The Myth of the Extreme Right’s Rise to Power

 

shutterstock_74845057Chances are you’ve heard the myth about the extreme right’s rise to power and their successful hijacking of the Republican Party. You’ve probably heard about how these Koch brother-funded radicals and their political weapon, the Tea Party, have caused a deep rift in the GOP between the reasonable old-school Republicans and this dangerous new strain of conservatism. And so — the fable goes — there was a great battle between the forces of moderate and extreme evil. Eventually the forces of extreme evil pushed the moderately evil GOP establishment to the brink of destruction and forced them to embrace their radical views as part of the party platform. And that, the story concludes, is the story of why Ronald Reagan would no longer be welcome in the Republican Party.

Only that’s not it, at all. Like most of the cute bedtime stories told to by the mainstream media to their intellectual children, this myth is not only false but completely backwards. Let’s start with the charge that the views of the Tea Party would make Ronald Reagan and other Republican presidents unwelcome in their own party. To be clear, when liberals talk about “extreme” views they are talking about social issues. This maneuver is clever, as the continued advancement of liberalism relies upon the cultural shunning of any who oppose them. Essentially, what the left is really talking about is marriage, abortion, feminism, and guns. Now, find me the Republican president who is pro-choice, advocates same sex marriage, and rejects the Second Amendment? Cue the chirping of crickets.

Indeed, there is a rift between within the Republican Party, but it’s the establishment that has changed. Over the past 50 years, the left has succeeded in dragging the country leftward. So much so that many within the Republican establishment have felt it necessary to capitulate on social issues in an attempt to stay relevant. There are many prominent voices within the party who do not agree with Reagan on issues like marriage and abortion. As such, the schism within the Republican party is better characterized as the struggle between pragmatism and principle, with the Tea Party occupying the space of the latter. They are the proverbial William Wallace, cheered on by the common man while undermining the efforts of Scottish nobility to barter with Longshanks. The schism and splintering is the natural result of an expanding progressive majority that seeks to crush traditional America under its boots. What we have is a party divided by those looking to survive to fight another day and those that feel backed into a corner and see no choice but to stand their ground. This dynamic is manifesting before our very eyes as a vibrant debate for the 2016 Republican nominee.

Now, let’s flip the narrative and see how Democratic leaders of the past compare to its leaders in the Obama era. For starters, the old leaders were all white men, which already makes them unwelcome in the contemporary party. In the 2016 book of liberal sins there is but one entry — the sin of White Male Privilege — from which all of the injustice in the world flows.

Second, the Democrats of former days all believed in a traditional definition of marriage. I admit that I have not personally scoured the JFK Library, but I can say with confidence that there exists no footage of President Kennedy standing up for the plight of transsexuals, either. Nor are you likely to hear his successor, Lyndon Johnson, speaking about the fundamental right of women to receive birth control on the taxpayer’s dime. Presidents like Kennedy and LBJ also believed in challenging ideas like protecting our borders with a functional immigration system. These views, along with others, make the prior Democratic presidents not only grossly out of touch with their party in 2016, but likely to be booed off the stage as bigots. And as diversity of thought on identity politics is not permitted by the Democratic party, their dismissal from the conversation would be both swift and harsh.

As the left continues to reshape America around the ideas of Frankfurt School radicals like Marcuse and Alinsky, our Constitution grants them to right to speak as though they are making progress. Thankfully, the Constitution grants us a similar right to debunk their numerous faulty narratives. Upon examination, the myth of the extreme right’s hijacking of the GOP prove to be completely bogus and as is usually the case, laughably so.

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  1. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    You *are* having fun, aren’t you, Daryl? (Keep ’em coming, grin)

    • #1
  2. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    I don’t think the Tea Party cares much about social issues though.  It’s mostly about fiscal issues, isn’t it?  But I daresay many individual TP members are Socons. A friend was telling me the other day about the Veteran’s Party. Ever heard of that?

    • #2
  3. Daryl Kane Inactive
    Daryl Kane
    @DarylKane

    Always. fun is a must.

