Thursday, May 07, 2009

The sorrows of the Republican Party

Barbara O’Brien at her Mahablog took the occasion of Arlen Specter's switch to the Democratic Party to muse on the state of the Republican Party in What Do They Expect? 04/29/09:

Most political parties exist to represent some part of public opinion. But today’s GOP drives away any part of the public that doesn’t represent its opinion.

In many ways, IMO, the Republican Party is acting like an apocalyptic cult — a small number of true believers waiting for some Big Cataclysmic Event that’s going to change everything, to their advantage. For that reason, present reality doesn’t interest them, because present reality is just a temporary aberration (which it may be, but not in the way they think). Thus, movement conservatives brush off opinion polls that show their positions to be wildly unpopular. They don’t need to worry about election losses, shrinking party membership, an aging political base, or senior senators who jump ship. They don’t need to change with the times. They’ll be vindicated when the Mother Ship arrives. You’ll see.

And they must truly believe in the Event, because they’re betting everything on it. In 2000 they still were shrewd enough to market Dubya as a moderate — a “compassionate conservative” who liked to be photographed surrounded by smiling black children. Now they aren’t even pretending to make adjustments to political reality.

Which brings me to the question — what do they expect? What do they think is to happen that will turn the world back upright (as they see it) and put them on top? [my emphasis]
Her comment makes me think that the seeming bewilderment of the Republican Party in the early months of the Obama era may get back to what is their model of that Event: the 9/11 attacks. The shock of that attack allowed the Republican Party to go wild with their wars, their torture program, their massive domestic spying, thier "culture war" passions, their corruption of the Justice Department including segregation-style voter-suppression, their disregard of treaties and international law and economic regulations. And it allowed them to trash their enemies - Democrats first, The Terrorists second, third or fourth - as cowards, traitors, surrender monkeys, enemies of America, French, degenerates, etc.

Emotionally, maybe a lot of them just can't believe that their day in the sun on the Dark Side is over.

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