Let’s do a DNA trace and see if we can get to the root of the GOP’s current troubles. I think everyone will agree that the good ship lollipop is taking on water, but when did it begin? Whose fault is it?
In my opinion, it all began some 36 years ago, when a certain newly elected Republican made it fashionable to be suspicious of their own government when he told them: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” – and – “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
He might just as well have told them to take up arms and storm the Capitol. Little did Saint Ronnie know, he was validating an underlying paranoia that would continue to snowball until it overtook the party itself.
Soon, another oh so wise man would hitch his wagon to Saint Ronnie’s words, and turn them into his own personal mother lode. A portly fellow who knew which dog whistles to blow and when to blow them, helped turn Reagan admiration into a religion. His church service was broadcast five days per week, via the Golden EIB microphone. And the New Conservative Movement took off like a bat out of hell. Following Limbaugh came many others, all parroting similar talking points: Conservatism GOOD! Liberalism EVIL! Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, Larson, Beck, Hewitt, Savage… same formula, same goal: apply heavy doses of Göbbels style propaganda upon the unwashed masses, and keep them voting GOP.
But the best was yet to come.
• 1996 ~ Fox News goes on the air. Originally conceived by Roger Ailes some 25 years earlier as a cable channel skewed towards Republican interests, it was launched with much fanfare as a “Fair & Balanced” source of hard news; a place where
white Americans—scratch that—where real Americans could hear some real news. Not that liberal crap the mainstream media wants us to believe. Where they could hear the unvarnished truth from people they could trust. So what if there were racist, sexist and xenophobic messages stitched in along with the corn and pork bellies forecasts? They can go watch that other cable outlet, CNN: The Communist News Network.
But the dumbing-down of the conservative electorate was about to transition from a movement to a chain reaction.
• 2008 ~ An unexpected thing happened. After over a decade of feeding their audience a steady diet of Hillary hate in expectation of her run for the White House, a new guy came along and caught them off guard. How to deal with this? Certain words and phrases began to appear in conservative circles and on Fox News. Words like “uppity” and “mixed-race.” Phrases like “Where’s his birth certificate,” and “What’s with the Muslim middle name?” Talk of a “Manchurian Candidate” took root on the Internet.
A mere five weeks after being sworn in on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible, the first Tea Party rally took place on the Washington Mall. The call went out on Fox News: Hear ye, hear ye, come to the nation’s Capitol in defense of freedom! Your country needs you like never before. This new, untested President wants to take our guns, raise our taxes and turn America towards Sharia Law! So dear patriots, ask yourselves: haven’t we been taxed enough already?
They came from far and wide. Farmers, factory workers, businessmen and women, homemakers. Fox News was there too, with a gaggle of reporters planted throughout the scrum. Curiously enough, there were also thousands of brazenly racist signs and banners present, but the Fox cameras failed to pick up a single one. Some called the new Commander in Chief the N word. Others threatened to return with their guns if their demands weren’t met.
In time, the Tea Party faded. But the seeds of suspicion planted by Roger Ailes and Co. were beginning to sprout. Hushed whispers of bigotry and misogyny led to open conversations by a reinvigorated generation of haters. The neo-Nazi movement gained membership. The Klan reemerged. And discussions regarding what to do about Mexicans coming across the border became rampant on Fox News message boards and conservative talk. Who the hell do those brown people think they are anyway?
• 2015 ~ Enter Donald Trump. A man of limited intelligence, but savvy enough to spot an opportunity when he sees one. All this talk about birth certificates, Mexicans, women… he’s been there and done that. He’s The Donald! With his cachet, he’ll make America great again!
• October 8th, 2016 ~ Except things aren’t going as planned. The birther movement he spearheaded crashed and burned. His promises to block illegal immigration is now being mocked by senior members of his own party. His so-called respect for women has turned out to be a sick joke.
Which brings us full-circle, back to Roger Ailes, the Founding Father of today’s conservative propaganda movement. Where is Roger Ailes today? Well, oddly enough he was ignominiously fired from his position of CEO at Fox News for multiple allegations of sexual impropriety. In short, he was a sexual predator of the worst kind. But fear not Rog,’ there’s still a job waiting for you in the most important branch of the empire that you built: deciding the Presidency itself.
Roger Ailes, the man who laid the foundations for Fox News, who used race, bigotry and misogyny as political tools to get Republicans elected, who covered the Tea Party rallies as if they were the rebirth of a nation, who was finally tossed out on his fat ass for sexually harassing dozens of women over the years … is now working as an advisor to the Trump campaign, and has been doing so for weeks. You can’t make it up.
Yet not a single Republican in Congress or the Statehouses has voiced his or her concern over this. A sexual predator advising our candidate? What’s wrong with that?
But now… TODAY, they’re shocked by what they’re seeing on the Trump video. Donald Trump is terrible! Why, had I only known. I can’t condone this!
Guess what Republicans? You made him. He’s you. The political gene that inspired you to cheer when Ronnie trashed the government, that told you to look away and remain silent when the Tea Partiers showed up with racist signs, that brought a smile to your face when President Obama was humiliated for years with demands that he show his identification, that told you to accept Islamaphobia, attacks on women, Hispanics, Black Lives Matter… it’s you. And you’re him.
But now that your master plan has blown up in your faces, suddenly you’re shocked to learn that Donald Trump is such a vile man! Your candidate for President of the United States has admitted on tape to doing things to women that would get him tossed out of a skid row strip joint. But instead of looking inward and asking yourselves how you ended up with this despicable clown, you’re still looking outward, wondering how you can deflect this latest scandal of your own making, upon the Clinton campaign.
You’ve been wishing and praying all year for an October surprise to come along to really shake things up, and now it has. Maybe you should be more careful about what you wish for. You just might get it.