Tea Party member and six term Missouri Congressman and Senate candidate, Todd Akins’ very conspicuous absence from the Republican National Convention reminded me once again of just how schizophrenic the Republican Party’s relationship is with the Tea Party.
Akins’ statement essentially that the human uterus is able to distinguish the sperm of a rapist from that of other men and therefore prevent a pregnancy, if indeed it is a “legitimate” rape, is now old news.
In the November 2012 election, the Republican Party is attempting to win the White House and Senate, and hold on to its majority in the House of Representatives. While it’s unknown whether Republicans will be successful in any of those ventures, they will no doubt have a measure of success in some. How much success they will have, a little or a lot, only time will tell.
One thing is certain beyond any doubt, however – Republicans’ political philosophies, their economic theories, their social agendas and indeed Republicans as a political force in the United States, will ultimately, over time, totally and completely fail.
They will fail because they are on a course which is utterly untenable. And that course is untenable because of just how out-of-sync Republican views and proposed policies are with those of the majority of the American public. Because their positions on most issues are indeed far more extreme than those of average Americans.
Republicans don’t want the American people, to actually know what their views and resulting policy positions really are. It’s true that their agenda is clearly and unequivocally stated in the Republican platform. Those views are admittedly and quite obviously spelled out there, in writing, for any and all to see. But Republicans know that most Americans, the average Jane and Joe, are in fact not going to read their platform. They know that average Americans instead, are going to listen to what Republicans in their speeches and in their commercials, tell them is their platform. Republicans count on it. They count on appealing to tens of millions of low information voters.
As a consequence, the Republican success strategy is to simply lie about their views. They’ve lied about their platform over and over again. They’ve lied by saying that their policies aren’t their policies – that they aren’t going to change the medicare system, for example.
They’ve lied time and time again by not only opposing but indeed vilifying policy proposals supported by Democrats, which were initially their very own ideas, and originally proposed by them – the health care mandate, for instance.
They’ve lied by blaming Democrats for things that they themselves actually did – downgrading the country’s international credit rating comes to mind in this instance.
They’ve lied by campaigning on issues about which they didn’t actually care, but which they knew would raise the passions of their base. One of the clearest examples is both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns during which he spoke incessantly on the stump about the evils of gay marriage and the absolute importance of protecting the sanctity of monogamous heterosexual marriage, and then, after both elections, promptly forgetting about the issue, neither saying nor doing anything about it.
Lying about their views and resulting policy proposals has worked for Republicans in numerous elections at all levels of government. Indeed it is at this point, one of their most well established political strategies, a strategy which they continue to use to snooker primarily working class white voters who, unfortunately, repeatedly fall for the okedoke. They continually drink the kool aid. I call it The Republican Snooker Strategy.
The biggest snooker of all, which many millions of white working class voters have fallen far, hook, line and sinker, against their own interests, is that Democrats will at every opportunity, give “stuff” to minorities at their expense, i.e., that comes directly out of their pockets, and conversely, that the only thing that stands in the way of minorities getting “everything”, is the Republican Party, which looks out for them. Mainstream Republicans have intentionally played on that specific race-based fear of Tea Partiers and in the process, have indeed successfully snookered them, playing them like fiddles.
But the Tea Partiers, for their part, have caused two noteworthy problems for Republicans. First, the Tea Partiers are exposing mainstream Republicans’ Snooker Strategy. Tea Partiers, in fact, are exposing all of the Republicans’ lies.
It’s fascinating, however, that they’re exposing those lies, not by fact-checking them, not by exposing their dishonesty. Instead, the Tea Partiers are exposing Republican lies by essentially being bluntly and uncompromisingly truthful about what Republicans really believe. They’re being brutally honest about what the true Republican policies, in point of fact, actually are. Tea Partiers are exposing the views that Republicans want to enact into law but keep secret.
[Perhaps no clearer example exists of the Republican Party's desire to keep its views secret, than conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's advice to Republicans, "For any and all of you Republicans, when you're asked why you don't have a rape exception in the party platform on abortion, don't answer it. Don’t get into the substance. Don't answer the question Republicans. Don't go anywhere near it." Lawrence O'Donnell reported on his MSNBC TV show that evening, that on that same day, the day on which Limbaugh offered his advice, Republican political strategist Sean Boyd agreed to give an interview to a local Denver reported on the stipulation that she not ask him about abortion and about Todd Akin.]
