Democratic Underground

The GOP Art of War
November 23, 2001
by John Garza

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Supposedly Republicans are hostile to the very concept of government, or want a condition just this side of anarchy, with as little interference and restriction as possible from it in their material dealings while it provides a sufficiently safe host society for their operations.

So, with government being at least a convenient nuisance and at most an absolute hindrance, governance is not a practice of preference for them. They must maintain a presence in the machinery to watch out for their interests, but they prefer (again, supposedly) not to be GOOD at governing - or, rather, their definition of being "good" at it is to keep it ineffectual in most ways their philosophical opponents would recognize.

One observation of how Republicans function (prevailing throughout my 54 years anyway) has been that they actually prefer being OUT of power and that when they are IN they appear not to know what to do with themselves.

I propose that, really, they don't want much of anything done, whether they are in or out. Their main tactics out of power have been obstructing any progressive legislative agenda and/or trumping up "investigations" of everything and everybody connected to their opponents. A main tactic when in power: International meddling, up to and including war, which can often be defended with great patriotic flourish while providing the desired windfall of, again, obstructing the advance of social change.

But once they are in power, they come smack up against the reality that it is better to control than not to control that power, leading to the irony that for them to stay in power they must undergo the humiliation of having appeared to satisfy the voting customers, whose actual wants (adequate health insurance coverage, protection from wild-eyed robber barons, power and protection for us unwashed masses, and some such) are antipathetic.

At one time Republicans thought they wanted term limits, but it turns out they are menial enough like most of us to want a certain amount of job security. So, how for Republicans to get enough of these customers to vote for them? Since doing absolutely nothing would not be much of a selling point, the answer to the GOP dilemma of "how to keep Government busy at not progressing and bamboozling the 'voting' customer into keeping us in power while we do the opposite of what they want": The Art of GOP War.

And, as in all of the above-cited tactics, everything's always better when ladled over with a thick glop of jingoism.