    • #3
  4. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Welcome to Ricochet, Daryl K.

    Good first post.

    It sounds like you identify with the TEA Party portion of the GOP.   Do you belong with the libertarians, or are you a SoCon ?

    • #4
  5. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Daryl,

    Thank you for the much needed context. Ideologues like nothing better than to destroy context. Then they can invent total absurdities and by repetition have them taken seriously.

    Good job.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
  6. user_216080 Thatcher
    user_216080
    @DougKimball

    Did you mean “pro-choice”?

    • #6
  7. Daryl Kane Inactive
    Daryl Kane
    @DarylKane

    Thanks for the kind words guys.  And yes Doug, thanks for catching that.

    Under the current cultural climate I accept the title of social conservative.

    By the paradigm created by the left a social conservative can be something as simple as a person who rejects the notion that gender and ethnicity are born from society rather than biology.

    A social conservative can be a parent who objects to their children being subjected to a fisting seminar in elementary school.

    By the standards defined by the academic elite, yes count me as a SoCon.  Count me among those that the believe the culture war is the central battleground for the war for America.

    As for whether I side more with the establishment than the tea party I can say that I support and oppose members of both sides.

    I got into politics in High School as a John McCain supporter when he was defeated by Bush.  To this day I frequently have words with tea partiers who call him names like rino and traitor.  That is an unacceptable charge to be leveled against an American hero like McCain.

    I believe the cancer that is political correctness is a beast with many tentacles that often go unnoticed by the right.  For this reason intellect and awareness of the enemy are the traits that attract me most to candidates.

    I will offer opinion about our process throughout the primaries but will rally behind whoever we choose.  The time to speak is now.

    • #7
  8. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    This is a perpetual discussion that I have with my lefty friends (at least the ones that will still listen to “dissent”).  Somehow a party that has gone from Goldwater in ’64 to Romney in ’12, with Bush, Dole, Bush II, and McCain post-Reagan has moved substantially to the right.  Needless to say, a party that has gone from Kennedy to Obama, with absolutely no “Scoop Jackson” Democrats to be seen,  is still its same old “moderate” self.

    • #8
  9. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Hoyacon:This is a perpetual discussion that I have with my lefty friends (at least the ones that will still listen to “dissent”). Somehow a party that has gone from Goldwater in ’64 to Romney in ’12, with Bush, Dole, Bush II, and McCain post-Reagan has moved substantially to the right. Needless to say, a party that has gone from Kennedy to Obama, with absolutely no “Scoop Jackson” Democrats to be seen, is still its same old “moderate” self.

    The most moderate Republican president of the 20th Century was Richard Nixon.

    So, is the Left saying that Richard freaking Nixon is what they mean when they talk about “good Republicans”?!

    Maybe they mean Gerald Ford, who they ridiculed as a brain-damaged dunce and vilified for pardoning Nixon?

    Maybe they mean Dwight Eisenhower, who was the president during the height of the “red scare” and McCarthyism, which the Left usually tells us was a “bad thing”?

    Of course, they really mean Nelson Rockefeller, who never won a single federal election in his life. The Left’s favourite Republicans are those that lose.

    • #9
  10. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    I wish the Koch brothers had taken over the GOP.

    • #10
  11. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I have yet to have anyone tell me what exactly makes the right more extreme.

    As far as I can tell the republicans are about the same things they always have been

    Typically they trot out a measurement of uniformity as a measurement of extremity.

    • #11
  12. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OldBathos

    The alleged “extremity” of the GOP is an Alinskyite talking point.  The correct response to that is

    a) Name any issue where the GOP today is to the right of where it was 20 years ago?

    b) Is the Democratic Party to the left of where it was 20 years ago on the same issue?

    c) My turn to pick an issue….

    d) After N. turns, I win.

