Friday, November 10, 2006

End of the Party of Lincoln

Two days after losing a bid for a second term in an election seen as a referendum on President Bush and the Republican Party, Sen. Lincoln Chafee said he was unsure whether he'd remain a Republican.

"I haven't made any decisions. I just haven't even thought about where my place is," Chafee said at a news conference Thursday when asked whether he would stick with the Republican Party or switch to be an independent or Democrat.

When asked if his comments meant he thought he might not belong in the Republican Party, he replied: "That's fair."

Chafee unsure of staying with GOP after losing election

In an ironic turn, the Republican Party loses its last connection to its foundation and history with the electoral loss of a modern day Lincoln. The Republican Party began when it was no longer possible to find common ground between America and an extremist minority. It has ended with the party becoming that same deluded band of extremists.

This election bears out the predictions of Mark Schmidt, who has spoken of the culmination of a multi-generational realignment of the American body politic, a shift set into irrevocable motion by FDR with his New Deal and sealed with the transposition of the Republicans and the Democrats in their geographical and ideological strongholds of a century before. There remains a party of the old slave-holding south, but now it bears the name "Republican." It is majority white, hypocritical Xtian, male-dominated, fascistic in its style, patriachal in its attitude, and reviled by civilized people around the world.

The traditional party of Dixie, the Democrats, now run the Northeast, command strong support in the midwest and far west, and are fully contenders for the indecisive plains and mountains, those same places where slavery tried to expand into. Democrats are the political and economic liberals - and I mean that in the formal political science sense. They are for representative, rules-based government, substantive equality before the law, protections from arbitrary state power, the independence of the civil society from monarchic, aristocratic or theocratic structures, and a moderately regulated market economy. It is a centrist party with an emphasis on moderating social and economic extremes to reinforce a stable middle ground.

The Republicans have squandered the legacy of 152 years. They are a party of class warfare, racism, sexism, imperial expansion and greed. They blame their electoral losses on not being corrupt enough to simply stuff the ballot boxes and tell the public to go Cheney themselves. Decent people are no longer welcome in it. Minorities are as long as they play faithful servants. (Does anyone besides me see the appointment of Michael Steele as the next RNC head a way to blame a black man for the inevitable bloodbath and Republican losses of the next electoral round?) They are a party re-founded on crime (corruption, payola, kick-backs, pedophilia, war crimes, torture, electoral fraud, corporate crime, etc.) and held together with lies that bind them back to their criminal origins. It is odd to see many of the same passions that undergirded the Civil War still alive and kicking today in the Republican Party, as exemplified in (soon to be ex-) Sen. Allen, that revolting combination of religious and racial bigotry driven on by unscupulous greed.

In a number of places around the web, it is noted that "Southern" states get far more from the federal government than they pay in, even as they are the worst about abusing the government. That is an artifact of the fascist stain in the body politic and its peculiar journey between the parties. Since FDR, it is the element that provided the margin of victory to the majority party. This is the core of Nixon's infamous "Southern Strategy," which was a battle to seize a psychological geography as much as one to seize the physical states. Since the New Deal, the battleground of the American body politic has been that poisoned, perverse, pathetic patch of the American soul.

Thus, this election is a watershed in more ways than one. It is not just that the Democrats regained control, but that they have done so without the Southern Stain. They are a clear and strong majority party, but did not need to incorporate or accommodate the fascist element in order to do so. I know it disappoints ideological leftists to have to cohabitate with socio-economic moderates (and this portion of the party bears watching because of their proximity to the Southern Stain), but we have achieved victory without people like Zell Miller or any other Dixiecrat turn-coat.

The Party of Lincoln gladly absorbed into itself every element of society that Abraham Lincoln rejected as unworthy of the republic. Lincoln himself would vote Democrat if he could see what has become of his party.

No comments: