The Crazy Base Won’t Let the Republican Party Change
In the wake of the election, there’s no doubt that the Republican Party leadership is capable of making some adjustments to re-brand itself. There are plenty of ways they can do it, but it’s obvious to anyone paying attention to what’s happening on the far-right that the base simply won’t allow the party to change. For example, in the wake of his support for a deal that would allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest incomes to expire, it appears as if Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) is vulnerable to a primary challenger from his right. We’ve only just begun to witness the far-right backlash against the party leadership.
The base of the Republican Party is deeply entrenched in the murky darkness the party has been building throughout the last three decades: a realm of anger, racial resentment, distrust of government, hatred of immigrants and violently anti-choice misogynists and demagogues. The party has incited these tendencies via its PR apparatus — the conservative entertainment complex — on AM radio and Fox News Channel, augmented by wealthy financiers who bankroll the bulk-purchasing of every book-length ghost-written screed by Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck.
The problem this creates, of course, is that the Republican Party has been consumed by misinformed idiots with no substantial connection to the real world, and the first post-election PPP poll only serves to amplify this conclusion.
First, the good news. 56 percent of Republican voters aren’t really interested in seceding from the United States.
Wait. Isn’t that kind of low given the seriousness of topic?
The sloganeering party of “these colors don’t run” — the party that practically branded the notion of American patriotism during the previous decade is only around half-sure that it doesn’t want to totally abandon the nation it heretofore claimed to love so much. The other half is split between still making up its mind on secession and totally wanting to secede right away.
As I’ve written before, we can only regard this as fair-weather patriotism. More than that, it’s just dumb. Perhaps there’s a big steaming chunk of wishful thinking on the part of the secession supporters, but the process of secession presents a huge obstacle: it’s simply impossible.
For a significant chunk of the party, softening on issues like immigration and reproductive choice is more obscene than the impossible task of disconnecting from the Constitution and the nation.
But wait. There’s more.
The PPP study asked Republican voters why they thought President Obama was re-elected. Thanks to the ex-morning-zoo-deejays and television screechers in the conservative entertainment complex, half of all Republicans think the president stole the election. Actually — correction — the president didn’t directly steal the election. Half of all Republicans told PPP that ACORN stole it for him. 49 percent of Republicans believe ACORN, the evil nonprofit organization, rigged the election somehow for the president.
Good news and bad news on this one.
The good news first: the number of Republicans who think ACORN stole the election is down by three percent from 2009 when 52 percent thought ACORN prevented John McCain and Sarah Palin from winning the election.
Here’s the bad/hilarious news: ACORN ceased to exist years ago following a conspiracy of videotaped lies by Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe — a scam that was picked up by Republican leadership in Congress where the organization, which didn’t break any laws, was stripped of federal funding. After it was too late, the U.S. Government Accountability Office determined that the Breitbart/O’Keefe videos were heavily edited and that no federal funds were misused and no laws were broken. But ACORN was killed by a conspiracy of lies and slander anyway.
And now, years following its wrongful death sentence, ACORN is still being wrongfully accused of stealing elections, and it’s all because the base is entirely disconnected with facts and reality — a disconnection that’s reinforced in almost every sphere of right-wing influence.
Anyone who thinks the Republicans are capable changing is just as delusional as the secessionists and conspiracy theorists who compose the GOP’s base. The far-right media is so deeply and inextricably woven into the life-support system of the Republican Party, it’s nearly impossible to extract it without killing the host.