February 23, 2010

Fault lines

George W. Bush was never as popular as his ardent followers would like us to believe, and the failure of the Bush brand of Republicanism created fault lines and fractures in the GOP that led to a Democrat takeover, first in the mid-term Congressional elections between 2002 and 2007, and then in 2008, of the White House.

Prior to that, failures in the Al Gore variety of left-wingers did much the same with the Democrat ranks, leading to the Congressional slaughters of 1995 and 1997 and the 2000 election of George W. Bush. Al Gore was no more popular generally than Bush, and unlike Bush who has for the most part faded into relative obscurity; Al Gore, due to his prominence in the climate change debate, remains an actively divisive, albeit minor figure in today’s political landscape.

Divisiveness is nothing new, and political mood swings are not exclusive to modern election cycles. There are many historical landmarks and political power swaps that may be laid at the feet of the fickle American voter and pinned to the chest of some or another rabid, or perhaps paranoid, nationalistic movement. We have split variously along ethnic, cultural, religious, philosophic, and gender lines.

In almost every instance, it seems, there is a boogyman… some philosophy, group or entity that we must fight against for the preservation of Our Country and Our Way of Life.

The dreaded, evil foe

There is always a war. We are a people and a land born of war, and it seems the periods of peace and plenty are too few and were too brief to be anything but inconsequential in our national development. At times we came mostly together as one to fight a common, external enemy, but more often we have divided against ourselves to fight the enemy within.

In my life and in my memory there have been 11 Presidents of the United States. Dwight Eisenhower’s was the first, but he left office when I was only 10-years old. What I know of the Eisenhower years is mostly the product of history books, but I still consider him to be the last good leader this nation has seen. A sad indictment, actually, considering how little Ike’s administration accomplished.

However, by the time Eisenhower left office, all of the great conflicts of the early 20th century were behind us. We were a country at relative peace in 1960 when John Kennedy was running against Eisenhower’s Vice-President, Richard Nixon.

So what does a country in times of relative peace and tranquility turn to at election time? We turn on each other, of course.

Political fault lines

Before Nixon there was Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy. When the Republicans gained control of the Senate in 1953, McCarthy was appointed Chair of Committee on Government Operations and the subcommittee on investigations, which he used as a tool to perpetuate his favorite pastime - Communist witch hunts.

Nixon had much the same hobby in his tenure as Chair of the House Un-American Activities Committee. McCarthy and Nixon were asshole buds in those days, but in 1954, by Eisenhower’s order, Nixon denounced McCarthy and denounced the extent to which the anti-communist efforts had reached.

Richard Nixon was such a vile man that when he announced his intention to run for the nation’s highest office, even Eisenhower would not endorse or support him. The fringe far right was the only reason he was on the Eisenhower ticket, and once out of office Ike saw no reason to support that reactionary wing any longer.

Nixon was ambitious and not willing to risk a loss at the polls. Left without support from the in-power Republicans, he turned to other resources for support, finding it in the ranks of that era’s version of the rabid right-wing; the John Birch Society. It wasn’t enough this time around, but the ghost of hanky-panky past returned and won office in 1972. The ensuing shenanigans eventually took Nixon out, but not before some of the worst political turmoil this country had suffered since attempted impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

The sky is falling

It took the reasonable right-wingers over 40 years to excise that demon, but the damage was done and the tone of politics is more viral today than ever in history. Not only are the political parties beating each other up, they are fracturing from within. Worse yet, the John Birch Society is making a comeback. That organization which reasonable Republicans spent so much time evicting, has been invited back to the table by the tea bag crowd.

The polar tails of politics are wagging the centrist dogs. A year ago when Barack Obama defeated John McCain, it was a battle of political midgets. Our two party system has become so dysfunctional that neither may hope to win office without inviting wingnuts into the tent. Obama had not the hope of a fart in a windstorm were it not for the loonytune left, and McCain lost support partly because he wasn’t viral enough to satisfy the rabid right, even with addition to the ticket of Caribou Barbie.

Obama is President because we lack the ability in this country to be reasonable. Take for instance the sudden revelation that John McCain isn’t rabid enough for Michelle Malkin, and Michelle Malkin isn’t viral enough to suit the tea baggers.

And Obama will be a single-term president because he isn’t loonytunes enough for the left.

The climate seldom changes. The only candidates capable of winning party nominations are those closely resembling the bigger chunks floating on the top of the cesspool… all because the wingers won’t let up…

Winning is everything… the country be damned.



Anonymous said...

Excellent. I would perhaps have taken a somewhat different path, but certainly would have reached the same conclusion.

Rogue Medic said...

Sad, but true.