HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Twitter:
@digby56
@DavidOAtkins @Gaius_Publius

emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
David:
isnospoon at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist


Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014 11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014 12/01/2014 - 01/01/2015


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Thursday, October 20, 2011

 
The Cain Conundrum
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

October 2011 marks two events in the Republican Party that political observers from ten years ago would have claimed were utterly impossible: first, an African-American man is leading in the polls for the Republican nominee for president. Second, the same GOP frontrunner openly admits he wants to hike taxes on most Americans.

That is seriously revolutionary in the political landscape, and should cause intelligent political observers to recalibrate their assumptions about the Republican Party on the issues of taxes and race. The Republican Party has long been assumed to rely on racial resentment and voters' own distrust of government and hatred of taxes to win elections. But Herman Cain's meteoric rise certainly disproves that thesis, at least viewed in simplistic terms. It is difficult to ascribe overt racism to a Party base that would push an African-American to the front of its field. And it is well-nigh impossible to claim that anti-tax fervor animates a portion of the electorate that advocates raising taxes on most Americans, especially those of modest means.

This is not to say that racism is not still a central component of the American conservative mindset. But consider the community of Free Republic, one of the most arch conservative blogs on the Internet. On the one hand, this is the community that engages in openly white supremacist conversations like this one, in which many Freepers consider the inevitable relegation of Caucasians to minority status in America as synonymous with the downfall of all Western civilization. But it is also the same community that steps in to strongly defend African-American Herman Cain and his 9-9-9 tax increase proposal. Something is going on here that defies traditional analysis of the conservative base.

There is a strong case to be made that two trends have marked a significant change in Republican politics. The first and most important of these changes is the renewed popularity of Ayn Rand's Objectivism in conservative circles. The shocking rise of rodeo clown Glenn Beck made it clear that the Bircher movement within the GOP had come out of the shadows and into a prominent--perhaps even leading--role. In the 1950s and 1960s, the image of a Republican was the grumpy grandfather who remained rooted in status quo reality even as the young hippie kids dreamed of a better world. Democrats, meanwhile, were still hampered by old alliances with the racist Dixiecrats who would switch allegiances to Republicans with the rise of the civil rights movement. There was little room in this world for the modern Movement Conservative. So along came Richard Nixon and the politics of race resentment, followed by the rise of a newly powerful and resurgent set of business interests in the 1970s. Also prominent during this period was the rise of the religious right and the church group infrastructure that continues to deliver millions of votes to Republican candidates.

But Republicans have two problems now: first, overt racial resentment is increasingly uncool. Even sublimated dogwhistles are regularly called out into the open. Second, religious conservatism, while deeply powerful in certain areas, is localized mostly to the Bible Belt and lightly populated areas of the Mountain West. Christian fundamentalism is still a huge driving force in the GOP, but it is not the face of the conservative movement anymore. If it were, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann would be the GOP frontrunners.

No, the new conservative religion is the cult of Objectivism. GOP legislators and even conservative Supreme Court members force Rand's books on their clerks and staff members. A John Galt who has never held elected office currently leads in the polls--the second such dalliance Republican voters have already made with a corporate CEO this cycle alone.

The cult of Objectivism doesn't care about race or taxes. It cares about rewarding what it views as "producers" while punishing "parasites." In the Objectivist view, the majority of the public are parasites leeching off the work of wealthy producers, and it is the role of government such as it must exist to eliminate the constraints that parasites supposedly place on producers. This is a step far beyond Reagan's supply-side economics. It's a deliberate and forceful declaration of class war, one in which a massive tax increase on 80% of Americans makes perfect sense.

The second broad trend in the GOP has been the sublimation of racism from its most simple and ugliest form, to a less obvious cultural racism. The "token black friend" has long been a running joke about conservatives, but having grown up in conservative areas, I have known a good number of people like this. These are people who really do have friends of other races whom they respect precisely because, in their minds, they don't act like those people. And in fact, the example of their minority "friend" only reinforces their broader cultural and racial resentments. The successful black "friend" becomes the standard by which it is OK to disfavorably compare entire minority communities.

It takes a warped mind to get around this way of thinking, but in the modern conservative mindset, supporting Herman Cain is a way both of communicating that they don't hate all black people, as well as of holding up a role model to whom they can point and say "if he can do it, so can you--so buck up and stop whining for handouts." The same conservative community can therefore both view the demographic decline of White America with alarm, and welcome Herman Cain because to them, Herman Cain is culturally "White."

Progressives must come to terms with the fact that the 35% or so of Americans who make up the conservative base have been radicalized far beyond the point of no return. They are activist class warriors on behalf of the top 1% of "producers." They are activist culture warriors against minority communities who will happily advance minority figureheads as exceptional standardbearers in order to prove their point.

We are now a nation hopelessly divided. On one side is a large faction of people who understand that the financial classes and the super-wealthy are mostly a parasitic class; that the middle class has much more in common with the poor than it does with the wealthy; that workers produce wealth, and that demand produces prosperity; that poor communities are disadvantaged not by the inherent failings of their people but by the oppressive nature of their circumstances; and that we humans and creatures of this earth are all in the same boat together.

On the other side is a large group of people who believe that over half of Americans are parasitic dead weight who should not be allowed to vote; that the interests of the middle class are aligned with the interests of hedge fund managers; that only a select few very wealthy people produce society's goods; that poor communities are poor through their own moral failings; and that the society's "producers" should behave however they please to people and creatures unfortunate enough to find themselves at their mercy.

And in the middle are about 20% of Americans paying too little attention to have much of an opinion either way.

Bipartisanship as we have known it is dead. It is not coming back. The two major political factions in America are farther apart now than they have been at any time since the Civil War. The issues that separate the country are much more fundamental than simple race resentment and minor disagreements over tax and spending policy, issues that could be resolved by a greater effort to listen to and understand the other side. The divide is profound and existential.

And Herman Cain's advance to the top of the Republican field proves it.


.

Search Digby!