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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Courting Disaster

Recently elected Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker -- revealing himself to have been a closeted fulminating anti-labor zealot and now threatening, flabbergastingly, to squash constitutionally protected nonviolent public organizing with the blazing guns of the National Guard -- is the latest Republican elected to office in the aftermath of a profoundly deceptive "feel good" campaign providing little clue of the sweeping repressive agenda he had in mind. Virginia's Robert McDonnell is another conspicuous example among many, including Ohio's John Kasich, Florida's Rick Scott, Maine's Scott LePage, of the phenomenon -- and the grandfatherly silences of Federalist Society appointees to the Supreme Court provide a notable variation on the theme -- and of course George W. Bush's whole "compassionate conservative" schtick provided something like the proximate blueprint for this soft-peddling electoral PR fraud.

It is crucial that we connect these dots clearly and often, to provide some kind of public immune system against these endlessly repeated marketing and promotional tactics of the marginal Culture Warriors and Market Fundamentalist zealots of the most extreme precincts of the Republican right wing. In the largest sense, this would demand a curtailment of the ongoing suffusion of all of public life with the deceptive and debasing norms and forms of marketing and promotional discourse, but I am calling for a more specific intervention in this case. Simply recalling to the attention of citizens the many recent instances across the country in which suave zealots skirted questions of their radical commitments while making moderate noises should make every American as profoundly skeptical in advance of every Republican campaigning as a moderate while his history and ties suggest immoderate aspirations.

The Republican Party has not been this dangerously crazy and authoritarian in years, there is simply no use denying it. And it is crucial that the GOP pay a real price in marginalization for its extremity before the irrational forces that suffuse it and which it is releasing into the world manage to destroy this country and possibly the world itself in a military or ecological catastrophe. That should have, but did not, happen in November, and people of the democratic left need to educate, agitate, and organize in the face of the consequences.


jollyspaniard said...

Are you certain that the people who voted for them don't tacitly agree with what they are doing? Times are hard and the population is getting older. That's a recipe for some pretty nasty undercurrents in a society.

That they downplay how nasty they are isn't new these kinds of politicians usually do there's plenty of precedent going back at least a century. Call it the hate that dare not speak its name.

jollyspaniard said...

Speaking of courting disaster the news on the climate front this year has come from bad to worse.

First we've got several gigatons of carbon being released by the Amazonian rainforest. This former carbon sink is now emitting more carbon than the USA. And now a new report suggests that we've got another 1,000 gigatons of carbon coming our way courtesy of the arctic permafrost.

It's looking increasingly like we've already passed the tipping point and we're rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.