Friday, December 21, 2007

Digby thinks GOP has "a movement built to last"

Toiling over at Campaign for America's Future, Digby ponders why the GOP pols are remaining so closely aligned with Dubyah. Up front I'll offer that I think he's being both too narrow and too broad in certain respects, details to follow, but I'll provide a big chunk of what he posted. It's that good! He writes:

... The modern Republican party has somehow managed to create movement loyalty that supersedes not only the national interest but their own political self-interest.

And that's probably where money comes in. In a system where people are aware that historical narratives are being written to spec and where they are rarely held accountable for past political misdeeds, there is little downside to putting party before country or even before your own public career.

There is no such thing as disgrace, and if you lose an election, when you leave office you immediately become a well paid director or executive of various firms you used to regulate, a television commentator or "motivational speaker" and just wait a bit before becoming a high priced lobbyist. There are not only second acts in conservative politics, there are third and fourth acts, well paid and guaranteed.

This is true to some extent in the Democratic Party as well, but the conservative movement is a much more organic, full service organization that offers cradle to grave welfare for loyal soldiers at all levels (and a lonely wilderness for apostates.)

They don't fear losing. As individuals, they stand to benefit handsomely from their association with the Business Party and no matter what happens they remain comfortably ensconced in the vast array of conservative organizations and affiliations that have been created over the past 30 years.

The conservative movement is built to last --- even when it suffers electorally, the individuals within it pay no price, and the movement itself is reinforced. They believe, with good reason, that they have a solid minority at least that will always vote for them and whose regional and political prejudices they will always represent well. They know they will win the presidency as often as not. They are very good at political campaigning and manipulating the media.

Their movement is sustained by wealthy individuals and business interests who will make sure they have an endless supply of money. So while Karl Rove may have had the personal ambition to create a permanent majority, it really isn't necessary. ...

The founders worried a lot about the power of political parties or factions. In Federalist 10, Hamilton defines a faction as "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." Ironically his major concern was that the rubes would use the power of faction to take away the property of the Big Money Boyz. Obviously, he needn't have worried. When it comes to common impulse and passion, nobody has it over the conservative movement in service of its wealthy benefactors.

I'd suggest a good number of even the chattering class is staying with Dubyah. There's where Digby seems almost too narrow. Maybe that's another topic for another day? Pundits, "journalists", "academics", ... on the right wing, or even in some of the middle of the road locales, are often still remaining in line. They criticize and lament their fortunes, often complaining that Bu$hCo isn't truly conservative, or at least not enough, yet considering the disaster of this administration they are rather restrained.

Where's he gets too broad is the idea that the "Big Money Boyz" don't expect to win. While they can perhaps count on the centrist weenies of the Democratic Party to stop Progressivism from ever breaking out, the Corporatists need and expect results from their people in DC and statehouses across the land. Plenty of Democratic Party pols are out there and all to eager to harness up for the Big Mules when the GOP stumbles every so often. Additionally, another generation on the right is being identified and then nurtured every single day. The idea of Tom DeLay 2.0 is scary enough plus I expect they'll make this model a little less flabby and evil looking.

Finally, Goopers surely do value loyalty, perhaps even to the point that it is partially a psychological trait. I'm not sure which is more frightening between their calculating why to remain in line or just being so inclined. I'll ponder some more on all of this and might revisit as time allows. Damn fine post Digby. Peace ... or War!

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