The only problem is that Bachmann, Cain, Perry and Santorum are all declared Republican candidates for President in 2012. In a Republican presidential primary season so far filled with over a dozen candidates, the numbers called by God to run are ever increasing and may give us an all time high for those to whom the Almighty has spoken.
With what appears to be a record number of Republican candidates called by God to run for President in 2012, Mike Lofgren’s characterization of the GOP and its relationship with the Almighty rings ever more true. This article is the second in a series of three analyzing recent statements by Mr. Mike Lofgren, who spent 28 years on the GOP staff of the US House and Senate Budget Committees. He had some interesting things to say about the Republican love affair with the Almighty as the guide for its members’ ambitions. For instance, Mr. Lofgren says the following:
Give me that old time religion. Pandering to fundamentalism is a full-time vocation in the GOP. Beginning in the 1970s, religious cranks ceased simply to be a minor public nuisance in this country and grew into the major element of the Republican rank and file. Pat Robertson’s strong showing in the 1988 Iowa Caucus signaled the gradual merger of politics and religion in the party. The results are all around us: if the American people poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution versus creationism, scriptural inerrancy, the existence of angels and demons, and so forth, that result is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the Republican Party and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary or quaint beliefs.
I guess the rest of us, not called by God to run for President, have some less lofty calling or are just somehow less morally upright than those chosen few of the GOP. But, I just wonder what really is going on here? I mean can God have called all these people to run for President? How did they receive their call? Is it the height of hubris to claim the allegiance of the Almighty or just another day on the 2012 Republican Presidential campaign trail? I can honestly say that I have not been called by God to run for President and that fact does not upset me in the least.
But, for those whose party leaders are called by God, it cannot be at all a surprise that opposition to their calling is immoral nihilism and most likely later punishable by marginalization, repression and eventually death. Mr. Lofgren writes:
It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.
Think about it, the chief “enemy” of the GOP as identified by its presidential candidates is President Obama. At least 25% of Republican voters believe that President Obama is the “anti-christ.” Some 57% of GOP adherents think the president is a Muslim, and GOP voter majorities think the president is a “socialist,” “wants to take away American’s guns,” has “done may things which are unconstitutional” and wants to turn the US over to some “one world government.”
Think about the GOP plan for economic revitalization: more and better tax breaks for corporations, millionaires and billionaires and the gutting of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
America now has the highest numbers of its citizens living in poverty ever. And the gap between the richest and poorest in America is at its greatest ever.
If tax breaks for corporations, millionaires and billionaires were the way to economic recovery then, the “Lost Decade” and the Great Recession” of the GW Bush tax breaks would have instead been the period of the greatest post-WWII economic growth instead of the worst. Instead of private sector jobs actually being lost for the eight years of the Bush tax cuts and economic policies, we would have seen growth in private sector employment. When I hired my little brother to help me move my law office during the GW Bush years, I put more net private sector people to work than Bush did in eight years. And see here.
Most interesting to note among the poverty figures is that the only sector holding its own (other than the anointed corporations, millionaires and billionaires of the GOP) was seniors. Seniors largely held their own out of poverty because of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security which the GOP now proposes to destroy!
So, then we would be back to the broken model of healthcare delivery in America which has some 51 million Americans uninsured and some 45,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have health insurance.
The pattern of GOP governance will hold true; marginalization of the working poor and the Middle Class, destruction of the public supports for seniors, the disabled, the unborn, pregnant women, infants, children, widows and orphans and finally, the eventual deaths of those completely marginalized and out of any sphere of a now defunct social compact that some needs be met by the government. Mr. Lofgren comments on the GOP focus on social issues as the economic issues are settled for the Republican party’s adherents.
After a riot of unbridled greed such as the world has not seen since the conquistadors’ looting expeditions and after an unprecedented broad and rapid transfer of wealth upward by Wall Street and its corporate satellites, where is the popular anger directed, at least as depicted in the media? [Popular anger is aimed at] “Washington spending” – which has increased primarily to provide unemployment compensation, food stamps and Medicaid to those economically damaged by the previous decade’s corporate saturnalia. Or the popular rage is harmlessly diverted against pseudo-issues: death panels, birtherism, gay marriage, abortion, and so on, none of which stands to dent the corporate bottom line in the slightest.
The Republican focus on social issues and the religious aspect of governance is most clearly demonstrated in the recent debt ceiling “crisis” inflicted upon America by a frothing-at-the- mouth minority of Republican members of the US House of Representatives. Recently elected so-called Tea Party members of the US House of Representatives bastardized the debt ceiling process into a super high stakes game of chicken and bet the welfare of America and the world’s economy on the outcome.
Some of the leaders of the Republicans and the Tea Party don’t believe there is any imminent harm in US default on its debt and will continue to play chicken with the continued funding and debt ceilings of the US government with continued harm to the nation’s credit rating and the economy and the world’s economy . Mr. Lofgren says:
It is the apocalyptic frame of reference of fundamentalists, their belief in an imminent Armageddon, that psychologically conditions them to steer this country into conflict, not only on foreign fields (some evangelicals thought Saddam was the Antichrist and therefore a suitable target for cruise missiles), but also in the realm of domestic political controversy. It is hardly surprising that the most adamant proponent of the view that there was no debt ceiling problem was Michele Bachmann, the darling of the fundamentalist right. What does it matter, anyway, if the country defaults? – we shall presently abide in the bosom of the Lord.
Now that Republicans have taken control of the US House of Representatives and use their threat of filibuster to stymie any progressive legislation from passing the US Senate, Republicans picked this “debt ceiling crisis” as their latest and greatest fight to wrest blackmail from the country in the furtherance of The Republican War on Christmas.
Republicans have posited a series of ever more extremist and radical plans to restructure government under the guise of “fighting the deficit.”
Those hoping for an eventual split between the corporatists and the theocrats in the Republican Party will be dismayed. In the short term, at least, the GOP has a conjunction between its corporate conservative interests and the more fundamentalist adherents to the so-called “Gospel of Wealth.” Mr. Lofgren writes on this topic:
There is no fundamental disagreement on which direction the two factions want to take the country, merely how far in that direction they want to take it. The plutocrats would drag us back to the Gilded Age, the theocrats to the Salem witch trials. In any case, those consummate plutocrats, the Koch brothers, are pumping large sums of money into Michele Bachman’s presidential campaign, so one ought not make too much of a potential plutocrat-theocrat split.
The many contradictions among the Republican views of the economy and the role of religion and God in government can be most strikingly seen in perhaps the most candid observation by Mr. Lofgren, a 28 year member of the inner circle of Republican policy on the federal budget.
The GOP cult of Ayn Rand is both revealing and mystifying. On the one hand, Rand’s tough guy, every-man-for-himself posturing is a natural fit because it puts a philosophical gloss on the latent sociopathy so prevalent among the hard right. On the other, Rand exclaimed at every opportunity that she was a militant atheist who felt nothing but contempt for Christianity. Apparently, the ignorance of most fundamentalist “values voters” means that GOP candidates who enthuse over Rand at the same time they thump their Bibles never have to explain this stark contradiction. And I imagine a Democratic officeholder would have a harder time explaining why he named his offspring “Marx” than a GOP incumbent would in rationalizing naming his kid “Rand.”
It remains to be seen which, if any at all, candidate or party the Almighty truly has called to do His work in 2012. But, perhaps some might recall the Sermon on the Mount or Matthew 19:24 as they make their declarations of faith or claims of some personal calling by God as the substance of their politics.