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The GOP’s Deeply Flawed Field


The GOP’s Deeply Flawed Field

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Donald Trump continues to bring comic relief and mean-spirited bombast to the Republican campaign trail. But while Trump is a continuing spectacle, he also makes (a tiny bit) more sense than his rivals when he indicts U.S. trade policies or scorns the influence of big money that turns politicians into puppets.


Samuel Johnson pointed out that there are no worthwhile distinctions to be drawn between a flea and a louse. A similar logic can be brought to bear on the field of Republican candidates. Ms vanden Heuvel draws a line between the absurd candidacy of Donald Trump and “plausible” prospects like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. If sanity, maturity, decency and reason were measures of US politics then NONE of the Republican candidates would be at all plausible. In varying degrees they are all either fleas or louses, and you don’t care what they are when you pass a comb through your hair, you just want to get them off your head!

All the Republican candidates pander to insanity. For example, there are those who oppose the Iran deal, as if war was an inviting prospect; then there are others who deny human made climate change; and there are still others who think that what we need to “jump start the economy” is more tax cuts for the rich and the corporations. The immaturity of Republican politics is obvious: Trump perfectly expresses this dimension, offering utter nonsense like getting Mexico to pay for a wall to keep “rapist” Mexicans out of the peace-loving, civilized society that is the USA. Those Tea Party twits who lap up this childishness (like a dog at its own vomit) are proof positive of the Republican Party’s uncanny and amoral ability to exploit the dark side of the American character. Much of what Trump calls for would be labeled “fascist” in any other country on earth.

The indecency of the Republican Party goes without saying. It’s been this way since Nixon and Reagan. Any form of bigotry or prejudice is good for the cause. Trump is down on “Mexicans” and “illegal aliens” and his poll numbers, among the Tea Party know-nothings, actually rise. Other Republicans offer up the usual bill of fare: anti gay, anti black, anti-poor, anti women platforms, passed off as “conviction” and “principle.” No doubt one of these slimy Republican candidates will offer up a defense of the Confederate “rebel” flag. And don’t be surprised if it’s Ben Carson, the only African American in the field. The madness runs so deep it’s entirely possible that a black man will come to the aid of White nationalism. Just look at Clarence Thomas, doing his best to undermine 50 years of liberal jurisprudence.

The Republican Party is the party of hard capitalist ideology and brutal state power, so, no surprise, it is the sworn enemy of reason. Many Republicans will openly disdain reason, because they rightly associate it with the progressive liberalism of the Enlightenment. As so-called “conservatives,” Republicans have more faith in intuition, tradition and passion. If it feels alright, it must be right: many Republican positions are not more sophisticated than that. In some instances, conservatives can be very insightful about what is wrong with liberalism, but, significantly, they are unable to turn the critical lens on their own beliefs. For example, it’s now an accepted truth that Ronald Reagan was a great president who led the country into the neoliberal promised land of responsible government and lower taxes. In fact, Reagan increased the national debt to monstrous proportions with pathological levels of military spending; and he began the destruction of the New Deal Social Programs (a process brought to fruition by the slimy Bill Clinton). Since Reagan, it has been normal to see high levels of homelessness, unemployment and social despair. By any measure, the Great Prevaricator was a disastrous President, who set back the cause of civilization in the United States by at least 5 centuries. If only he had remained a mediocre actor in Hollywood. He would have certainly done less harm to millions around the world.

I don’t see any decent candidates among the Republicans–I mean someone who is humane, tolerant, insightful, compassionate and courageous. To be fair to the GOP, Donald Trump is an exaggeration of Republican vices, but that is only another way of saying that a little bit of Trump is in all the other candidates. Ugh!

BTW. I have no love for the Democrats. But I do think that some tendencies in the Party are more civilized than anything Republicans offer. For example, Democrats are infinitely better on women’s issues.


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There is a direct relationship between Wall Street bribes and the more corrupt and stupid politicians get.


An intelligently written post loses full credibility precisely for what it strains NOT to say.

Take this statement:

“The Republican Party is the party of hard capitalist ideology and brutal state power, so, no surprise, it is the sworn enemy of reason.”

Why did you leave out the most ostensible demographic that backs conservative Republicans… Fundamentalist Christians? After all, it is their narrow interpretation of the Bible as Mars-god’s words–that insist to them that they alone have a right to enslave Blacks, denigrate Hispanics, treat women (half the human race) as 2nd class citizens, and mow down Indigenous persons the world over. The beliefs that make for individuals (who, deluded in their beliefs) presume that God gave MAN dominion over this earth indeed go about destroying anything and everything.

That’s where this philosophy, supported by the Bible Belt’s citizens for the most part dovetails with that of the corporations since they wish to trample this earth taking apart every sacred ecosystem for their narrow, transitory personal gains.

What motivates a person to say a great deal but avoid the crux of the issue or argument?


