Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Monster On the Loose & Paul Ryan's Memory Issues

It's Super Tuesday, the most important state primary / caucus day of the 2016 presidential race with a prized cache of delegates from thirteen different states up for grabs.

But there's a monster loose in the Republican party and "establishment" Republicans from House Speaker Paul Ryan, to former two-term Republican New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman are grabbing their pitchforks and desperately trying to rally conservative villagers.

It's somewhat puzzling to listen to Paul Ryan use the influence of the Speaker's Chair to insist that there's no room for bigotry in the Republican party while repudiating Donald Trump for his reluctance to distance himself from endorsements from the KKK and other white supremacist organizations like Stormfront.

As political observer and essayist Chauncey DeVega observed on his blog Indomitable earlier this afternoon, Ryan seems to have forgotten the GOP's open embrace of the "Southern Strategy" as a means to attract white voters in America by preying on racial prejudices, ingrained fears and ignorance.

Trump is doing the exact same thing that Republicans have been doing since George Wallace and Barry Goldwater in the 1960's, and now "establishment" conservatives are calling him out for it?

House Republican Speaker Paul Ryan
I certainly can't recall Paul Ryan expressing any indignation over Republican governors and state legislatures around the country enacting repressive "voter ID laws" that have and are creating un-Constitutional barriers to vote for thousands of African-American, Hispanic, legal immigrants, young people and the elderly.

Remember back in March of 2014 when Ryan ignited a nationwide firestorm when he blamed high poverty rates in urban communities on a "culture" of laziness "in our inner cities."?

As the former House Budget Chairman, Ryan's draconian 2012 Congressional budget proposal could arguably be called intentionally racially and socioeconomically biased for the $5.3 trillion in cuts to medicare, medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance that he proposed - bedrock antipoverty programs that would have had disproportional affects on poor and low-income blacks, whites, Hispanics and Native Americans alike.

Ryan's proposed budget cuts in 2012 also called for 33% cuts in education, employment, job training and social services, arguably ideological bigotry in it's purest form.

Today's Republican party establishment has come to rely on thinly-veiled "code words" about race to press the buttons of their voter base on an as-needed basis.

So I think Ryan's righteous indignation over Trump today is less about race than it is the shift in the power base that makes the Republican elite so nervous; a man like Trump who doesn't need someone's money scares the shit out of GOP power brokers.

David & Charles Koch and Sheldon Adelson
If it wasn't for the hundreds of millions of dollars in dark money that conservative rainmaker billionaires like Charles and David Koch and Sheldon Adelson have poured into the nation's political process like some kind of toxic sludge over the past eight years, one could almost generate a measure of sympathy for extremist conservatives now that the ideological monster they created is loose.


When it served their needs, many conservatives were happy to watch their monster run around and wreck things.

Back in President Obama's first term, when enraged Tea Party Birthers were intoxicating themselves on loony theories about the President being some kind of Islamic- socialist who wasn't born in America, Republicans watched their monster with glee and goaded it on.

They even fed it by bankrolling the Tea Party and supporting right-wing media to further enrage the conservative base into a state of almost-perpetual hysteria.

But unfortunately for the Koch bothers and their like-minded billionaire ideological-brethren, they thought their money gave them control over the monster.

It didn't. And Donald Trump was smart enough to understand how the monster thinks very early on in his campaign.

He learned to please the monster and tell it things it likes to hear, now he controls it and establishment Republicans are learning too late that the monster they spent years creating to do their bidding doesn't listen to them anymore.

It's loose, and Republicans don't know how to get it back; they're not even sure if they want it back.

Some Republicans, like Chris Christie, once despised the monster and fought against it.

But now they serve it instead.

Christie's craving for the national media spotlight was strong, but the hope of a potential political opportunity was enough for Christie to put the monster ahead of his political reputation.

Which, as Jennifer Rubin wrote in a blog for the Washington Post, is now ruined beyond repair.

But that's part of the monster's allure, it lies and destroys.

To me the most frightening part of the classic 1931 film 'Frankenstein' (adapted from Mary Shelley's novel) starring Boris Karloff, isn't when Dr. Frankenstein brings the monster to life in his lab.

It's the terror that ensues amongst the villagers when the monster escapes and runs amok.

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