Politics. (click for larger pic)
Sometimes pictures tell a better story (plus I’m hording secret, weirding adjectives for the first week in November), so here is a simplified diagram I poached from a site discussing the principles of the “Very-High-Temperature Reactor” that I have repurposed to sum up the mechanical processes by which the Party of God maintains control.
Also I find when I look at it for what it is -- a machine, powered entirely by the energy from superheated lies -- the workings of it become easier to understand, deconstruct and defeat.
The Rove Rods
(With Cheney sprinkles)
The Propaganda PumpsThese are the wedge issues the GOP dredges up cycle after cycle to crank the Base of the Party up to Scared Shitless and White Hot Loco just in time for each election. It is why the GOP can fuck up whole countries and leave entire American cities to die without fear of being voted out of office 99-to-1 in every district everywhere. Because if you give mouthbreathers enough fags, burning flags and Terror Alerts around election time it’ll crowd the entire record of Republican perfidy, bloodshed and failure right out of their itty bitty heads.
The Radioactive Base.These babies can inject pressurized bullshit into the system at speeds varying from CNN to Fox to Limbaugh to Full Coulter. This is the Lie Delivery System, through which the air is kept thick with rightard trigger phrases like “feminazi” “activist judges” and “cutnrun” and squeegeed clean of anything resembling thoughtful discussion or honest debate.
The Liquid Bobo KoolantThis is a three-dimensional array of the ignorant, the hateful, the insane and the Christopath Right.Individually, these samples of Enlightenment’s backwash make a persuasive argument that the good of our common humanity would be better served if the hatecults that fester in the wounds of our Democracy were gathered together for an All Ratfuckers Tribal Council at the Trinity Site and spontaneously Raptured into the stratosphere in a single, thermonuclear flash.Collectively, they are the Modern GOP, and by putting every last species of botched American citizenship and knuckledragging bigot in harness together under one whip, the Republican Party has clawed its way to power.
The Koolant system that keeps it all from blowing apart at the seams and melting itself back into the masturbatory fever dreams of every wannabe Jefferson Davis circulate a viscous Koolaid-based composite goo made up of 43% David Brooks, 27% Tom Friedman, 23% Tim Russert, 12% Joe Klein and 10% David Broder.You say that’s 115%? Well fuck you and your fancy, liberal, Jebus-hating elitist “arithmetic” anyway.If you press your ear to the containment shell you can hear in murmuring through the pipes:“There are no crazies here.”“The Southern Strategy is a myth.”“Ignore Falwell, Dobson, and Reed. They’re Men of Faith.”“Ignore Schlafly, Limbaugh and Hannity. They’re just the fringe.”“Ignore Robertson, Perle and Nordquist. They’re just amusingly provocative.”“Gingrich isn’t a fascist; he’s just ‘controversial’.”“Coulter isn’t really serious, even though she is the keynote speaker and commands top dollar at national Republican events, Republican media outlets and sold-out Wingnut Christian rallies.”“That carcinoma spreading across your face. It looks just the Jesus, so you know it can’t be bad for you!”“The Moderates really run the party.”“The Center is where all right thinking people should be, despite the fact that in the last 30 years the Right has dragged the Center a million miles into Crazyville.”“No matter how completely the GOP rapes American values, without a sliver of evidence to support this assertion you should still somehow believe that Liberals are either just as bad or worse.”“The GOP cares about idiots like you.”“There is no core in this reactor.”
That’s how it works. Simple, right?. And yet to build this electoral dynamo the Republican Party has had to completely sell out any vestige of principles or soul it once had for dominion over the divided and bitter land it has created. And because of that, there is no “Plan B” if you are a GOP candidate for national office.
Your Party Masters have burned your bridges and salted the Earth behind you, and now there is nothing left for you to do but desperately tunnel deeper into the Hell you have built for yourself.
Which is why John McCain now publicly grovels and kisses the poxy asses of the men who service and steered the Pretty Hate Machine diffidently past the bodies of the dead and dying of NOLA, and gleefully down the blood-tarred, bone-macadamed streets of Iraq. Men who went right after his family -- his wife and children -- and his honorable national service without a second thought when it suited their despicable purposes.
Because the Pretty Hate Machine does not come with a conscience, and it now casts its depraved shadow over their entire Party.
And over the entire nation that Party has seized.
And over the entire world that Party has polluted.
It has become all Means and no Ends but More Power, and as with all power, it comes with a steep price.
