Many of us here on this blog have said what columnist David Brooks said in his latest op-ed. We have been criticized for that by those to the right-of-center, but now that a man on the right-of-center has said it, I guess that we were correct all along. Brooks wrote, “That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.”
‘Not a normal party.’ That’s quite a frightening idea. Yet we’ve all witnessed over the past few years a string of odd ideas and queer people in the Republican Party. Many long-time party members shake their heads in disbelief and wonder where ‘their party’ has gone.
When I was a kid, my parents were members of the ‘normal’ Republican Party. Even during my late adolescence and early adulthood, I respected the GOP and the leaders in that party. Some good ideas and programs came out of the party. Of course, I understood that it attracted the more affluent, well-to-do people, yet it did not serve that class exclusively. Many farmers were attracted to the GOP along with the business class- a truly odd pairing to be sure.
Brooks continues: The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise….The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities….The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency….The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of the name.
No logic. Anti-intellectualism. No moral decency. No economic theory. What the hell kind of ‘party’ is this? Or, it may beg the question, Is it a party at all? Perhaps it is merely an umbrella for the malcontents of society. The angry people. The ones who believe that they got screwed along their path of life. And it was never their fault. Someone else did it to them.
My mind goes back to the children’s cartoon when Rudolph goes to the Island of Misfit Toys- that odd collection of anomalous characters that just didn’t fit into ‘normal’ toy society. Of course, these were characters screwed-up on the outside, not necessarily on the inside. The abnormal members of the GOP, as Brooks identifies them, look quite normal. It is only when they open their mouths [or use the keyboard] that they reveal their inner crazily absurd, eccentric thought patterns.
That line from the Preamble, to promote the general Welfare, chokes these party-affiliates. In fact, when presented with this clause, many will twist into an altogether odd set of gibberish that strangely ends up ‘promoting narcissism and greed.’ Many others are under the assumption that, if they support policies that allow unfettered accumulation of wealth at the top, that this wealth will shower down upon them because of their support.
The characters and personalities which are drawn to today’s Republican Party make up a skewed segment of society- an altogether unique collection of people who, from my point of view, feel that they have been wronged by society in general and oppressed by government in particular. I have often suggested that a psychological study of this set of Americans is a masterpiece yet to be written. Questions like, What caused this misalignment, this skew need to be asked. One that I am particularly interested in is: why would a person work towards, argue and debate against his/her own financial ruin? That question is now synonymous with the book title, What’s the Matter with Kansas?
Brooks concludes, If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern. And they will be right.
What I believe is that those espousing this fanaticism are essentially anarchists disguised as stodgy Republicans. They do not want governance at all. And that ought to scare the hell out of us!