If the 2016 Republican presidential race is any indication, the fresh new face of conservatism in America is none other that Donald Trump. Yet the Republican Party is eager to eat their own because Trump is not, as conservatives love to claim, truly “one of them.”
And the one who claims to be the “most conservative” of the lot, would be Ted Cruz, yet there is not a Republican alive who truly seems to trust the man. He boldly lied about the fact that he led the move to shut down the government. Even Republican “points of pride” are recent disclaimers of shame.
Going all the way back to that conservative scion Ronald Reagan, whom Republicans choose to lionize for his supposedly pure fiscal and moral virtues, Republicans have lied about the real activities of men such as Reagan in order to win voters, seize power through means judicial and otherwise, and steal from the poor. The GOP has artfully cobbled together militias and angry Christians. With this voting bloc at their calling, they are empowered to run off and conduct stray wars, while at home the murder of everyday citizens with weapons concealed and unconcealed is deemed the collateral damage of freedom. Even Donald Trump admits as much. This very week he proclaimed that he could take a weapon out on the streets and gun people down, never losing a single voter in the process. But he might be wrong about that. The dead cannot vote, and people with more guns than guilt tend to be indiscriminate. Surely a few potential Trump voters, including those that shoot themselves in the foot on a regular basis, are target fodder on occasion for the truly crazed.
Shoot first and ask questions later is the Republican legacy. We should never forget the Reagan administration’s massive band of crooks and thieves; Meese, Casey, Regan and George W. Bush, then Vice President of the United States, who chose to strike a deal with international arms dealers (shoot first!) and in exchange for big money from Iran necessary to foment calculated unrest in the Southern Hemisphere. This is how Republicans think, that the ends always justifies the means, and the means is something you don’t talk about.
So perhaps even Trump is just a little too good two-shores for them. The man speaks too plainly, and too often. He sputters racist phrases and promises to build a wall along the Mexican border. Normally topics like these are not for public consumption, but are saved for talking points at donor banquets where people with cell phones and a desire to expose the truth behind the lies have been known to disappear in the bowels of the hotel, never to speak again.
So Trump scares the hell out those ne0-conservative trying to pressure the brain of the American electorate with a blood clot of fear. Trump is a stroke, for sure, but not the kind the vicious right prefers to cause. The Donald has aggressively exposed their purpose because he’s too rich to care, and so frequently bankrupted by his own bad habits there is nothing the man stands to lose, by losing. The mere expression of his massive ego is so egregiously un-American even the GOP recoils from its vile stench.
And that takes a lot of doing. Because back when Ronald Reagan absently presided over that Iran-Contra scandal, he was either too daft and distracted or too arrogant to care that the likes of Pat Buchanan and Oliver North were about to soil his political diapers for him. Yet even after they crapped on Reagan’s legacy, they ran around like heroes that had saved the country when all they really cared about was their own reputations and the money they could make lying to the conservative cabal about their own honor.
Which meant that a whole circuit of those feckless mega churches invited men like Oliver North to preach to the hapless masses about true patriotism. North had the gall to claim a “higher purpose” for his criminal acts, and that’s all it takes to convince the Moody Bible crowd that he had the best interests of America in mind.
One Mega Pastor, when asked why his church would invite a scoundrel such as North to address his Mega-parish, came to his defense with the classic religious veneer. “He is a man of God.” But if you actually read the Bible, you would know that even God would not the genocidal King David build a temple in His honor. “You have too much blood on your hands,” God told him.
Somehow the real lessons of faith and politics like these are completely lost on conservative believers, who simply refuse to grow a conscience because it is too heavy an object to carry around. It’s far too much bother to think about what you believe, versus throwing money at it or throwing your conscience into the offering plate as if it were a loaf of bread or some fish.
