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:
… 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:
And here’s our “Very Last Word”: