Friday, April 2, 2010

How The Republicans Win

There are many days when I just want to give up and never hear, or read, another political rant. And when Obama disappoints me and gives new life to that discredited 'drill, baby drill' I say a pox on both of their houses. I was stunned when I heard the news that Obama was going to open up offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.

While impractical, it is tempting to join the crowd who say, "Throw all the bums out." When disappointed I want to renounce all political parties.

Then I read a stunner like the article below and I become a Democrat again. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that there are very few Representatives in Washington, or in any State for that matter, that give a hoot for the public. It's all just like some gigantic game of holding onto, or gaining power.

The link will connect you to a Truthout article titled "How the Republicans Win."
If you have the time please follow the link and read the article. If not, you can read my abbreviated version. It will show you how Washington really works.

I will not bore you with any more of my observations. I think the article will be enough to digest for one day. I am posting an excerpt.

How Republicans Win

by: Robert Parry | Consortium News

The Republicans are following a playbook that has evolved over more than four decades, to regain power by sabotaging Democratic presidents.The "destroy Obama" game plan tracks most closely with Newt Gingrich's strategy for undermining Bill Clinton 16 years ago. But today's strategy also traces back to Richard Nixon's sabotage of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam peace talks in 1968 and Ronald Reagan's October Surprise gambit against President Jimmy Carter's Iran hostage negotiations in 1980.

The Republicans did not behave as a loyal opposition but rather as a single-minded political enemy that viewed the White House as its birthright and Democratic control of the Executive Branch as illegitimate.

For the first time, every Republican voted against the federal budget, which included tax increases to rein in the deficit that had surged to unprecedented levels under eagan and George H.W. Bush (41).By 1994, the Whitewater "scandal" about an obscure Clinton real-estate investment had become front-page news and a Republican-controlled judicial panel had picked former Reagan-Bush-41 appointee Kenneth Starr to head up an aggressive investigation into the Clintons' personal finances – and later into their private life.Having covered CIA destabilization campaigns in Third World countries, particularly Nicaragua, I was struck by the similarities. In the 1980s, the Reagan-Bush-41 administrations destroyed Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista revolution by systematically making the country ungovernable via a combination of economic dislocations, political/media propaganda, and paramilitary activities.

Finally, in 1990, Nicaraguan votersopted to accede to Washington's desires and voted for Chamorro.

Documentary evidence from Reagan's presidential library now shows that the overseas and domestic propaganda machines were built simultaneously as Reagan's CIA Director William Casey recruited conservative foundation executives like Richard Mellon Scaife to help finance it.

Another major accomplishment of the Reagan administration was the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy, (Or NED for short - My insertion.)

many of the NED-funded organizations were based in Washington – and since the NED bureaucracy was dominated by neoconservatives – NED, in effect, became a permanent funding mechanism for the neocon community in the U.S. capital.

NED funding explains why Washington's neocons have remained so influential despite their involvement in so many policy disasters, such as the Iraq War.

Even when the neocons find themselves adrift during brief periods out of power, many of them remain afloat with the help of NED grant money. They can hang onto a financial life-preserver tossed from some institute that benefits from the federal funding.

When Clinton managed to wrest the White House from the Republicans after 12 years of Reagan and Bush-41, the GOP realized that it could well shorten its time out of power by savaging the new President and creating chaos to undermine his political power and his popularity. (Hillary's vast Right Wing Comspiracy)

The Republicans definitely "got" what was happening and why. In celebration, the Gingrich "revolutionaries" made Rush Limbaugh an honorary member of the new Republican congressional majority, hailing him as their "national precinct captain."Gingrich had a positive message in his "Contract for America," that analysis misses the point that it was the tearing down of the Clintons – represented by Limbaugh's daily tirades – and the impression of national disarray under Clinton that were key to the GOP victory in 1994. On April 19, 1995, right-wing militia fanatic Timothy McVeigh detonated a bomb at the Oklahoma City federal building killing 168 people. Limbaugh and others who had stoked the fires of paranoia would angrily deny any suggestion that they had contributed to the catastrophe.

Despite Clinton's reelection in 1996, the Republicans did not give up their determination to destroy him. In 1998-99, they instituted impeachment proceedings that sought to oust him from office for lying about his extramarital sex life. Republicans were energized to restore the Reagan-Bush dynasty by putting George W. Bush into the White House, even if he did lose the popular vote to Al Gore.

Tearing down a Democratic president and creating a sense of political havoc – are again at the center of Republican strategy, except that today the GOP is even better placed to carry out a repeat than the party was in 1994. Then, there was no Fox News dominating the cable TV ratings and the right-wing media was far less developed than it is today.

Though the Republicans can't say that Obama wasn't legitimately elected (he won with 53 percent of the vote and a record 66.8 million ballots), the Right has questioned his legitimacy in other ways, such as the spurious claims that he was born in Kenya despite his Hawaiian birth certificate.

The Tea Party crowd also has decried him as some Islamic-terrorist-loving, America-hating communist, socialist or Nazi – if not the anti-Christ. A popular Tea Party poster shows Obama as a white-faced Joker, the sociopathic character from the latest Batman movie.

The organized chaos even entered the Congress itself, as Republican lawmakers cheered protesters on – and at times acted like them.

Republican leaders also engaged in apocalyptic rhetoric, with House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio declaring that passage of health-care reform would lead to "Armageddon," a religious reference to the end-times battle between a warrior Jesus and the anti-Christ.

Though Boehner and a few other Republican leaders finally criticized acts of violence, others continued to wink at the unruly behavior or shift the blame onto the Democrats for talking about it.

