THE BLOG
05/10/2011 10:16 pm ET | Updated Jul 10, 2011

The GOP Checks Into Jonestown

The Republican Party has apparently been kidnapped by a death cult that's perfectly willing to take America with it.

The cult? The Tea Party, of course. They're pushing the GOP into losing in 2012 -- big time -- by insisting it will bury any politician who crosses them, while they push fantasies of returning to TV versions of the 1950s.

But people shouldn't forget that the Tea Party is just the latest version of what amounts to a political parasite -- a sort of worm that fastened itself on the GOP in the 1970s and now apparently thinks it can live on its own.

That parasite of course is the Right Wing -- really, the John Birch Society, its allies, and the many fronts they operate. These people, who include Richard Mellon Scaife and the Koch brothers, have been working for decades to turn back the clock to the days when business didn't answer to anybody, could sell the public anything it wanted to, and didn't mind shooting workers.

How else to explain the apparent willingness of the GOP leadership to deny reality in favor of a sort of bizarro universe, filled with claims a four-year-old could shred? Do they really think they can get away with it forever?

After all, what got us in the mess we're in now were GOP fantasies that cutting taxes raises tax revenues, the financial industry could regulate itself, and that giving the rich more money would mean prosperity for all. Ask them why America should listen to them today and they try to change the subject. It's why the GOP scare tactics are now in full cry.

The Right's real problem is that their premise is wrong. And I think the real leaders know it. After all, if it was right -- that government exists to maximize individual freedom -- no governments would exist, because you get maximum individual liberty where there's no government.

That leads to a tyranny of the strong against the weak -- even if the forms of equality under the law are observed -- and actually minimizes personal liberty in the real world.

Hobbes had it right: Governments are created by the most powerful members of a society to protect themselves from each other. The problem for the Right is that if you're in favor of strengthening individual liberty, you need to favor a strong government in which regulators regulate, and the regulated are regulated.

And to do that, government needs to be strong enough to do the job -- in the modern world, to protect the weak from the strong, and the public from being mauled by corporations.

After all, in a world in which corporations have the civil rights of natural persons, minimizing government -- and thus, government's ability to regulate -- tilts the balance of power towards those with the most power; in this case, towards corporations and their owners, and against ordinary citizens.

You can see that in the recent decision of the Roberts Court, AT&T Mobility v. Conception, which basically says that might makes right, and that not all citizens are equal under the law, by finding that big companies can force citizens to sign unequal contracts, and that citizens have no right to file class action arbitrations to defend themselves.

I've never met a conservative who knows what to say when I explain the reality of their premise; they just beg for time to consider. And the next time we speak, it's like I never said anything.

And I can't blame them; after all, I'd proven that what the Right really wants is that tyranny of the strong over the weak -- something they can't say, and certainly can't sell. Not to Americans, anyway

Republicans don't even seem to understand what they're saying anymore. On Monday, John Boehner put a gun to Wall Street's head, threatening national default unless he gets $2 trillion in spending cuts and no tax increases. He even ruled out ending an estimated $50 billion in tax subsidies to the biggest oil companies.

John Cornyn then chimed into opine that Republicans should vote against raising the debt limit for political reasons, even though the man in charge of the Republican's 2012 political strategy said he expects the debt ceiling will eventually be raised.

Yet if it really did seem that America might default on its national debt, interest rates would soar well into the double digits, and the mortgage, car loan, and credit card payments of most every American would explode.

How they think they could blame that on the Democrats is beyond me. But then, Right Wingers don't seem to mind appearing mean-spirited and ungenerous.

For instance, no Republican could bring themselves to say anything nice after President Obama did in 9 months what President Bush couldn't do in 7 years--get Osama Bin Laden; David Koch, Godfather of the Tea Party, even denied the president did anything, since "He just made the decision....". Mr. Koch was apparently unaware that he was describing himself -- someone who inherited a fortune, and makes decisions for Koch Industries.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party seems to be in some sort of panic. This is no surprise, since they can't find anybody who could plausibly challenge President Obama in 2012. Donald Trump? Already off the screen. Sarah Palin? Too busy making money. Newt Gingrich? Do they really think the blogosphere would let America forget he divorced his second wife when she was recovering from cancer? Mitt Romney? The Right Wing would rather stay home than vote for him.

There are plenty of signs Republicans know they're in trouble.

• Jim DeMint, for instance, accidentally tipped the GOP hand when he said recently that "...the upcoming presidential election "is our last chance to get it right";
• Republicans, usually all on the same page, can't seem to get their stories straight;
• Big donors seem unhappy about donating to Republicans;
• In Wisconsin, GOP legislators are reported to be trying to push as much of their agenda through as possible, as soon as possible -- perhaps because, considering the many recall elections being discussed there, they fear they won't be there much longer;
• And the GOP admission that they have no votes for a voucher-based Medicare system leaves the Ryan budget proposal dead on arrival, since without it--according to recent authoritative reports--the "budget" would actually worsen the debt crisis .

Given all this, can the Democrats coast? Absolutely not. A fighter throws his hardest punches at the end of the fight. And it's not like anything is at stake.

But maybe -- just maybe -- what Jim DeMint meant is that he and his friends know that they're in trouble, and that if the Right loses in 2012, it's the ballgame.

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