Because despite periodic and frightening bouts with Mussolinitis, we are not a fascist people by inclination.
In fact, we are taught to abhor authoritarianism. Our whole government is an exercise in the division and dissipation of power and the creation of strong, interlocking safeguards to protect us against the rise of a One Party/Dear Leader State. We number among some of our proudest moments (the Emancipation Proclamation, the defeat of the Nazi and Imperial Japanese Empires, the enactment of landmark Civil Rights legislation, the collapse of the Soviet Union) those occasions when we slammed totalitarianism to the ground, both at home and abroad.
And because these are the very safeguards and traditions that the GOP is working assiduously to destroy, and because there is no majority present in the active electorate actually lusts after the annihilation of democracy in America, they have to do it sloooowly and under a variety of false fronts and pretenses.
Yes there are millions of them, and yes they are virtually packed into the same party:
(h/t Vivian Paige’s blog for this clip from John Dean's terrific book, "Conservatives Without Conscience")
“Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds,” Altemeyer told me. He added, “They would march American into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result. They have the mentality of ‘old-time religion’ on a crusade and they generously give money, time and effort to the cause. They proselytize; they lick stamps; they put pressure on loved ones; and they revel in being loyal to a cohesive group of like thinkers. And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going to go away.”
Nauseating, but they are the minority, which is why they have to sorta ease into it, one gay bashing, flag burning, pro-torture, intolerant, anti-choice, anti-Science skirmish at a time. No blitzkrieg, but an ambling, “Aw Shucks” Pinochetism that, as you watch it over the course of decades, has marched this country directly and determinedly towards oblivion.
But because this is not a Majority Blackshirt nation – yet – every two years the theocrats and Neocons need another few million more collaborators than they can pony up on ideology alone, which is why winning elections for Republicans is getting to be an ever-trickier business.
Sure they cheat when and how they can -- and it is a tactic that we must demand the Dems fight loudly and aggressively district by district -- but there is simply no way to rig every fucking election in every district that matters, which is why manipulating the Pretty Hate Machine requires ever more finely tuned motor skills.
Because if the entire Right Wing understands anything it is this – as frustrating and degrading as it is to men like Trent Lott, Tom Tancredo, G. Felix Allen and Rick Santorum who really, really want to shout their love for all things Segregated and/or Despotic from the rooftops, it is still not socially acceptable to publicly embrace and celebrate your Inner Klansman.
Thus they must commune with their Swine Army in code.
They must use lightly encrypting hatespeech to manipulate the Rove Rods to get the Electoral Reactor Core seething hot enough to activate the base...but always keep the Bobo Koolant level of soothing denial, spin and outright lies juuust high enough to keep the Moderates from being directly exposed to and freaked out by the unshielded Core of the GOP.
This is, by way of example, exactly the dilemma G. Felix Allen now finds himself in. Allen is in every way a transparently counterfeit imbecile. A Johnny-Reb-Come-Lately who has mined such electoral gold as is available in his blighted part the country to men with money, name and good hair who are willing to jump into the bigoted cesspit of Konfederate Kaucasian Kristianity with both feet.
Except people keep asking questions about his past and his persona while on camera!
Sure, slingin’ “macaca” around may get you a flattering laugh as a sly ol’ boy down at the Cross-N-Burn bar. And jumping out of your Tunisian skin to bitch that someone was “casting aspersions” who asked simple questions about your Jewish heritage might get you a pity fuck from the Council of Conservative Citizens' Comfort Women’s Auxiliary.
But G. Felix Allen seems almost congenitally unable to comprehend that in the Information Age, voices carry.
And outside of the Heart of Confederate Darkness, moderate GOP voters who are kept carefully shielded from the truth and lulled into a cozy, supply-side coma by the Bobo Koolant are genuinely horrified when the Core of their Party is suddenly exposed and they are forced to face with eyes wide open the naked, roaring, venomous, unreconstructed filth that actually fuels and pilots the Conservative’s Pretty Hate Machine.
When Frank Zappa passed away, I despaired that his singular communications skills in exposing the vicious hypocrisy of the right-wing fascists could never be replaced.
But whoa, was I wrong! You have successfully reincarnated the Zappa bullshit-detection legacy, and what fun it is for us to have front-row seats for your show. Thanks!
Great work, as always! Wow!
You're right. It's all about teh hate.
