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Stuck in the Bloody Primaries

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Posted on Jan 8, 2012
IowaPolitics.com (CC-BY-SA)

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

WINDHAM, N.H.—It isn’t every day that political candidates are asked whether the 10th Amendment allows states to nullify federal laws, but that was precisely the question Rick Santorum faced at a forum here a few days ago organized by a libertarian-leaning group.

To his credit, Santorum did not pander to the nullifier. “We had a Civil War about nullification,” Santorum said with a smile. “I’m not sure I want to go there.”

But Santorum’s experience raises a larger question about this year’s Republican primary contest: Rather than strengthening the party for the coming battle against President Obama, will it instead leave it more marginalized from the views of swing voters? Have the party’s candidates, particularly Mitt Romney, had to spend too much time and energy wooing voters far to the right of the mainstream?

And something else happened during Sunday morning’s debate on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Front-runner Romney came under the first sustained attack from his opponents on his character, especially his core claim to be a citizen-businessman rather than a politician. The assaults were especially fierce from Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

A Rubicon was crossed when Gingrich looked at Romney at one point and commented acidly: “Can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney?” Both Santorum and Gingrich argued that Romney has been in and out of campaigns since 1994 and has fabricated a misleading public persona that tried to hide just how much of a politician he really is.

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It was a telling charge that Obama would certainly highlight if Romney won the GOP nomination. Sunday’s raucous encounter suggested that unless Romney closes the nomination struggle quickly, he could suffer further damage.

In the meantime, Jon Huntsman broke through in a way he hadn’t before when he responded to Romney’s criticism of the former Utah governor’s service as Obama’s ambassador to China. “This nation is divided ... because of attitudes like that,” Huntsman said to applause.

Primary fights can splinter and dispirit a political party, an experience Democrats had over and over from the late 1960s into the early 1980s. But they can also mobilize and energize, exactly what happened during the Democrats’ epic 2008 contest between Obama and Hillary Clinton. That confrontation brought tens of thousands of new voters into the Democratic primaries and required Obama to organize early in states such as North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana. All went his way in November.

So far, the impact of this year’s Republican contest has been more negative than positive for the GOP. Most of the news from the race before the voting highlighted the shortcomings of the various contenders: Gingrich’s jewelry-buying habits, Rick Perry’s debate meltdowns, Herman Cain’s personal troubles. This was happening as the party’s image had already been dented by the unpopularity of the GOP in Congress.

The ideological fervor in the party might have overcome the frailties of its candidates and mobilized the faithful anyway. But so far, this hasn’t happened. The crowds at rallies and events have been far from exceptional, and at least in the Iowa caucuses, turnout almost certainly would have been down from 2008 but for the independents and young people brought into the caucuses by Ron Paul. Many of these libertarians and peace activists will not naturally fit into the GOP, and can’t be counted on to support the party’s nominee.

There have been pluses for the Republicans. Many of the criticisms of Obama over the economy from the disciplined Romney could be persuasive later to moderates and independents. Santorum has reminded Republicans of the many working-class voters who have given the party victories in the past.

But while Obama has been able to make general-election arguments—on behalf of the middle class, in favor of popular tax increases on the wealthy, and against Republican obstruction of his efforts to protect consumers against abuses by the financial industry—the candidates who hope to oppose him have been required to live in a very different world. They have been pushed further to the anti-government right by Paul and further to the social-issue right by Santorum than will be convenient for the GOP come November.

There will be time for cleaning up from the primary fight. But Republicans have ceded Obama a head start—just as the economic news has started to look up. And for a moment at least, Romney was shaken from his pedestal.


E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group


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By ardee, January 13, 2012 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

Astra2012, January 12 at 6:57 am

You do not decide which posts I respond to, just as you do not make the history of libertarian, whites only, selfishness into something more than it is.

The Constitution doesn’t mention social security, Paul mentions privatizing it, something Bush 43 found overwhelmingly unpopular.

Paul’s libertarian bent is a dangerous and hateful political philosophy as much as you would try for the silk purse analogy. It seeks to end all entitlements to the neediest among us, and this despite your crocodile tears about Paul’s supposed generosity in private.

It further seeks to end all regulation on corporate machinations, based upon Ayn Rands sad and sick espousing of “rugged individualism”, all the while she was on welfare.

Face it, Paul will fade from the scene soon enough.

