In spite of a national desire for moderation, it appears that all of the Republican candidates for President, both fallen and still standing, plus the majority of Republicans representing us in Congress have wrapped themselves in the poison cloud of Republican orthodoxy. One has to remain in this noxious fog in order to be a “real Republican” or a “real conservative” for to break out from it is to be a “RINO”, Republican in Name Only.
Sadly, many close to me seem to be lost in this cloud. Perhaps they have had their senses dulled by breathing this poisonous cloud for they evidently cannot see clearly, listen to reason, distinguish between fact and fiction or feel for the less fortunate. This cloud envelops most of talk radio, whose purveyors have added more poisons and pollutants, stirred up the cloud and made it thicker and nastier than ever. The blond bimbos and loudmouthed carnival barkers that inhabit Fox News have also done their part to broaden and intensify this cloud.
This noxious cloud of Republican orthodoxy includes the following gasses, vapors and pollutants:
- Cut taxes for the rich and for corporations. Tax cuts “pay for themselves” and benefits will “trickle down” to benefit everyone. Oppose the Inheritance Tax. Oppose increasing the Federal minimum wage insisting, contrary to evidence, that a higher minimum wage will “kill jobs”.
- Cut regulations, which are “choking” , “stifling” and “smothering” businesses and corporations. Abolish Dodd-Frank. Unleash the power and magic of the pure free market. Abolish the EPA, the Clean Water Act, support fracking. Give the “job creators” free rein.
- Reduce the Federal budget, “pay off” the national debt, as if national spending is in any way similar to household spending (it is not).
- Proclaim social security and medicare “entitlements” and pledge to “save the country from bankruptcy” by cutting or limiting these earned benefits.
- Cut food stamps, welfare and other support for the poor. Assistance for the less fortunate will cause problems rather than ameliorate them. Reduce the US’s already modest safety net by whatever means necessary.
- Slash Federal regulatory budgets, including those of the IRS and the EPA, making it far more difficult to catch and penalize tax cheaters and corporate polluters.
- Support “the right to bear arms” and the NRA’s twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment blindly and at all costs, regardless of the needless slaughter caused by firearms every day in the US. Oppose even the most limited and sensible gun regulations.
- Spread fear of Muslims, Arabs and others from “strange” cultures and languages and pledge unqualified support for Israel, regardless of its well documented human rights abuses and violations of international law. Proclaim Iran the “enemy” and pledge to undo the Nuclear Agreement.
- Oppose same sex marriage and LGBT rights. Spread fear and hatred of “different” people in the school and workplace.
- Deny climate change, in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence and and vow to take America out of the Paris Agreement.
- Oppose abortion, promise to “defund” Planned Parenthood, deny women the right to choose, deny women the right to control their own bodies.
- Oppose progressive taxation or taxes period, despite the fact that the US is the least taxed of all the advanced countries. Support a regressive “national sales tax” or an even more regressive “flat tax” instead.
- Abolish Obamacare, despite its qualified success, oppose its expansion of Medicaid, offer no reasonable alternative, and simply oppose any form of universal healthcare which all other advanced nations already have.
- Support the “war on drugs” and oppose legalization of drugs. Be “tough on crime”, blindly support the police, in spite of their abuses, send offenders to prison where they will be “punished”, not rehabilitated.
- Pledge unqualified support for the military and increasing the Pentagon budget, in spite of horrendous waste. Resolve international conflicts through war, not diplomacy, support the expansion of our “American Empire”. Support America as the top world arms merchant.
- Oppose unions and workers’ rights. Support “right to work” (this term lends a false sheen to its anti-union intent) laws. Give employers unlimited rights over employees.
- Sell western Federal lands to the states and private corporations (hooray for Cliven Bundy!) who they claim can manage it more fairly and efficiently than the Federal government.
- Support privatization of public functions like education and municipal services. Promote the discredited Reagan claim that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”. Support “small government” (whatever that is) while contradictorily expanding the military, corporate welfare and control over women’s bodies.
- Discredit and defund public schools, support corporate charter schools and “accountability” through standardized testing, oppose “common core” curriculum (actually just a modest effort to create a national curriculum, like other nations have).
- Support the death penalty as “revenge and “punishment” in spite of its documented ineffectiveness as a deterrent and in spite of the fact that we are the only advanced nation that still subscribes to this medieval practice.
- Support “enhanced interrogation” to enhance national security, despite the fact that this torture violates international law and has proven to be ineffective. Keep Guantanamo open, in fact, “fill it up”.
- Limit voting rights to stop non-existent “voter fraud” by requiring photo ID, reducing the number of polling places and reducing or eliminating early voting and voting by mail, but blather on about the “sanctity” of the vote and the “duty” to vote.
- Keep politics and elections running on money and continue to bow and bend to the influence of billionaire donors like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson. Demonstrate absolutely no interest in overturning Citizens United.
- Oppose immigration, especially for Syrians and other Muslims, blame people of color for most of our problems and oppose any attempt to grant amnesty and citizenship to illegal immigrants.
The above tenets compose the noxious cloud of Republican orthodoxy. I realize that we all grasp what we can from our personal past, our knowledge of history and from what we choose to digest from the media to generate and support our convictions but conservatives embracing this mess of mostly false and harmful notions to construct their orthodoxy is unprecedented. Prevailing American public opinion, which opposes most of the above, should readily puncture and rend this cloud to allow in some sunshine and illumination but if the Koch brothers, Fox News, ALEC and the rest, have their way, the Republican party will continue to stagger around in the darkness of this cloud for much of the foreseeable future.
Eventually this cloud will replicate, condense and coalesce into more solid matter – the Republican Presidential Platform. But it will continue to envelop the Republicans who presently represent us in Congress and in our state legislatures and who occupy our state governors’ offices until the Party heals itself and returns to the more rational and moderate principles espoused by so many great Republicans of the past.