Berry Craig: In today’s uber-conservative Republican party, President Eisenhower would be a socialist, too, even a Red, and Nixon would be a liberal.
Berry Craig: Of course, the Republicans – and even the Tea Baggers – would have us belief that their beef is with “illegal” immigrants. But they’re not fooling anybody. Most of these neo-Know Nothings are white people who have a problem with Latinos north of the border, period.
Berry Craig: The poll numbers hint at the biggest GOP edge: the U.S. is the most conservative country in the Western democratic world. “Liberal” — which means centrist or center-left in other industrial democracies — is as far left as mainstream American politics flows. The U.S. is the only industrial democracy that doesn’t have a significant democratic socialist or social democratic party.
Berry Craig: A few of the purveyors of this bigoted nonsense might actually believe it. Most of them, however, are merely seeking political gain by inviting white voters to question the motives and good faith of the nation’s first African-American president. This is really about tearing Barack Obama down.
Berry Craig: Now one office seeker from the Wild West is appearing in a TV commercial, shooting guns and invoking the Almighty. She’s Machine Gun Gorman, an uber-conservative candidate for Congress in the Arizona Republican primary.
Berry Craig: naysayers can hide at their computer keyboards and snipe away like Wild West back-shooters. The cyber-bushwhackers are safe in the knowledge that nobody knows who they are. My guess is a lot of them wouldn’t write what they write if they had to sign it.
Berry Craig: It makes most Republicans and Tea Baggers hopping mad when somebody suggests that outright racism, or pandering to racism, underlies most of their anti-government rhetoric. But there is no denying the GOP is what the Democrats used to be — mostly the white folks’ party.
Berry Craig: Generally, the smaller a paper or TV or radio station is, the greater its bias against unions. Their anti-unionism is sometimes as plain as their front doors, which are often plastered with decals or stickers proudly proclaiming chamber membership. The fact that the chamber is openly pro-business and anti-union apparently doesn’t trouble local media owners about conflicts of interest.
Berry Craig: The show featured a slave mother’s explanation of the Declaration of Independence to her young son. “…Freedom isn’t something that these men plan on giving us,” she said. “…All of this talk is about them getting their freedom, or more freedom because they’re already free….I told him, ‘Son, these are the same men that will beat Negroes nearly half to death…They call us, who God has created, their property…No, son, these men will not free you. And my son looked at me and said ‘Well, that freedom ain’t for me.’
Berry Craig: The Republicans of the 1850s were democratic revolutionaries. The Tea Baggers are reactionary counterrevolutionaries. Their movement – not coincidentally almost all white — represents some of the worst traits in the body politic, notably racism, sexism, nativism, militarism, jingoism, homophobia, religious bigotry and greed.
Berry Craig: When Reagan said he was a “states’ rights” guy, “he was elbow deep in the same old race-baiting Southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon” and “tapping out the code,” Bob Herbert wrote in the New York Times in 2007. “It was understood that when politicians started chirping about ‘states’ rights’ to white people in places like Neshoba County they were saying that when it comes down to you and the blacks, we’re with you. And Reagan meant it.”
Berry Craig: The video shows Tea Baggers answering questions about why they are protesting. Almost all of their replies are the usual right-wing rants against President Obama’s “tyranny,” “socialist agenda” and “onerous taxes.”
Berry Craig: My guess is the Tea Bagger-tilting, neo-Confederate GOP is disturbing the eternal rest of some other Republicans. I remember Republicans whose politics were considerably to the left of Dixie Democrats. Some were even liberals to one extent or another.