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Op-ed: The GOP's McCarthy gene

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EconomicLiberal Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 09:33 PM
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Op-ed: The GOP's McCarthy gene

This is a must read op ed piece. Gabler is essentially saying that today's Republican party is based more in the image of former Senator McCarthy than it is of Ronald Reagan. He effectively says that McCarthy's coalition has been much more long lasting and impactful than Reagan's ever was, and the GOP to this day has had countless successes implementing the strategy he pioneered close to 5 decades ago.
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 09:52 PM
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1. That's Joseph McCarthy, not Eugene
a very good opinion piece, unexpected from the LA Times

Says the modern Republican Party is based more on stoking fear than on any ideological committment to "conservatism".

Baryy Goldwater was a lone exception, an ideological libertarian that was a detour in the modern party's evolution.

The modern party goes past him straight from Joseph McCarthy to Nixon and Bush
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 10:07 PM
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2. KnR.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 10:09 PM
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3. Isn't this a mental issue, political paranoia?
The "god-less commies are coming" of the fifties is replaced with "liberals" and "Obama is a socialist" but the fear is the same, and not an act. They really are paranoid politically.
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The River Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 10:19 PM
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4. *w* DId McCarthy One Better
by adding a heaping helping of Orwell in addition
to the fear factor.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 10:57 PM
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5. If you read Orwell, you quickly understood he saw the power of fear
It was that Power of Fear that Orwell was attacking in his books, and it was the same power McCarthy used to the max. All the little thing Orwell saw coming, was NOT the result of some new dogma, but that people would agree to such changes do to their Fear. It was the power of Fear that Orwell saw dictators using, the actual techniques of surveillance and suppression were the RESULT of the power of fear NOT anything else. In fact Orwell was trying to point out that the Power of Fear, as McCarthy and others were and had used, would lead to those abuse of power by the Government AND that most people will support that use do to the power of fear. In affect McCarthy, like Stalin and Hitler, used FEAR as they main means of control of the People and thus the Government. Once the people are fearful then you can do as you please for anything you do, as long as you claim it is to end the fear, is perfectly all right with the voters.

The problem with this is once the fear is gone, then such dictatorships fall, thus such dictatorships ALWAYS cite fear, even if they have to produce it themselves (As Hitler's Storm Troopers did in the early 1930s). This fear is always against someone, preferably someone who is outside the country so that any damage the GOVERNMENT permit is directed in a way to do minimal damage to the Country (Thus Hitler's attack on the Jews, Stalins attack against "anti-Resolutest" and Kulaks, The various Southern Politicians who always stirred up their white populations against the blacks and in the case of McCarthy Communists). The fear to work has to be against someone who has a possibility (in the mind of the people) to get control of the Government, i.e. NOT small tiny groups, but sizable groups, at least in the mind of the people (Thus Hitler and the Jews, the South and the blacks, Stalin and the Kulaks and "Anti-Revolutionists" and McCarthy and the Communists). The fact that none of these groups really had a chance to take over the Government is unimportant, it is the FEAR that they could is what the Dictatorship counts on.

Orwell saw this in Stalin's Soviet Union AND Hitler's Germany. Orwell did NOT want to get tied up with the details of those two dictatorships for both used different tactics to produce the fear, but it was the fear that was important to both. Thus Orwell's "Big Brother" and his "Animal Farm" to show how FEAR can be used to get people to do the opposite of what they should be doing and how people will agree to great oppression do to fear, fear produced by the Government so it can stay in power.