Tea Partiers don’t say that their policy proposals are not their proposals. They publicly and unabashedly embrace them – Darn right we oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest and yes, even when pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. Remember after all that, (according to Mr. Akin), “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down”, and sure, “there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child”.
So yes, the government should force women to be pregnant and to give birth against their will. And by the way – birth control’s gotta go too. If women don’t want to get pregnant, they should just keep their legs closed. “Let ‘em “put an aspirin between their knees”, as former Republican Senator Rick Santorum nostalgically reminisced was the birth control practice of the past.
So………The Republican Party is very much afraid of the Tea Partiers. They’re afraid that the Tea Partiers will “out” them in ways that will cause the American electorate to brutally punish them at the polls. Indeed, they’re afraid of what their ultimate political future will be without their tried and true Snooker Strategy. That genuine fear explains Republican strategist Karl Rove’s reported reaction to Mr. Akin’s recent opining about intelligent uteruses, “We should sink Todd Akin……..If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!” Mr. Rove said that he was joking.
So there truly is a kind of schizophrenia in the relationship between the Republican Party and the Tea Party – while mainstream Republicans quiver in their boots in the presence of their Tea Party colleagues because of their very scary “outing” proclivities, mainstream Republicans also apparently believe that in order to win elections, they must pander to the scary Tea Partiers. They must pander to them because they know that no matter what, that come what may, it is the Tea Partiers who will vote for them time and time again.
Mainstream Republicans have very strategically pandered to Tea Partiers through, among other things, the use of what is clear and undeniable racism – Obama is the biggest food stamp president in American history. Obama took the work requirement out of welfare. Obama took millions of dollars out of (your) Medicare to pay for (their) Obama Care. Obama hates America. Obama is the biggest threat to American democracy in the history of this country. Obama’s not really an American. In his heart, he’s just not an American.
And therein lies the second big problem that the Tea Party poses for the Republican Party, and it’s the reason that Republicans are ultimately going to fade into political irrelevance over the next several decades.
Simply put, it is that the majority of Americans detest dog whistle, racist politics in which our nation’s first African American president is accused of not having been born in the United States, and of wanting to put every person in the country on the government dole.
The majority of people in our country also understand that giving older Americans a voucher and telling them to use it to shop around for health care on their own in a universe of private health care companies, is akin to taking away our lifetime pensions and giving us a market-vulnerable 401K plan in its place.
They’re going to fail because most Americans understand that not only is it is not immoral for the wealthiest Americans to pay more taxes than others, it is, in fact, the moral thing to do.
Republicans are going to fail because the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that whether women and families should have access to birth control hasn’t been an issue in this country for over forty years.
They’re going to fail because a critical mass of Americans simply won’t fall for the okedoke. Most of us will not drink the Kool Aid. We will not be snookered. Republicans will ultimately fail because the majority of all of their other policies are from a time gone by – and mainstream Republicans know that.
Thus, having their Snooker Strategy, their favorite political tool on which they rely more than any other, their Snooker Strategy which has worked so well for them in the past, having that strategy exposed to the light of day, makes mainstream Republicans shudder. Republicans without their snooker power are like Popeye without his spinach, or Superman in the face of Kryptonite – weak and pitiful.
It’s really all they have. They certainly don’t have the benefit of being right on the issues. Democrats own that advantage. [That said, it's dreadful that for the past several decades, Republicans have often been far better snookerers than Democrats have been effective messengers. Consider that Democrats use the terms, "Obamacare" and "Right to Work" state, as unconsciously as Republicans use them consciously, but that's an issue for another essay.]
The term, “blowback”, within the context of espionage and military intelligence is defined as, “unintended consequences of a covert operation”. It well appears that the Tea Party may now be hurling a deathblow to The Republican Snooker Strategy. As a result, the GOP is now witnessing the direct consequence of its very deliberate and systematic, but not so covert cynical and racist courting of the Tea Party – the same Tea Party which may over the next several decades, cause them, mainstream Republicans, to be a party whose time has come and gone, a party whose exposed extremism caused it to take its rightful place on the shelf of political dinosaurs. They courted them. Now they’ve got to live with them……….. It’s call blowback.
Lauren N. Nile, Esq.