    It is Democrats who are moving to extremes.  Former ardent pro-lifer Joe Biden speaks for the party that can’t bring itself to criticize abortions at 8.5 months.  Hubert Humphrey hated the idea of racial spoil system and quotas when he authored the Civil Rights bill 50 years ago–now it is dogma. Bill Clinton is now a fossil on the right-wing of his party.

    e) Suggested victory lap content: Do you actually think for yourself or are you content to have your opinions shaped for you as you clearly appear to be?  Feel free to disagree with my conservative politics but learn to characterize my positions (and your own) based on fact and not on cartoon contexts provided to you by malignant idiots. It’s embarrassing.

    • #12
  13. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    “…I got into politics in High School as a John McCain supporter when he was defeated by Bush.  To this day I frequently have words with tea partiers who call him names like rino and traitor.  That is an unacceptable charge to be leveled against an American hero like McCain…” Daryl

    The problem, Daryl, is that our hero, John McCain, would have no problem leveling nasty insinuations, if not outright denunciations against the Tea Party folks and possibly you as well. It all depends on whether he is lathering up for the NY Times, Meet The Press, or Fox News.

    • #13
  14. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    It turns out that hindsight is not 20:20.  Daryl is analyzing the Republican Party of yesterday through the lens of today’s issues.  But if you look at the issues that were actually in play (back in the day) a very different picture emerges.

    In the 1980 election, the major issues were crime, the cold war, and the economy.

    On crime, the Dem solutions were “rehabilitation” and gun control.  The Republican solutions were harsher sentencing and more cops.  The Republicans won the issue.  A flat out rout.  Minimum sentencing laws, three strikes laws, etc.  Crime plummeted.  By 2012, crime was barely an issue.

    On the cold war, Reagan wanted to build up the military, while the Dems supported a unilateral “nuclear freeze.”  Again, we won a flat out rout on the issue.  Issue gone.

    On the economy, Dems favored the usual Keynesian stimulus.  Reagan wanted to strangle inflation and cut taxes.  Again, Reagan crushed it.  Rescued the economy from stagflation.  Created a boom that lasted until 2008.  Only since Obama was elected has Keynesian idiocy emerged from its cave of shame.

    If you had told me in 1980 that the big issues Dems would have left to campaign on in 2016 were going to be gay rights, income inequality, and a phony “war on women,” because the Republicans had crushed them on every actual issue of the day, I would have said that was a big swing to the right in the country.  And it was.

    • #14
  15. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Larry3435:In the 1980 election, the major issues were crime, the cold war, and the economy.

    3. Crime — “law and order” as the issue was called before Dick Wolf acquired the royalties — is re-emerging in importance, because the Democrats have slapped handcuffs on the police and taken an essentially lawless stand on immigration.

    2. Defending ourselves against enemies abroad is also high on the agenda. The enemy has changed since 1980, but fear of a nuclear confrontation is becoming real once again.

    1. And the economy, including the damage done by extended entitlements such as Obamacare, could certainly benefit from the strong policy approach and optimism of an ever-smiling Reagan type.

    Those three issues would be winners again in 2016. If the Democrats succeed in making the election about social issues, the environment, and class hatred, our side — and our country — will lose.

    • #15
  16. user_184884 Coolidge
    user_184884
    @BrianWolf

    Great post and enjoyable read.  I hope you have more like this one!

    • #16
  17. user_1030767 Inactive
    user_1030767
    @TheQuestion

    Thank you for this.

    I’m not sure that I agree with everything you wrote about Democrats.  I work under the assumption that the Democrats have no real underlying priniciples apart from acquiring more power and influence.  I still reel at how they went from being the Party of Jim Crow to the Party of Civil Rights in the bat of an eye.  Consequently, I have to assume that most Democratic politicians didn’t really care that much about segregation then, and don’t really care about the plight of blacks now.  All of these are tactics and poses designed for optimal current political advantage, and they will switch and mix and match as needed.

    • #17
  18. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Jim Kearney:Those three issues would be winners again in 2016. If the Democrats succeed in making the election about social issues, the environment, and class hatred, our side — and our country — will lose.

    It is the eternal problem for our side.  Each time we win the argument, our policies succeed, and the issue disappears from the public debate.  But then, a generation goes by and a new set of fools emerges wanting to go back to the failed policies of the left.

