Bought and Paid For
by Astyanax, Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 12:23:33 AM EDT
The Republicans are brilliant! They really are. You really have to admit it. The independent vote, one that always is a toss-up and most speculated about as an election draws to a close, is no longer in doubt. Not this time. Not by the Republicans. Why? Because the Republicans have bought and paid for it over the last year. And the way they did it? The Tea Party Movement.
The independent vote is always a worry because of its potential to be an election spoiler. Just look at the candidacy of runners like Ross Poirot, Ralph Nader, and even Pat Buchanan. This year, the Republicans decided to insure that the majority of independent voters would vote for the “third party’ which, in actuality is really the Republican Party. How? Because it has already been bought and paid for. And the only people that don’t know it, or understand how it happened, are the independent voters themselves.
The strategy is brilliant! Brilliant! First, rev up the anger of these voters by seeding the hometown district meetings of Democratic senators and congressmen with what can only be described as “outside agitators.” Knowing that media cameras would cover these events if they knew that there would be confrontation; these agitators insured this confrontation in districts all over the country. The Republicans, who have, for the last two years, been as obstructionist as possible, without suggesting alternate solutions, ginned up the rhetoric at these meetings and played on fears both real and imagined. They had no other suggestions to confront a possible depression, rising unemployment, the issue of illegal immigration and healthcare. They didn’t have to. All they had to do was criticize what was being done by the Democrats. This is an old tactic in the Republican playbook. Remember Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks campaign to win reelection? Or worse yet, remember Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933?
Oh, you think that that last sentence is extreme? Watch the news at night. Tea Party signs either depict the President of the United States; Barak Obama is either Hitler, The Joker or an African witch doctor. Good tactic. Demonize the opposition. Make them “the other.” After all, his father was an African. So question his birth certificate, his patriotism and the legitimacy of his election. And make people afraid. Very afraid.
But I get ahead of myself. Back to the story. So activists within the Republican Party like Dick Armey, former U.S. Representative from Texas’s 26th congressional district, Sarah Palin, briefly Governor of Alaska and the Fox News (and I use that word humorously) Network like Glen Beck and Bill O’Reilly promote a new political organization with a name that has positive patriotic history in this country, the Boston Tea Party, a genuinely patriotic exercise in the cause of freedom from Britain in the 1700’s. However, this new movement is not aimed at the British but at their own government. And the mantra used, “Throw the Washington insiders out!” except the Republican insiders, of course. Now many of these angry voters could not be counted on to vote Republican unless this movement appeared to be a genuine third party. Never mind that it was being bought and paid for, slowly, oh so slowly, by backers controlled by the Republicans themselves.
The strategy had some rough moments. In Republican primaries, some of the incumbent Republican candidates for office were beaten by Tea Party candidates. No problem. Just have the Republican Party abandon the incumbents and back the Tea Party candidates. And so we have ended up with candidates like Rand Paul from Kentucky, Sharon Engle from Arizona, Joe Miller from Alaska, Marco Rubio from Florida and Christine O’Donnell from Delaware, to name just a few.
But it really is about anger. All about anger. Frustration about an economy that seems to be slow to recover, of unemployment rates that are too slow to fall, and of home foreclosures that are on the rise. And about the “other.” An African American president and “marauding bands of brown-skinned gang members that are streaming across our borders” as in Sharon Engle’s most recent TV ad. Again, remember the German election of 1933. Then the ads that showed in German movie houses across the country were about their “other,” the Jews. They were depicted as hooked-nosed foreigners in their midst, and finally as rats teeming through the streets. Too much? Too soon? I don’t think so.
But this election really isn’t about the frustration or anger of the people of this country. If it is about anger at all, it is about the anger of a party that lost control of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. It is really all about power. It is about who will decide, for the American People, what our country will look like in the next few years. It is about exclusion, not inclusion. In short, it is about sore losers who want revenge. So they gave birth to, co-opted and finally controlled a third party movement, in an attempt to regain power. And they did it in the only way they knew how. They bought it and they paid for it.
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