I have been reading the various political activities that have followed the recent presidential election and two things came to my mind:
First, the Republican Party is in real trouble. There is a movement by the more centrist or traditional Republicans to have the lunatic fringe ousted from the party (unless it loses the majority control of the House of Representatives, and then even the lunatics are valuable and should be supported), and at the same time the baggers and other wing-nuts are doubling down on their far-right agenda and threatening to take the Republican Party even further into Mordor. History suggests that the party will work this out and come back surprisingly in the future but it is also possible that the party will thrash itself out of existence.
Second, since Mitt Romney (dare we say his name?) is now considered persona non grata only two weeks after losing the election, are we going to see another Republican Convention and presidential campaign in 2016 that pretends both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney never existed? Imagine a party that has as its record a candidate who shall not be named, an ex-President who shall not be named, another ex-President who adds little to boast about, and a mythological ex-President who is fading further and further into irrelevancy. And we don’t even want to hint at that other ex-President who resigned in disgrace and only escaped a prison term because his appointed successor granted him a pardon and full amnesty.
The Republican Party has little to recommend it and its history is embarrassing at best. At least the Whigs had Millard Fillmore.
An interesting parallel to the baggers side of the Republican Party is the Know Nothing Party that partially grew out of the demise of the Whigs. Wikipedia has an good, if limited, write-up on the Know Nothings but just to raise some interest, here is a portion of the platform adopted by the American Party which remained after the Know Nothing movement split over the support of slavery:
- Severe limits on immigration, especially from Catholic countries.
- Restricting political office to native-born Americans of English and/or Scottish lineage and Protestant persuasion.
- Mandating a wait of 21 years before an immigrant could gain citizenship.
- Restricting public school teacher positions to Protestants.
- Mandating daily Bible readings in public schools.
- Restricting the sale of liquor.
- Restricting the use of languages other than English.
I can see how this agenda might be compared to the modern-day Republican agenda. But one thing that is important to remember, it used to be the Republicans who were anti-slavery and a good Republican from the 19th century might be shocked to see the racism inherent in the modern Republican Party.
Earlier I indicated I believed the Republicans lost the election because they believed their own lies. The Barack Obama that the Republicans were running against was a made-up character which they could attack to a great advantage; unfortunately the real Barack Obama cleaned their clock. I heard a further extension of this theory recently which I clearly endorse: media supporters such as Russ Limbaugh, Donald Trump, Glenn Beck, and Fox News, create a false understanding of the facts of politics and the world in general. If the Republican Party wants to rise from the ashes it much begin to deal with reality and not mendacity. This means that Fox News has to go and Rusty either reined in or sent back to Cape Girardeau.