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By Astra2012, January 12, 2012 at 7:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ardee said “Reading and research , something you are rather obviously lacking. Libertarian politics is a dangerous and basically unDemocratic approach to governance.”—-ardee are you kidding? Reading and researching WHAT? Propaganda material?
Ron Paul strictly follows American Constitution. What do you find unDemocratic in it?

And then:you call me a cultist just because I support Ron Paul. Frankly I find your post offending. I have just found this site and thought I might have an intelligent discussion here about the real issues. Seems that “ordinary citizens” are here too…

(btw I find it ironic that such hateful posts are from people who accuse Ron Paul of hate. This man is not able to hate anyone.
also btw-i’m RESEARCH scientists-and you accused me of lacking research…)

Do not bother answering. I don’t enjoy such “conversations’.

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By Astra2012, January 12, 2012 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ron Paul is the most honest and consistent politician.He is also incorruptible—meaning the lobbists haven’t even bothered to go to him. Meaning, unfortunately, that establishment will do anything not to let him be president.

Proof of Ron Paul honesty is in his life!As MD he treated all poor people - black and white-free and never took Medicare and Medicaid.
As congressman he refused about 60K/year pension saying it wouldn’t be fair to Americans.

As president he would take no more than average American salary (now 39.5 K/year).

The establishment spreads misinformation about Ron Paul using mainstream media it owns and so called “ordinary citizens” who visit computer fora like that one. Please listen to him himself (great place is http://www.youtube.com ) and vote in the primary.

I really think he is the only choice if we want to restore this country!

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By Inherit The Wind, January 12, 2012 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Ardee:

I consider the non-response and subject change to be as much of an acknowledgement as I’ll get.  Besides, these days I’ve got time to waste…

It is hilarious to hear Newt Gingrich, as I did yesterday with Chuck Todd, attack Romney’s predatory capitalism and defend instead investment in American industry. Sounds like a Democrat to me!

Combine this with Gingrich’s claim to be a Reagan Republican—and Reagan ACTIVELY worked to move American manufacturing offshore to save corps $$$ AND bust unions, and you have Newt contradicting himself again.

Then he claimed to be a TeaParty guy and when Todd asked about OWS ALSO being against the Bankers and WS, Gingrich claimed that the TP is against Big Govt AND Big Money but that all OWS wants is more govt.  Amazing!  How does Newt keep his contradictions straight??????

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By ardee, January 12, 2012 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

Astra2012, January 11 at 11:09 am


And diamond says that
“I just saw Ron Paul on TV talking about ‘freedom’ without ever once mentioning that his version of freedom includes the right to be free of health care, free of public education, free of a pension, free of social security and free of your dignity as a human being. The truth is whatever he says it is. His government would be completely invisible, as in not there’

and Diamond is absolutely correct!

Who told you all this misinformation? (I assume that you are repeating it here unknowingly—since Ron Paul can’t be bought the establishment tries to discredit him with media (it owns) and “ordinary misinforming citizens”.)

Reading and research , something you are rather obviously lacking. Libertarian politics is a dangerous and basically unDemocratic approach to governance.

You Paul cultists will fade away as will Paul’s candidacy. His current “popularity” is due to the abysmal choices given the electorate and not because he represents any saving of our nation. Those who come here singing the praises of Paul are either lying about their progressivism or failures as discerning and thinking voters.

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By ardee, January 12, 2012 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, January 11 at 4:01 pm

Wasting your time I fear. None so blind as those who will not see. Charitably it might simply be a temporary aberration on her part.

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By diamond, January 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

“free of your dignity as a human being’??WHow?hat are you talking about?
how? because you make your own decisions and not government makes them for you??”

The reason the economy collapsed was because of deregulation of the financial system and open slather capitalism - i.e. free market, libertarian policies. The same reason it collapsed in 1929. Ron Paul wants to completely deregulate the financial system and abolish the Federal Reserve and he is exactly the same as the Republicans on social policy. They want all the same things he wants - the complete destruction of every public institution that serves the needs of the most vulnerable and the majority. The only difference is he claims he will end the wars and send the army back to barracks. I doubt he could do that even if he’s telling the truth. America has 700 bases around the world and is still establishing more, closing them and virtually shutting down the army would cause mass unemployment and chaos and I can’t see the Pentagon standing by and letting it happen. In his own way, Paul is a completely irresponsible ideologue, just like George W. Bush.

The Republicans are running their usual con job: the idea that Mitt Romney is a moderate is part of it.

