For some time now, the Republicans have been struggling over the ideological future of the party. But it’s not the struggle you think it is. The truth about the Republican Party is that it is controlled by Neocons and the Religious Right, who have divided the party between them. Foreign and economic policy are controlled by the Neocons, who favor foreign adventuring, unlimited military and diplomatic spending, and anything Big Business wants. Social policy is controlled by the Religious Right. And virtually every party leader respects this division, even as the two sides pretend to be in an ideological struggle to wrestle the party away from each other.
This fake struggle continued in the primaries. What you saw in the primaries was candidates like Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann fighting on behalf of the Religious Right and guys like Newt and Rick Perry fighting on behalf of the Neocons, both claiming the other side was unelectable. But here’s the punch line. . . every one of them held the exact same views. They were all Neocons on economic and foreign policy issues and Religious Right on social issues. Every single one of them favored pouring federal money into Big Business projects, increasing the power of the Federal government over the economy (minus a few minor regulations), muscular military and foreign policy, and banning the menace of gays and abortion from our midsts with Constitutional amendments. Only the rhetoric varied.
By selling themselves as being at war with each other, when they aren’t, they are trying to keep their supporters from noticing that neither of these groups represents conservatism and neither of these groups actually offers a genuine alternative to the other. In effect, it’s clones telling us they are polar opposites.
With that background in mind, here is something Rush said a couple weeks ago that needs to be addressed (and he’s not alone):
“If Obama wins, let me tell you what it’s the end of: The Republican Party. There’s gonna be a third party that’s gonna be oriented toward conservatism. . . I know if Obama wins, the Republican Party is gonna try to maneuver things so conservatives get blamed.”Wrong. For one thing, there will be no third party. There will never be a third party. That is not how our system works. Being a winner takes all system means that it makes no sense to start a third party because you know you will never supplant either of the major parties – and don’t try to tell me it happened 250 years ago, because this was a very different country then.
Secondly, read the above again. The Religious Right and the Neocons like this arrangement. They whine in public about being outsiders because that’s good for fundraising and avoiding blame, but the truth is they control the party. Why would they leave? The people who would leave are the Tea Party types who showed up in 2009 and found the establishment Religious Right and Neocons to be intensely hostile to their “crazy ideas” of fiscal sanity and smaller government. But the Tea Party people won’t leave because they are smarter than that. They are into results, and they have correctly determined that the only way to get results is to take over the Republican Party and change its direction. Forming a third party only takes them out of the game. So who exactly is planning to leave if Romney loses?
What’s really going on here is theater. Both the Neocons and the Religious Right know that Romney has not been adopted by either of their supporters and they simply don’t want to embrace him for fear of seeming out of step with their followers. Add in the fear that he will lose, and what you have is both sides trying to blame the other side for the loss they are expecting. The idea is to make sure that their own followers do not blame them so they can maintain the status quo without worry. If their followers realized the truth, then it becomes likely their followers would be enticed to the new third group slowly making their way up the ladder – the Tea Party. This blame game is meant to keep each side seeming victimized and their followers angry about that, so that nobody starts asking questions.
This is cynical politics at its worst.