5 Giant Contradictions That Are Sinking the GOP
Continued from previous page
Whatever enduring Citizens United ripples, 2012 defined a new coalition that rejected the 1% Rove billionaires and demanded, at the least, fairer taxation. More bumps will come (if 2014 turnout is low) but 2016 should reprise the same question: will this demographically-enriched majority get to rule, even offset House gerrymandering, or will narcissistic robber barons reign in their unwarranted power. Along with bashing the wobbly billionaire-Tea Party alliance, this new coalition should declare open season on the perverse notion that plutocrats should dominate a democratic system.
Glaring Contradiction Three: The Rugged Individualism of the Super-rich
Either good government advances the “general welfare” (with public education, social justice, family and small business support), or we lose what’s left of our once vaunted socio-economic mobility. Thus, campaign debate over “who built what,” or the “profits” that accrue from tax dollars, were healthy checks on outdated myths. What more undermined the fiction of “self-made billionaires” this season than the display of desperate manipulation that disregarded collective, national needs for private, selfish gains?
What is tawdrier than a few hundred super-rich families investing a few hundred million each to enhance assets worth many more billions? As Elizabeth Warren proclaimed: "You built a factory out there? Good for you," yet “you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” And then she brilliantly defined the community- democracy partnership: "Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along." This paramount message deserves a replay every election.
Glaring Contradiction Four: When Ignorance is Neither Bliss, Nor Power
The rightwing allergy to reality is now front and center: blunt denial of unarguable, tested knowledge defies reality and corrupts truth. Worse still is the projection of their bad will onto honorable scientists: evolution and climate change aren’t just wrong or misguided, but hoaxes invented to hoodwink fools. Irony, anyone? So, the right scorns underpaid climate experts but imbibes the overpaid FOX goons dishing out fear, paranoia, and conspiracy theories. That fishy logic won't swim.
Thank any deity you like for Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, with bountiful, unintended blessings. When jaw-dropping absurdities about sex go national, the media has to tell the truth and debunk the magic thinking of Biblical literalists. Did Akin and Mourdock not discredit the entire GOP platform, let alone amendment talk to ban all abortions or gay marriage? Knowledge may be complicated, even controversial, but this season we observed how simple, and simple-minded, bloody ignorance on parade can be, with compelling election payoffs.
Glaring Contradiction Five: When Social Wedge Issues Lose their Edges
So, now we know any national party warring against millions of voters -- whether women, minorities, immigrants, gays, or the jobless poor -- contradicts its core interests. 2012 confirmed the shelf life of noxious wedge issues used to elect W. (free abortions, gay rights, looming gun bans) have long expired. Even slurs against the Muslim, socialist non-citizen boomeranged. When racist, homophobic code is decoded, then exposed, even superficial headline readers gag on crude bait-and-switch politics. Indeed, we learned that divisive wedge issues that lose their edges morph into blunt instruments that bloody the maker, not the victim target. Bring on the Birthers, broadcasting the impervious, intellectual bankruptcy of the extreme, illiterate right.
The tide has turned: majorities no longer deem homosexuality immoral, nor marijuana a sinful crime, indeed, a helpful cancer drug. Rigid opposition to abortion elects otherwise hopeless Democrats (talk about irrational!). Sensible conservatives, all six of them, now defend gay marriage because staple relationships support (conservative) institutions that teach moral values, stabilizing the otherwise errant young.
Overall, the Republican Tea Party was slammed not simply because Democrats ran terrific campaigns, but because so many core GOP contradictions imploded, then exploded, the huge price for living too long in deluded bubbles. That doesn’t mean billionaires or Tea Party wingnuts will clean up their intellectual acts, nor develop Christian tolerance to other points of view. But this election displayed a growing electorate, and that demonstrated how entrenched, unbaked contradictions, when outliving all usefulness, turn into weapons of self-destruction. Reality, like truth, will out in a world where contradictions are exposed, and for me that’s what made this election memorable.