Friday, October 11, 2013

Why Republicans Shut Down the Government. By Francis Wilkinson.

Why Republicans Shut Down the Government. By Francis Wilkinson. Bloomberg, October 4, 2013.

Anger Can Be Power. By Thomas B. Edsall. New York Times, October 8, 2013.

Wrong Side of History. By Timothy Egan. New York Times, October 3, 2013.

The Myth That Makes the GOP Suicidal. By Ira Chernus. History News Network, October 9, 2013.

Putting the Spotlight on the Republican Party. By Stan Greenberg. Greenberg Quinlan Rossner Research. Democracy Corps, July 23, 2013. Results of the first national survey of the Republican Party Project. Also here.

Inside the GOP: Report on Focus Groups with Evangelical, Tea Party, and Moderate Republicans. By Stan Greenberg, James Carville, and Erica Seifert. Republican Party Project. Greenberg Quinlan Rossner Research. Democracy Corps, October 3, 2013. PDF. Also here.


For them [focus group participants], Greenberg notes, Washington looks nothing like the capital many others see. Gridlock? There is no gridlock. Only a socialist steamroller before which the Republican Party is feeble and afraid. “Evangelicals who feel most threatened by trends embrace the Tea Party because they are the ones who are fighting back,” the report states. Republican base voters “think they face a victorious Democratic Party that is intent on expanding government to increase dependency and therefore electoral support.”
This is the context of the fight against Obamacare. The basic idea – similarly articulated by some Republican officeholders, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz – is that Obama has extended a new entitlement to create a class of lazy, poor voters whose well-being is dependent upon the Democratic Party. Shorthand: more 47 percenters.
“Their party is losing to a Democratic Party of big government whose goal is to expand programs that mainly benefit minorities,” the report states.
The Republican moderates were staunch fiscal conservatives, but most readily embraced new gender relations and minority empowerment, including gay rights. The Tea Partiers and evangelicals spoke as if they were in the midst of War of the Worlds. As the report characterizes the Tea-Party worldview: “Obama’s America is an unmitigated evil based on big government, regulations and dependency.”
It’s a tough situation to rectify. A lot of Americans were not ready for a mixed-race president. They weren’t ready for gay marriage. They weren’t ready for the wave of legal and illegal immigration that redefined American demographics over the past two or three decades, bringing in lots of nonwhites. They weren’t ready – who was? – for the brutal effects of globalization on working- and middle-class Americans or the devastating fallout from the financial crisis.
Their representatives didn’t stop Obamacare. And their side didn't “take back America” in 2012 as Fox News and conservative radio personalities led them to believe they would. They feel the culture is running away from them (and they’re mostly right). They lack the power to control their own government. But they still have just enough to shut it down.