“In a crowded field of far-right candidates, Romney is often portrayed as an old-fashioned, pro-business Republican moderate. But, in the context of modern American politics, “moderate” is a term that has been emptied of all meaning.

Romney is the moderate who wants to double the size of Guantanamo Bay and is opposed to having Muslims serve in his cabinet. He backs Arizona’s immigration law, which encourages racial profiling. He would have allowed the US to default on its debts in early August, such was the intensity of his opposition to raising the so-called debt ceiling. And his moderation didn’t prevent him from signing up to the anti-tax pledge promoted by the ultra-conservative Americans for Tax Reform, which argues for no new taxes. Ever.

The lazy logic of the Washington press corps seems to be: he isn’t Michelle Bachmann, ergo, he’s a moderate. The Republicans - backed by their fanatically anti-government Tea Party outriders and the Fox News network - have succeeded in shifting the political centre of gravity so far to the right that Romney comes across as sober and mainstream.”

‘New Statesman’, Mehdi Hasan, 12/10/11

There’s supposed to be a difference between a conservative and a radical - in the real world Romney and Paul are both radicals. In fact the entire lineup of Republican candidates are radicals and most of them are planning a re-run of the Bush years.

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By Inherit The Wind, January 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

Diamond:
NEITHER ARDEE NOR I ARE defending the Republicans!  Get that idiotic idea out of your head!  Try learning to read! The last 50 years they have actively courted White racists!

But your FANTASY that they are descendents of the slave-holders and the Party of Jefferson is simply historically INCORRECT!

The Republican Party that exists today was founded in the 1850’s and was a Northern and Western party AT THAT TIME!  It did NOT EXIST PRIOR TO THAT TIME.  DID NOT EXIST!  If that is “defending them”, then you are insane.

Sometimes your level of inanity is frustrating.

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By diamond, January 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

“The party of Jefferson, despite the name changes, is the current Democratic party.  The Republican party, the “Grand Old Party” or GOP wasn’t formed until a quarter century after Jefferson DIED!”

So what you’re saying is, everything that was wrong with the Declaration of Independence and slavery and Jefferson’s two faced hypocrisy is the fault of the current Democratic Party and you want to absolve the idiots in the Republican Party of all blame for everything that they’ve ever been and now are because they aren’t the direct descendants of Jefferson’s party? However much you play with the story you cannot change a central fact: the Republican Party is the party of elitism and social injustice and creepy old Ron Paul, at 76 many years older than even Ronald Reagan was when he ran for president, is standing for the Republican Party not the democrats- because the Republicans are just as Libertarian as he is and hate the idea of civil society and the common good as much as he does.

You cannot possibly argue that the Republicans have a single democratic impulse in their entire collective philosophy so why is Ron Paul ‘hero of the people’ standing there with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum and that cowboy Rick Perry? Because who they are is who he is too. Birds of a feather flock together. They are the descendants of Thomas Hobbes and that whole Puritan, Protestant, religious fanatic, far right nuttery that they inherited from the English Protestant Revolution. They have destroyed the American economy again and again with their free market ‘freedom’ and they’ll do it all over again as soon as they find a way to get their hands on the levers of government. And they will attack Iran and go on making endless war until the west has become what they turned Vietnam and Iraq into: but by all means fiddle while Rome burns if that’s what takes your fancy.

It’s certainly instructive that you and Ardee have such a desperate need to defend the Republican Party, it completely blows out of the water your claim to not support either party. And even if they did, for whatever motive, ‘free the slaves’, Tony Blair organized a referendum and ended the bloody conflict in Northern Ireland - that doesn’t mean he didn’t lie, cheat and connive to bring about the invasion of Iraq, which means he’s a shit. One swallow does not a summer make and the history of the Republican Party is still one long disgrace whatever name they go by.

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By Inherit The Wind, January 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

bpawk, January 11 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Why doesn’t this author use his popularity and force real discussions about the election and not personal attacks or trivia? ...
**************

In other words, why didn’t E.J.Dionne write the article he never intended to write?

The most useless criticism of all.

BECAUSE HE NEVER INTENDED TO WRITE IT!  (Capt. Obvious Department)

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By bpawk, January 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Why doesn’t this author use his popularity and force real discussions about the election and not personal attacks or trivia? Looking at blogs on the net, there is a lot of back and forth for and against Romney and Obama - looks like the readers are not too happy with one or the other party - why doesn’t the writer or other mainstream media question why the two parties have not allowed third parties to get on the ballots when clearly there is a need for another party to represent all the dissatisfied or apathetic voters. Why are the laws skewed so that it is difficult to have other voices that clearly want to be heard or represented? Why don’t journalists address that?

