In yesterday's exciting chapter of "The Chronicles of Strategic Forgettery" we used an infamous William Safire New York Times column from 1976 to analyze how Republicans will automatically seek to rewrite the immediate past history of their crimes and betrayals before the Ink of History has dried. In the case of Richard Nixon, Safire threw every tool in the GOP flunkey toolbox -- accusations of fraud, derangement, hypocrisy, greed and godlessness leavened with a generous helping of Both Siderism -- at the problem of rehabilitating Nixon's reputation.
But sometimes, as was the case with the George W. Bush administration, the party's standard bearers have inflicted so much damage on the country and the rest of his party has accumulated such a massive, public record of supporting his follies, that his record cannot be immediately laundered. To obliterate from history a catastrophe the size and scope of the Bush Administration, a different level of Strategic Forgettery was needed and today's cautionary tale is about how that works.
Many years ago I coined the term Republican Detachment Disorder to describe the coordinated psychological gymnastics of influential people who spent their entire adult lives helping to build a Republican monster factory and midwifing the orcs and hobgoblins that came off its assembly line and who, once their monsters began running out of their control, erased themselves from their own history and began denying their own pasts harder and faster than Peter denied Christ.
This is what happened with the Bush Administration.
At the close of the Age of Dubya, even as we disreputable Liberal bloggers were shouting warnings of the impending Great Whitewash as loud as our shitty blogs would permit, the mainstream press and the Republican Party began colluding to wall-off the entire Bush administration and declare it a Forbidden Zone. The officially recognized Year One of recorded history was reset to one minute after Barack Obama took the oath of office. And thanks to the coordinated denialism/Both Siderism of the press and the urgency of the crises Obama inherited and the GOP's decision (taken on the very day of Obama's inauguration) to become an unified, unremitting force of obstruction and sabotage and Obama's own stubborn and ultimately fatal unwillingness to see the Republican Party as the vandals and traitors they were...
And because it succeeded, certain beliefs under which the Republican Party had already been operating for decades were cemented into place forever. Specifically, it became established party doctrine that the Democratic Party is fundamentally illegitimate and therefor cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to govern the country. To that end, all actions necessary to deny Democrats the ability to govern are permitted, regardless of how radical and anti-constitutional those actions might be. Fraud? Voter suppression? Intimidation? Soliciting the illegal assistance of a foreign adversary? Who cares as long as the Dirty Commie Dems are kept out of the White House! And conversely, because the GOP has a mandate from Heaven to thwart the Evil Democrats, it must, by definition, be a Force For Good. It therefore follows that the very idea of holding Republicans "accountable" in any way for anything they do is ridiculous.
However, as with Bush Administration, when a handful of "establishment" elites at the head of party screw up so badly that it becomes impossible to thwart the Evil Democrats, well something must be done to take those elites off he board. Mind you -- and pay attention because there will be a quiz -- it is of vital importance that neither the party rank-and-file, nor most of the party's elected officials, nor the party's own propaganda media, nor the party's collaborators and enablers in the mainstream press ever be held accountable for the actions of a party which they had, just five minute ago, loudly enthusiastically supported.
Because if that happened -- duh! math! -- there would be no party.
Instead blame must be localized to a handful of elites who, when you think about it, weren't really bad guys at all. They had merely succumbed to the fleshpots of "Washington" and the blandishments those Evil Democrats. The party itself is in excellent shape: it just needs an infusion of fresh blood and bold ideas.
And in 2010, with the GOP was suffering a massive hangover from its leader being a failed halfwit and itsv oting base being a shitpile of blood drunk bigots and imbeciles, the Magic Dolphin Lady knew exactly where to find the scamper juice that'd put the apples back in the cheeks of the Party of Reagan. Ms. Peggy Noonan via The Wall Street Journal during the Before Time:
Tea Party to the RescueHow the GOP was saved from Bush and the establishment.
Two central facts give shape to the historic 2010 election. The first is not understood by Republicans, and the second not admitted by Democrats.The first: the tea party is not a "threat" to the Republican Party, the tea party saved the Republican Party. In a broad sense, the tea party rescued it from being the fat, unhappy, querulous creature it had become, a party that didn't remember anymore why it existed, or what its historical purpose was. The tea party, with its energy and earnestness, restored the GOP to itself.
The tea party did something the Republican establishment was incapable of doing: It got the party out from under George W. Bush. The tea party rejected his administration's spending, overreach and immigration proposals, among other items, and has become only too willing to say so. In doing this, the tea party allowed the Republican establishment itself to get out from under Mr. Bush: "We had to, boss, it was a political necessity!" They released the GOP establishment from its shame cringe.
And they not only freed the Washington establishment, they woke it up.That establishment, composed largely of 50- to 75-year-olds who came to Washington during the Reagan era in a great rush of idealism, in many cases stayed on, as they say, not to do good but to do well. They populated a conservative infrastructure that barely existed when Reagan was coming up: the think tanks and PR groups, the media outlets and governmental organizations.
Finally, the tea party stiffened the GOP's spine by forcing it to recognize what it had not actually noticed, that we are a nation in crisis. The tea party famously has no party chiefs and no conventions but it does have a theme—stop the spending, stop the sloth, incompetence and unneeded regulation—and has lent it to the GOP.
And who is to blame for all of our woes?
The second fact of 2010 is understood by Republicans but not admitted by Democrats. It is that this is a fully nationalized election, and at its center it is about one thing: Barack Obama...This election is about one man, Barack Obama, who fairly or not represents the following: the status quo, Washington, leftism, Nancy Pelosi, Fannie and Freddie, and deficits in trillions, not billions. Everyone who votes is going to be pretty much voting yay or nay on all of that. And nothing can change that story line now.
This was rebutted by several hundred posts by disreputable Liberals demonstrating that the Tea Party was, in fact, just a rebranding scam designed to get Republicans off the hook for all the shit they had said and done during the Bush Administration. And those hundreds of posts accomplished... exactly... nothing because too many influential people stood to lose too much if it were true.