This week’s Herald column: who controls the GOP?

I talked about this subject Wednesday on the “Martin Bashir Show” and on “The Last Word” last night. But it bears repeating: the Republican Party’s political operatives, and its media hacks (think Rush, Hannity, Coulter…) have been rolling the conservative base for decades, pretending to cleave to their values, but hiding them in the back room when it’s time to talk (or implement) policy. Well, the base isn’t having it anymore.

Here’s a clip from this week’s column:

For decades, Republican political operatives like Karl Rove have used the right — both Christian conservatives and Ayn Randian Libertarians — to win elections. Once in power, however, Republicans have been loath to govern on conservative principles, believing — with some merit — that the actual policies would be widely unpopular.

Instead, GOP politicos have tried to force the right into the cuddly branding of “compassionate conservatism” or the “ownership society,” rather than presenting the ideology as it is — and selling it the way the right imagines Ronald Reagan did. That’s the main conservative critique of the Bush years. (The trouble with the myth, of course, is that Reagan never lifted a finger to ban abortion, plus he raised taxes, exploded the deficit and granted amnesty to illegal immigrants, none of which has interrupted his deification by conservatives.)

Eight years later, the far right need no longer worry that its ideology is being hidden under a bushel, or wasted on politicians too timid to act.

The 2010 elections brought to power conservative governors and state legislatures, not to mention the tea party-heavy 112th Congress, particularly the U.S. House of Representatives, who together have floated literally hundreds of abortion-related bills, pushed for “personhood” amendments that would ban the IUD and fought for religion-based restrictions on the distribution of birth control through employer-provided insurance plans.

It’s ironic that Christian conservatives are returning to political prominence at the same time as laissez-faire, 1-percenter-worshipping Ayn Rand Libertarians — Rand herself was an unabashed atheist, who was contemptuous of the “mysticism” of religious people.

Contradiction aside, that duality is at the heart of Republican politics today — witness Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential candidate who is at once a religious fundamentalist on the question of abortion, and a Randian when it comes to, say, Medicare privatization, tax cuts for the rich and slashing spending on programs for the poor. …

… Movement conservatives, whether they are of the Koch brothers — “end the minimum wage and child labor laws, and cease all regulation on big business and the extractive industries” strain — or the evangelicals who even now are writing into the platform for next week’s Republican convention a plank opposing abortion rights for women, even in the case of rape or incest, are finally having their day.

Not that the political and media hacks get that they can’t just roll over the base anymnore, nor can they shut them up. Don’t believe me? Here are a few headlines for you to ponder…

This New Hampshire Republican sheriff’s candidate says he would use “deadly force” if necessary, to prevent an abortion from taking place.

And these Christian conservatives are not amused by the party operati abandoning Todd Akin. Not amused one little bit. The term they’ve used to describe their lack of amusement? “Political gang rape.” Seriously.

This Christian conservative leader agrees: Todd Akin is the one being “forcibly assaulted” here. Really.

And Akin is fundraising off his … er … gaffe (which wasn’t really a gaffe because he still believes it…)

Oh, and of course, there’s this guy.

Read more here.

And here are my Bashir appearance today on the subject:

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… and myself, Richard Wolffe and Newsweek’s Michelle Goldberg on “The Last Word” discussing the present state of GOP hackduggery when it comes to their evangelicals:

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And here’s our “Very Last Word”:

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2 Responses to This week’s Herald column: who controls the GOP?

  1. majii says:

    I’ve been watching and enjoying your appearances on MSNBC, Ms. Joy Ann Reid, and I want to thank you for your insight and for your fortitude in saying exactly what you think on issues when you’re on with republicans who try to lie about, and disparage, the president. It’s rare these days to see a pundit on TV willing to tell the truth. The mainstream GOPers sold their souls to the religious dominionists in the 1980 and haven’t been able to keep them in line since. When the republicans won so many seats in the House in 2010, Ryan and the other tea partiers took over, and Boehner became only a figurehead. The republicans have a serious problem because they don’t have an official leader of the party. They have sent GWB and Cheney into seclusion. This has allowed Fox News, Limbaugh, and other far right republicans to take over the party. I noticed that Romney didn’t call for Akin to leave the senate race until others had already called for him to dropout, so even though he’s the party’s nominee, it’s obvious that someone else is pulling his strings. Limbaugh told the republicans today to not respond when they’re asked about Todd Akin, and that is exactly what Romney did when he told reporters that he wouldn’t answer any questions about Akin or abortion. Just think what would have happened if the president had told reporters what they could/couldn’t ask him. The republicans would make a big deal of it, and it would be a topic of conversation for at least two weeks, but with Romney, the MSM stenographers just shrug and accept it. I’m still waiting on one of them to find the courage to really go after Romney about his failure to follow precedent on releasing at least five years of his tax returns.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Ms. Reid,

    thank you for your honesty when you’re on tv. you tell the truth and don’t sugarcoat it in the least. and, you pushback on all the rightwing nonsense.

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