Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent

It’s a matter of evolution:

The new Congress hasn’t been seated yet but signs of a rift are already beginning to emerge between Republican leaders and Tea Party groups who were a driving force propelling many unknown candidates to victory last month.

There are many ways to characterize this. I prefer to think of it as the chickens come home to roost.

The Republicans have had a forty year “Southern Strategy” which has yielded some pretty impressive political victories and some pretty shameful defeats. On the one hand, this strategy was most directly responsible for the election of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, as well as the takeover of Congress in 1994, and the House in 2010.

On the other hand, it was directly responsible for the corrupt Congresses that ensued, the rape of the American budget, the tax hikes needed to compensate for the spending by Republicans on credit, as well as war without end and a terror attack that will go down in history as one of America’s weakest moments, bought and paid for by the GOP.

This strategy divided the nation into three groups: economic royalists, socially conservative Christians, and the rest of us. Power within the GOP rested firmly in the economic royalty camp, with the occasional intruder like Pat Robertson allowed a seat at the table primarily because he could speak both lingoes fluently. The Christian Coalition was allowed to rant and rave and was allowed loose in the neighborhood every two years (especially during presidential elections) to foam at the mouth about “teh gehys” or dead pre-babies or “war on Christmas” or what have you.

The Tea Party is a curious admixture of both camps. There’s a strain of “I got mine Jack, now you get yours” that economic royalists have attuned to like a 50,000 watt radio station next door, but there’s also a deep strain of social conservatism that infests the movement, too.

It’s basically the rank-and-file saying “Help us, finally, dammit!” to the powers that be that dictate policy that helps the wealthy without assisting the middle class and poor from losing ground.

Sadly, they still see the “free” market as the solution to the problem, when as I’ve pointed out consistently, the government is better poised to help them.

Worse for the GOP, there’s really no way to placate all forms of the movement:

In a sense, identifying with the Tea Party movement was like catching Beatlemania in the 1960s. People were drawn in for different reasons ”” the beat, the haircuts, the lyrics ”” and great gulfs of taste divided the John fans from the Paul fans, the George fans from the Ringo fans.

Smashing success broke the Beatles apart. As 2010 closes, there is no bigger question in U.S. politics than whether the Tea Party will go the same way. The pressures on this already divided movement will be enormous. As long as the far-flung elements of the Tea Party were shoulder to shoulder against Obama, it was easy to keep them together. But now, the party that argued so effectively for smaller government is headed to Washington, where so many other waves have broken and receded. Having remade Congress and with a GOP presidential nomination up for grabs, the Tea Party is about to learn that rallying against its enemies is easier than choosing among its allies.

Effectively, the Tea Party is a movement without a leader and many people vying for that leadership. But it may be too late: success happened so quickly for the chaotic movement that even early adopters like Dick Armey have had trouble herding the kittens.

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  • the title of this article for Understatement Of The Year. ‘Discontent’ seems a pretty mild word for what I’m feeling right now.

    I would ROFLMAO at the GOP’s upcoming dilemma if it were not for the fact that desperation may drive them to even more drastic measures. Like the drunk who felt chilly and built a fire in his livingroom, they may end up burning the entire country down.


    Retired Mainframe maven, active curmudgeon, poet, writer.

  • Hate. Don’t underestimate it’s quality to hold this coalition of the unthinking together long enough to do some very real and serious harm to our country and culture.

    Want to get Medicare slashed? Combine it with a rider that denies illegal immigrants any medical procedures even on an emergency basis. All Republicans (and a few Dems) will line up.

    Want to cut education funds and privatize the system for profit? Combine it with a bill that makes it illegal to have any funds or discussions about sexuality on campuses (efectively leaving gay kids to the bullies without any support.) Tea Baggers would cream themselves to vote for this.

    Want to obliterate Social Security? Just keep the payouts level for the next 10 years and grandfather in no cuts for anyone receiving full benefits today. Everyone else can be cut to the bone and the Tea Baggers don’t care. It’s called I’ve Got Mine, Go Fuck Yourself. Tea Baggers would line up ten deep to support such trash, they really do not care about the future.

    Sure, sooner or later the center will not hold and they’ll fall at each other’s throats. But first there is a lot of hating and “payback” to hold the monied interests and the tea baggers together. Openly discussing treason for those that oppose their policies should creep into the discussion as well, see how principled the Democratic congresspeople are to those allegations.

  • dominate both parties inside the Beltway, they are the ones who choose Presidents, and they get their agenda enacted from the top down. They are the ones who finance any campaigns that matter.

    GS et al direct the White House, the White House passes on policy to Congress. Both houses of Congress, being comprised by a majority who serve the Economic Royalists, regardless of party affiliation, enact the Royalist agenda.

    Signed, sealed, delivered. Done.

    Quite clearly, Obama, as did Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan, serve the Economic Royalists.

    They are called The Kings Of The North.

    The rest of us get to watch Homer Simpson to ease our pain.

    Yay!

  • It’s all part of the education of the public. Even with out the tea party, the Republican majority would have nothing to offer except more suffering. That’s bad enough. Now they’ve got a base with 4 of 10 Republican voters identifying themselves as tea party sympathizers. But it’s not a cohesive groups like the religious right. There’s Dick Armey and the plutocrats behind him trying to pull the strings for big business. Then there are the true believers … in their own anger and right to recognition driven by a primitive narcissism.

    For what? The only thing that’s going to change for this 40% of the Republican voters is their economic status which, like the rest of the population, will degrade rapidly and noticeably. As this happens, they’ll see huge breaks for big business and nothing for them. Trickle down will turn into an avalanche of trouble. They’ll get angrier but who will they turn to?

    In the mean time President Reagan-Obama will continue to enable Wall Street and cave in at every opportunity, following the script he was given when he sold out in the primaries.

    This will all turn into a sideshow as major economic, political, and environmental calamities distribute the suffering around the country and throughout the rest of the world.

    It will be a festival of pain with “leaders” who can’t buy a clue as to what to do. As President Lula of Brazil said, ‘Politics is about doing the obvious.’ He meant obvious actions in behalf of his people. We have no PhD’s in the obvious in the US political hierarchy. Just a bunch of sell outs and clowns so greedy they’ll find themselves sinking under the weight of the pieces of silver they’ve shoved in their pockets. It’s a grand life if you don’t falter.

  • “‘Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,’ said
    Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe,’ but I see
    something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding
    from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw.’

    ‘It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,’ was
    the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. ‘Look here.’

    From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children;
    wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt
    down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

    ‘Oh, Man. look here. Look, look, down here.’ exclaimed the Ghost.

    They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling,
    wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where
    graceful youth should have filled their features out, and
    touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled
    hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and
    pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat
    enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No
    change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any
    grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has
    monsters half so horrible and dread.

    Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him
    in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but
    the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie
    of such enormous magnitude.

    ‘Spirit. are they yours.’ Scrooge could say no more.

    ‘They are Man’s,’ said the Spirit, looking down upon
    them. ‘And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers.
    This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both,
    and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy,
    for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the
    writing be erased. Deny it.’ cried the Spirit, stretching out
    its hand towards the city. ‘Slander those who tell it ye.
    Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse.
    And abide the end.

    ‘Have they no refuge or resource.’ cried Scrooge.

    ‘Are there no prisons.’ said the Spirit, turning on him
    for the last time with his own words. ‘Are there no workhouses.'”
    – A Christmas Carol, Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits

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