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Unfortunate timing… June 17, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I have a weird sympathy for Meghan Kelly, writing in the Irish Times as a US Republican married to an Irish person who laments the lack of understanding of Republicans here in this state. It is not that I have any great love for that part of the political spectrum, though give me a thinking conservative any day of the week over unthinking liberals or leftists – though better again lets encourage as many thinking leftists, but it must be odd to land here in a fairly small ‘c’ conservative state (by European terms) and discover so many signed up rather unthinkingly for the Democratic party.

So it is her reasons for being a Republican are well outlined even if you or I would likely take issue with them. She’s a small government, free market, law and order, conservative of sorts. She’s on less sure ground when she suggests she’s a believer in sovereignty and simultaneously American hegemony. And here it is that I think the ground she positions herself on begins to get a bit shaky, particularly by eliding Donald Trump with US Republicanism is a different matter again.

I believe in sovereignty. Yes, this should resound with Europeans questioning the EU and throwing up temporary borders in the midst of a migration crisis. I share Donald Trump’s concerns that sovereignty is not being respected and we have no control over who is coming in and for what purpose, even though it sounds “racist” to superficial ears.

And:

So the next time the words “ignorant” or “dangerous” come to mind when describing Trump or the Republican Party, I hope someone reading this article will realise that these terms are relative. A lot of Americans think the same about the Democratic Party, for valid reason.

The problem being that Trump most categorically is not within the mainstream of US Republican thinking on sovereignty or indeed American hegemony (assuming one thinks that latter is a good thing). Anything but. He is more rather than less isolationist, and while it would be nice to think that Trump is exercised by issues of ‘control’ it is clear that his approach goes way beyond that. And in relation to the other social/economic areas it seems to me Trump is also imperfectly Republican.

I’m tempted to rework the Lloyd Bentsen line: ‘you sir, are no Republican’.

It is perhaps unfortunate that her piece appears the same day as a myriad of reports of how Trump is tanking in polls across the US. Whatever about the US electorate at large, it would appear that a fair chunk of US Republicans aren’t convinced he is one of them either.

Comments»

1. gendjinn - June 17, 2016

“The problem being that Trump most categorically is not within the mainstream of US Republican thinking on sovereignty or indeed American hegemony”

Oh but he is. I’ve been hearing jingoistic, bombast, “the blacks were better off under slavery”, “they owe us the oil because our military protects them”, apologia for every coup and war from Republicans for decades. I still hear the “we coulda won in Vietnam except we had one hand tied behind our backs”. Trump has simply dispensed with the euphemisms and dogwhistles.

At this point anyone who tells me they are a Republican is telling me they are at least a racist (see last 8 years) if not a full blown subscriber to American hegemony (PNAC/Bush).

Overheard some Democrats discussing how worried they are about Trump winning in November, because it will cost America her “moral authority in the world”.

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sonofstan - June 17, 2016

that’s like brexiters thinking there is a ‘rightful place in the world’ of which Britain has somehow been defrauded and which it will resume, come the joyful day.

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gendjinn - June 18, 2016

They are the exact same class/type/clade of people both in the US and UK.

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yourcousin - June 18, 2016

“At this point anyone who tells me they are a Republican is telling me they are at least a racist (see last 8 years) if not a full blown subscriber to American hegemony (PNAC/Bush). ”

I would warn against such simplistic reductions.

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gendjinn - June 18, 2016

And generally I do.

But after what’s been going on in the US from the Nixon strategy to the public foaming at the mouth racism towards Obama by the GOP and tea party the last 8 years. The constant, repeated, public displays of vile racism from one side of the political divide. Well this one has proven itself.

Perhaps you are referring to someone who says “I’m a Republican, but not one of those Bush or Trump Republicans. I’m an Eisenhower Republican.” OK fair enough – Operation Wetback.

There is no redemption for the GOP and everyone that identifies with it is racist.

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gendjinn - June 18, 2016

And saying you are only in the GOP for the “fiscal conservatism”, not the nativism, is like saying you read playboy for the articles. OK well playboy has dispensed with nudes, but back when it did have them.

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WorldbyStorm - June 18, 2016

Just to be clear, my original point which I should have made clearer was that Trump is more isolationist than the ‘establishment’ Republican party. In terms of racism I know Republicans who aren’t in the slightest bit racist, but clearly there are huge problems in relation to race within the Republicans, problems that have got worse and worse as time has gone on.

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gendjinn - June 18, 2016

Those nayce republicans are voluntarily identifying with a party that has dealt on racism since Goldwater. At least say you are an independent with X policy position.

The GOP are racist. End of discussion. There is no middle ground any longer.

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yourcousin - June 18, 2016

You know gendjinn I usually really enjoy exchanges with but your lack of historical context, nuance, and just plain hubristic righteousness is really putting me off today.

