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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

 
The Doctor and The Donald's right wing revolution

by digby

The Republican primary is starting to come into focus.  I wrote about it for Salon today:

For the last couple of years, the conventional wisdom has been that the Republican Party potential presidential field was an embarrassment of riches. Their “bench” was so chock full of executive talent, they barely had room for them all. This was always discussed in the context of the Democratic Party’s sad little group of ancient mariners who might well have already been set on the ice floe in an earlier time.
It’s interesting how that’s unfolding. None of the governors are panning out. Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose record running one of the biggest state’s successfully on a Republican platform was no help, dropped out first; followed by the union slaying Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Both had been highly touted as excellent presidential material based on their records. None of the current and former governors, from Bush to Kasich, Christie, Huckabee, Jindal and Pataki, have caught fire either. Between them, they have decades of executive experience and yet they can’t get any momentum. This flies in the face of everything we’ve ever heard about the Republican reverence for state government, for executive experience and the ability to get results from Republican policies.
For a long time it was assumed that Senators were unsuited for the task of the presidency, what with their lack experience “running things.” Not that this stopped them from running for president, but it hadn’t escaped anyone’s notice that until 2008 the last Senator to become president had been elected in 1960. Barack Obama broke that long streak and the Republicans have a handful of Senators to choose from in 2016. Two of the four in the race, Rubio and Cruz, seem to be doing slightly better than the governors, and are at this point seen as “establishment” alternatives, even though neither of them are polling at more than 11 percent. The third, Rand Paul, once touted as the leader of a new libertarian, isolationist Republican Party, has turned out to be irrelevant. The fourth, Senator Lindsay Graham, is a joke.
There you have the vaunted GOP bench — the well-prepared, highly qualified, totally experienced group of veterans, any one of whom the country was supposed to be able to see as president. And Republican primary voters can’t stand any of them. They are, instead, enthralled with two men who have never held public office, and seem not to even understand our system of government or care how it works.
The Hill asked some Republican strategists to explain this phenomenon:
“It’s a different test this time around,” said GOP strategist David Payne. “Experience, executive experience, these aren’t the tests. It’s about the right ideas and the right temperament and coming off as tough. You see how important the debates have been. Style and presentation matter more than ever, more even than if you were a great leader in the past.” […]
“Republicans this year don’t want managers, they want transformers,” conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace, a Cruz supporter, told The Hill. “They don’t want reform, they want revolution. They don’t want a better government, they want a new government. The ground has shifted and the grassroots conservatives have taken the establishment’s preeminence away.”
Say what you will about Trump and Carson, they are both entertaining. But it’s the revolutionary aspect of their candidacies that’s interesting.
It’s not exactly a surprise that Republican voters hate government. It’s been their number one organizing principle for years. In fact, the Sainted Ronald Reagan himself was known for his saying “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” And we know they hate liberals. They have spent decades denigrating the philosophy,the ideology and even the word itself. But until now they haven’t hated the Republican Party. And boy do they hate it.
Read on to see how this is playing out. One year out from the general and just two months from the first primary over half the Republicans primary electorate is saying they no longer trust the GOP to deliver --- they are looking for a man on a white horse. A dictator or a savior, either one will do.