My point is Orwell is NOT any new ideas to Bush II, Orwell says such a ruler will use whatever means to produce fear and with that fear gather more power to produce even more fear. McCarthy is just the start (And I can go back to Mark Hanna, the GOP head of the 1890s onward to say he did the same thing, called the Democratic Candidate dangerous, insane, incompetent for the Democratic Candidate dare talked about CONTROLS over business to help the common man). This attack on any progressive ideas or politician continued throughout the 20th Century, but even the GOP thought it had died by 1940. The Problem McCarthy revived it and given the expansion of Soviet power in he post WWII era he had an enemy people thought was real. In the 1930s the New Deal had shown Government intervention in the Economy worked, thus the fear of domestic Communists were not longer effective, but with the expansion of the Soviet Union's power after WWII made the communists a new menace that could be used to produce fear.
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ShadowLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-01-08 12:09 AM
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6. The end of that article is really scary
The end of that article is really scary, it shows a plausible GOP path to power with it saying how the GOP will move more rightward and stir up more hatred and resentment to win, and what's there to hate and resent right now to do that? The bailouts for big corporations, and at least some of them are likely to continue (like for the Big 3).
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cooolandrew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-01-08 05:31 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. There is nothing more scary than their party itself , the trend and new generation are moving away >
Edited on Mon Dec-01-08 05:34 AM by cooolandrew
from them and truly thankfully that will grow exponentially. As long as we all stay aware and help to keep others focused and vigilant on their legislators. From now on it looks like it's gonna be alright in the end.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-01-08 04:21 AM
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7. It's an excellent, thought-provoking read. His conclusions are both sad and scary...
Neal Gabler lays out the ways in which he believes the future of the Republican Party is Sarah Palin -- that the intellectuals will leave, the ideologues will leave, and that those who remain will be the ones readily swayed by the demagoguery of the likes of Joe McCarthy and Sarah Palin. The last 3 paragraphs of this long article are:

Reagan's sunny disposition and his willingness to compromise masked the McCarthyite elements of his appeal, but Reaganism as an electoral device was unique to Reagan and essentially died with the end of his presidency. McCarthyism, on the other hand, which could be deployed by anyone, thrived. McCarthyism was how Republicans won. George H.W. Bush used it to get himself elected, terrifying voters with Willie Horton. And his son, under the tutelage of strategist Karl Rove, not only got himself reelected by convincing voters that John Kerry was a coward and a liar and would hand the nation over to terrorists, which was pure McCarthyism, he governed by rousing McCarthyite resentments among his base.

Republicans continue to push the idea that this is a center-right country and that Americans have swooned for GOP anti-government posturing all these years, but the real electoral bait has been anger, recrimination and scapegoating. That's why John McCain kept describing Barack Obama as some sort of alien and why Palin, taking a page right out of the McCarthy playbook, kept pushing Obama's relationship with onetime radical William Ayers.

And that is also why the Republican Party, despite the recent failure of McCarthyism, is likely to keep moving rightward, appeasing its more extreme elements and stoking their grievances for some time to come. There may be assorted intellectuals and ideologues in the party, maybe even a few centrists, but there is no longer an intellectual or even ideological wing. The party belongs to McCarthy and his heirs -- Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Palin. It's in the genes.

Kicking this for the Monday morning crowd.



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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-01-08 04:54 AM
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8. Its true.
For example, John Dean has written about it:

"His subsequent book, released in summer 2006, is titled Conservatives without Conscience, a play on Barry Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative. In it, he asserts that post-Barry Goldwater conservatism has been co-opted by people with authoritarian personalities and policies (citing data from Robert Altemeyer). According to Dean, modern conservatism, specifically in the Christian Right, embraces obedience, inequality, intolerance, and strong intrusive government, in stark contrast to Goldwater's philosophies and policies. Using Altemeyer's scholarly work, he contends that there is a tendency toward ethically questionable political practices when authoritarians are placed in positions of power, and that the current political situation is dangerously unsound because of it. Dean cites the behavior of key members of the Republican leadership including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich and Bill Frist as clear evidence of a relationship between modern right-wing conservativism and this authoritarian approach to governance. He places particular emphasis on the abdication of checks and balances by the Republican Congress, and of the dishonesty of the conservative intellectual class in support of the GOP, as a result of the obedience and arrogance innate to the authoritarian mentality."
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cooolandrew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-01-08 05:27 AM
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9. Fear it's all they've got for dinner. I'm full, what say others.
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Dark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-01-08 05:32 AM
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11. Why not? They look up to McCarthy
No, I'm not kidding.

/wish I were.
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