Progressive Success Less About Replacing Republicans Than Replacing Their Ideology
The government shutdown continues, with a confrontation over the debt ceiling looming in about a week. And it’s all because of Republicans. No one else. There are no Democrats involved with this situation at all.
Why is this happening? Because Republicans don’t like democracy, and they don’t like the results of the democratic process. They want to wish the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into the cornfield, which they can’t do. Even if they had managed to cow Democrats into accepting their ransom demand, which was to defund the ACA, it still would have gone forward. They were told this, and yet, they let the government shut down, anyway.
I’m sure everyone reading this already knows this. I’m not saying anything new here. But what I just said is important, because it points to the real problem with our politics currently. The problem is not with John Boehner, or Eric Cantor, or Paul Ryan, or Louis Gohmert or Rand Paul or Ted Cruz. The problem with previous Republican Congresses wasn’t Newt Gingrich or Tom DeLay or Trent Lott or Dennis Hastert or any of the other members of the Dick Armey at the time.
The problem is not individual party members, it’s their ideology. We have to stop going after individual Republicans, or small groups within the Republican Party, or even the Republican Party itself, for that matter, and start going after the ideology that makes them so reprehensible.
I pointed this out in a previous statistic-laden piece I did showing the Republican Party as incompetent to run government. But they’re not incompetent because they’re Republican. They’re incompetent because their ideology practically dictates incompetence. In order to be a Republican, especially in this day and age, you have to believe:
- That government can do nothing right;
- That the “free market” is essentially “god,” and can literally do everything we want it to, and do it better than government, and;
- That the private sector always makes better decisions than the public sector.
They not only operate under this inane ideological construct, but when they serve in government, they run the government as if all of the above was true. They have to. If they were to perform competently, they would disprove their ideology, which would undermine everything. Forget the fact that government is always bailing out private businesses and not the other way around; it doesn’t matter. They have to show that government can’t work, and they do their damnedest to prove it.
That is the problem. It’s why Republicans still claim to believe in supply-side economics, or “trickle-down,” even after it’s been proven nonsense a number of times. Tax cuts don’t create revenue; how many times will Republicans blow up the deficit before they figure out their ideology doesn’t work? Go back to the article I linked to; the deficit soars under Republicans, as a percentage of the economy, while it only shrinks under Democrats. That’s not coincidence.
For all of their talk about “liberty” and “freedom,” the Republican ideology also has a strong authoritarian streak running through it. They couldn’t care less about the fetus; if they did, they would take care of children after they were born, and they don’t. Their position on abortion is all about controlling women. Their positions on most groups of people are all about control, whether the targeted group is dark-skinned people, gays, voters or even liberals.
This authoritarian streak is why they profess to be “Christians,” even though they act almost exactly the opposite of the way Jesus told them to act. By invoking the term “Christian,” they hope to control people who think they’re “good Christians,” but have no idea what that means, exactly. They also want their benefactors to control as much of the wealth in this country as possible, so they talk about money as if it was a “god” of sorts. They use “Christian” and “free market” with roughly the same reverence, although their actions would suggest that they don’t really care about “free market economics” any more than they care about what Jesus said about the sick and the poor.
I could go on and on about the Republican ideology, and I will repeatedly over the next year or ten. he point is, it’s not Republicans that we need to key on; it’s what they believe. What they believe is repulsive, it’s elitist, and it’s an affront to every decent person in this country. THAT is the point. THAT is what we need to fight against.
I saw an article yesterday that listed 32 Republicans in Congress we should work against next year. Really? So, the other 246 in the House and Senate are perfectly okay? No. The Republican caucus in the House and the Senate all believe in the GOP ideology. Even those who don’t buy it fully have to pretend to in order to win, which makes them unprincipled, and just as bad. No. We need to target the ideology, and make sure everyone knows how reprehensible it is. And we need to offer an alternative ideology.
It’s time we got smart, politically, and realized that getting a progressive country means winning elections and tackling problems. It’s not about picking off repugnant individuals. It’s about picking off repugnant ideologies and replacing them with ideology that makes the country better.