    On the other hand, when they win the argument, their policies fail; and eventually we win the argument.  Then we go back to step one, and repeat.

    If lefties were capable of learning from history, rather than repeating it, then there wouldn’t be any lefties.

    • #18
  19. Dave Carter Podcaster
    Dave Carter
    @DaveCarter

    Larry3435:

    …If lefties were capable of learning from history, rather than repeating it, then there wouldn’t be any lefties.

    Quote Of The Year!

    • #19
  20. SParker Member
    SParker
    @SParker

    Michael Sanregret:I still reel at how they went from being the Party of Jim Crow to the Party of Civil Rights in the bat of an eye. Consequently, I have to assume that most Democratic politicians didn’t really care that much about segregation then, and don’t really care about the plight of blacks now.

    You’re being unfair here.  The 30s to the 60s isn’t the bat of an eye and you’re ignoring a lot of fairly heroic people.  It took something to buck the Solid South in the old Democratic party.  Even if you buy the analysis that the Dems have always been an impossible coalition held together by the knowledge that everyone gets something in the end (Rob Long’s, IIRC), there was no possible compromise.  The Republicans of the time did yeoman work (without Ev Dirksen we have a Bill, with him we have an Act–LBJ), but they had considerably less to lose politically.

    As for caring,  probably there’s always been a client orientation.  Certainly the love for programs, programs, programs and the reactionary hatred of simplifications betrays an interest in creating and hanging onto clients: the poor and program administrators.  Plus it’s politically sellable:  we’re addressing your problems, folks.  The Utterly Useless Bureau sells much better than a flat tax, no matter how efficacious.  Republicans ain’t immune.  If the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization makes it onto the Highway Bill, we’ll know that’s true.

    • #20
  21. user_996141 Member
    user_996141
    @EndOfPatience

    Here’s a thought experiment I’ve started posing at various Republican/conservative meetings:

    Imagine Mike Bloomberg had a fit of sanity.  He collects a half dozen or so Leftist billionaire buddies and they approach Mitch McConnell with a deal:  “If you pass an act repealing the Second Amendment and send it to the states, we’ll donate $50 million apiece to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”

    What would Mitch say?

    Nearly everyone I’ve asked expects Mitch to say yes.  The big difference is that the GOPe people will explain why it’s a good idea.

    There are those of us who believe that the Republican Party used to stand for something, and should again.  There are establishment Republicans, the GOPe, who believe anyone who writes an R after their name on the ballot deserves a vote.  (“Yay Team Red! We’re better than that icky Team Blue! Vote Red!”)  That’s the mess we’re in.

    (As a side note:  In the last election, Obama got just shy of 66 million votes.  Romney got just shy of 61 million.  84 million people legally eligible to vote stayed home.  They DID NOT stay home because their was no one on the ballot far enough Left for them.  They DID stay home because they saw no difference between the parties.  I invite anyone interested to seek them out and ask them about it.)

    • #21
  22. 6foot2inhighheels Member
    6foot2inhighheels
    @6foot2inhighheels

    TG:You *are* having fun, aren’t you, Daryl?(Keep ‘em coming, grin)

    I love being a “told you so”, Daryl :)

    • #22
  23. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    EndOfPatience:Imagine Mike Bloomberg had a fit of sanity. He collects a half dozen or so Leftist billionaire buddies and they approach Mitch McConnell with a deal: “If you pass an act repealing the Second Amendment and send it to the states, we’ll donate $50 million apiece to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”  What would Mitch say?

    [In the last election] 84 million people legally eligible to vote stayed home.  They DID NOT stay home because their was no one on the ballot far enough Left for them.  They DID stay home because they saw no difference between the parties.  I invite anyone interested to seek them out and ask them about it.

    #1  Of course Mitch would say no.  Not out of principle, but just because he doesn’t want to have to look for another job.  He’s from Kentucky, for crying out loud.

    #2  You really don’t know many lefties, do you?  Of the people who think there is no difference between the parties (wasn’t that Ralph Nader’s campaign slogan?), there are at least as many on the far left as there are on the far right.

    • #23
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