Hijack: (v) to steal, to rob, to seize by force or threat of force.
Americans, especially since 9/11, have become all too familiar with the word and the notion of hijacking. This is so true that if we were ever on a plane and someone stood up and shouted “We’re hijacking the plane!”, many passengers would rush the man and give him a thorough beating.
Since the hijacking of planes wrought 9/11 on us seven years ago, Americans have developed a potent disdain for the word and the act.
So why then did the Republican Party, and the folks who consider themselves Republicans not stand up and “rush” those who hijacked their party?
Back on October 18, I wrote the the first part of this series with a focus on his VP pick, Sarah Palin. I think Palin’s self and McCain-sabotaging actions in the past two weeks have only lent more credibility and power to my argument that Palin was absolutely the wrong choice, picked on the fly as a gimmick and has now roundly turned about to bite McCain in the keester.
This week, however, the focus rests squarely on the Republican Party (RP) itself…at this in its current incarnation.
Besides Palin’s nosedive in favorability, McCain has had the unfortunate charge to go to war (run for president) while carrying the incredibly crazy RP on his shoulders. Republicans love to harken back to Ronald Reagan; they love to tell everyone that Abraham Lincoln, widely considered the best president in US history, founded their party and core values. Both of these assertions are nothing more than delusional nostalgia.
Lincoln freed the slaves, pushed his party to move away from discriminatory practices and to unite the country. Do either of these traits sound remotely similar to the core of the RP?
Reagan stood down the Soviet Union without ever firing a single shot (hence the term “cold” war), used our military sparingly in foreign entanglements, and though he held strong views, always sought to work across the aisle. Ask politicians who worked with and under Reagan, Democrats and Republicans, and most of them tell tales of heated but civil debates at work, and great collegiality after work. People argued on the floor of the Senate/House, then went to a bar and laughed together.
Does this sound like the current incarnation of the RP?
So what happened? Frankly, the RP let itself get hijacked by two particularly poisonous strands of their constituency–the crazy, nutjob Jesus freaks (the Christian Right, not Christians whose politics fall on the right), and the “uber patriotic” (more like Fascist) NeoCons (FNC).
Sure, appealing to these two sectors helped the RP win some elections here and there. Appealing to the CR certainly helped get George W. Bush into office back in 2000; and subsequently, appealing to both the CR and the FNC got him reelected. But that “appealing to” led quickly to appeasement and then appeasement swiftly gave way to goose stepping in lock march.
The end result is the single-issue (God, guns or gays), super paranoid McCarthyists took hold of the party and ran it like their own private, religious compound full of witch hunters. The current RP has lurched too far under Christian cross and taken us “back to the future,” into the stifling, hypersensitive 1950’s.
The RP not only let, but silently applauded, people like Jerry Falwell characterize national tragedies like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina as God’s punishment for homosexuality. They secretly grin when Palin quietly encourages the rally crowds to demonize Barack Obama and the Democratic left as America-hating socialists/communists/terrorists (take your pick).
Just take a look at the “fine example” of Minnesota Republican Representative, Michelle Bachmann-McCarthy (yes, I just went there…because she went there herself):
And of course, here’s audio of Palin’s “wonderful speech honoring all of America:”
Now compare the basic concepts, the subtle (and blatant) accusations, and the ambience of Bachmann-McCarthy and Palin’s words to this excerpt from Joseph McCarthy from a red-baiting speech he delivered in Wheely, West VA in 1950:
“The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores . . . but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this Nation. It has not been the less fortunate, or members of minority groups who have been traitorous to this Nation, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest Nation on earth has had to offer . . . the finest homes, the finest college education and the finest jobs in government we can give.
This is glaringly true in the State Department. There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been most traitorous. . . .
I have here in my hand a list of 205 . . . a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. . . .
As you know, very recently the Secretary of State proclaimed his loyalty to a man guilty of what has always been considered as the most abominable of all crimes—being a traitor to the people who gave him a position of great trust—high treason. . . .
He has lighted the spark which is resulting in a moral uprising and will end only when the whole sorry mess of twisted, warped thinkers are swept from the national scene so that we may have a new birth of honesty and decency in government.”
Luckily, after 20 years of subtle movement, and eight years of blatant movement towards this type of Christian-Police state, the American people are beginning to stir. This kind of hateful hegemony is being tolerated less and less by many who have begun to smell the percolating coffee of objectivity.
The RP needs to drastically move away from, and dramatically denounce, people like Bachmann-McCarthy, Palin, Falwell, Cheney, Rove, etc, and start going back to their more sane roots by embracing, once again, people like Colin Powell, Chuck Hagel and Scott McClellan. These are folks who are not ideologues hell bent on Rapture or Party Domination, which ever comes first.
McCain has been heavily burdened with running a campaign while trying to run away from this version of the RP and simultaneously paying it lip service.
McCain’s best chance was to renounce these people and their practices, to be honest and break from the unrecognizable RP of today and run as his own man, a true maverick.
But that straight talk never came to light.