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Moderates and liberals October 21, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Michael McDowell is, not unlike many of us, puzzled by how Trump managed to get ‘so close to assuming the presidency of the most powerful nation on Earth’. I’ve got to say, I don’t think he can win, but I won’t rule out the possibility that he might. So perhaps best to wait a while and see what happens.

Still, McDowell is spot on in the next part:

The blame of this complete betrayal of the democratic system must lie fairly nd squarely with the Republican Party. They nominated him. Most of them endorsed him. many of their congresspeople and senators are now scurrying rat-like to and fro on the ropes between two sinking ships – the rotten hull of the USS Trump and the water soaked decks of their own fragile candidates.

McDowell doesn’t hold back, either:

Earlier this year, and before Trump was selected, and in the context of warning against complacency that Trump would be easily defeated, I wrote here: ‘If the GOP has allowed it self to become the political cat’s paw of a coalition of birthers, racists, homophobes, creationists calling themselves evangelists, plutocrats who regard state-funded healthcare as s threat to their savings, pacifists in the war on poverty and butters who want to water board and bomb their way to international respect we should worry not just for the US but for ourselves.

And he blames all this on a Republican party which ‘failed to deal with the Tea Party, which hijacked the Republican Party and drove it to the extremes… and they were let do so by moderate Republicans, who became ashamed to describe themselves as ‘moderate’. Moderate became the ‘M word’ just as libel earlier became the ‘L word’, immoderate and illiberal became by necessary logic, badges of praise. Then there is Fox News. The damage Fox is doing to American democracy is very clear and obvious now.

He relates how those like ‘resident right-winger’ Glenn Beck ‘peddled his hateful bile’. Ironically, as was put to me, Beck is one of those steamrollered by Trump et al. McDowell is scathing about gun laws, creationism and makes a good point that all the rhetoric about Hillary having ‘hate in her heart’ and ‘Obama is divisive’ is just so much hot air.

Of course, some of that rhetoric, and particularly that around Fox, was performative. Not exactly insincere – at least not in all cases, but overheated and exaggerated for effect. But surely social media is another part of this too. I mention Ken Bone elsewhere. That is a prime example of how uncontrolled social media is, in the sense that it surges where it will.

In a way what is also interesting is how McDowell’s politics, which most of us would position firmly right of centre is in his own perception quite distinct from all this. Whether he is entirely immune to these dynamics is another matter. I recall his railing against equality, to taken an example at random, and wonder if the distance is quite as great as he proposes. And yet, and yet, he thinks it is.

We often reflect on the cleavages between and within the left(s) but the same is true on the right, just there’s a tendency to, I think mostly, rally to the banner. Power tends to see the right consolidate rather than otherwise. And that explains one part of the puzzle. But whatever about it appearing monolithic there remain divisions within.

Comments»

1. CL - October 21, 2016

Trump is as American as apple pie.

He has many predecessors.

Anti-Chinese racism in the late 19th century .The Ku Klux Klan.Fr. Coughlin. Charles Lindbergh and the American First Committee. George Wallace,Pat Robertson. Pat Buchanan…

“Although Trump’s rise has demonstrated the enduring appeal of the racial-nationalist strain of American populism, his campaign is missing one crucial element….
Since the 1960s, the United States has become an ever more multicultural nation. No one who seriously hopes to become president can afford to talk about “the people” in ways that clearly exclude anyone who isn’t white and Christian.”
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2016-10-06/trump-and-american-populism

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sonofstan - October 21, 2016

Add the explicitly anti-Irish Know -Nothings to that list

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2. RosencrantzisDead - October 21, 2016

This is very rich of Michael McDowell considering he was the figurehead of the 2004 Citizenship referendum. That referendum was, I recall, embroiled in racism and xenophobia.

This is a trend in the Irish political class, though. Abroad, they view themselves as liberals, decying racism and populism; at home, they enact the same malign policies but regard common sense and effective government.

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CL - October 21, 2016

Nothing new in the long-distance liberal concern of the Irish bourgeoisie.

Frederick Douglass in Cork:

– He describes to Garrison the streets teeming with wretched beggars and homeless, starving children whose pleas “were such as to make me ‘blush and hang my head to think myself a man’. I speak truly when I say I dreaded to go out of the house.”…
It was a sensitivity that, as his biographer William McFeeley notes, was probably not shared by many of his liberal hosts who were quick to deplore the treatment of Africans in America but could not see their fellow countrymen begging on their doorsteps-
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/the-escaped-slave-and-the-irish-emancipator-1.580149

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