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Blowing the Biggest Political Story of the Last Fifty Years


Blowing the Biggest Political Story of the Last Fifty Years

Neal Gabler

Ah, the crescendo of complaint! The Republican establishment and the mainstream media, working hand in hand in their unprecedented, non-stop assault on the “short-fingered vulgarian” named Donald Trump, would have you believe that Trump augurs the destruction of the Republican Party. Former Reagan speechwriter and now Wall Street Journal/CBS pundit Peggy Noonan expressed the general sentiment of both camps when she said on Super Tuesday that “we’re seeing a great political party shatter before our eyes.”


I disagree that the mainstream media - corporate media - missed the story of the transformation of the Republican Party. You missed the story. Corporate media is the Republican Party.


Donald Trump = lowest common denominator. Do the math.


“Something happened in American politics over the last 25 or 30 years to release our demons and remove our shame. The media didn’t want to look. Now Trump has come along to reap what the conservatives had sown, and stir up those demons, and the media are suddenly in high dudgeon.”

The “something” being referenced is a product of the following; and any journalist ought to know at least some on this list:

  1. Koch Brothers’ funding of think tanks which infiltrated media to set the tone (and parameters) of “acceptable” conversation

  2. The evisceration of the Fairness Doctrine led media consortiums to take over major media and present only THEIR side of a story

  3. Academe fell under thrall to Deep Pocket interests and it produced more academics willing to toe the free market ideology than those speaking on behalf of The People’s needs, rights, and liberties.

  4. The anti-govt. rhetoric of Reagan paved the way for the deregulatory policies that went into effect on Clinton’s watch.

This deregulation (of trade, banking-stock market, Welfare “as we know it,” and mass media) led to massive ownership concentration by the 1% “caste.”

Big Money corrupted both parties although Republicans more nakedly stand for pro-business, anti-govt. regulatory policies.

Most people feel left out of the “new prosperity” that went to the top 1%… so there’s tons of anger, justifiable. Unfortunately, those who listen to well-funded right wing radio with its Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck/Bill O’Reilly (okay, on TV) shock jocks are conditioned to hate the Black citizen, Hispanic “guest worker,” or Muslim… rather than learn how Power operates and that it’s those in power who have set up these deleterious metrics.


I wonder about the notion of ‘centrism’ in the current environment of societies under siege from the commodification dynamics of globalization, and that globalization being blatantly based on aggregate powers of predatory capitalism.
In the practice of predatory capitalism the usurpation of ‘value’ demands that it be the center and that society be made to ‘marginalize’ s well as be on the margin of whatever appears to be an obstacle to the capital objective du jour. Then there is highly concentrated media, marketing taking the extreme narrowness of criteria from that ‘center vs margin’ and doubling down on it to erase everything but a consumer as target.

What I begin to see is a ‘centrism’ that is defined by what has been historically ‘marginalized’. Like a graphic of a dot within a circle. The circle being a wall of defense around the dot of capital and to paraphrase George Carlin, you are not the dot.

Entire spheres of documented history, for example, that are not taught in our schools or made part of journalism become an invisible encircling ‘marginalization’ and barrier - many grow up not even questioning it until the consequences of its failings come home to roost. Then that anxiety of nothing making sense is captured by marketing with promises that a product will secure one’s ‘identity’ - to of course remain forever marginalized traveling the circle/margin.

Interesting also are observations made in the 60s by Marshall McCluhan regarding media. In “The Gutenberg Galaxy” the psychological dynamic of the TV screen is approached for among other things being interesting as an image framing device. In a 2-D image (up-down/left-right) there is a “vanishing point” on a ‘horizon line’. We tend to dismiss the terminology in this context much as we dismiss history of which we are uninformed. Now, add to that the placement of a political figure (presumably “representing” the viewer) centered very precisely at that “vanishing point”. McCluhan asserts that the dynamic of the TV screen is that the viewer is/becomes the screen by virtue of the aforementioned and other dynamics - becomes something to think about.

Makes me wonder about the pervasiveness of political promises made on TV that vanish and the propensity of the public to be accepting of that pattern with no coherence of ‘horizon’ as social creatures in a society.

Balkanization of political Left - Right seems to been shaped to be the consumer model of societal ‘governance’. There is a scrubbing out of coherence of integrated community and grass roots negotiation of the countless aspects of healthy lives. These, in my view, are life-long engagements that we should be joyfully engaging as the central meaning of life, a turning of attention everyone seems thirsty for.


I don’t think the media missed this story. It came under the headings of the Republican southern strategy and conservative hate talk radio. What Trump has done is bring in enough blue collar workers who are concerned about losing jobs to other countries and are willing to overlook much of what Trump is saying to put together a coalition that will probably make him the nominee. George Wallace won five states I believe in the general election running as an independent by getting many of the same type of racists that are supporting Trump. By bringing in the trade issue and job loss Trump might win it all.


Certainly Trump is an extension of what the GOP has been at least back into the 1920s. And if he is the end of the party, that’s fine–though I doubt it.

But there’s a bigger story in this. What about the Democratic Party’s descent into corporatism, neo-liberal economics and neocon foreign policy since 1992? (Hopefully this is not made the less obvious by the Sanders campaign, which FINALLY moves in the other direction).

It is not as though the parties do not define themselves in relation to one another. They cannot avoid doing so, really. So what happens when Bill Clinton signs in NAFTA; when Obama sets up “health” insurance for the pharmacy and insurance industry and not for the population; when the Obama administration continues torture and rendition and institutes fiat killing of both foreigners and Americans apart from any legal apparatus?

What happens? The Republicans find a way to advertise to their more or less Hobbesian base that they will fight more aggressively against foreign peoples, withhold more aid from the domestic population; restrain human expression and experiment more drastically than do the Democrats. As almost every in 7 countries and coups in two others (compare with WWII), with persecution of journalists at a new high, how can the Republicans pretend to be worse?

Well, they have to threaten or promise to do things that are grossly egregious: the Democrats are already engaged in all of the worst psychopathies. Unless Republicans can manage some sort of ideological shift towards libertarianism or whatever, they have to play racist if they are not, play sexist if they are not, and air or exaggerate their homophobias and gender quirks.

And in doing something like this, of course it helps to stomp and swagger. And so who other than Donald Trump? And the difference in the rhetoric is partly because we are further down the garden path of one-upmanship. But it is also just because Donald Trump is a way better performer than Mitt Romney. The people who empathize with him at all find him hilarious. But in general, this is just an extension of a general aesthetic in Republican campaigns in general, and one that has served them quite well since Ronald Reagan. W Bush deliberately spoke like a rube–and I don’t mean by that that he had a Texas accent, but he made a game out of avoiding nuance and sophistication. Arnold Schwarzenegger ran largely on the persona of a killer robot with an accent that to unsophisticated Americans is Nazi. I don’t mean to reduce the man’s character to that, but he did slip as far as calling the state legislators “girlie boys” when they did not resolve an issue to his liking. (Imagine how long that lasted). And Ronald Reagan, GE spokesman, had been best known as an Owen Wister cum Louis l’Amour cowboy TV and movie cowboy.

The boys have been talking about the length of their hands for a long time. But you know, go ask Hillary Clinton whether she is not willing to bomb someone for you.


But it was “morning (taking a Trump) in America”…


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just letting us all know how racist and bigoted so many americans truly are and have been for a very long time. better to let it all hang out and deal with the truth before the brown shirts and their trumped up leader take over. BRAVO TO OUR CHICAGO TRUE PATRIOTS. We need to do the same wherever these Nazi thugs show up in our own communities.



He is anti free trade? How so?

He is for national health care? Are you asserting he is for single payer?

What about banker/corporate foreign policy?

A powerful military for a lot less money? You mean his call for a military so big that “no one will even think of messing with us”?

It blows my mind that you support this jerk so enthusiastically.


Actually my arguments have been based on his own policy proposals from his fucking website.

He is proposing a healthcare system based on the free market. Hey if that’s what you term “national health care” then so be it.

Again, why do you support this bigoted right wing dickhead?


I agreed with much of your comment; but let’s be clear here: any bombing that goes on is not for me or you. It’s to preserve the corporations’ right to global plunder wherever a resource plucks their fiscal fancies.


Global warming seriously shrinks that “forever” time line.


Thank you. I think this shows Trump may be a blessing in disguise, something I’ve been contemplating for a while but hadn’t managed yet to articulate. He’s making us see who we’ve become, and you can fix a problem only when you can see it clearly.


Joe the plumber in masse.


Touche’; but who said anything about her?


Clarification hastily accepted.


The truth is ugly, isn’t it Republicans?


I think progressives have already known what the Republican party and the United States in general have become. I don’t know how to make his supporters see this and think there is something wrong with it.