Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 30, 2005

Billmon: The Soldier Who ...

The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice
Today's key document, I think, is former Sen. John Danforth's op-ed in the New York Times, which can be read as both his own personal declaration of independence from the religious right, and a manifesto calling upon the Republican Party to do likewise.
...
The fact that the movement's radical agenda can't be satisified within the rule of law, and the New Model Army's growing frustration with the lip service it is getting from the politicos, may rattle the nerves and offend the sensibilities of the Republican pundit class, but the real GOP leaders, the ones who have power and know how to use it, realize the ships have all been burned and there's no going back.

Posted by b on March 30, 2005 at 19:45 UTC | Permalink

Comments

cartoon

Posted by: b real | Mar 30 2005 21:08 utc | 1

This is a really great post by Billmon and it echoes what I've been saying to my republican friends privately the past few months.

Even here in Texas (the belly of the beast, you might say) old time republican strategists are uneasy about the clout and instability of the religious extremists who are calling the shots.

I just quote Abe Lemmons (a colorful former UT basketball quote), "You gotta dance with who brung you."

They've made their unholy alliance and they're going to have to live with it.

Unfortunately, the rest of us are going to have to live with it too.

Posted by: fourlegsgood | Mar 30 2005 22:21 utc | 2

Whipping up the base by supplanting the fulfillment of material needs with religious nationalism is what the fascists did in Italy and Germany. The sun of Danforth's economic conservatism never rose. When did "small government, low taxes, the promotion of the free market" benefit workers? Never. Workers only ever succeeded by confronting capital. Danforth's problem is inherently Capitalism's eternal legitimation crisis, surmountable only when elites sustain the diversion of "values" in face of obvious class conflict. And it works, except the bargain becomes evermore treacherous as the "base" clamors for a more decisive object of diversion. Hitler offered the German people the souls of murdered jews. Now it's college professors and schiavo murdering judges, immigrants. Who's next?

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30 2005 22:26 utc | 3

Slothrop

Who's next?

Who is now?

Them mad muslims?

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Mar 30 2005 22:36 utc | 4

old time republican strategists are uneasy about the clout and instability of the religious extremists who are calling the shots.

This has always been the case. What's different now is the seriousness of the crisis of accumulation--the gap between productive capacity and workers' consumption--is reflected by progressively desperate attempts of elites to legitimate such monstrous inequality. Fascism is a logical deadend for this charlatanism. Or revolution.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30 2005 22:37 utc | 5

The main point of importance in Billmons post is the way Faux news and the Limblowhards of the world can turn up the "new" talking points. Look the dems are stealing candy from that four year old.

Meanwhile, the four year old parents are farther in debt and making less money. This country is headed for troubled times and it is being fueled by the wingers. Some one will pay and it is going to get ugly. Rethugs have made a pac with the christians (devil ?) and it will bite them in the ass.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 31 2005 0:10 utc | 6

"...may rattle the nerves and offend the sensibilities of the Republican pundit class, but the real GOP leaders.... realize the ships have all been burned and there's no going back."

Billmon is probably right, but I'd by wiling to take long odds on the more remote possibility that a limited hangout has been orderd here to generate future alternatives.

Let's take the BoBo mini-trashing of the Norquistians as a case study....is it not possible that this could have actually been hatched in one of those weekly Groverian Salons to set-up a "we have listened and we have repented" kind of deals.

I mean, heck, if they can convince the majority of the electorate that Harry Reid ordered Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube removed from Ms. Schiavo six months from now, could not they also convince the same folks that Grover et al. actually laid the groundwork to expand the social security mandate and institute a future Universal Healthcare Initiative.

Posted by: RossK | Mar 31 2005 1:03 utc | 7

sheesh...that's some bad syntax above, apologies

Maybe I better get myself a cerebral CAT scan....but, if the news is bad don't let me look at it....that way I'll have plausible deniability for my synaptically challenged loss of syntax.

Posted by: RossK | Mar 31 2005 1:53 utc | 8

Billmon also notes the dominance of the Christian right in our officer corps. I first noticed this about a decade ago amongst my neighbors - it started with the Clinton-hating, and has progressed. I don't mean to smear everyone in our military leadership, but in key positions, Christian fundamentalism seems to have a strong grip. I particularly see this in the elite units of the Marines and Special Forces... the folks doing the heavy fighting.

Posted by: jeff | Mar 31 2005 5:10 utc | 9

I don't mean to smear everyone in our military leadership, but in key positions, Christian fundamentalism seems to have a strong grip. I particularly see this in the elite units of the Marines and Special Forces... the folks doing the heavy fighting.

I've seen it too.

It's very frightening.

Posted by: fourlegsgood | Mar 31 2005 7:40 utc | 10

Dear Billmon, how about doing a photoshop morphing of BabyBush's features onto the Brain-
Dead open-mouthed open-eyed face of Ms. Schiavo? That's depict him perfectly.

Slothrop sez:
"Whipping up the base by supplanting the fulfillment of material needs with religious nationalism is what the fascists did in Italy and Germany."

A Ger. Historian has just come out w/a bk. claiming he won their allegiance by providing real material support - by doing exactly the opposite of what US elites are doing here.

