonable people in disagreement? Should we not stoop to the levels I'm suggesting, and instead use a kinder, gentler strategy to win people over? If so, what is that strategy?