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By Astra2012, January 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

it is sad for me that people join the establishment’s smear campaign against Ron Paul - he is most honest and consistent politician and someone here called him double-faced or smth like that.

Do you know that he has refused about 60-70K/year of congressional pension?

As an MD he treated poor people(black and white!) for
free, and neve took Medicare or Medicaid

As president he would take no more than average American salary - now 39.5K/year

Lobbyst do not bother coming to him because he is INCORRUPTIBLE

And diamond says that
“I just saw Ron Paul on TV talking about ‘freedom’ without ever once mentioning that his version of freedom includes the right to be free of health care, free of public education, free of a pension, free of social security and free of your dignity as a human being. The truth is whatever he says it is. His government would be completely invisible, as in not there’

Who told you all this misinformation? (I assume that you are repeating it here unknowingly—since Ron Paul can’t be bought the establishment tries to discredit him with media (it owns) and “ordinary misinforming citizens”.)


I’ll try to explain::
All social issues should not be dictated by the federal government- leave them to states (like now death penalty and gay mariage.
He proposes no changes in pensions! no cuts in Soc. Sec. (unless you ae under 25- then you may opt out—-presently they would have to pay but they may not get it later…”“


“free of your dignity as a human being’??WHow?hat are you talking about?
how? because you make your own decisions and not government makes them for you??

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By Inherit The Wind, January 11, 2012 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

Diamond:
Ardee and I don’t agree on much and don’t agree often but this time I’m shaking my head as well!

You really need to read up on your history.  Jefferson’s “Republican” Party was short for the Democratic-Republican Party, shortened to “Republican” at the time.  It has existed since then and exists to this day…but it exists as the DEMOCRATIC Party. That’s right.  What was once called the “Republican” Party is now the Democratic Party.  Yes, it’s ironic. It’s also factual.

The Republican Party that exists today was founded in the 1850s in the wreckage of the Whig Party which had been the opposition to the Democratic-Republicans (and was sort of the out-growth of the old Federalists)  It was founded as a party to support the interests of industrialists and the railroads and OPPOSED the agrarian Southern land interests of the Democratic-Republicans (now called Democrats).

In fact, the rise of the NEW Republican Party in the 1850’s and its first President, Abraham Lincoln, still comprises the only truly successful 3rd Party movement in the United States.  And it was this rise that led the Southern Democrats, who saw themselves as Jefferson’s proteges, to create the cataclysmic rupture of secession and the Civil War.  The New Republicans, under Lincoln, successfully suppressed that rebellion.

So your whole thesis that the “republican” party of Jefferson is the GOP of today is totally false and based on incorrect evidence.

The party of Jefferson, despite the name changes, is the current Democratic party.  The Republican party, the “Grand Old Party” or GOP wasn’t formed until a quarter century after Jefferson DIED!

It won’t take much digging to confirm this.  Any high school kid who know his/her American history can show you this as well.

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By ardee, January 11, 2012 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

diamond, January 10 at 8:20 pm

This is me walking away, shaking my head and shrugging my shoulders at your unbelievably stupid denials of historical fact.,

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By diamond, January 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

“Regardless of this we are speaking about your absolute refusal to acknowledge the role of the GOP in ending slavery. Faced with such puzzling ( ignorant?) hatred one simply walks away shrugging ones shoulders and shaking ones head….”

So, all things being equal you think it’s fine that Jefferson took a thirteen year old slave girl to his bed and fathered eight children with her? I don’t hate the GOP (greedy old pigs) I hate what they’ve done to America and the entire world and I’m absolutely not alone in doing so. It took a war to end slavery and the Republicans just happened to be the government at the time. They could hardly let the South secede which is what they were planning to do. They had to go to war but essentially it was a war over money and power, like most of America’s wars, and the Congress introduced laws after the war that worked against genuine freedom for African Americans which is why they were still fighting for civil rights in the sixties and even in the sixties Kennedy had to send in troops to enforce their civil rights. The Republicans have never done ANYTHING that contributed to civil society or genuine democracy because they don’t believe in it and never have. They are democracy’s most ruthless and determined enemy.

Their beliefs were summed up by Edward Bernays who wrote, ‘The intelligent manipulation of the masses is an invisible government, which is the true ruling power in our country’.