"A well-respected German historian has a radical new theory to explain a nagging question: Why did average Germans so heartily support the Nazis and Third Reich? Hitler, says Goetz Aly, was a "feel good dictator," a leader who not only made Germans feel important, but also made sure they were well cared-for by the state.

To do so, he gave them huge tax breaks and introduced social benefits that even today anchor the society. He also ensured that even in the last days of the war not a single German went hungry. Despite near-constant warfare, never once during his 12 years in power did Hitler raise taxes for working class people. He also -- in great contrast to World War I -- particularly pampered soldiers and their families, offering them more than double the salaries and benefits that American and British families received. As such, most Germans saw Nazism as a "warm-hearted" protector, says Aly, author of the new book "Hitler's People's State: Robbery, Racial War and National Socialism" and currently a guest lecturer at the University of Frankfurt. They were only too happy to overlook the Third Reich's unsavory, murderous side.

Financing such home front "happiness" was not simple and Hitler essentially achieved it by robbing and murdering others, Aly claims. Jews. Slave laborers. Conquered lands. All offered tremendous opportunities for plunder, and the Nazis exploited it fully, he says.

Once the robberies had begun, a sort of "snowball effect" ensued and in order to stay afloat, he says Germany had to conquer and pilfer from more territory and victims. "That's why Hitler couldn't stop and glory comfortably in his role as victor after France's 1940 surrender." Peace would have meant the end of his predatory practices and would have spelled "certain bankruptcy for the Reich." "

Full art.

Posted by: jj | Mar 31 2005 8:40 utc | 11

I forget what the name of the law that says that any Internet discussion must invoke Hitler within x iterations, but the analogy is chillingly apt here. Hitler could not have come to power without the active assistance of the big German industrialists and conservative politicians. They were absolutely certain that they could control this small-time politician who, despite his obvious oratorical skills, was largely unschooled in the ways of German politics. They were wrong.

It is going to be very difficult for so-called "mainstream" Republicans to put this genie back in the bottle. The fact is, Clinton managed to co-opt practically all the economic and foreign policy issues of these Republicans; the only reasons they're still Republicans are habit and social issues, in particular abortion. This is even more true of the so-called "libertarian" Republicans, who are starting to realize that they have more in common with the Democrats than they do with the New Republican Party. The real fire and passion within the Republican Party now is all coming from the radical Christian right. I just don't see what Republicans like Danforth, much less like Christine Whitman (who has written a whole book about getting the Republican Party back) have to offer that can overcome the emotional fulfillment the radical Christian right seems to provide.

I think this last point is very important. Ultimately, people supported Hitler, not because they agreed with his policy proposals or because they thought he would do the best job of governing Germany, but because they liked the way he made them feel. The radical right-wing Christians are offering their followers the opportunity to fight in the front line in the eternal struggle between good and evil, with the promise of the Rapture to come. For many people, eternal salvation is an attractive proposition, especially if you're not sure about your job skills and are wondering where all these damned immigrants came from and why things aren't like they were in the good old days, which weren't really that good but were at least familiar.

The old Republicans have nothing equivalent. Their tired bromides about "fiscal discipline" and "efficient government" have been taken over the Democrats, who can also talk about protecting the rights of workers, gays, minorities, etc. with something like a straight face. We can hope that these old Republicans realize that their only feasible alternative is to join with the Democrats, just as the only real alternative for the German conservatives was to ally themselves with the Social Democrats. I suspect, though, that the mainstream Republicans are just as set in their ways, and just as confident of their ability to manage their hot-headed erstwhile allies. And they will be just as wrong.

I think Billmon comes down too hard on Cromwell and the New Model Army. If nothing else, Cromwell was at least competent. But that's another discussion.

Posted by: Aigin | Mar 31 2005 9:30 utc | 12

jj says.
A Ger. Historian has just come out w/a bk. claiming he won their allegiance by providing real material support - by doing exactly the opposite of what US elites are doing here.

Aigin says,
I think this last point is very important. Ultimately, people supported Hitler, not because they agreed with his policy proposals or because they thought he would do the best job of governing Germany, but because they liked the way he made them feel. The radical right-wing Christians are offering their followers the opportunity to fight in the front line in the eternal struggle between good and evil, with the promise of the Rapture to come.

anna missed says,
Both right, but Bushes fascism is trailer park by comparison, and the wheels are coming off as we speak. The social security (3 card monty) flame-out and the Terri Shiavo (Mary Hartman Mary Hartman) lame brains are us back-fire have left the Repubs an image with no where to hide without exposure... the wizard at the control panel pulling levers being caught. And Billmon is also right, the're stuck with it.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 31 2005 10:58 utc | 13

Punters flock to $25,000 a night whore

Posted by: Puta | Mar 31 2005 14:16 utc | 14

John Altevogt, a conservative GOP activist from Wyandotte County, also welcomed Coulter.


"Ann Coulter is logical, rational and an independent thinker," he said. "In essence, everything the left hates in their womenfolk."

I wonder if he owns a dictionary?

Posted by: Colman | Mar 31 2005 14:20 utc | 15

JJ

This was apparent in 'Triumph of the Will'. The scenes of the nazi supporters feasting on beer and sausage always explained the attraction of Hitler to me.

I can't believe some later day historian is making a reputation for discovering this.

Posted by: ed_finnerty | Mar 31 2005 15:59 utc | 16

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