Thursday, April 26, 2012

Republican Coup d'etat

Usually when we think of a coup d’etat we think of the use of force or a sudden violent act of some kind to bring down a government and replace it with another. In recent years, however, there have been reports of non-violent coups d’etat. Thus I believe it is entirely appropriate to describe what Republicans have been attempting since President Obama was elected as a full-blown, non-violent, slower than most, but clear attempt at a coup d’etat.

What they have in mind is a simple enough two part maneuver to bring down the Obama administration. They have made no secret of this strategy. They decided first to refuse to cooperate with Obama on anything he wished to do and to vote “no” on everything. They have pursued this with an almost religious intensity, successfully crippling his attempts to make virtually any progress. The second part of this strategy is to claim (dishonestly) that Obama has failed. Romney and other Republicans now repeat this accusation constantly. In fact Obama has not failed. The Senate has filibustered and otherwise resisted all of Obama’s attempts to create jobs and make things better for everyone. The House, controlled by the Tea Party extremists, has been even worse about undermining Obama at every opportunity. Thus it is the United States Congress that has failed, and failed dismally to aid in the solutions proposed by Obama and the Democrats. I think if it is possible to be at all objective about this situation, Obama has been remarkably successful in the face of such constant Republican intransigence.

On the one hand you might consider this attempted coup as a diabolically clever political strategy to bring down the Presidency and thus regain it for Republicans. On the other hand (if it were not so serious) you might well consider it a pathetic case of childish pouting over having lost an election. I believe this is a strategy born of desperation. As Republicans have absolutely nothing to offer for solutions themselves their only chance is to attack Obama. You have noticed, I hope, they have put forth no platform that differs substantially from the Bush/Cheney disaster, in brief, lower taxes for the rich, smaller government, and the Bush/Cheney foreign policy of constant war (good for business). Every piece of legislation they have ever suggested involves cutting taxes for the obscenely wealthy and international corporations, while at the same time eliminating the social programs that our citizens, particularly, seniors, women, children, and the handicapped depend upon. They have managed to alienate women, seniors, young people, Latinos, Blacks, Muslims, and virtually everyone else except for the less educated, White blue-collared workers and the Tea Party crowd. They clearly don’t even represent their interests either. The only thing they share in common is their hatred for Obama (read a Black President), whom I think, following the (Symbolic) anthropologist Mary Douglas, they think is little more than “dirt” (matter) out of place:

“In her 1966 book Purity and Danger, anthropologist Mary Douglas famously explains dirt as "matter out of place." Dirt does not index an objective category of pathogens or pollutants she suggests, but rather the designation of "dirt" indexes a contravention to a social order, and by extension, its boundaries. That which transgresses boundaries of a given order is dirt or dirty, thereby reaffirming the validity, naturalness, and purity of that which remains within.”

I should think the only possible way this attempted coup might succeed is if (1) they can “roviate” Obama sufficiently enough, (2) the electorate has not been paying attention, and (3) also has no memory. Unfortunately, they can probably depend on 2 and 3, but you can be sure they will attempt to slime and malign Obama to the fullest extent possible, no lies will be too extreme, no hypocrisy too great, and no criticism overlooked. Karl Rove, one of the architects responsible for turning what used to be a respectable political party into little more than a criminal conspiracy, will attempt to realize his apparent ambition of establishing a full-blown fascist government controlled by a single party in league with the corporations that have bought and paid for it.

Political history is largely an account of mass violence and of the expenditure of vast resources to cope with mythical fears and hopes.

Murray Edelman

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