Bernays was heavily influenced by Walter Lippman who saw the average voter as a ‘theater-goer walking into a play in the third act and leaving before the curtain’. In other words, the public were too stupid to decide what was best for them. They had to be governed by a ‘specialist class whose interests reached beyond the locality’. Lippman saw the purpose of journalism as ‘intelligence work’.  Both Bernays and Lippman believed in ‘enlightened despotism’ and this is where the neo cons got the idea that ‘the truth is whatever we say it is’. If you can con the voters via the media and ‘experts’ like Thomas Friedman and Colin Powell into believing some fairytale so you can have a war that most people don’t want that’s only logical.

I just saw Ron Paul on TV talking about ‘freedom’ without ever once mentioning that his version of freedom includes the right to be free of health care, free of public education, free of a pension, free of social security and free of your dignity as a human being. The truth is whatever he says it is. His government would be completely invisible, as in not there. Bernays would be proud.

I wouldn’t advise you to walk around shrugging your shoulders and shaking your head: someone might think you’ve been at Snoop Dogg’s medicinal marijuana.

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, January 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

If you go to opensecrets.org, you’ll see that the two
candidates that Wall $treet is backing are Obama and
Romney.  Thus, its no surprise that the Obama cheer-
leading squad at Wall $treet’s Washington Post is cheer-leading for the other Wall $treet candidate and
giving them advice.

Best advice for voters.  Stop voting for Wall $treet’s
candidates.

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By ardee, January 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

Inherit refers to the Republican’s role in ending slavery: but the fact is the Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the 1790s and Jefferson had 200 slaves. He never freed a single one of them until he was on his death bed. Those he freed included his seven slave children fathered with Sally Hemmings, a slave he took to his bed when she was thirteen years old.

Your hatred of the GOP becomes both pathetic and possibly psychotic. Jefferson, not that I expect anything to penetrate your rigid and puzzling GOPhobia, attempted to free his slaves while a member of the Virginia Legislature. That august body immediately passed a law to the effect that a slave owner must gift his freed slaves with a large sum of money ( I forget, frankly, how much) in a ploy to specifically prevent Jefferson from doing so.

Regardless of this we are speaking about your absolute refusal to acknowledge the role of the GOP in ending slavery. Faced with such puzzling ( ignorant?) hatred one simply walks away shrugging ones shoulders and shaking ones head….

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By diamond, January 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

“You misunderstand my objection to your screed. In making a cartoonish and blanket condemnation of the entire history of the GOP you negate any good your post might have contained.”

General Omar Torrijos, leader of Panama, told the author John Perkins: ‘The imperial drive has been and continues to be the cause of most wars, pollution, starvation, species extinction and genocides’. Needless to say, a South American leader with an attitude like that could only come to a bad end via the jackals. Omar Torrijos died in a plane crash on July 31 1981.  ‘CIA assassination’ the headlines read in articles and editorials.

So, you misunderstand my screed: the driving force behind America’s imperialism has been the Republican Party and it goes back a very long way. At least to 1890, but the hypocrisy began with the founding of the party.  Inherit refers to the Republican’s role in ending slavery: but the fact is the Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the 1790s and Jefferson had 200 slaves. He never freed a single one of them until he was on his death bed. Those he freed included his seven slave children fathered with Sally Hemmings, a slave he took to his bed when she was thirteen years old. You are caught up in the mythology, Ardee, instead of looking at the facts. Facts of history. The Republican party was founded by slavers and elitists who put in the ‘Declaration of Independence’ that ‘all men are created equal’ at the same time as 40,000 men women and children were being held at slaves. Women are not even mentioned as being equal or anything else. So that’s racism and sexism accounted for and that certainly didn’t start with Nixon, rather Nixon was simply carrying on the principles of the Republican Party that all men are created equal but some are more equal than others.

People who lie to themselves are certainly never going to tell the truth to anyone else and the Republicans have been lying to themselves since the foundation of their party with their high flown rhetoric that was intended to cover up the nasty truth of slavery and injustice and the corresponding belief in carrying a gun, fake religion, fake patriotism and fake corporate wars which persist to this day.

Much of America’s claim to be a beacon of light and a model democracy rests on the ‘Declaration of Independence’, but even a cursory examination of it casts doubt on this claim. From the start America’s obsessions were economic and driven by an urgent desire to protect the haves from the have nots. The War of Independence took its impetus from a refusal by the mercantile class to pay taxes and excises and the Civil War was fought by the South to protect and preserve slavery and the colossal profits slavery brought the Southern elite.

