Friday, December 16, 2016

Today's Letter is R

R is for Republican. And Russia.

Exploiting the craven weaknesses of American political media has been a Republican specialty since Willie Horton (1988) and the Swift Boats (2004.)  Working with Russia, the new, ever more craven alt. right went full Nineteen Eighty-Four (War is Peace, etc.) and got away with it.

R is for Rabid Right Reactionaries. But the rabid younger reactionaries didn't start it.  That was King of Craven Mitch McConnell, who doesn't give a damn about this country or anything else but partisan political advantage.

As Senate Republican Leader, he organized the total opposition to anything that President Obama proposed, endorsed, approved of or said a kind word about, and did so during the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, when the world economy depended on Washington leadership.

But to justify such obvious obstructionism meant amping up the rhetoric to absurd levels, demonizing Democrats and most of all, President Obama.  And an entire empire was energized and expanded to do this.

It in turn gave voice to the racism that the presence of a black First Family in the White House was already unleashing.  That racism had gone quiet, though it never went away.  Repressed for so long, it exploded, and it is out there now as an empowered fact of life.

R is for racism.  It's increasingly ugly, everywhere you look.  Part of the shock some are feeling at the election result is learning that friends and family are more openly expressing it, as well as other reactionary views.

There was of course more to it than that.  But isn't that enough?

So where is it going?  Nazi Millennium.  R is for Reich.

President Obama's press conference Friday was full of uncomfortable truths for the assembled media.  He nailed the political effect of all this, too:

"There was a survey, some of you saw, where -- now, this is just one poll, but a pretty credible source -- 37 percent of Republican voters approve of Putin. Over a third of Republican voters approve of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB. Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave.

And how did that happen? It happened in part because, for too long, everything that happens in this town, everything that’s said is seen through the lens of "does this help or hurt us relative to Democrats, or relative to President Obama?" And unless that changes, we’re going to continue to be vulnerable to foreign influence, because we’ve lost track of what it is that we’re about and what we stand for."

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