Monday, April 3, 2006

Kevin Phillips: "The Stuff of Nightmares"

How the GOP Became God's Own Party: Kevin Phillips:
The American heartland, from Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico to Ohio and the Appalachian coal states, has become (along with the onetime Confederacy) an electoral hydrocarbon coalition. It cherishes sport-utility vehicles and easy carbon dioxide emissions policy, and applauds preemptive U.S. airstrikes on uncooperative, terrorist-coddling Persian Gulf countries fortuitously blessed with huge reserves of oil.

Because the United States is beginning to run out of its own oil sources, a military solution to an energy crisis is hardly lunacy. Neither Caesar nor Napoleon would have flinched. What Caesar and Napoleon did not face, but less able American presidents do, is that bungled overseas military embroilments could also boomerang economically. The United States, some $4 trillion in hock internationally, has become the world's leading debtor, increasingly nagged by worry that some nations will sell dollars in their reserves and switch their holdings to rival currencies. Washington prints bonds and dollar-green IOUs, which European and Asian bankers accumulate until for some reason they lose patience. This is the debt Achilles' heel, which stands alongside the oil Achilles' heel.

Unfortunately, more danger lurks in the responsiveness of the new GOP coalition to Christian evangelicals, fundamentalists and Pentecostals, who muster some 40 percent of the party electorate. Many millions believe that the Armageddon described in the Bible is coming soon. Chaos in the explosive Middle East, far from being a threat, actually heralds the second coming of Jesus Christ. Oil price spikes, murderous hurricanes, deadly tsunamis and melting polar ice caps lend further credence.

The potential interaction between the end-times electorate, inept pursuit of Persian Gulf oil, Washington's multiple deceptions and the financial crisis that could follow a substantial liquidation by foreign"
For anyone with even a superficial knowledge of world and European history, the decline and fall of Great Powers is a familiar story. Bush, a history major at Yale, has been leading the U.S. into exactly that scenario, at a lightning pace.

The hardest thing to understand is that a lot of Republicans want this, what is happening. They look at Iraq and actually seem to believe the talk of "progress" or that that the American Media is cheering the terrorists, when it reports even superficially on the catastrophe, which has been the U.S. policy in Iraq.

Kevin Phillips' answer is that it is a combination of greed, short-sightedness and self-delusion, with the self-delusion supplied by the evangelicals.

I actually think plenty of self-delusion has been supplied by the secular leaders of the military-industrial complex. People like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are not religious nuts. Rumsfeld does not expect a second coming.

I understand Kevin Phillips' point about political coalitions, and how Bush, a failed President manages, nevertheless, to win elections. But, he makes excuses for a leadership, which is not particularly religious, but is mendacious in the extreme. Democracy does not matter to the Republicans: that's why they choose their rhetoric for effect, with no regard to the meaning or correspondence to reality. Religious extremism explains the followership of the Republican Party, it doesn't explain the leadership.

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