Republican Opposition: a Flimsy Reed
Many conservatives who have not yet succumbed to political correctness never stop wondering why Republicans are so bad at political warfare. Why don't they vigorously oppose the ruling Democrats and their leader, President Obama, instead of sounding at times like their echo-chamber. Watch televised debates: the Democrat is always bursting with righteous indignation, angrily castigating the Republicans and ascribing to them the basest of motives, while his Republican opponent is always on the defensive, timidly smiling and carefully choosing his words so as -- God forbid! -- to not offend his adversary's sensibilities.
It's hard to avoid the feeling that the Republicans (the rare exceptions notwithstanding) inwardly agree with the Democrats, acknowledge their moral superiority, and try to ingratiate themselves with the accusers as if pleading for leniency if not acquittal. Why do Republicans fail to forcefully rebuff the smears? Why don't they expose the lies and distortions peddled by the Democrats as the shameless propaganda they are? Why? It is a very serious question which goes to the very heart of the present-day political situation in America.
The first and foremost reason for the left's superiority is its overwhelming hegemony in the cultural sphere: in education at all levels, from kindergarten through college, in mass and elite culture, even in the church. Age-old values are everywhere mocked and denigrated, traditional marriage and normal sexual orientation derided. Strident propaganda reigns supreme in the marketplace of ideas, extolling sex as the be all and end all of human existence and homosexuality as the hallmark of sophistication and superior spirituality. The state is touted as the fount of goodness while the private sector denounced as the breeding ground of evil. Racism is excoriated as the ultimate sin, while patriotism, respect for the Constitution and love of country as telltale signs of troglodyte mindset and, worse, precursors of extremism.
History is shamelessly distorted. Textbooks written by progressives like Howard Zinn teach schoolchildren that Christopher Columbus was a blood-spattered conquistador, the Puritan colonists religious fanatics, the Founding Fathers racist slave-owners. The populace is incessantly brainwashed into believing that America is the acme of imperialism, an aggressor and oppressor, while the inhabitants of the Third World are noble sufferers and victims; that Israel is an aggressive monster while Palestinian terrorists are noble freedom fighters, the present-day version of knights in shining armor; that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are geniuses endowed with all possible and impossible virtues, while George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are devils incarnate who are to blame for all the evils in the world; that Democrats are the good guys while Republicans wear black hats.
Torrents of leftist propaganda flood the information marketplace, drowning out competing viewpoints, and many Americans have been inured to the virtually uncontested half-truths and outright lies peddled by the progressives. Next to racism, judgmentalism is reviled as the greatest of sins -- but only vis-à-vis non-traditional thought patterns and lifestyles, whereas it is okay, indeed almost de rigueur, to denounce conservatism of any kind. The preferred outlook is a primitive, Manichean worldview devoid of any nuances: life is reduced to the conflict of good versus evil, black versus white, progressive versus conservative.
The conservative enemy is incessantly smeared and demonized. The left does its utmost to write the right out of mankind with a view to easing the conscience of the fighters of the army of progress, infusing them with implacable hatred for the enemy. If the enemy is perceived to be inhuman, no holds are barred, all means are justified. Ideological warfare is every bit as vicious as the real war. And why not? Like ends like means.
In short, American culture is totally in the grip of the left; right-wing ideas are dismissed as marginal and illegitimate. Given this reality, small wonder that the Democrats, as the bearers of the "correct worldview," position themselves as the "sons of light," while their conservative opponents are viewed as the "sons of darkness," deserving only of contempt and hatred. Is it any wonder that Republicans suffer from an acute inferiority complex?
A crucial advantage of the Democrats is their total control of the media. Republican politicians are shaking in their Gucci loafers at the mere thought of antagonizing the press operating on the principle honed by the Nazi and communist propaganda machines: if a lie, no matter how absurd, is pounded long enough and hard enough, it will eventually find its mark. Tell a man he is a pig and sooner or later he will start oinking. We have seen the Big Lie triumphant too often to dismiss its effectiveness.
Toward the end of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, two-thirds of the public believed that Thomas was slandered by Anita Hill. But after a year of incessant propaganda led by the New York Times (of course!) the ratio flipped, with two-thirds of the public coming to believe that Thomas had lied and his accuser had told the truth. Or how about the immolation by the press of Sarah Palin, at least as qualified as any member of Congress, or the virtual deification of Hillary Clinton, who can be generously described as a "vacuous cipher" (to borrow the happy turn of phrase from the White House Twitter). So Republicans have a well-justified fear of the press and consciously or subconsciously try to shrink their footprint so as to present the smallest target to the media guns.
Another factor is a corollary of the former. President Obama is untouchable. The color of his skin better than any armor protects him against any criticism whatsoever. His reign is a long chronicle of flagrant incompetence, yet no one in the Republican opposition is brave enough to call it as they see it. The furthest Republicans in Congress dare go is accuse the president of being uninterested or misinformed. Small wonder: a mere hint that the king has no clothes immediately brings down a mudslide of obloquy on the head of the miscreant. As a result Republicans are reduced to exchanging frustrated whispers of indignation watching the administration run the country into the ground, and suffering in silence the indignity of seeing the prestige of the once great nation reach its nadir under Obama.
And finally, yet another factor working to the benefit of the Democrats. American society, as any other one, is highly hierarchical. The country is ruled by the establishment of which the Republicans are an integral part. Of course, they are merely junior partners who must defer to their betters, the Democrats, but legitimate partners nonetheless. The Republicans are despised, vilified, pilloried, demonized as troglodytes and enemies of progress -- but their legitimacy as part of the ruling class is not called into question. They go to the same church as their senior partners and pray to the same gods. They worship power and money every bit as much as the Democrats and in general share the basic precepts of their opponents. There is a lot of truth in the popular wisdom that if the Democrats proposed burning down the Capitol the Republicans would merely suggest to do it in stages on a slowed-down schedule. Have they ever turned down outright any Democratic proposal instead of coming up with their own, milder, version of the same plan?
Look at the furious reaction of the Republican establishment to the emergence of the Tea Party. The patriots who rose up in defense of the Constitution and against Obamacare and government profligacy are seen from the bastion of power as peons marching on Washington with pitchforks and firebrands, threatening the establishment's monopoly on power. And Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder with Democrats against the unwashed masses. The Republicans mandarins view with suspicion and outright animosity any outsider who doesn't toe the line, like that "upstart," Sarah Palin. Similarly, any politician breaking ranks with the establishment is treated as an enemy. Has Senator McCain ever used a disparaging word to characterize any Democrat? Yet he thinks is proper to denounce a fellow Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, as a "wacko bird", a "crazy." A Hispanic (minority!), Yale-trained lawyer (one of us elites!) dares break ranks and go populist?! Horrors! For McCain and his ilk, Ted Cruz is clearly a traitor to his class while the Democrats, even the slimiest scoundrels, are merely "our friends across the aisle."
Such is the dismal reality of today's American polity. The Republican Party by and large sings harmony to the Democratic vocals, and there is no reason to hope that the situation will change dramatically any time soon. The establishment is vested in the status quo, and its Republican contingent dreads rocking the boat every bit as much as the Democrats. From time to time, there occurs an upheaval in Washington D.C., but it fails to bring about meaningful change. The replacement of a Democratic administration by a Republican one is little more than a rearrangement of the chairs in the same parlor. And this more or less symbolic game of political leapfrog will continue until the overgrown political field has been thoroughly weeded, i.e. until the Republican Party is radically overhauled from within along conservative lines or shoved aside as an irrelevancy by a new, vibrantly conservative political entity.