J. Allen Smith in his ‘The Spirit of American Government: A Study of the Constitution: Its Origin, Influence and Relations to Democracy’,  concludes that ‘(The) Constitution was in effect a class document put over on the people by the wealthy and conservative interests who were basically distrustful of the rule of popular majorities’. But he goes further:

‘The Constitution was in form a political document but its significance was mainly economic. It was the outcome of an organized movement on the part of a class to surround themselves with legal and constitutional guarantees which would check the tendency toward democratic legislation’. 

This is literally what the Republicans have always believed in and continue to believe. The caravan has moved on but there they are, still mired in the past: past racism, past sexism and past imperialism. They are not a good party gone bad but a bad party gone worse.

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By Inherit The Wind, January 10, 2012 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

Thanks, Ardee.  I’m doing much better. Hope to hit the gym in the next week or two.

I actually understand Diamond’s reluctance to click on links.  I have it too.  I cannot say it’s a fully logical response, other than you never know where SOMEONE’s link will take you and if it’s valid or a phish or other nasty virus thing.

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By ardee, January 10, 2012 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, January 10 at 4:06 am

Thank you for the clarification. One that would have been unnecesary if Diamond had only used the link I provided.

Hope you are healthy.

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By Inherit The Wind, January 10, 2012 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

Diamond:
Ardee was merely pointing out that the Republican Party was originally the Party of Lincoln, who freed the slaves.  40 years later it was the party of the Progressives, led by Theodore Roosevelt, opposing what was then the Democrats’ coalition of Southern segregationists and Northern Tammany-type machines. 

Even so-called “Progressive” Woodrow Wilson with his visionary ideas for World Peace was an ardent racist and segregationist from the South (New Jersey was due to his coming to Princeton).

The absorption of the Populists in 1896 by the Democrats began the change to a more populist party, but those BIG changes didn’t come until first the FDR era, and later the LBJ era (more than JFK).

Meanwhile, the Republicans, while ALWAYS the party of industry and business, from its founding (back when the BIG money power was Southern agrarian land holders) moved from progressive policies to help business and growth to REgressive polices to PROTECT those same businesses.  Even Ike, in 1961, that last DECENT Republican President warned against the military industrial complex.

No, the GOP began wooing Southern racists away from the Democrats in 1964, but didn’t seriously embark on it until 1968, with Nixon’s Southern Strategy.  Remember: in 1968 there was a MASSIVE defection from the Democratic Party in the South to George Wallace’s American Independent Party that won 45 Electoral votes and helped put Nixon in the White House. Only Texas, of all the Southern states, went to Humphrey. The others went to Nixon.

And the Dixiecrats left the Democratic Party for the GOP, as Nixon planned it.  In 1972, he won all but Massachusetts…

So while YOU, Diamond, are correct that NOW the GOP is made up of loonies and has been moving that way since Nixon in 1968 (or, more correctly, since Goldwater in 1964), Ardee is correct that the GOP was not ALWAYS made up of loonies, that this is phenomenon that’s now about 50 years old, about 1/3 of the GOP’s life-span, and, sadly, its foreseeable future.

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By ardee, January 10, 2012 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

diamond, January 9 at 10:19 pm

You misunderstand my objection to your screed. In making a cartoonish and blanket condemnation of the entire history of the GOP you negate any good your post might have contained.

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By diamond, January 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment

“As my previous post in this thread indicated I concur with the current assessment of that party as being unable to dismount the tiger of far right fundamentalism that helped it re-elect George W Bush. But you just went far too far…..”

No, Ardee: the Republican Party went too far, to the right. And they always go too far. They went too far under Nixon, under Reagan and under either Bush. At some point you have to face facts and stop making excuses for them. They are what they are, elitists, sexists, nationalists, religious nuts, class warriors and haters of education, intellectuals and culture because they believe only they and their elite know the way because God told them (funny how God never tells them what jerks they are since God is supposed to know everything) yet they despise the Muslims for believing exactly the same thing - but that’s just par for the course with them. Don’t do as I do, do as I say is their motto.

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By julio Rodriguez, January 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hope that Obama, Romney, Newt, Santoreum, or Huntsman do not win.

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By Queenie, January 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Just once I would like someone to ask mitt about his dog.

IMHO, anyone who would tie a dog onto the top of their car in a carrier and go 65 miles per hr. down the highway and then stop to hose off the dog when it shit down the sides of the car and then put the poor creature back into the carrier to get on with their vacation trip - anyone who would do that is evil personified.

