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Home » Archives » November 2004 » Just Wait ... The Republicans Will Do Themselves in

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11/22/2004: "Just Wait ... The Republicans Will Do Themselves in"

Democrats are somewhat needlessly wringing their hands over election results. The sky isn't just falling -- it has done fallen. Genetically right-wing moral majoritarians are roaming wild in packs, congressional conservatives have a permanent lock on power and any executive-branch modification of the president's personal Weltanshauung is now, officially, verboten.

Things couldn't get any worse, could they?

Sure they could. And they will -- but ultimately in a rewarding direction. They will because of the very circumstances stated above. They will because the power-happy powers-that-be characteristically will push too far and in reasonably short order push themselves into deep electoral trouble.

For sure, the Democratic Party needs to distill its message-scattered policy wonkishness into one coherent theme, something along the lines of "A Return to Human Decency and Global Respect." Its public representatives and candidates should learn to speak the plain and direct language of simplicity: of that there is no doubt or lack of need. But if in catering to the redefined middle the party attempts to correct course by backsliding on its progressive values it will only alienate its substantial base and open itself to apt, oppositional ridicule of me-tooism. Despite what Ralph Nader says, Democrats aren't Republicans. Hence beyond adopting more sophisticated -- and, let us be adults, on occasion that means more demagogic -- means of image-polishing, they shouldn't try to think like them.

Meanwhile, the party can lie back and let Republican pols dig their own graves. Their history of foot-shooting and political suicide is long and renowned. From their Gilded Age habit of ignoring the common man's plight to their Hooverian knack for whistling through an expanding economic graveyard to their Nixonian penchant for constitutional abuses to their Reaganite rejection of fiscal responsibility, Republicans have ascended and just as surely have plunged, and always it has been at their own hands.

So it doesn't tempt fate to predict with confidence that Republicans will plunge from grace once again. The immediate indication that they never learn came with Dick Cheney and George W. Bush's nearly comical post-election speeches. The nation had spewed forth a resounding mandate, said the former -- even though roughly 45 percent of even the red states voted blue -- and the time is now to spend this overwhelming "political capital," said the latter. Then promptly, through beheadings and promotions, did they consolidate and formalize Bushian fanaticism into guaranteed group-think. The outcome won't be pretty -- also guaranteed.

Virtually everything the president's governing philosophy has touched in the last four years has turned wretched and sour. Its thorough institutionalization will now finish off what's left of domestic decency and international respectability. In another four years someone will have to rebuild from the destruction, and that someone -- by default, if nothing else -- will be the patient opposition.

On the heels of post-election-day presidential hubris came the Republican Congress's turn, and it swiftly demonstrated equal arrogance by safeguarding one of its soon-to-be-indicted favorite sons. For students of G.O.P self-immolation, this was a blessed moment. The act showed no quarter in bowing to the rankest of collective hypocrisy, but better yet, a political tone-deafness whose severity few could have diagnosed just weeks ago. The congressional majority is carefully laying the necessary detonators to blow itself up. Give them time. The job of throwing a successful drive into screeching reverse is not as easy as these pros make it seem.

As for the running-amok moral "majority" of 22 percent, just give them time as well. They'll overreach by tampering with the 78 percent's raunchy but beloved television fare or some other intolerable cultural interference and the finally exasperated true majority will send them packing. Historically this nation has experienced, yet survived, serial revivalist attacks on the rationalist American spirit. It shall survive this one, too.

In short, give all the bullies a little time. The process will be painful and often seem suicidal for the nation and world at large, but prideful self-destruction is a bully's biblical nature.

Copyright 2004 P. M. Carpenter

Reprinted from History News Network:

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