What's Newt - and the GOP - Up to?
By Dennis Loo (1/20/12)
New York Times’ Op-Ed Columnist Charles Blow in today’s issue (January 20, 2012) writes of “Newt’s Southern Strategy.” He ends his piece in which he chronicles Newt’s pugnacious extremism with this:
“Gingrich is appealing to (and exposing) an ugly, gut-level anger and animosity among a sizable portion of the Republican electorate. This may work for him in the primaries, but it doesn’t bode well for his party in November.”
Is this a bad electoral strategy on Newt’s part? Or is it something else? As I wrote in my book, Globalization and the Demolition of Society:
“Some people view these developments [the Birthers, the murder of abortion doctors such as Dr. George Tiller, the murderous assassination attempt upon Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, etc.] as signs that the GOP is digging its own grave as a legitimate party. This is not, however, principally an electoral strategy by the GOP. It is instead a strategy of a small minority banking on bullying and intimidation to get its way by enlisting the support of a relatively small but highly aroused social base—the Tea Parties —as a kind of shock troops strategy.
“These are the early expressions of a full-blown fascist movement. They are the domestic analogue of the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war and torture. As long as the Bush Doctrine remains in place in foreign policy, its equivalent in domestic policy will and must persist because the government cannot continue those policies abroad without shoring up a xenophobic domestic base. As Paul Craig Roberts puts it, referring to Chris Hedges,
‘Indeed, Hedges reports that “radical activists in the environmental, [anti]-globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and anarchist movements are already being placed by the state in special detention facilities with Muslims charged with terrorism.” Hedges warns: “This corruption of our legal system will not be reserved by the state for suspected terrorists or even Muslim Americans. In the coming turmoil and economic collapse, it will be used to silence all who are branded as disruptive or subversive. [Syed Fahad] Hashmi [American accused of terrorism] endures what many others, who are not Muslim, will endure later.”’[i] (Pp. 185-186)
“These egregious policies should be exposed, isolated, and repudiated. But the Democrats and Obama refuse to do this. A new basis of unity is being configured in the US, one based on narrow nationalistic and profoundly immoral premises. In this new compact, the rule of law is subordinated to a permanent emergency condition. Security trumps liberty and freedom, and freedom is being redefined to mean the freedom of corporations and the freedom to consume. To accomplish this new compact will require silencing and neutralizing the Left and dissenters and freethinking rationalists through intimidation, repression, violence, and the Big Lie.”
It is a mistake, in other words, to view the contestations and rhetoric of both marjor parties as primarily directed at electoral victories. Political power isn't primarily exercised via elections. For more on this question, see my article "On Elections and the Real Sources of Political Power."
[i] Paul Craig Roberts, “Liberty Has Been Lost,” OpEdNews.com, January 5, 2010, http://www.opednews.com/articles/Liberty-Has-Been-Lost-by-Paul-Craig-Roberts-100105-429.html, accessed January 6, 2010.