The 3 Wings of the Republican Party: The Crazies, the Corporatists ... and Democrats
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Today's Republican Party has three wings: the psychiatric wing, the corporate wing, and the Democrats.
The first wing, the psychiatric wing, is defined by severe psychological and intellectual impairments, exemplified by the inability to read a birth certificate. Sarah Palin's recent foray into American history, replete with her description of Paul Revere as the man who rang alarms, bells, and buzzers to signal his support for the Second Amendment years before there was either a United States or a Bill of Rights, provides an example of the kind of "gaffe" that is, in fact, psychologically meaningful. This level of intellectual dysfunction, equally common in the pronouncements of Michelle Bachmann, once disqualified a candidate for high office. That was until the "lamestream media" decided to turn elections into reality shows, where the only real criterion is celebrity (defined as the state of being or becoming famous), and where commentators may poke occasional fun but no longer communicate to the public the seriousness of intellectual deficits in someone running for high office who would actually have to make decisions in which "facts" occasionally matter. (The dangerousness of that level of media indifference to reality should have been a lesson of George W. Bush's tenure in office, but things have sadly only gotten worse since then.)
This is the wing of the Republican Party that most endangers the party's chances to turn a dismal economy into an electoral victory in 2012, because it is so far to the right of mainstream America that you can see Russia from its porch (even if it locates that porch in Minnesota). The problem for the Republicans is that this wing of the party constitutes such a large percentage of GOP primary voters that it is hard to imagine any nominee emerging from the primaries without having had to produce so many general election campaign ads for the Democrats that President Obama may well defy political gravity and get re-elected no matter how high the unemployment rate drifts.
The second wing is the corporate wing, also known as the wing-tip wing. Once the home of moderate Republicans such as Bob Dole, this wing used to be slightly to the right of the American center. Its advocates held beliefs now seen as "quaint" by modern-day wing-tips (e.g., that humans evolved the same way other animals did, that a fertilized egg does not hold property rights any more than an omelet does, and that cutting the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, police, and firefighters does not reduce unemployment).
Today's wing-tips, in contrast, are defined by three articles of faith.
The first is that whatever ails you (whether budget deficits, unemployment, or kidney failure), the solution is tax cuts for the rich.
The second is the belief (this one true) that whatever ails them can be fixed within any two-year election cycle by an infusion of venture capital from the Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street, Big Oil, the Pharmaceutical lobby, or whosever interests could be served or threatened by some piece of legislation. These venture firms now require a controlling interest of 51 percent of an elected official (whether Republican or Democrat), but the futures market for political votes seems to be the only market that is working efficiently in America today. (Word has it that Larry Summers considers the deregulation of the commodities market for politicians one of his signal achievements, although to give credit where credit is due, he had an assist from the Roberts Court in its Citizens United ruling, which held that money need no longer be exchanged under the table, and reaffirmed that money is speech, making political payoffs a high form of rhetoric.)