How often have Congressional Democrats been rolled by the Republican machine, voted for something they shouldn’t have, and then been blamed by the Republicans for the drastic consequences?
The events typically follow a pattern. The extremely powerful Republican media machine sets up an environment that convinces the Washington politicians that it will be very difficult politically to vote against them, and makes sure that the vote happens quickly – before opposing forces have time to realize what’s going on and rally enough real people on the other side to demonstrate that there really is support for non-Republican positions.
How many times have we seen this process at work? It is the careful creation of a local environment calculated to maximize pressure on the legislators at the best possible moment. The phony Republican news events, the “independent” media playing along & following their script, the AM radio 24-hour-a-day Republican drumbeat pounding out the lies, the slurry of misleading or blatantly deceitful op-ed pieces filling the editorial pages, the dittohead letters to the editor (or “astroturf” – phony grassroots letters generated by a marketing firm), the pack of columnists writing according to instructions FAXed over from the Heritage Foundation (follow the NEA smear for an example) (second NEA smear link here), pretty soon all the news stories reflect the Republican line and repeat the Republican falsehoods.
It becomes a drumbeat of constant repetition of the same lines over and over and over until they become “conventional wisdom.” “Everybody knows that” so-and-so is true so there’s no point wasting your energy trying to say it ain’t so. Polls then show that the public (deprived of any contrasting information) solidly favors the Republican position. Calls and letters flood in to Congressional offices (from Christian Coalition phone banks). Democrats start to worry about their chances of holding office if they oppose the Republicans on this one vote.
Then the vote comes up in the Congress, and enough Democrats – afraid that Rush Limbaugh will say something bad about them, and mired in a Washington “bubble” environment cut off from their constituents – vote with the Republicans to get the issue through and out of the way. Tax cuts, budget cuts, right-wing judges, “compromises” on health care or welfare or energy… and Bush slides it past the voters as a “bipartisan” win for the Republicans.
I call this process “The Forest.” We have now seen it happen enough times that we can recognize what’s happening and even predict the next move. What’s unfortunate is how the Democrats in Washington fall into the same trap every time. Now it’s happening on the ultimate issue – war and peace, life and death.
Democrats need to remember that the judges who voted Bush into office were there because they were put onto the bench with Democratic votes. Democrats need to remember that the Judges who sent Starr after Clinton were put there with Democratic votes. Democrats need to remember that the tax cuts and policies now ruining the economy were passed with Democratic votes. The corporate domination of the media happened with Democratic votes. The erosion of constitutional liberties happened with Democratic votes. So many of the tools now in the hands of the right were handed to them with Democratic votes. Trying to get along. Trying to be bipartisan. Trying to keep them from saying too many bad things about them.
I’ve got news for these Democrats. They might think they are being “bipartisan” and “compromising” and participating in good government but that is not what is happening here. Rush Limbaugh is going to say bad things about them anyway. In fact he’s going to say worse things about the Democrats who come part way over to the other side. These guys are not about “good government” – they hate the government and they are engaged in a process of altering the power structure until the government is irrelevant and they are running the show. These guys don’t even tolerate moderate Republicans. They don’t even tolerate conservative Republicans like John McCain if they dare to speak out against the Party Line even once. They will make WORSE fun of you when they know you’re scared of them.
The Republicans today are not the same as the Republicans of the past. These are “movement conservatives.” They are the Libertarians and far-far-right-wing Christians who have taken over the Republican Party of the past. The closest thing historically would be the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which they have modeled themselves after. They do not compromise. They do not tolerate differences. They rule through intimidation and bullying. They have only one place for opposition – OUT. They will say and do anything to gain and hold power – including accusing the opposition of saying and doing anything, as they did during the 2000 campaign. Anyone who speaks out even once is banished. (Please read David Brock’s book, Blinded By the Right. The guy was inside of this and writes about it.)
Bush comes straight out of this movement. His staff and appointees have all come from the Newt-wing of The Party. The behind-the-scenes people who specialized in smearing Clinton are now government officials making policy.
There is only one way to save the country from this crowd, and that is to stand up to them and expose what they are doing. The public needs to know how this web of wealthy right-wing foundations and their think-tanks and organizations are accomplishing so much, and what their long-term agenda really is! These guys are not fooling around! Today the fight is literally over war-and-peace and it’s for keeps, and tomorrow we could be at end-of-democracy. It looks like they are capable of that and it won’t be the first time this has happened to a civilized country. And why wouldn’t they? Running the world is the oldest prize in humanity’s playbook.
Here are some articles to read that trace how they have formed this “conservative movement” and how it is funded: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here (click on the links on the left of this last linked page for more). I’ll keep researching and posting. As you can see there has been quite a bit written about how they have been accomplishing so much – yet the public knows almost nothing about this.
I’ve written a few things about this. Here is a good start. Here. Here. Here.