Sunday, January 22, 2012

Newt Gingrich, The Distillation of The Modern Republican Party

The March to Mittdom, as Lee Papa calls it has been halted. What was always a dreary trudge toward the crowning of Willard Romney got ambushed in the swamps of South Carolina. It was not even close as the Magic Underwear Man got beaten like a rented mule. The base’s favorite amphibian got forty percent of the vote, while Willard returned to the pre-New Hampshire doldrums of one out of four.

One reason for the rise of Newt has to be that the clown circus of the debates were restarted. While Rick Perry gets a well earned rap for poor debate performances, Mitt is having issues in this area too. Mitt has played defense perfectly. No unforced errors, no oops from Mr. Ice. But, there is no passion, no red meat for the base either. What is worse, is that Mittens has had more than few deer in the headlight moments when his circuit boards shorted. The pander chip failed when Robo-Romney could not figure where to fling the unctuous nonsense. “How to play the voting ex-con talking point? Computer engage! Engage!! Must find the right talking point! Danger! Process failure ... illegal protocol ... reboot ... reboot!!”

Meanwhile, Newt was in his element. God how that sleazy, nasty, piece of work knows how to toss red meat to the Dixie base. If you can get over how god-awful the whole cynical process is, you can almost admire the shear, vicious brutality that Newt appeals to.  Man, he has that Reptile Brain of base dialed in and hard-wired for maximum effect. Be warned, were are about get deep, dark, and dirty on this subject.

Put on your hazmat suites and make sure all openings are taped up snug. Check your respirator seals for proper fit. Recheck those rubber gloves for pin-hole leaks gentle reader. We are about to wade in the toxic super-fund site that is the modern Republican Party for a look-see. We are visiting the very heart of darkness; make sure your papers are in order.

What was amazing about Newt’s South Carolina debate performance is how he performed an astounding act of political jujitsu. Face with the fury of a scorned wife, he was able to flip that charging beast without breaking a sweat. In less than five minutes he delivered master class in pure cynical political opportunism. A lesser politician would have had major difficulty if a former wife came at him with the type of scandal that Marianne Gingrich, wife number two, brought up from the depths of that failed marriage. But Newt hit that baby right out of the park. He shredded the moderator for even bring the subject up; which had the partisan crowd roaring with delight. After beating up the host, and by implication the entire Corporate Media, for their grubby, unwarranted attempt at Lese Majesty, Newton then pivoted for the extra bonus round of blatant misogyny.

If you can somehow deactivate your innate sense of moral outrage, you could then admire how well Gingrich played that crowd for the last gram of resentment and white male privilege. No one does the reprehensible, sleazy, cynical, politics of resentment quite like Newton Leroy Gingrich. It helped that Newt was fully engaged in a little bit of pay-back to Mittens, for the whack job Multiple Choice Mitt’s Super Pac did on Newt in Iowa, plus New Hampshire.

South Carolina was the perfect place for Newt to scuff up Mitt’s perfect hair. Newt knows these voters. He knows the dog whistles that brings them running. Like it or not, he is the real face of the Republican base in all its splendor.

Let me deconstruct that, let’s go a little deeper, into the very center of the toxic heart of the Modern Republican Party. Let’ go to the very radioactive center of the Elephant homeland. It begins and ends with two core items; the liberation (if poorly realized) of African Americans, and the liberation (again, if poorly realized) of women. More bluntly put, a lot of people are well and truly angered by the fact that both blacks and sex have slipped their chains. Ever since Nixon we have seen political blow-back, reaction, to civil rights and feminism.

This reaction is strongest in the south, in the beating heart of Dixie. In the rural, white, south, evangelicals went ballistic, and got political, when the sexual and civil rights revolutions blasted their little slice of heaven to smithereens. The twin pillars of Patriarchy and Privilege where shaken to their core; some one had to pay for that.

