We see fractures in both the Democratic and Republican parties. This diary addresses one of them: a breakage of the Republican Party into two pieces. The Hard Right is represented in one piece. The group might as well call themselves "The Birch Society."
Some apply the "Tea Party" title. But this is anything but the populist "Tea Party" that defined a conservative, working class alternative in 2009.
The split is readily apparent in the House of Representatives. A majority of Republican seats there have been taken over through infiltration of the national GOP by ultraconservatives that goes back three decades. This is indeed a Hard Right operation and the campaigns have been funded, overwhelmingly, by the family and sources of money that financed the John Birch Society all the way to back its founding in 1959.
Birchers in the House recycle long-time JBS slogans. When they act they pursue the long-time Bircher agenda. No question: the movement was born and remains a tool of plutocracy.
Let's count heads. Based on fiscal sanity votes and "Keystone" and self-identifications, we have four distinct sub-caucuses in the House of Representatives:
· Regular Democrats (now 160 Members)
· Business Democrats (28 Members)
· Business Republicans (78 Members)
· Birch Society Republicans (168 Members)
There is one vacancy from the Michael Grimm resignation (NY-13, Staten Island.)
Business Republicans and Business Democrats taken together, fittingly, now constitute 24% of the House.
These 168 Birchers need another 50 seats to reach majority status in the House. That's for a majority without support from Business Republicans.
The Birchers are identifiable as anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-compromise, anti-tax and anti-business fees. The Birchers' pro-billionaire agenda is not the mainstream Republican businessmen's agenda. They differ with the Business Members on matters related to campaign financing, selections for SCOTUS, individual tax loop holes, most federal regulations, thinking that Democrats are commies/Sharia-ists, and generally believing whether or not a No Governance Model should be inflicted on America.
They do agree with Business Republicans where it comes to vote suppression schemes. They vote for high military budgets.
Back in the 1960s when the Birchers were getting 2% of the vote in local elections, they were kinda fun to watch. "If Mommie is a commie/Then you gotta turn her in!"
Today, it's a grand assault on Jeffersonian democracy and the work of Hamilton and Madison to build a balanced country. Less democracy with every step:
The Koch family helped found the John Birch Society (JBS.) Fred Koch attended the first meeting and wrote all the big checks. He believed that President Eisenhower was a communist. Same for the Warren Court. They have financed Bircher candidates and the Bircher fantasies with more than three billion dollars since 1980. The Kochs assure that JBS ideological slogans and a pervasive xenophobic paranoia define Bircher campaigns.
Bircher candidate infiltrated the Republican Party at national level most heavily in the period 1984-2004 and in 2010. Then 2014 was more of the same.
Nationally these Bircher Republicans push long-standing John Birch Society positions, often using language that goes back decades. Their local positions range from eliminating use of fluoride in drinking water to opposing the teaching of evolution to anti-communism and fanatical anti-Islam/anti-Sharia bombast. In Texas they ran with their # 1 issue set to cut off use of non-real-estate tax revenues to help educate minority students.
One touchstone of the approved Bircher world view remains the notion that they are fighting against an evil "collectivist" plot to create a New World Order. They have a cloud of confused feelings that go with this belief. It is all black and white. Nazis, Communists, atheists, Liberals, Socialists, non-Christians -- they are the bad guys. The good guys are Libertarians and church-based conservatives.
Any change to traditional beliefs or power relationships is blamed on this NWO conspiracy. Same for any public support for the poor, who should rely on private charity.
From the April 2011 JBS Bulletin:
"The history of the socialist movement in the U.S. is one of advocating mandatory public education. Recall that it is the tenth step toward communizing any country outlined by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto…The aim of the Conspiracy has always been to break down the old social order and replace it with the anti-God system of socialism. Kindergarten was part of the breakdown of the old social order and it included that indoctrination of children at an ever-younger age away from their parents."
The Kochs' propaganda arm for supporting Bircher candidates has been centered at FreedomWorks. This resource generates some $10 million worth of campaign paraphernalia bearing modernized JBS slogans. "Lower Taxes. Less Government. More Freedom." That's all any voter ever needs to know, right?
Check back to coverage of the last government shutdown for just how far the Birchers will take these issues.
They hate taxes but otherwise their slogans are difficult to translate to law:
· Honor the Constitution
· Reduce the size and intrusiveness of the government
· Stop raising taxes
· No more bailouts or crony capitalism
· Repeal ObamaCare
· Cease out-of-control spending
· Reduce the national debt
· Bring back American prosperity and jobs; and as noted by spud1,
· Restore traditional American values
Of course they oppose any and all jobs bills. Their ideas for traditional values run to bigotry, gun-nut fantasies, and a Pax Americana global militarism.
They demonstrate no awareness of the management issues that underlie the big long-term budget issues. "No awareness" is the key. Bircher candidates go out of their way to maintain Know Nothing status. At public events and at debates they refuse to answer questions. They never publish budget-based position papers.
