There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside
And the smile on the face of the tiger.
A Tiresome Rhetorical Question with an Obvious Answer
This morning the talking heads talk yet again of two tiresome questions. In this post I will address the first of these: Why aren’t the Republicans standing up to Trump’s racism?
This is not a difficult question. Let us, please, roll back the film for several decades. In my early youth, the Democrats were willing to put up with racism in some parts of our country in order to gain votes for a New Deal economic agenda. But, beginning in the 1950s, the Supreme Court forced us to address the issue of racism. And in the 1960s the Democrats decided they would have to address the issue legislatively, even though they would royally piss off a good portion of their base.
That left the racists without a comfortable political home. (Just as, BTW, the Never Trump anti-New Deal Republicans are without a comfortable political home today.)
Seeing a political opening to gain votes in their long effort to roll back the New Deal, Nixon and the Republicans adopted the Southern Strategy. In The Long Southern Strategy, we are reminded that the ensuing developments were complex and took place in distinct stages. But that was the essence of it: coopt the racists to oppose any expansion of the New Deal and, if possible, to roll it back.
Fast forward to the year of Our Lord 2019. Though some still support it, the roll-back-the-New-Deal strategy is vastly unpopular. Obamacare, for example, currently enjoys wide support. By contrast, Republicans have no coherent health care plan. Currently they don’t even have a health care plan at all—except to pursue a suicidal lawsuit to take away the protections enjoyed by those with preexisting conditions.
Pretty much all the political steam and emotional oomph has left the anti-New Deal agenda. Pretty much all that is left is the racism.
And a bunch of empty-suited Republican pols have got in front of a mob of peasants with pitchforks. If a pol stopped in the middle of the road and urged the mob to calm down, it would not work. The peasants would keep on running. They would run over the empty-suited pol, pausing only long enough to stick their pitchforks through a vital organ or two.
Changing the metaphor, the Republican pols have taken a ride on the tiger, and they have wound up inside.
So, children, would you please cease and desist from bootlessly inquiring, Where oh where are the Republicans?
Good morning—or afternoon or evening, as the case may be—to readers in Austria, Germany, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States, all places where they know something about peasants with pitchforks.