washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The GOP’s New “Evil Empire”

Like a lot of non-Rush-Limbaugh listeners, when I first heard that a large faction of Republican National Committee members was pushing for a formal resolution calling on GOPers to start referring to the Democratic Party as the “Democrat Socialist Party,” I thought it was a puerile joke that the adults in the Republican Party would quash.
Apparently not. According to sources speaking to Politico‘s Roger Simon, the Republican National Committee will approve the resolution at a special meeting of the RNC called for that very purpose.
Here’s how the sponsor of the resolution, Jeff Kent from Washington State, explained its rationale a few weeks ago:

There is nothing more important for our party than bringing the truth to bear on the Democrats’ march to socialism. Just like Ronald Reagan identifying the U.S.S.R. as the evil empire was the beginning of the end to Soviet domination, we believe the American people will reject socialism when they hear the truth about how the Democrats are bankrupting our country and destroying our freedom and liberties.

I don’t know what’s more offensive: the idea of identifying the Democratic Party, which the American people elected to run Congress and the executive branch just six months ago, with the Soviet Union, or the idea that Ronald Reagan brought about the collapse of the Soviet bloc through a magic spell. All in all, the highly adolescent nature of Kent’s thinking is illustrated not only by this comic-book historical revisionism, but by his insistence on retaining in his version of the “Evil Empire” the little-boy-taunt of dropping the last syllable from the adjective “Democratic.”
The St. Paul of the “Democrat Socialist” rebranding, Indiana RNC member James Bopp, Jr., sent an encyclical around further explaining its purpose. Here’s a pertinent passage:

The threat to our country from the Obama administration cannot be underestimated. They are proceeding pell mell to nationalize major industries, to exponentially increase the size, power and intrusiveness of the federal government, to undermine free enterprise and free markets, to raise taxes to a confiscatory level, to strap future generations with enormous unsustainable debt, to debase our currency, to destroy traditional values and embrace a culture of death, and to weaken our national defense and retreat from the war on terror. Unless stopped, we will not recognize our country in a few short years.

Yeah, I think the 60-plus-percent of Americans who approve of the job President Obama is doing are pretty happy with the plan to “destroy traditional values and embrace a culture of death.” Or perhaps they don’t understand that returning the top marginal tax rate to where it was ten years ago, and at a far lower level than in those fine days when Ronald Reagan abolished the Soviet Union, represents “confiscatory” taxes. Who knows, maybe they even think that we don’t need to deploy barbaric torture methods to fight terrorists.
It’s easy to mock this stuff, but it’s actually pretty significant: we are not talking about some radio blowhard or self-promoting Fox “personality” in this case, but the Republican National Committee. If, as Simon predicts, it approves this resolution, Republicans who like to think of themselves as serious people need to feel some real shame. Comparing the Democratic Party to the leadership of a totalitarian society, and treating it as an enemy of the country, isn’t just ridiculous: it’s an incitement to crazy people to act crazy or worse.

4 comments on “The GOP’s New “Evil Empire”

  1. GinnyC on

    lgherb it has certainly been infuriating to listen and watch what has been going on. George Lakoff helped with his concept of reframing and avoiding words the GOP had managed to redefine. His perception of what drives the conservatives was helpful also. I personally think Drew Westin did an even better job in Political Brain.
    With the Internet becoming a more frequent source of news and information to many Americans, we will hopefully reach more who are looking for answers that make sense in the reality of the huge problems the GOP has brought down upon our house.
    Given the smaller numbers identifying as GOP, we do not have so much of a house divided against itself. We do have a lot of respectful, considerate and helpful conversations we could begin and maintain.
    I like these comments very much.
    “…the logical conclusion drawn is that those who actively denigrate these words and concepts advocate the antonyms of them. Social, religious, economic, and intellectual freedom became abhorred on an almost social subconscious level.”
    “…the GOP will have been silently working to build a neo-aristocracy characterized by very distinct ruling and working classes; limited social mobility, tight integration of church and state, and strict limits of personal freedom.”
    Perhaps just as important is not letting the opportunity the GOP has given us – creating a significant distrust of their party in American voters – by making them distrust us as well.

  2. lgherb on

    The proposed campaign by the GOP to re-brand the Democratic Party as the “Democrat Socialist Party” returns me to my ongoing bewilderment of how United States citizens allowed the word “liberal” to be demonized by this same collection of elitists. Starting with the so-called “Reagan Revoltion” and continuing through today, the conservative movement has flashed into the consciousness of the voting public the equation of the word “liberal” with the concept of “extremely undesirable” or downright “un-American”.
    This mantra became generally accepted by roughly 1/2 of the voting public for nearly three decades without ever being fundamentally analyzed. How often over the last 25 years during the ongoing tug-of-war for the consciousness of voters did anyone actually define the word “liberal”?
    Once one researches the definitions and etymology of the word “liberal” and the related words and concepts of “liberty” and “liberalism”, the logical conclusion drawn is that those who actively denigrate these words and concepts advocate the antonyms of them. Social, religious, economic, and intellectual freedom became abhorred on an almost social subconscious level.
    This propaganda fueled the engine of conservative sound bites for years until this golden fuel rod became spent, necessitating this new branding effort. In scripting a new propaganda campaign, the strategy remains the same: define the competition based on the worst fears of the at-large psyche while never actively and distinctly defining that which they truly advocate.
    How long will it take with this new campaign for the public to come to the revelation that in framing the Democratic Party as the equivalent of communists/socialists/nazis that the GOP will have been silently working to build a neo-aristocracy characterized by very distinct ruling and working classes; limited social mobility, tight integration of church and state, and strict limits of personal freedom.

  3. GinnyC on

    Errors and omissions.
    IRV is Instant Recount Voting.
    Just occurred to me that in cases like the Franken-Coleman race, if the number of contested ballots could not give either candidate the percent needed to win, the IRV could be done and possibly save the need for the accuracy recount.
    Sports analogy for IRV versus one candidate only voting.
    It is more like winning the World Series than the Superbowl.

  4. GinnyC on

    Time to start gathering statements from the Socialist Party, socialist leaders and scholars to explain why we are NOT socialist in the sense they are accusing. Interestingly, the political socialism in Europe, as opposed to communism, is described as democratic socialism. We know the GOP misspelling is not ignorance.
    I find it very amusing that Bopp thinks the Obama administration can accomplish all of those items “in a few short years”. Granted it is easier and faster to destroy than to build. We have just had a hopefully unforgettable lesson in this from the Bush administration.
    The grown ups in this country know it is a mess and cleaning it up is not going to be easy or quick. The GOP is determined to make a nuisance of themselves and obstinately refuse to make some intelligent changes in the party. The longer they do that the harder it will be to recover.
    I am becoming convinced this is the right time for it to fade away. Either America and the world choose to decrease consumerism, and increase humanism, while taking out the power groups that have foisted financial control on us to grow the elite class; or we will continue down the slippery slope of failed civilizations and extinction. (See Jared Diamond “Collapse” and John Kerry “The New War”.)
    There is a strong belief that we need a 2 party system in this country. I agree that we should not have, for all practical discussion, a single party system. What I would like to see is a system that encourages the growth and development of new parties, so that the power is spread more instead of becoming too concentrated in the leaders of a specific party; while changes in demographics, culture and social issues change voters priorities at a faster rate. Any group that has been functioning long enough is likely to become mired in it’s traditions and obstinate devotion to out dated philosophies.
    Instant recall voting (IRV) would promote this as well as severely cutting down the Florida, Ohio and Minnesota debacles. In being allowed to vote for candidates in order of preference, the computer program can be written to start recounting if no candidate has a large enough percent of the vote (determined by the governing body that declares the winner) to win. In the races where there are 3 strong candidates, 2 of the candidates will represent the thinking of a majority of the voters. One is a strong party, the other an emerging party. The third party is a strong party that is losing touch with the voters. The new party has grown to represent the growing numbers of voters whose beliefs are consistent with the paths that society has started to pursue.
    As elections are run and votes are reported, emerging party candidates will have a better chance to find out how much real support they have. Members of the Democratic party might very well prefer to vote for Greens – except for the horror of the Republican winning a three way. When many voters switch to a new party, other voters will start paying more attention to those candidates, increasing their strength until it reaches a critical mass. Putting the obsolete [GOP] party in the minority, letting the remaining majority party and the new one begin the philosophical competition for votes based on ideology, policy, etc.
    Over time our Broken Branch of Congress will function much better as will the better Executive and then Judicial branches.
    Better Government for All.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.