Thursday, March 25, 2010

Will Republican Failure Now Turn (Even More) Violent?

By Frank Schaeffer

With the Senate having now passed the final reconciliation changes to the health care reform bill, the Republicans from their "Tea Party" wing to their high priest of hallucinatory fantasy; Glenn Beck, are about to pay a historic price for the biggest miscalculation in American political history since Charles Lindberg sided with the Germans. The pundits all have it wrong. Obama's victory on health care reform will result in the Democratic Party retaining the majority in both houses of Congress as well as Obama winning a second term.

Disclosure: As a former Republican and Religious Right leader who quit the movement in the mid 80s (for reasons I explain in my book Crazy For God) let me tell my progressive friends and all reality-based people why and how the Republican Party just consigned themselves to defeat by (amongst other things) opposing health care reform.

Why would the Republicans go down in flames siding with the insurance industry against the American people?

Because they (like all political-religiously-inspired fanatics) are in the grip of their own propaganda.

They have committed the ultimate act of political folly: they believe their own BS.

The Republicans have drunk deep at the well of their version of bad back woods moonshine. And their tainted moonshine of misinformation has blinded them. But when the facts are in the Republicans will pay a price. That's because most Americans are not watching Fox News and still live on planet Earth with their eyes open.

So this - contrary to the pundits -- is going to be a great year for Democrats.

Right Wing America lives in an isolation bubble. And now -- like the American "patriotic" pro-fascists of the 1930s and 40s -- they will pay the price for swilling willful disinformation and believing it.

Consider the fate of the reputation of Charles Lindbergh (the fly-the-Atlantic-solo hero). When Germany invaded Poland (in 1939) Lindbergh became the German's most prominent public American spokesman. Speaking to crowds in New York City, Chicago and all over America, he was popular with the equivalent of his generation's "Tea Party Movement" then called the "America Firsters." Like the Tea Party these folks did not trust their government and thought that they alone had the "facts" about what was "really going on," in their case over in Germany and what to do about the rise to power of the fascists in Europe.

The "Firsters" or the America First Committee, was against the American entry into World War II. They had about 850,000 members. After the attack upon Pearl Harbor in 1941 their movement collapsed because everything they had claimed about Germany and Japan (that they were no threat to America) proved to be a lie.

That day's xenophobic and utterly ignorant Firster "patriots" lapped up the Lindbergh moonshine alternative reality. They also (like the Tea Party today) accused their President (Roosevelt) of "communism" because he opposed far right Germany. They too had their hate fed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh; in their day radio personality and fascist sympathizer Father Charles Coughlin...

Fast forward to last Sunday's Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio when a man with Parkinson's disease was bullied by the Tea Party protesters who shouted: "If you're looking for a handout, you're in the wrong end of town!" and to Washington (Saturday) where Tea Party "patriots" spit on a black congressman and taunted Barney Frank because he's gay. Fast forward to right wing anti-Obama forces smashing the windows on Democratic Party regional HQs in 5 states.

Congressional Democrats report threats linked to the passage of health care reform legislation this week. Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer said that he and Republican congressional leaders have discussed implementing new security precautions for lawmakers after an increase in threats following Sunday's health care reform vote and accompanying anti-reform protests outside the Capitol over the weekend.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating cut fuel lines at the Virginia home of Democratic Representative Tom Perriello's brother, whose address was posted online by a right-wing blogger who said it was the lawmaker's address.

The anti-health care reform window-smashing intimidation specialists are the same sorts of folks who on the fringe of the "pro-life" movement have been waving signs wherein Obama's name is plastered on the picture of a dead fetus' and the word "murderer" is scrawled in bloody letters over our President's picture adorned with a Hitler mustache. These people are represented by the likes of the congressman who yelled "Baby Killer!" on the floor of Congress and other Republican "leaders" who told America that health care reform meant unplugging grandma.