It was Richard Nixon, a master of the politics of resentment, that saw the opportunity. It was he who really got the southern strategy rolling. But lets be brutally honest. The south was not just Dixie. We are talking about not only a geographic idea, but a social reality.  Dixie extends far past the old Confederacy, deep into the fly-over states, with outliers as forward deployed as Orange County, California. Best described by the the trinity of guns, God, and guts, its anchors are a deep bigotry, and an even deeper patriarchy. Peel  back the patina provided by the AIE, the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover institute and other forms of wingnut welfare, and much Republican philosophy can be distilled to sticking it to the uppity blacks and the wonton sluts. The twin evils of the Republican mind set are femininity and non-white pigmentation; in no particular order.

Getting back to dark prince of dog-whistles, Newt. Mr. Gingrich knows how to really dive deep, dark and dirty into the fetid cesspools of bigotry and misogyny. He provided a master class in bigotry dog-whistles when he teed up against Juan Williams. That no one in that debate audience had any problem sucking down that radio-active bigotry that Newt was serving up; that they treated it like mana from heaven tells you much about the state of the Republican base in 2012. They loved it when the old, nasty white man put the uppity black guy in his place; God, how they cheered.

And as pointed out earlier, Newt also knows how to play the Misogyny card to perfection as well. It helps that the man is world class cad and male chauvinist pig. He has that contempt for women thing nailed down seven ways to Sunday. It is one of the few genuine bits of his inner being he allows to be seen. As this contempt nicely dove-tails with the base’s same feeling, it is not much of a problem for Newt--at least with right-wing Republicans. It is also not as much of a problem with woman voters as one suspects. As the anti-suffragettes, the Anita Bryant crowd, and the female supporters of Sara Palin prove, there is always a minority to a plurality of woman more than happy to keep the rest of the female gender in chains. Of course, outside the hermetically sealed confines of the TEA Party right, this level of misogyny is a bit of stretch.

But this missive is not about the supine left, or the muddled middle, it is about the rabid, reactionary right. The entire Republican Primary process, and especially the debate process, has made it crystal clear how deep down the Elephants have gone into the rabbit hole of reaction and resentment. The self-nominated partisans of the leading edge of the party have shown their colors at every opportunity in every audience in these debates. They are cruel, vicious, uncaring, mean --and proud of it. They are a cohort driven by their hatreds: their hatred for minorities, their hatred for the poor, their hatred for sex, their hatred for women, their hatred for secular society. Left behind by a modern society that no longer honors white, male privilege, nor its religiously fundamentalist underpinnings, their fondest wish is to reinstate the old order when theocracy was the order of the day. They would gladly reset the nation to not only before Griswold but to before Brown; reestablishing both Ozzy and Harriet conformity and Jim Crow. They want their lilly-white world back, and don’t give a damn who get hurts in the process.

This is why Newt will go deep and far in the Republican Primaries. He gets the resentment; hell the man has a few personal scores of his own to settle. His core nastiness, his bent and deeply soiled soul, is in simpatico with much of the Republican base. The man wants to get even, so does much of the Republican base. The base wants to fold modernity seven ways and do some very painful things with it to their fellow citizens. Gingrich is a little more focused, as he wants to do some very politically painful things to Romney; which is fine with the base because they despise the Mormon Robot almost as much as Newt does. Mittens is an silver-spoon, establishment Republican; and the rural, southern base hates those types of swells on general principle.

I honestly wonder if Romney chose the Republican Party out anything other than filial piety and the very special politics of Massachusetts. The man, quite frankly is a political dinosaur, one of the last of the species of Country Club Republicans who used to rule the political landscape of the North East Corridor.

Those creatures are slowly passing away, being replaced in their former habitat by blue-collar bruisers like Chris Christie. In the south, the Patrician Republicans never found a home, and were replaced by Bourbon Democrat turncoats, who kept their toxic politics while shifting labels. It is exactly the same economic royalists ruling the roost in Dixie, only the name has been changed to protect the guilty. There really is not a dimes worth of difference between the politics of Newton Leroy Gingrich and Lester Maddox. Scratch Gingrich and you still get the scent of sulfur that pervaded Maddox. That is the final bitter truth of the modern Republican Party, and perhaps its epitaph in 2012.
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