"It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain," said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, criticizing Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic National Chairman Tim Kaine for "dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon."

For her part, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin defended her advice that her backers should "reload" and her decision to put crosshairs on the districts of endangered Democrats, saying the references had nothing to do with violence. She blamed the controversy on "this BS coming from the lame-stream media, lately, about us inciting violence."

Despite the growing specter of political violence, the Republicans appear set in their determination to foment as much disruption as possible between now and the November elections, and thus reap expected gains, with hopes that they can win back the House and Senate and then further neutralize Obama.

To refer back to the Nicaragua comparison, the GOP's inside-outside game is like Nicaragua's pro-U.S. "internal opposition" operating as a non-violent political arm while the U.S.-funded paramilitary contras wreaked havoc in the countryside, both with the goal of removing the Sandinistas from power.

And as long as this "make-the-political-system-scream" strategy continues to work, it is probably unrealistic to expect the Republicans to disavow it. Washington power and the money that comes with it are so intoxicating that the political risks appear well worth it, especially if Democrats and the American Left don't have the means or the courage to stand against abuses by Republicans and the Right.

That pattern of acquiescence by the Democrats and the Left dates back to the emergence of this Republican anything-goes strategy more than four decades ago. As audiotapes at LBJ's presidential library make clear, Johnson was aware of Nixon's pre-election sabotaging of the Paris peace talks in 1968, but remained silent to avoid risking damage to Nixon's presidential legitimacy.

Similarly, Jimmy Carter and other leading Democrats, such as former Rep. Lee Hamilton, were aware of substantial evidence that Ronald Reagan's campaign secretly undercut Carter's efforts to win the release of 52 American hostages held in Iran in 1980, but the Democrats have chosen to look the other way.

Hamilton, who prides himself on his "bipartisanship," led a congressional investigation into the Iran-hostage "October Surprise" mystery in 1992, but refused to pursue late-developing evidence pointing to Republican guilt even after his chief counsel, Lawrence Barcella, asked for an extension because so much new information was pouring in by the end of 1992.

Barcella told me later that Hamilton simply ordered the inquiry brought to a close with its finding of Republican innocence. Much of the new evidence implicating the Republicans was then stored away, including a Russian intelligence report confirming secret meetings between Republicans and Iranians. [For details, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege]

For his part, ex-President Carter appeared more concerned about the danger of being accused of sour grapes than learning anything new about how the Republicans sank his presidency.

In 1996, while meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat, Carter reportedly raised his hands into a physical stop position when Arafat tried to confess to his role in the Republican maneuvering to block Carter's Iran-hostage negotiations.

"There is something I want to tell you," Arafat said, addressing Carter at a meeting in Arafat's bunker in Gaza City. "You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election."

So, the Republicans have never been made to pay a political price for their scheming to undercut sitting Democratic presidents -- and to grease the GOP's route back to power. Whenever a Democrat is in the White House, the Republicans believe they are free do whatever they want to block him from solving national problems, making him look weak and ineffectual.

That was true of Johnson, Carter, Clinton and now Obama.

This GOP strategy is pursued even if it tarnishes the international image of the United States or if it undermines national security, even if it means more than 20,000 additional U.S. soldierIt'ss dying in Vietnam, or 52 American hostages facing longer captivity in Iran, or the likes of Timothy McVeigh feeling empowered to blow up a federal building.



Today's NYT has the following article by Charles Blow.

It's worth checking out.


tnlib said...

I'm disappointed in this decision as well but I read that there are going to be tough restrictions, which include no drilling in ecologically endangered areas. There are others but I can't remember them!

Kay Dennison said...

Why does none of this surprise me? I keep thinking of a phrase the Brits use when foul play occurs: 'a Spaniard in the works.'
which probably dates back to their long war with Spain.

I think the Spaniard is the Republican Party and their followers.

Betty said...

And the strategy works because the main stream media, not just Fox, buys into it, hook, line and sinker.

Darlene said...

*tnlib - Yes, I did hear that, but I am still against it. The Ocean is big, but oil pollution stays forever and spreads.

*Kay - I guess I am so old that nothing surprises me anymore. ;-)

*Betty - Amen to that.

Vagabonde said...

It’s hard to believe that the Republicans doing so much damage to this country can still call themselves Patriots. They have become powerful because of the people’s apathy. They are sore losers and don’t want to accept that Obama was elected. I read years ago (maybe 20 years) in a magazine that America would become more conservative because the liberals are more tolerant, and let things pass, or get disgusted and tune off. In the meantime the extreme conservatives become more powerful. I did not believe the article was accurate then, but I do now.

Rain said...

I think Obama is what I thought he was-- a pragmatist, who is not as far to the right or left as anybody would like but he is true to his own ideas. The only thing he's done that has really disappointed me was when he appointed Geithner and Summers to his cabinet. To me that still seems like a humongous mistake that may make for future woes. Otherwise, I agree with the article that Republicans don't really care about the country but only about their own agenda of wealth for a few and winning power. I always figured the hostage deal was politically motivated. Basically it meant they just didn't care and the evidence was the release of those hostages at the time of Reagan's inauguration. Victory at any price? Youbetcha.

We watched Goya's Ghosts last night and it just reminded us of who we are really fighting and who it always has been.

Darlene said...

*Vagabonde - To put it in the context of the vernacular,"The squeaky wheel gets the grease." We Democrats just don't squeak loud enough. ;-)

*Rain - I agree with all you said. I have Goya's Ghost on my Que and should get it next week.