Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A most puzzling marriage...

I ran across an interesting piece today that reminded me of a very puzzling juxtaposition of ideals and values within the Republican Party that has both intrigued and bemused me for some time.

I refer to the inclusion within the very same political party of two very different groups of people.

One is the traditional conservatives.  Small government, fiscally conservative, pretty much isolationist regarding foreign policy.

On the other hand are the social conservatives - the far right wing theocrats.

Ever wonder why the same political party pushes legislative measures that require a large government presence in people's lives - banned abortions, limited or no birth control, strict control over who can marry whom, restrictions over even what sexual positions are allowed in one's own bedroom - while at the same time holding the completely opposing ideal that the government should be as small as possible - small enough to "drown it in the bathtub"?

It is a political marriage that took place forty years ago, and is now reaching the logical conclusion of that marriage - the complete and utter takeover of the Republican Party by the Dominionists.  The traditional "establishment" of the Republican Party has always been the small government crowd.  The old style fiscal conservatives.

The guys the Tea Party threw a bone to back in 2009 when they made fiscal conservatism a central piece in their campaign.  The bone that got jerked out of their very jaws in the recent cave-in on the debt limit.

But then, what are we seeing at the State level - is it fiscal conservatism?

No.  We see a rising number of very unpopular laws being rammed through State Legislatures legalizing, of all things, discrimination against gays.  (and ultimately, anybody the Dominionists don't like - divorced folks, single mothers, gays, atheists, fornicators, whatever their pea-pickin' little hearts want to label folks they hold a religious grudge against.)

On one hand, this seems insane.  It makes no sense for them to push a legislative agenda that is very unpopular to most Americans.  On the other, this represents the last effort they think they've got to push their laws while they still have the chance.  Many of them, living in their right wing echo chamber, still think they've got years ahead of them to make America a Christian Evangelical utopia. Their platitudes to their own followers that they've got a majority of Americans on their side seems to be so appealing they are beginning to believe it themselves.

But on the other hand, they are not fools.  The demographics are NOT on their side, and within ten years at the outside, the Republican Party will either have to radically change its legislative agenda or simply die.

No, that doesn't mean that Democrats will have their own way.  Conservatives aren't going away, and have no fear - neither are Conservative values.  But they will be stained by the association with the crazy theocrats for some time to come.

I think the legislative scenario in the US is going to get worse before it gets better.  The stranglehold on State and local level governments by the crazies isn't going to be broken in just one or two election cycles.  But that just means that once the American people finally get their fill of theocracy, they'll spend a lot of time in relative Opposition Hell before we trust them with that much power again.

And I hope it is a long, cold time in legislative hell.

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