I have no idea who will win in November but I have to
say that what I am seeing among the Republicans is more
bizarre than anything I have ever witnessed. The “circle
of clowns” of Republican candidates seems increasingly
intent on proving that they are the voices of ignorance,
fear and irrationalism. I cannot get over it.
The attacks on contraception, for instance, are just
the latest in a long line of steps that seem to be intent
on shooting themselves in the foot. It is not only a
matter of whether the Catholic Church has a right to withhold
contraception assistance from its employees. No, the
circle of clowns is going further and attacking even the
right to contraception itself.
Of course, added to this, has been the question of
Iran. The Republican candidates are more intent than
even the most right-wing Israeli in waving the swords
of war against Iran, even though the candidates seem to
be utterly oblivious to the potential impact of such a
disastrous turn of events.
I guess the obvious question is whether these Republican
candidates and their acolytes are just plain stupid? The
answer is a resounding “no”, irrespective of whether you
happen to agree or disagree with them. There are two
things that they are counting upon. First, they are focusing
on the party base with the hope that once they secure
the nomination that they can then go after disenchanted
so-called independent voters and convince them - after
winking at their base - that they really are not as irrational
as they appeared during the primary season.
Second, they are counting on the results of the
Citizens United case. Specifically, they are
making the calculated assumption that irrespective of
how foolish they appear in the primaries, that they will
garner sufficient funds (through mechanisms such as the
SuperPACs) in order to buy the election in combination
with suppressing the Democratic electorate’s vote.
For these reasons we should not be sitting back laughing
and assuming that these idiots will implode. They will
not. There are sections of the business world which have
a vested interest in the success of these Republican candidates,
whether they take their social commentaries seriously
or not. It is also not a time to engage in any level
of compromise with these reactionaries. This latter point
is particularly directed at those Obama supporters who,
along with the President, tend to believe that they need
to prove their maturity by engaging in compromise with
forces that seek their annihilation.
At the moment it is critical for progressive forces
to both increase pressure on the Obama administration
around matters like no war with Iran; green jobs; aid
to the unemployed; supporting the rights of women; and,
at the same time actively exposing and opposing the Republicans
for what they are.
2012 is shaping up to be something that many of us
did not expect: a choice between a corporate liberal,
on the one hand, and forces that are intent on dividing
society between the “deserving” and the “undeserving.”
The circle of clowns (as self-appointed representatives
of the “deserving” population), see themselves as advancing
political and economic policies that reinforce an apartheid-like
system that has appeared on the global and domestic scenes
between the “haves” and the “have-nots”, with race being
only one of the factors in terms of who is in which group.
While this system has been constructed in a bi-partisan
fashion, so to speak, the Republicans have fully consolidated
as the party of Caligula, with all that that entails.
Perhaps this is among the strongest arguments for
the need for a comprehensive progressive electoral project
that is not limited to this or the next electoral cycle
but is truly interested in a political realignment and
building a powerbase among the dispossessed.
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a Senior Scholar with
the Institute for
Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfricaForum and co-author of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path
toward Social Justice (University of California Press), which examines
the crisis of organized labor in the USA. Click here to contact Mr. Fletcher