The leaderless Republican Party -- or should I say the dwindling rabble of reactionaries who still identify themselves as Republicans -- is not just politically leaderless, they're also morally leaderless.

This, speaking metaphorically, is a lynch mob in the making. And they have just lost a big fight in our congress. What will they do next?

Why do the Republican leadership allow this mob to rule? Because they now have no choice.

The Republican leadership have literally gotten into bed with hate. And like all such bargains with the devil it was easier to begin their relationship with rube America than to end it.

Like Lindberg who lived out the rest of his life in ignominy -- once we went to war with Japan and Germany -- the Republicans will find little room to maneuver as the reality of the good that the health care reform bill will do sinks in with ordinary Americans. And if one of the Tea Party-type loons flies another plane into some federal building again - as recently happened in Texas to the IRS - and there is a huge tragedy, the Republican/Tea Party game will be over.

Either way: be it the next right wing act of domestic terror or the realization by the American public that the Republicans are just plain wrong on the facts; the Republicans are on their way down.

They have made a historic miscalculation on health care reform. They have embraced a group of potentially violent and always embarrassing fellow travelers. The American people may have been confused about the facts but they soon won't be. And most Americans are not hate-filled people who applaud other Americans spitting on congressmen or throwing bricks through office windows-- or worse to come.

Count on the Democratic Party doing well in November and beyond.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy For God How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back


Luke Gillespie said...

Amen! Preach it, brother Frank!

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi thanks Luke!

Annette said...

Thank You Mr. Schaeffer.. you are always a calm voice of reason for everyone.

Just Thank You.

freestyleroadtrip said...

I appreciate your opinions and words. But I'm reading "Patience For God" right now. You talk about how Richard Dawkins rips religion and then starts what seems like a religious movement on his own with the lapel pins, T shirts, and words from his followers like "amen" and "preach it." That's exactly what Luke has said to you above, and I know you are not in control of how Luke responds, but I just can't get away from the fact of how moderate your books sound and how extreme your words on politics sound. Bugs me a bit.

More specifically, you talk about the Lindberg crowd, the Firsters, in support of the Germans didn't trust their government . That seems to imply that we should be trusting our government. Well isn't that what the Germans did, trust their government. I just can't get away from what seems to be unquestioned governmental trust on your part while you obviously understand, based on Crazy For God and Patience With God, that positions at the extreme lead to much error.


fwallbank said...

I'm thinking it's not as much trusting or not trusting the government - it's a search for truth. I really, really think the Obama Admisnistration is encouraged by their leader to speak truth to the people. I'm not blind - I can rely on Keith or Rachel to hold the Obama Admin's feet to the fire - but basically Obama is trying to do what's best for the people. I pray for him & his family daily - that they will be safe - that corruption will not entice - & on & on. It's up to us to see truth, and when we don't, to speak up. (I prayed for Bush, but it was hard - sorry) Fran

Dave C said...

Point of fact, the Congressman wasn't purposefully spit on.

A guy was yelling and he did need to learn how to 'Say it, don't spray it' and the Congressman walked into the 'blast radius' if you will.

He was sprayed a little, but not spit on the way you implied.

Don't forget about this threat against Congresswoman Jean Schmidt.

Threats happen all the time to both sides of the isle. Hoyer is political grandstanding.

As for posters of Obama with the Hitler 'Stache.. EVERY one of those I've seen has been from Lyndon LaRouche PAC.

As someone who is as active in the political arena as you are, Frankie, you would know that Lyndon LaRouchies are a left wing extremist bunch.

And the guy in Texas who flew his plane into the federal building? He had a hard on for socialism. he was NOT with the Tea Party crowd.

Alan said...

Mr. Schaeffer
May I add to your wonderful article:

My New Presidential Palindrome!

“I WILL ALWAYS LOVE OBAMA” - No matter which way one may be coming from – The LEFT or The RIGHT! Or How OLD or NEW one's thinking may be!

Whether erudite or not!


Wilbur Walrond