Friday, April 20, 2012

Mitt happens

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Mitt Happened - Pundits Pivot on Mitt Romney
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Note that Charles Krauthammer calls Mitt Romney a "northeastern Republican." (That's supposed to be a bad thing.) Of course, the Northeast used to be the Republican stronghold. That was back when Republicans were conservative, not crazy.

And that was back when the South was solidly Democratic, instead of solidly Republican, as it is today. These things are related.

I keep mentioning this, because it's so important (and, to me, so fascinating), but this is all a result of the GOP's notorious "Southern strategy" of deliberately appealing to white racists, after the Democrats passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawing racial segregation.

Politically, it was wildly successful, because the Republicans took the entire South away from the Democrats. True, they lost the African American vote, but that was a pretty good trade, at least if you look at it in purely political terms.

But as the South became more and more important to the GOP, it inevitably started changing the GOP. Northeastern Republicans became unhappy with the racism, with the fundamentalist "culture wars," with the loss of respect for science and the increasing xenophobia.

The Republican Party kept Wall Street, because the GOP remained overwhelmingly focused on tax cuts for the rich. And the wealthy were largely willing to accept the crazy in exchange for that financial bonanza, certainly as long as it remained mostly just lip-service. But ordinary people in the Northeast were not.

And as moderates left the GOP - were driven out, pretty much - the right-wing fanatics got more and more powerful. At first, Republican politicians could just throw them a bone occasionally. Those people were useful, but not to be taken seriously.

Now, however, they're the Republican base. Now, this mindset controls the Republican Party. These people sneer at the "northeastern Republicans" they replaced. And this is a perfect example.

They weren't quite able to derail the Romney nomination, but if you think about it, it's just incredible how close they came to picking Rick Santorum as their presidential nominee! I mean, just think about it - Rick Santorum!

But every candidate, including Mitt Romney, has been trying his damnedest to suck up to the crazies. There is really no choice, for a Republican. As I say, thanks to that "Southern strategy," they're now the Republican base.

And Sarah Palin is right that Romney will have to surround himself with their people. He's picked his bed, and now he's going to have to lie in it (and "lie" is the operative word here). He won't be a moderate president, no matter what he really thinks - and at this point, he's flip-flopped so many times that I doubt if he "really thinks" anything.

Re. this "pivot" to supporting Romney, that's Fox News, to a great extent. Roger Ailes made that perfectly clear when he told Newt Gingrich he wouldn't be welcome back at Fox.

As much as any one entity can be said to run the Republican Party these days, it's Fox 'News.' Fox both incites and guides the crazies in the GOP base, and it regularly employs Republican politicians when they're not actually - officially - running for office or in office.

Fox doesn't just pay them, but also gives them a platform to express their views and a way to stay in the limelight, which is absolutely essential for any celebrity/politician. Keeping Fox 'News' happy is the number one goal of most Republican politicians, at least at the national level - at a minimum, equal to keeping contributors happy.

Fox is the propaganda arm of the GOP, but that understates the power of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. When they say it's time to settle on Mitt Romney, it's time to settle on Mitt Romney - at least for any Republican with political ambition.

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