Just once. Please.

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By UreKismet, January 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

So sad, so sad.  Not the candidates; their willingness to commit any untruthful act, mendacious grasp for a big donor, or libel against any decent human, has been so well documented over the last few decades, an emotive response to their depravity is not possible.
What is really sad is the attitude of many citizens, those who are actually paying attention to this primary as if the outcome of this, or the election which will follow it matters one whit to any 99%er.

Surely Obama’s sleazily surreptitious signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorisation Act  
The man who won election promising to close Guantanamo Bay concentration camp has done the opposite and beefed up its already oppressive anti-democratic structure.

He also signed up to giving himself the power to have citizens arrested imprisoned or executed without any form of trial, much less access to a lawyer, if he (Obama, mein fuhrer), determines their continued existence could constitute a threat

The bloke who many of these dem shills propound as a sensible alternative to the chicken hawk Romney.  Bullshit - these guys don’t give a toss what you think of them.  They aren’t strutting their stuff for you; they are trying to attract the attention of ‘major donors’.  Trying to show they can put a viable campaign together so they will be taken seriously at some future date.

This brings me to the issue of the sleaziest two-faced liar of the bunch, Ron Paul.

Paul demonstrated his preparedness to say or do any monstrous act when he allowed the hate mongering racist diatribes against African americans go out under his name, back when such horrors were less unattractive than they are now (that is why he stopped putting em out, not because he didn’t believe in them.  He’s a pol he doesn’t believe in anything.  He stopped because attitudes changed and they chased away more voters than they attracted.  Hence racism out back door while ‘peace’ posture comes in the front.)  Check out Paul’s voting record and see he is a machine pol through and through.

this is his last campaign one he knows he can’t win, even if he does as many want him to and runs on a 3rd Party ticket after he fails to get the rethug nomination.

The indie run which will only occur if Paul believes the ‘Nader of the right’ tag can be avoided, could do a grand job of showing potential big backers the capability of his machine.  What does that matter if it is his last campaign?

Because young Rand is looking at many more campaigns.  Despite holding positions far closer to mainstream republican bulldust than daddy, Rand managed to win election last time round, largely by letting some voters imagine his connection to Ron Paul was more than filial.

Ron will go down in 2012 all guns blazing, in the hope that by doing so he is cementing a family dynasty into position.

Then some time in the future (so Ron & Rand hope) when the mood of the voters is sorta dem but the dem candidate is lacklustre and may be vulnerable, Rand will put together a campaign whose objective is to slice a big chunk of voters away from the dems.

A play straight outta the Bush family book, maybe it will work, if it does it will signal many more deaths, because such pols run without a clear platform.  Once elected ,they can make up their ‘mandate’ as they need to.

Any of the a$$holes who are running in 2012, that have the faintest chance of winning are corrupt and will commit many war crimes.  Anyone who votes for any of them is complicit in those crimes, because the candidates’ true position on empire is so transparent.

If you can’t bring yourself to stay away on polling day, at the very least spoil your ballot.  Otherwise you are no less culpable than this scum.

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By mrfreeze, January 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

felicity - Great point. To answer your question, why they’re running: because they know the American people are dumb enough to vote for them.

And you know what? Americans seem to be perfectly comfortable having someone at the helm who IS incompetent. The current president’s incompetence pales in comparison to the last imbecile but again, so much of what passes for our “representational government” is nothing but a big game that the special interests hold complete control over.

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By BrooklynDame, January 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

We’re stuck in the bloody primaries and all of these miserable debates because not
one of the candidates appears fully fit, even to the GOP base, to lead the nation. If
one could stand out, even as Republicans of yester-year as someone who actually
wants to conserve resources, support building the middle class and unions (yes,
even their demi-god Reagan did that) and jump-start America’s ability to innovate
then the primaries wouldn’t have to be so bloody (or so bloody boring).  Instead,
the rest of us are forced to watch a clown-show in perpetuity; all of the bozos
wearing masks, trying to hide who and what they really are, and vying for a spot
as ringleader—a position they’re wholly unsuitable for.

http://borderlessnewsandviews.com/

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By Gorgeous, January 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

I certainly hope that’s what’s going to happen. None of the Repugs are worthy of America’s votes or qualified to be president - the more this circular firing squad continues the better for the country.

