Boomsday by Christopher Buckley is a purported satire on Washington DC and American elites – politicians, budding bureaucrats, lobbyists, PR spin doctors, Ivy league faculty, press-flak flunkees, business tycoons and the outlandish things they will say and do to get ahead – where “ahead” clusters somewhere between the power to humiliate without peer and wealth seriously shooting for the $trillions in networth. The whole story revolves around the unberievable characters who are lobbying Government Assisted Suicide=>Voluntary Transitioning among the elderly in order to rescue Social Security and MedicAid from insolvency
Then Frank Rich writes his column on haters in the NYTimes — and suddenly the unbelievable and preposterous becomes plausible. The extremism and inflammatory rhetoric of GOP party leaders and media players such as Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck, Newt Gingerich, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove and their cohorts makes Boomsday’s fanatics appear as a cynical run of the K Street crowd. The GOP Apocalyptic Hoarse-men spout out toxic if not treasonous notions of what is happening in US Politics. With calculated cunning [Rush Limbaugh: “I don’t know of Obama’s thinking and motives, but his policies are systematically bankrupting the country in so many devious ways” Or “A moderate Obama is imperiling the nation’s defenses with his policies of surrender…”], these pseudo-GOP spokesperson’s shrill and anger-laden attacks fan the flames of embitterment and despair among their constituents. It is open hunting season on an Obama administration that is really remarkably centrist, unflagging in pursuing bipartisan opportunities, and enforcing restraint on its own constituents that are seeking trials and justice for Bush Administration officials who stepped over the line in warrantless wiretapping, promotion of torture, or exaggerated claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The fundamental problem is that GOP drank the Kool Aid of a politics of fear, anger and smear … and now the party and its supporters are having withdrawal symptoms as the forces of reason, rationality, inclusiveness engage with recently past GOP tacticians and troopers who would like nothing better to restore their own various brands of power and smear. The problem behind the problem is that Republican and conservative elders, leadership, and intellectual elites [think James Baker, David Brooks, George Bush Sr, Lindsey Graham, Charles Krauthammer, John McCain, George Will, and many others] failed to:
a)speak out against or attempt to control the basic departures from Republican policy with Bush administration’s profligate spending and huge deficits right from the beginning of his first term;
b)control or modify the imperial foreign policy adventurism of George Bush being egged on by neo-conservatives after 9/11;
c)restore some measure of the Republican virtues of good administration and managerial professionalism in government departments. Instead the Bush Jr governing record is littered with FEMA’s catastrophic mismanagement; basic Science findings and studies being suppresed or polical-hack “rewritten”in Energy, Climate change,Health and other agencies; succumbing to drug company and financial lobbies to the detriment of basic budget and financial/fiscal control;
d)allowing corrosive political partisanship to determine appointments and promotions within the Department of Justice;
e)allowing a debilitating mix of knee-jerk populism, polics of fear, autocratic but shadow elitism, and absolute party discipline to rule the Republican roost.
Now as the Obama Democrats move to the center and attempt to prove themselves to be the party that knows how to govern and manage best [stealing the Republican mantle], Republicans are becoming increasingly shrill, angry and isolated. No one dares pick up the mantle of reason because they will be shouted down by anyone or many of the Apocalyptic Hoarse-men. So the Republicans have pseudo-leadership just at a time when major national decisions are being made – and hence there are fewer, reasonable Obama Contrarian voices to be heard. Maybe, like in the English Soccer/Football Premiership, you have to a)have some political voices and parties at the boundaries and b)therefore the prospect of relegation where one team=political party get demoted and a new political party emerges able to voice alternative and practicable policies. In sum, the vaunted American two party system is currently showing its major flaw: There is no replacement when one of the parties flounder. And floundering it is as the Republicans don’t dare pickup thepieces in an arena of shrill voices and nasty internecine party warfare.