They like prayer. They do not like government. And those are the keys for 168 Members of this 2015 session of the House of Representatives.
Essentially they are hostile to democracy. They do not understand that the United States of America developed directly from the skeptical, reality-testing premises of the Enlightenment. Here is the text, written by Gouverneur Morris as head copywriter of the 1787 "committee of style" (supporting the legal work of James Madison), that set forth our country's core goals.
This is also memorable because in law it named the country:
Preamble to the Constitution
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Put simply, today's Birch Society Republicans disagree.
They oppose every large-scale government action that would either "establish Justice" or "promote the general Welfare" with federal action. Liberty for all does not include gays. They would stop at setting up police and sufficient schools to turn out some number of students with passable literacy.
Through the 1990s and 2000s they were still perfectly willing to go to the barricades to eliminate a simple Centers for Disease Control program to get rid of poisonous lead in the environment. Lead is documented scientifically as a poison. Lead affects millions of children. The Birchers would have none of it for a federal program for lead abatement.
Same for blocking any federal analysis for the medical effects of American gun laws. "Ignorance is Strength," don'tcha know.
Bircher campaigns are careful to keep political statements to one-line slogans. This is pretty much what the Birchers have been doing since the 1950s and 1960s. Here are the slogans that won top place in one of their recent polls:
· Dear President Obama, Did They Accept Our Apologies?
· It Is When People Forget God That Tyrants Forge Their Chains (Patrick Henry)
· George Soros, Puppet Master
· God Has Given Us a Christian Nation (John Jay, 1st US Chief Justice)
· U.S. Out Of U.N.
· We Are Not Tolerant of Treason!
· Public Schools: Leftist Re-Education Camps
· An Education Without the Bible Is Useless (Noah Webster, Founding Father)
· Liberal Congress: Killing Our Economy and Raising Unemployment, Since 2006
· Seal The Borders NOW
· If Liberals Could Win an Election, Why Would They Need So Much Voter Fraud?
· Sheriff Joe Arpaio - A Real American!
· GOP Leaders, You Are the Problem! We Don't Want Moderates!
· BUILD THE FENCE
· It Isn't the Quantity (Term Limit), Its the Quality (Character)
· Loss of Sovereignty [is the] Core of Obama Agenda
· Background Checks and Questionaires for All Politicians, Judges
· We Want an In-Depth Investigation of Soros, Obama, and Acorn!
· Get 'em Out Now! Every Day They Destroy America More!
· Mainstream Media, Hollywood - Guilty of Treason? Yes, They Are!
· Don't Expect Wicked Men to Pass Good Laws
· Clean Up the National Voter Registration System Up Now!
· Thank God for the 2nd Amendment
· Remove the RINOs from the Republican Party!
· Bring Family Values Back From Liberal Perversions
· Spend Our Taxes on National Security, Not Liberal Stupidity!
· Wipe Voter Roles Clean! Re-Register "Legal" Voters Only!
· Impeach Obama!
· O.B.A.M.A. = One Big A** Mistake, America
Apart from references to Soros and Obama, this could be the 1950s Birch Society. "Quanity" is a misspelling. I take it as an approved misspelling. The alleged quote from John Jay is bogus.
Plus that Noah Webster opposed religious education, developed his famous dictionary, and was a supporter but not a participant in the founding of the country. He served Alexander Hamilton by editing the Federalist Party's newspaper from 1793 and then continued successfully in the newspaper and printing business in New York City.
Fact don't matter to Birchers. Maybe that's why they are successful.
This is a strong political party. Stronger than Business Republicans and Business Democrats combined. The Bircher clast is not at all like your father's Republican Party.
What we have is the Koch funded John Birch Society in word and deed. They conceal their agenda during campaign periods and present publicly on their congressional web pages as moderates and good compromisers.
Where feasible, they claim to have castrated pigs.
How do you fight that ???
Back in January, 2013, President Obama tried sanity. Related to the Birchers' Shut Down the Government lunacy:
President Obama in his weekly address, Honolulu, Hawaii.
"And as I said earlier this week, one thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up. If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic. The last time Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it. Our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again."
O.K., fine. Try to divide the Republican Party. Business Republicans had all kinds of trouble sharing power with these guys. Democrats talked as though they were doing well.
But then come November of 2014 these incompetent, economy-sabotaging Birchers gained another 18 seats in the House. Eric Cantor was targeted and he got his ticket to Wall Street. None of the big Birchers lost their seats.
The crews at DNC, DSCC and DCCC failed miserably. The Birchers campaigned on crazy; nothing was done to go after them. And nobody got fired.
So where do we go from here?
Even with the Roosevelts, one was a Republican and one was a Democrat. Now it's about money and family dynasties and billionaire cliques that all but own their major parties.
Where do we go, indeed?