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By felicity, January 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

What is so obvious in the debates is that the
Republican Party has decided to not follow Cindi
McCain’s advice when her husband was campaigning for
the presidency - “It’s time we took off our
Republican hats and put on our American hats” - the
implication being that they’re not the same thing.

Listening and watching the candidates (with a fifth
of wine at the ready) debate I have yet to figure out
why any of them is running for president, which, if
it’s not to actually ‘be’ the president but more like
what-do-you-want-to-be-Johnnie-when-you-grow-up, if
one of them ‘wins’ we’ll be handing the rudder of
this ship of state to an individual who has no idea
how to steer a ship, nor any desire to learn how.

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By julio Rodriguez, January 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In my view point there are two primary issues:  Monetary soundness and war.

Right now private banks are controlling the country’s economy using the fractional reserve scheme.  And the Military complex are destroying countries and bankrupting America. 

No other candidate is addressing these issue properly.  No other candidate except Ron Paul.

By now it should be blatantly obvious that the group of people that support the status quo do not want the likes of Ron Paul in the white house.  And that they control television, newspapers and many prominent websites.  The lies of “front runner”, and other mind tricks gets tiring.

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By ardee, January 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

diamond, January 9 at 12:09 pm

Your blanket condemnation of the GOP, in any age, is entirely inaccurate. Please do your research:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_United_States_Republican_Party

As my previous post in this thread indicated I concur with the current assessment of that party as being unable to dismount the tiger of far right fundamentalism that helped it re-elect George W Bush. But you just went far too far…..

We the People of these United States have a choice between the right ( Democrats) or the far right (GOP). It was not always this way though.

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By diamond, January 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

“But Santorum’s experience raises a larger question about this year’s Republican primary contest: Rather than strengthening the party for the coming battle against President Obama, will it instead leave it more marginalized from the views of swing voters? Have the party’s candidates, particularly Mitt Romney, had to spend too much time and energy wooing voters far to the right of the mainstream?”

I don’t exactly know what Dionne means by this. The entire Republican Party has moved decisively to the right and not just any old right, it has moved to the Christian Fundamentalist right. Santorum and Paul are both Christian fundamentalists and if my memory serves me correctly, both Huntsman and Romney are Mormons which makes them Christian fundamentalists, just members of a different sect. Newt Gingrich is to the right of Hitler on virtually any question you might think to ask and is cynical, corrupt and a rabid war monger. Rick Perry is a caricature of a right wing politician in the George W. Bush mold, all mouth and no cattle, as they say in Texas. Bachmann is gone, thank God, so her ceaseless, inane prattle of ‘Obama will be a one term president’ is gone too. She is also, of course, a Christian fundamentalist. The Republicans know that as least 25% of the vote is made up of their ‘base’, meaning far right loonies and Christian fundamentalists (or is that a tautology?) so their plan is the usual one: discourage progressives, make them hate Obama so that they won’t vote and then the Republicans’ puny 25%-30% base will be enough to get them home, especially if they can rig enough of the vote. How these far right religious fanatics could possibly ‘woo’ moderates is beyond me. The problem is not one of political process, the problem is what the Republicans have become: a party of freaks and nutters, completely out of touch with reality and the 21st century. But that’s what they always were, in any century and underneath their many disguises.

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By balkas, January 9, 2012 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

let’s occupy all MSM columnists’ offices and computers!! or let’s not feed these
trolls! thanks

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By madisolation, January 9, 2012 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Shorter Dionne: “Let’s get the Republican primaries out of the way, even though only one state has voted, so the Obama can employ the ‘lesser of two evils’ crap against Romney, and Obama can get on with his job of being a spokesman for the 1%.”

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By balkas, January 9, 2012 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

this piece is too much about several individuals and their stupidity attacks. so, i
read only a few passages of EJ’s piece. it is too much of a punishment reading such
pieces. thanks

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By ardee, January 9, 2012 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

Does this article really have a point? Yes, the GOP used the extreme right to get Bush 43 elected, yes that decision has trapped that party in a far right position from which they cannot seem to recover. Yes each candidate is campaigning to a small minority of the American electorate, the extreme right.

So what? Frankly, regardless of which party wins a majority of the Legislature, regardless of whose fat behind sits behind the desk in the Oval Office, we the people will not be represented.

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By mdhess, January 9, 2012 at 1:13 am Link to this comment

I wonder why none dare speak the dark lord’s name: George W Bush? Where is that guy? I notice none of the primary candidates are courting his endorsement.

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