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WorldbyStorm - June 18, 2016

I wonder though, it’s not difficult to see parts of the US where it would be a proxy for racism, but other parts where it wouldn’t be. The Republicans are a curious amalgam of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, libertarians, right populists and various other sub groups. Some of those groups can be racists, some may not be.
It is true that sub and on occasion overtly racist strategies have been used by them, and it’s genuinely shocking (in the sense of demonstrating just how alienating the R’s have been to them) to see how few African Americans vote for Republicans (in 2012 the R’s got 6%!).

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WorldbyStorm - June 18, 2016

Just to be clear I’m throwing that out there into the discussion, not directing it specifically at any one.

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WorldbyStorm - June 18, 2016

BTW this is a great piece I think… Hard to know whether if he’s right about the nature of the Trump candidacy is it worse or better than some have thought hitherto…

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/17/could-he-actually-win-dave-eggers-donald-trump-rally-presidential-campaign

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gendjinn - June 18, 2016

yourcousin,

fair enough. 20 years ago you could have made the argument that not ALL Republicans were racist. It would have been hard to make then, but you could have made it.

Even taking Trump out of the equation, the last 10 years of GOP voter suppression alone is sufficiently racist to tar the entire party. And if you claim membership in a racist organisation, then you are racist.

Goldwater/Wallace, Nixon, Southern Strategy, Lee Atwater, Reagan. Racist/Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist. And it’s only gotten worse since then.

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yourcousin - June 20, 2016

My point is that there have always been a strain in America that has favored small government identified with the yeoman farmer even as his existence became untenable. Jefferson’s Democratic Republicans, which later morphed into the Democrats exemplified this strain. Anti Masonic parties (strongly evangelical) of the north east and the Know Nothings are also interwoven into this. This is. Or even going into the Whigs and their various iterations between north and south which finally tdid them in. Do you think that racism was non existent in the Free Soil/Free Labor parties? And obviously the “solid south” was solidly Democratic. And what of the failure of reconstruction under Grant? Ending in failure to meaningfully enfranchise freedmen and allowing Jim Crow to take root.

Let’s fast forward to LBJ blocking civil rights legislation before pushing for it or Bobby Kennedy putting J. Edgar onto MLK. That’s not even touching Johnson’s beating of school children who spoke Spanish or his habit of shaking his dick at people. Clinton’s pushing NAFTA which disportionately effected minorities in manufacturing let alone his support of “get tough on crime” legislation which almost exclusively put minority men behind bars. Let’s jump onto the housing market bubble which took off during the Clinton years and came to its logical conclusion in late 2008. Again this hit minorities communities a lot more than white communities.

My point in this rambling little diatribe is that racism has been part of American politics of all stripes since the beginning and that it promises to continue today as well. This is not even touching the class elements.

This is also putting aside the fact that you are conflating the “generals” crafting strategy with “foot soldier” on the ground. There is of truth in the old John Prine song “grandpa was a carpenter” where he sings, ” voted for Eisenhower cause Lincoln won the war”.

We are also forgetting that for the last say 15-20 years regional press has been dying and social media is turning our world view into an echo chamber where can consume what they want without much thought. As in you do not make a conscious choice to live in an echo chamber but rather now must make a diligent effort to live outside of said echo chamber.

The angry white voters of Kansas may be directing their anxst at the wrong target but aren’t the black voters who have consistently lined up behind the Democrats and corrupt black politicians done the same?

But then can you blame people for being fallible? Apparently you answer “yes” to that question, I’m not so sure because I live amongst these people and would have wasted my entire “radical career” if I wrote them off.

This has been disjointed partly because I’m doing this off of my iPhone but it is complicated

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gendjinn - June 21, 2016

yourcousin,

re your 20th comment – happy to stipulate the history you enumerate.

Thing is, the GOP today (after 40+ years of the Southern Strategy) actively pursues electoral “reform” that takes votes away from minorities. It is clearly, unambiguously racist in word and deed.

Whatever policy positions you are concerned about saying “I am a Republican” is saying “I am a member, supporter and ally of a verifiably racist organisation.”

How that is different from being a racist is something I cannot comprehend.

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yourcousin - June 29, 2016

So now that this BREXIT brew ha has cooled down let us return to the matter at hand.

You are correct in the issue of voter ID is often used to target minority communities. And that should be challenged.

But again you are conflating the actions of the “generals” with that of the “foot soldier”. The BREXIT campaign is the perfect example of my point. There is no doubt that Johnson and Farage knew exactly what they were doing but to pin their motivations to the average “leave” voter would off point.

Unless of course you would argue that anyone who identifies as a leave voter is racist/little Englander.

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