It never ceases to amaze, how banal and idiotic the Radical Right can be.
Amazing isn’t it? The more audacious he is the more ardent his followers become. I know at least one – a woman that I know through a friend of mine. Sez she: “Trump is the best thing to happen to America in a long time.” Actually, forever. We’ve never had fascist that has resonated so well with the radical right of this country. We’ve never seen a Donald Trump because we’ve never before tolerated one to get this far. He is categorically the closest thing to a Benito Mussolini type fascist we’ve ever seen.
From a WaPo op/ed penned by Dana Milbank (Dec 8):
Trump’s chin-out toughness, sweeping right-hand gestures and talk of his “huge” successes and his “stupid” opponents all evoke the Italian dictator’s style. Monday’s breathtaking announcement that he would block all Muslims from entering the United States has many pointing out the obvious fascist overtones.
Milbank isn’t alone in his worry. Ted Koppel took the unusual approach to appear on Fox News the other day with this barb:
Well… the fact of the matter is that he and Benito Mussolini have this sort of arrogant approach in which they say very little in terms of substance, but the manner in which they say it gets the crowds excited.
Back to the woman who thinks that Trump is god’s gift. I pointed out his well-known racist remarks and asked her if that was a reason to worry. “No,” sez she. “He’s no more a racist than anyone else.” HUH? Then I ran across an op/ed by Josh Marshall on the Talking Points website.
I continue to believe that Trump’s embrace of racism, anti-Mexican immigrant bigotry and Islamophobia is largely opportunistic. My only hesitation in calling it cynical is that I think Trump may be the type who, once he finds something convenient to say, then starts to believe it.
Opportunistic racism. I was gobsmacked. That’s like saying you’ll sell your soul for a beer. Hate for fiat however misdirected, may seem logical for one driven for power. Machiavelli (another Italian) pointed this out in his treatise The Prince:
Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.
So, in other words, we can say anything to get ahead, so long as the illusion of the eye is maintained. Yep. Sounds about right. And it comports well with the one from Mussolini himself:
You must always be doing things and obviously succeeding. The hard part is to keep people always at the window because of the spectacle you put on for them. And you must do this for years.
Il Duce Donald.
I recall my dad’s quips about Barry Goldwater – laced with profanity and superlative, he had some pretty harsh things to say about a man he though betrayed the country. My dad wasn’t what you’d call a hardcore Republican, but he definitely sympathized with “the cause.” Which is weird because my dad was also an atheist. But I digress. Imagine my surprise as I grew into adulthood to find that although Barry wasn’t the more statesmanlike of statesmen, he had some pretty insightful things to say about the Radical Right.
A set of them comes from a speech he gave in 1981, summarized in the New York Times, September 16, 1981. In this first clip, he despairs over the Radical Right’s unwillingness to compromise. Tell me if you think this sounds familiar:
There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom.
In the same speech, he goes on to decry how they control the political dialog:
I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
This is 1981, mind you; the very apex of the movement that Jerry Falwell dubbed the “Moral Majority” and that Pat Robertson tried to appropriate for his own presidential bid in 1988. Although Falwell and Robertson did not have compatible views on Christianity, they were in lock step where governance was concerned. They envisioned a CHRISTIAN United States of America. That’s probably why Goldwater rankled at the pressure he and other “old school” Republicans had to endure for political and financial support.
I’m sure that as he saw the closing years approach, Goldwater became somewhat bitter about how he was thrown aside by the Radical Right. That bitterness comes out in this well-trod, oft-cited Goldwater gem from John Dean’s book Conservatives Without Conscience (2006):
Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.
Yet, there’s a better, more prophetic view from an interview published in the Washington Post, July 29, 1994.
When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.
Given all of the evidence – the vitriol that has surrounded Obama since Day One of his administration, the hateful things that the Radical Right has committed against Hillary Clinton and other Democrats (and even several Republicans) that the soul of the Republican Party is no longer has the best interest of America and for Americans?