It’s been going on like this for four decades now, and America is much worse for the wear. As Hunter S. Thompson so aptly recorded in his late 1980’s essay God Bless Oliver North, “Why has every Republican president since Abraham Lincoln been so crooked that they need a brace of Secret Service men to help them screw their pants on every morning? From Ulysses S. Grant to Big Bill McKinley and Warren Harding, they were all so dirty they could barely sleep at night. Even Ike had Sherman Adams. “I need him,” he said. “And never mind his morals.”
Thompson goes on to note: “Nixon was genetically criminal. Agnew was born wrong. Ford was so utterly corrupt that he made millions by pardoning Nixon, and Reagan is beginning to take on the distinctly Spanish physical characteristics of the Somoza family, formerly of Nicaragua.”
And all that corruption only partly explains the spectre of one George H.W. Bush, who some think had a hand in killing Kennedy, and did such awful things through the CIA there was threat of folding it into the Department of Agriculture, there was so much evil shit going on. He handed that family legacy to his son George W. Bush, whose bald-faced lies in the wake of 9/11 led America into a war in Iraq that cost the nation trillions, and is still being fought in proxy fashion by none other than the CIA. It’s good for the family business, and Dick Cheney took a massive cut from the operation with his Halliburton pals. There is no corruption quite as profitable as Republican corruption. Sure, the City of Chicago has had its thugs and its Democrats stealing from the kitty. But those are puppet plays compared to the warmongering operas written by conservatives and acted out by the CIA on grand stages around the world.
Even Obama has had to face the blowback from the famed operetta Mission Accomplished, that ostensibly bright moment in recent American history where GWB stepped to the front of an aircraft carrier in full codpiece mode while crowing about American Exceptionalism.
Embarrassed by the reverberating effects of that brash performance, Obama’s theatrical ploy has been to withdraw from the theater almost entirely and let drones do the dirty work of dropping klieg lights on the heads of known terrorists. Some of those have unfortunately skidded into the audience, and that has not played well on the world stage. What we’ve learned from all this is that there is never any critical praise for the bad opera terrorism. Foreign or domestic, you almost can’t win by killing off the actors.
Which explains that farce happening out in Oregon, where a pack of apparently inbred ranchers has decided to turn on the nation in hopes of overthrowing our own government. We might, in fact, trace this tendency back to Reagan with his claim that “government is the problem. This has led to what we might call the Republican Problem, in which conservatives think it’s just fine to shut down the government to “save the nation,” as they like to claim. Or to claim that they hate government, and then do anything or everything possible, including using the Supreme Court to overturn an election, in order to grab power.
Republicans have literally turned the nation inside out an effort to shake loose every dime and turn it over to privatization and the banksters who gambled it all away leading up to 2008, and the economic crash. Then the GOP had the nerve to blame the bailout on the Democrats and Obama, when it was Bush who signed to papers. And that was just to save his own skin.
For too long we’ve allowed corrupt politicians to jump ship and sail over to Wall Street to serve as pirate consultants presiding over the transfer wealth from the middle class to the very rich. Corporate socialism has transferred trillions thanks to Republican insiders who “know how things work.”
We’ve been wondering for a couple hundred years how low we could go, and Republicans are answering that question with more enthusiasm that anyone can bear. All 16 or more candidates for the GOP ticket crow as if the Republican Problem were the very thing the United States needs to succeed. But we need look no farther back than the Reagan Era to understand how very hard Republicans have had to work to obscure the workings of corruption in favor of slogans that fit their motives for power. The Republican Problem stems from the fact that they’ve been very good at convincing people the American Problem is the government itself, and Democrats who believe in it.
But then along comes Donald Trump and nutball practitioners such as Sarah Palin, and the Republican Problem suddenly becomes very real to the American populace. Where Reagan seemed the Teflon President and the soft-spoken Great Communicator, Trump seems a bit more like chewing on aluminum foil, and Palin’s voice is the equivalent of nails on a blackboard. The Republican Problem has grown noisy and shrill, and even the faithful are hiding their heads under pillows wishing it would all go away, or be lifted from the stinking mattress by the billions Michael Bloomberg is willing to spend in order to turn the Republican Problem inside out, which is Right Side In.