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Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in At TMV | 3 comments

Tea partyers, unlike Republicans, don’t believe there should be an opposition party

Illustrating the difference between Republicans and their far right parasites, Jeffrey Frank — writing in the New Yorker — remembers the Eisenhower era and Republican factions.

He also shreds the tea party. The tea party would like us to remember their fantasy as fact. But their fantasy — that they’re some kind of noble insurgency — glides quickly past their earliest days on the national scene when they had already been targeted and generously funded by corporate interests.

..Even after Goldwater’s punishing defeat and the recriminations that followed the G.O.P. was still a party with strong competing factions. It not only had a place for General Eisenhower, a respected former President, and such moderates as the governors Wi.lliam Scranton and George Romney, but was revivified by the 1966 midterms, which brought forth a number of credible politicians, among them Massachusetts’s Edward Brooke (the first African-American senator since Reconstruction), the Texas congressman George H. W. Bush, the liberal Illinois senator Charles Percy, and the conservative California governor Ronald Reagan. Along with New York’s Governor Nelson Rockefeller, a moderate who was reëlected to a third term, the most prominent in this cohort was the unloved former Vice-President Nixon. He privately described his party’s right wing as “nuts … you could just hear them crackling there in the head,” and, like the unloved former Florida governor Jeb Bush today, represented the tenacious center.

The great, fateful shift came just when the Party appeared stronger than ever: after the 1994 midterms, when it won both the Senate and, for the first time in forty years, the House. The new Senate leader, Bob Dole, was a center-right moderate who could have been accurately described by the phrase “compassionate conservative.” The new Speaker, though, was Newt Gingrich, an ultra-partisan, and the House soon became the incubator of a political guerrilla army, one whose descendants seem as eager to rid themselves of pragmatists like John Boehner and moderates like the (now former) senator Richard Lugar as to thwart Democrats—and, at times, governance itself.

Among these descendants are Rand Paul, who belongs to what might be called the moderate wing of the Tea Party (a measure of where its right is); the Texas senator Ted Cruz, who sometimes seems to be a party of one; and the seriocomic House of Representatives. The lineage goes straight to the misnamed Tea Party—not a collection of insurgents but a well-funded movement that is now five years old. Its supporters not only want to defeat Democrats; once elected, they want little or nothing to do with them. …Frank,NewYorker

That’s where today’s political battles differ from the familiar dust-ups of the pre-Reagan past.

Without being particularly strong or charismatic, the tea party has managed to gain power as a well-fed, voracious parasite on a bunch of bewildered Republican old-timers. The parasite doesn’t want to simply win the fight; it wants to kill its opponent. It’s not complicated; it’s as simple as a guillotine. The tea party is not America; it’s not democracy; it’s corporate and it wins by killing its host. It has precisely as much social conscience, respect for others, and basic morality as the Kochs. It is the Kochs.

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather