Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Same old Party

By Capt. Fogg

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,

alive as you and me.
Says I "But Joe, you're ten years dead"
"I never died" said he,
"I never died" said he.

Neither did Dick Nixon, I guess. Whether or not Jesus ever resurrected anyone, public relations, advertising and propaganda regularly do, and while I was disappointed, while watching his funeral on TV, that Nixon didn't rise from the coffin, the old, drunk, anti-Semitic gangster had already been relaunched as an elder statesman, and his spirit, like Joe Hill's, lives on in people like Karl Rove and in the Bush administration in general.

Karl Rove may be one of the most disliked men in public affairs, but although his brand of politics may have helped sink the Republican party he's been given the robes of a political pundit and a seat in front of the camera. What will happen to the ragged survivors of the GOP's biggest defeat in decades? Will the party flee to the arms of Jesus-in-arms or will it return to it's alleged roots? Ron Paul thinks I'm asking the wrong question.

We should, said he, be asking why the country itself went in the wrong direction. In an essay at, Paul suggests that the Republican Party became irrelevant in 2000 when it took control of Congress and the Executive Branch and became more interested in its own power than in the future of the country or in addressing what he calls the cancerous growth of government under Bill Clinton:

Once the Republicans were in power, though, the promises faded, and all policies were directed at maintaining or increasing power by trying to whittle away at Democratic strength by acting like big-spending Democrats.

That the Democrats actually balanced the budget, shrank the size of the executive and left us with a surplus is not something Paul seems willing to discuss, the straw man of the big spending Democrat being so central to reactionary Republican principles. Yet when he says,

The Republican Congress never once stood up against the Bush/Rove machine that demanded support for unconstitutional wars, attacks on civil liberties here at home, and an economic policy based on more spending, more debt, and more inflation -- while constantly preaching the flawed doctrine that deficits don't matter as long as taxes aren't raised,

I find it hard to disagree with him and his distaste for the "dirty tricks" used to foist this upon us.

If a government commensurate with the level of minimalism Ron Paul envisions is, in my opinion, as unlikely and unworkable as any of the great social and economic dogmas of the last centuries, I none the less have to stand up and salute his statement that

Opportunity abounds for anyone who can present the case for common sense in fiscal affairs, for protection of civil liberties here at home, and avoiding the senseless foreign entanglements which have bogged us down for decades and contributed so significantly to our fiscal and budgetary crisis.

I have some faith that Barack Obama does substantially offer such an opportunity; Ron Paul is sure he doesn't. In any event, the GOP seems no more likely to listen to listen to Ron Paul today than it has since he became a member of that party. It seems far more likely to seek new leaders in the old mold, the old medieval religious mindset; to repaint the old institutions, dress up the old jingoism, xenophobia, bigotry and class warfare in clothes from Niemann Marcus and to sell it using the same old slime and slander.

If to ask "whither the GOP" is not the right question to ask, I think Ron Paul has answered it none the less.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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