Republican Politics, Then and Now
Way back in the 1950's when I first tasted politics and journalism, Republicans briefly controlled the White House and Congress. With the exception of Joseph McCarthy and his vicious ilk, they were a reasonable lot, presided over by that giant war hero, Dwight Eisenhower, who was conservative by temperament and moderate in the use of power.
That brand of Republican is gone. And for the first time in the memory of anyone alive, the entire federal government -- the Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary -- is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate.
That mandate includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to give up control over their own lives.
It includes using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich.
It includes giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment and control the regulatory agencies meant to hold them accountable.
And it includes secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine. Above all, it means judges with a political agenda appointed for life. If you liked the Supreme Court that put George W. Bush in the White House, you will swoon over what's coming.
And if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture. These folks don't even mind you referring to the GOP as the party of God. Why else would the new House Majority Leader say that the Almighty is using him to promote 'a Biblical worldview' in American politics?
So it is a heady time in Washington -- a heady time for piety, profits, and military power, all joined at the hip by ideology and money.
Don't forget the money. It came pouring into this election, to both parties, from corporate America and others who expect the payback. Republicans outraised Democrats by $184 million. And came up with the big prize -- monopoly control of the American government, and the power of the state to turn their ideology into the law of the land. Quite a bargain at any price.
Bill Moyers is the host of NOW, a weekly television show on PBS.