“Respectable” Fascists v. Overt Fascists: the GOP and Trump
By Dennis Loo (6/12//16)
Everyone who’s been paying any attention at all to the GOP’s leadership and major donors’ divided reaction to Trump’s unconcealed racism, sexism, anti-immigrant and all-around general belligerent idiocies knows that the GOP leadership is trying desperately to put daylight between Trump and themselves.
It’s no secret, however, to anyone older than a child, that the GOP, even without Trump, is known for its racism, sexism, anti-immigrant, homophobia, and xenophobia. The GOP is famous for its contempt for due process, its saber rattling and love of violence.
So what is animating the GOP’s antipathy for their standard bearer? It’s not Trump’s bigotry but that he isn’t being coy or coded in his language. “No one,” as Trump can be easily imagined to say, “is as good as I am in being a bigot. No one is more of a xenophobe, no one is as contemptuous of women, hostile to minorities and immigrants and more of a Christian fascist and anti-civil liberties person than I am!” He’s taking the GOP “respectable” fascism et al and letting it all hang out, revealing nakedly how odious those views are.
As John Ehrlichman, former confidant and close advisor to Richard Nixon, admitted of Nixon’s speeches: the coded language about crime and protestors was intended to appeal to the “cracker” vote. When Reagan spoke of “welfare queens” and Bush Sr. premised his first presidential run on the specter of “Willie” Horton as black man after white women, when Meg Whitman fired her long-standing Mexican-American nanny who had asked for her help in getting documented, when Bush typified America’s enemies as Muslims, Trump is only blatant where they have been slightly less blatant. Their message on these matters was effectively the same as Trump.
So why the furor by the GOP when Trump is only saying out loud what the GOP actually stands for and is infamous for all these many years? One, because Trump’s explicit bigotry is embarrassing to the party. They want their bigotry and they want to be part of polite company too. They want their fascism to be acceptable in suit and tie and they want the Brownshirts behind the scenes.
Two, believe it or not, Trump’s popularity with voters isn’t principally his bigoted views, although it is certainly a significant factor. His primary appeal and the reason he has won so many to his “Make America Great Again” campaign is his economic populist rhetoric.
Can the GOP leadership admit that they have been huge cheerleaders for “free trade” and globalization and that these policies have been ruinous to Main Street America and the middle and working classes? No, of course not, which is why they are silent about Trump’s appeals to many of those injured by those economic policies that have fleeced those outside of the 1%.
If the GOP leadership were to go after Trump for his economic rhetoric – and let’s be clear it is only rhetoric because Trump’s billions are also premised as the GOP and Democratic “rivals” such as true-blue neoliberal Hillary Clinton are, on these same economic policies – then they would be cutting their own economic throats. And without their millions and billions, what would be left of the GOP (and Democrats)? Nice suits and fancy designer clothes but no one to wear them? Yachts and expensive cars, but no one to ride in them? Mansions and pricey rings, but no one there to live in them or display them?
See this article excerpt from 2012:
Obama, by moving further and further to the right, has pre-empted positions that the Republicans previously occupied and need to make themselves look different from Obama.
Thus, if the GOP has adopted more and more extreme right-wing policies in order to distinguish themselves from Obama (and pronouncing nonsense such as that Obama’s a Socialist), it has been at least in part because Obama has been Clinton-redux by embracing Republican policies and thereby forcing the Republicans to distinguish themselves from Obama by moving to ludicrously extreme positions. It is a measure of how right-wing Obama has been in his policies that the GOP has had to become so ridiculously and hysterically noxious to put some distance between themselves and him.
That doesn’t make Obama the sane one and the Republicans the insane ones. It means that as Obama has gone one better than Bush and Cheney did by moving further to the right, in specific ways that I will next lay out, he has taken the whole government further to the right because the GOP isn’t going to respond by positioning itself to the left of Obama.
Now, I need to say right here that this isn’t actually exactly how things work because no individual has the power to move the entire government a certain direction. But if one adopts the position that individual leaders are that meaningful and that getting one individual into the White House is going to matter that much versus another individual, then you have to logically and correspondingly argue that Obama has been single-handedly responsible for the right-wing, extremist turn in the U.S. government.
It goes without saying that these remarks about Obama apply to the Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, who isn’t even rhetorically promising what Obama did.