Oh please give us time. We have just recently discovered the wealth that can be gamed from campaign contributions and it takes us a while to get up to speed. If those do gooders on the left don’t screw it up with public campaign financing we will be milking this prize cow like pros before the end of this election cycle.


Siouxrose, the problem with fundamentalist Christians is that they read the Bible literally. If the Bible states that sodomites should be stoned to death, then this is a command that must be followed. The problem for society is that religious fundamentalists think that if Yahweh commands something, then this should be codified in secular law. The problem is that both Jefferson and the Supreme Court (Reynolds v. the US) made it clear that only freedom of religious belief is absolute (you have freedom to believe anything, no matter how nonsensical). Freedom of religious action is not absolute. An Aztec cannot practice human sacrifice because his gods demand blood. ISIS cannot kill infidels because this is the will of Allah. And Puritans cannot burn witches at the stake to save their immortal souls.

All three monotheistic religions of the Book have fought holy wars beause this was commanded by god (ISIS is fighting a holy war in the Middle East today because it is the will of Allah that they kill infidels). Yahweh (the god of the Ancient Israelites) commanded them to slaughter the Midianites (men, women, children, even the livestock) because the Midianites did not worship Yahweh (31st Chapter of Numbers in the Torah). The Christian Pople Urban II told the Crusaders that it was the will of God that they slaughter infidel Muslims in the Holy Land.

It seems to me that holy wars are a far greater problem than reading the Bible literally and thinking that there is a duty to “be fruitful and multiply” and to have dominion over the earth.

We would all be a lot better off if everybody converted to Buddhism because Buddhists don’t have gods who tell them to kill infidels.

The Republican Party (not just Republicans who are fundamentalist Christians) are a threat to society because of two major myths they hold dear.

  1. Supply-side economics: cut taxes on the wealthy and something will trickle down to the rest of us. It was Keynesian economics that ended the Great Depression (massive government spending to fight WWII), not tax cuts for the wealthy. Nobody likes to pay taxes, so when Republicans claim taxes arre too high, everybody buys into this. But tax cuts only help people who pay taxes. The wealthy already pay most of the taxes, so they benefit from tax cuts. We don’t need to cut taxes, we need to make income and inheritance taxes steeply progressive to redistribute the wealth. (Teddy Roosevelt, a wealthy Republican, actually proposed this.)

  2. Social Darwinism: the rich are rich because they are more fit than the poor who are less fit because they are dependent on the government. The reason Republicans oppse social welfare legislation is because programs that help the poor help the less fit at the expense of the more fit who must pay taxes to fund those evil social welfare programs. This is all nonsense because the logic is circular. If I am rich, then it is because I am more fit and if I am more fit, then it is evident in the fact I am rich.


Add your typical Democrat, and you’ve nailed it down. The only difference between The Queen of Hell and the Repub Clowns is that they want an insane war of choice starting with the bombing of Iran into rubble while she is looking for all out war with the Russkies, starting with an invasion of Russia that may very well lead to an all out nuclear exchange. I strongly believe the woman is a psychopath.

You have a choice. Vote Repub and waltz into an Israeli instigated, bloody, and senseless war with Iran or pick the Lady from Hell and participate in the extermination of homo sapiens (and a good part of the rest of life upon earth) with WWIII.

Glad you saw to include the Scientologists, the evil spawn of diabolic capitalism.


Excellent post, Goofar.

Fundamentalist Republicans are extremely gullible. They believe just about any propaganda they hear no matter how absurd.


The most significant difference between the two parties are the voters who choose to register in that party. There are certainly some decent older voters who are Republican simply due to inertia, or family tradition. But anyone who has personally chosen to identify themselves as Republican in the past 20 years has been dominated by a specific fear or hatred: non-whites, immigrants, guns, immigrants, independent women, teachers, atheists. There are millions of such people, and none of them would ever dream of registering as Democrats.


I wonder sometimes if all these GOP candidates actually believe all that bullshit they preach and replay with every speech…OR…are they just pandering to their ignorant base voters so they can get elected…After all its all about getting the job so you tell em what they want to hear get em fired up frothing in the mouth for more then hopefully they will buy your shit over the rest…But once elected if they are that lucky then things will go back to status Que doing business for the corporations and piss on the public good…Why…Because they dont give a shit about anyone but themselves…


The fact that DT is leading in the Republican polls corroborates the above headline. A clown and an insane, ego maniac to say the least! Some of Trumps statements are right out of someone that has escaped from an insane asylum! If this is the best the Republican party has, they need to be eliminated as a viable American political party.


Well said. Fundamentalist Christians ( I like Hedges labeling them fascist Christians ) have to be loved by the corportocracy.


It’s early yet (only 15 months to go), and politics is plagued by uncertainty, but after surveying the lifeless, lackluster Republican field, I know who will be the GOP nominee for president: the last Spam standing.