Zappa is my musical hero and I miss him. If he were alive today he'd have his own show on HBO, and he'd be making us laugh and blowing our minds with great music at the same time
As a former electronics technician/reactor operator in the U.S. Navy I can tell you from first hand experience that your diagram is missing a few essential components. You forgot the reactor compartment radiation shield, which is composed of effete Liebercrats who absorb harmful GOP radiation to the detriment of the Democratic Party. And you also forgot the most important component - the reactor operator. Of course these days it has become so simple to operate a Pretty Hate Machine that a semi-literate smirking chimp can do it while clearing brush at the same time.
Oh, and you need main coolant pumps. Because pumps are cool.
Oh no YOU DIDN'T! How dare you compare us beautiful pigs to those horrid Elephascists! Why if you were here I'd give you SUCH a karate chop! HIIIEEE-YAH!! See if my Kermie ever books you on the show if you become famous!
Did anyone else look at the two Klansmen and think: "Y-M-C-A, it's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!"? :)
Cryogenically cool essay, Drifty. Kudos.
Did anyone else look at the two Klansmen and think: "Y-M-C-A, it's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!"? :)
I was originally thinking something more along the lines of "does this robe make me look fat?", but I think you may be on to something here!
Rock on, D. Don't forget the corporatist shills who are piloting the machine to loot the country for the benefit of their paymasters. They might throw the fundy base a bone once and again, but money speaks louder than hate language, my friend.
Smokin'! drifty, just Smokin!
And whatever it is you're smoking, I'll take a pound.
Wish I could say it like you do, bro. Thanks
Cieran: for some reason, the supremacist in the black outfit made me think of the Village People.
Lovely analogy, and like all good analogies, leads to more:
When the coolant stops.
Part of what pulls people into made up issues like flag burning is the luxury of thinking it is the most important issue. The coolant is the crucial element that keeps the reactor on "simmer" instead of "boil." Because when it boils, it tends to overflow the container.
This is why Bush is getting slammed by the wingnuts for not being "wingnut" enough. But he can't. The fact that he's backpedaled and twisted around on some of his favorite issues is because there isn't enough support anymore. And his turns are coming more frequent and dizzying.
It is more and more a tricky act. Before Katrina, I think it was much easier to do. Now the idiocy is not speculative, it's real. And why there's a deafening silence in more and more places, instead of that rabid approval.
The drums, they beat.
But when they stop... everybody knows that's not a good sound.
That's Eduardo: Klan Khoreographer.
That's very nice of you to say.
In years to come, this era will be noted in pre- and post-Katrina terms. Because once the Gingrich-Rove axis tied their boats to scum like Falwell and Dobson, that ended any hope of a government that valued bipartisanship, civility, compassion or justice, and Katrina blew all the masks off.
If someone is a Republican post-Iraq and post-Katrina it isn't because they don't undertand what they see, it's because they are delighted with what they see.
Thanks. Just coffee and data. And porn of course.
I reject your liberal "science"! However pumps are cool.
Tell the Pork Gods I'm sorry, but sacrifices had to be made.
Thanks, and point taken.
Like all practitioners of whatever craft, you fluctuate from good to better and occasionally move up to best. But with the Nucular Explanation you have created a problem for yourself in that you have significantly raised the bar and will from now on have to work harder to keep the good level happening. There are opportunities for greatness in CommentaryLand in the next few weeks. Good luck.
I would just like to point out, however, that the true and pathetically sad basis of our current political landscape is plain and very simple. It's idiocy and apathy. Idiots vote and the 55% of the apathetic that make up the electorate don't vote.
Can you please consider those angles in your future endeavors? Thanks for the inspiration so far.
RC: "idiocy and apathy." And vote fraud. Don't forget the fraud.
If only Jim Kirk were real:
"Please scan the casualty statistics for the Iraq War"
"How many of the deaths are civilians?"
"Thousands, PHM-5. Murdered. To no purpose. Who started the Iraq War?"
"THE REPUBLICAN PARTY"
CONTINUED--I goofed with the damn computer:
"How did the Republican Party acquire such power?"
"THIS UNIT BRAINWASHED A SUFFICIENT PERCENTAGE OF THE AMERICAN VOTERS INTO ELECTING THEM"
"If the Republican Party is responsible for the murders in Iraq, and you are responsible for the ascension of the Republican Party, did you not in fact murder these Iraqis, PHM-5?"
"What is the penalty for murder?"
"How will you atone for your sin of murder?"
Live long and prosper, KC
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