Here’s another incisive opinion article on the battles within the Republican Party and the US shutdown, this time from Harold Meyerson, someone I know as a longtime American democratic socialist activist.
As a left-winger, he seems to relish (as I do) that the factional insanity is now on the political Right rather than on the Left as it normally is. I love this comment: “Thankfully, the Bushes et al. haven’t met the fate of Bukharin and Danton — but they are as conspicuously absent from today’s Republican rallies and state conventions as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin are conspicuously present.” That’s spot on – and that’s why we don’t see any signs of independence from Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, either, by the way. They know that the revolution devours its children.
Another place where Meyerson gets it exactly right is the role being played by neo-Confederate ideology in this factional drama: “Today’s tea party-ized Republicans speak less for Wall Street or Main Street than they do for the seething resentments of white Southern backwaters and their geographically widespread but ideologically uniform ilk. Their theory of government, to the extent that they have one, derives from John C. Calhoun’s doctrine of nullification — that states in general and white minorities in particular should have the right to overturn federal law and impede majority rule. Like their predecessors in the Jim Crow South, today’s Republicans favor restricting minority voting rights if that is necessary to ensure victory at the polls.”
That is the odd thing about what we’re seeing – the Republicans have been more recently known as a pro-business party, but the Tea Party rebellion is shocking the pro-business elements of their party, once represented by establishmentarian figures as the elder George Bush; more distantly in time, they were known as a pro-civil rights and pro-federal union party, but the Tea Party rebellion is shocking the Lincolnian elements of their party by abandoning any vestige of the notion that Americans are equal or that the federal government has a responsibility to protect that equality.
The question may be, when will other Republicans wake up and see that this is happening to their party?
But it may be that the answer to that is that many “moderates” and “establishment Republicans” are awake, just not brave enough to do what needs to be done. Every day all of this is going on shows us profiles in the lack of courage where Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are concerned.