By Robert Becker
In the brilliant movie Chinatown, the cornered, luckless hero (Gittes) demands the villain’s motivation:
Gittes: I just want to know what you’re worth. Over ten million?
Cross: Oh my, yes!
Gittes: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What can you buy that you can’t already afford?
Cross: The future, Mr. Gits – the future.
So drives today’s Republican providential villainy: at home, the conscious, cynical wholesale demolition of modern, secular, middle-class America – overseas, smashing medieval, non-Christian states that offend its entitled vision of the future. Sacrificing one White House race works if it sullies the waters of governance, seizes the Senate, and holds the House: onward rightwing soldiers marching off to ’14 and ’16 wars.
After all, half of Mississippi’s GOP base considers Obama a trickster Muslim – what, serving the Moslem Caliphate? Note how often American firepower crushes those beyond the Judeo-Christian dominion. Count ‘em, since WWII: Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Libya, with Iran in the wings. How many Christian bastions endured late 20th C. imperial Yankee interventions? Old Yugoslavia, and it has Muslims.
With icebergs galore sinking the GOP primary, top conservatives like George Will concede their crippled hags won’t unseat the unruffled, buoyant incumbent. Shift instead to the big picture, especially if the last debilitating month, a debacle for fringe contenders, issues, media, and leadership, gets replayed. That shrinks the presidential ploy this year to thuggish sacrifice: whatever GOP loser gets nominated, get ready for a losing season bashing Obama and Democrats as inept, immoral, traitorous scoundrels.
Buying the Future
Can Romney, the vacuous opportunist who splits W.’s base, thus can’t dispatch two weaker has-beens, defeat Obama in full campaign regalia? The great, sacrificial flip-flopper, Mitt’s specialty is dishing dirt, not selling positives, but some might help elect House extremists. That sabotages functional government in America for years. As George Lakoff summarizes, “The Republican presidential campaign is about a lot more than the campaign for the presidency. It is about guaranteeing a radical conservative future for America.” The Gingrich politics of personal destruction is coming around, imploding as mutual self-destruction.
We have precedence for negativity paying off: in the ‘90’s Newt imploded, though not without bloodying the Clintons. That skunked 2000, allowing W. the Sarah Palin predecessor (a know-nothing raised from obscurity by great powers) to appear clean-cut enough to vanquish Gore. Likewise, did not virulent hatred against a black president’s “Obamacare” deliver the ‘10 House takeover? By 2016, voters will forget whatever toxic assault surfaces, but not the degraded Democratic-Socialist Party. Imagine the payoffs when Mor-man, with little to lose, pins countless ugly tails of failure on liberal donkeys.
And were Santorum or Gingrich to win, brace for triple-down smears of the president’s person, race, religion, style, family, and background – ultimate illegitimacy. After all, this duo already earned a survival show: “Crazed Lying by Wild and Crazy Guys.” Extend Limbaugh’s bigotry and misogyny (what’s his downside?), throw in more FOX’s facile, paranoid belligerence, then top with faux billionaires blustering against an “anti-business president.” Here’s my preview of toxic GOP themes for the fall blood sport:
1) Obama the Outsider, the Other. Continuing the Palin-Birther-Tea Party belch, this Kenyan Muslim president’s even less “one of us,” apologizing all the time while paling around with enemies of “true Americans.” 2008 was a fraudulent deviation from our sacred, exceptional history, the result of evil liberal press lords and Hollywood elites which, if not reversed, invites looming divine payback. Since the Age of Obama serves wicked secularism, defiance is all that’s left so that good Christians remain good Americans, channeling all those evangelical, theocratic Founders.
2) Obama’s Romantic-Sexual Threat: Expect hints Obama (and/or his black appointees) dated too many white women (FOX query, “why don’t we know about pre-marital girl friends?”). Or maybe Obama dated only black women, signaling his racist “problems with white people.” “It stands to reason,” I hear the vile Limbaugh hiss, “what silver-tongued, handsome snake succeeds without hiding immoralities.”
3) More Guilt by Association, whether with Hitler, Stalin, or objectionable black voices dragged into the fray. Amplify Gingrich’s fear-mongering cry last year: Democrats promote “a secular, socialist machine as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany.” Figure replays of the USAAmmo ad displaying Obama next to the world’s worst dictators. The text: “tyranny is knocking down the doors of American cities daily” as Obama and “other gun control” advocates “are secretly conspiring [sic] American Citizens of the right to bear arms.” Sick, indeed.
4) Lots More Nasty Satan References. As if mass murderers aren’t evil enough, brace for wild claims from faux Christians, like “Who but a Satanic cohort drags America down this sinful road to hell?” Battling Satan justifies any nefarious means, and it transcends politics to embrace absolutes like God’s word and eternal salvation.
4) The Most Freedom-hating President Ever. Libertarians will distort Obama as the ultimate, liberty-hating snoop, the busybody socialist not only addicted to nationalizing industries but intruding anywhere, investigates anyone. Well, there’s some truth here. The worse smears will echo this irrational former New Mexico mayor, slamming the president as the “carnal manifestation of evil,” elected by CIA conspiracy since he’s “not a natural born citizen.”
5) Obama the Great Divider. As opposed to W., the Great Decider, formerly “the great unifier.” Go no further than Palin this week, belching to Sean Hannity how Obama divides the country “based along lines of gender, of religion, of income, even of race.” Obama wants to “go back to before those days when we were in different classes based on income, based on color of skin.” And when was that, pray tell? Historian Palin explains: Obama “is bringing us back…to days before the Civil War, when unfortunately too many Americans mistakenly believed that not all men were created equal.” Right, Obama wants to be bought and sold as a slave, a jaw-dropper from one of our nastiest, most divisive illiterates.
6. Scandals, Personal and Financial – if re-elected, fabricated or real, an echo of Clinton’s second term. Inflamed partisans like Rep. Darrell Issa, powerful House chairman, will go full-bore sniffing out liberal enemies of the state. Or take the bad donors’ ploy, as Palin did, distorting Bill Maher’s Obama PAC donation as “dirty money” because he once called her a bad name. It “shouldn’t surprise us,” croaks Palin, “that Obama’s group would take Maher’s money,” as “he has never been who we would describe [as] a man of valor.” Us? And “we” are moral experts about political valor? That’s “whom,” by the way. You betcha.
A week ago, the NY Times’ columnist, Andrew Rosenthal tossed off this absurd headline, “Has Political Discourse Hit Rock Bottom?” Hardly. His finale, Barbara Bush’s complaint, “I think it’s been the worst campaign I’ve ever seen in my life.” Which recalled Bette Davis’ line from All About Eve: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” We’re going way beyond bumpy this fall, into new territory, with hard and dirty bottoms, typical of political sacrifices.