[SPORK] The Last Laugh, political dynamics, and book recommendations

Jeff Bone jbone at deepfile.com
Sat Apr 19 02:54:46 PDT 2003

So...  ask youself:  why Faux News, now?  Why so much propaganda, so 
much jingo?  Why this unprecedented push to dominate perceptions on the 
part of the extreme "right?"  Why indeed the absolute PR madness of the 
sad little coup in 2000?  Seems a little desperate, doesn't it?  The 
extreme elements of the Republican party are acting as if this 
particular presidency is perhaps their last, best shot at getting some 
of their domestic and geopolitical agenda enacted.

Maybe it is.

Indeed, they're even throwing some of their playbook out the window --- 
even parts of it that play well with the electorate, like fiscal 
responsibility, government non-intrusiveness, and tax cuts that really 
mean something for  the middle class.  They've more or less stopped 
even the political charade of making it look like they stand for these 
things, in favor of massively increased federalism, American 
imperialism, and kick-backs, favors, and carte blanche for their 
wealthy cronies and corporate backers.

Why all this deviation from the *apparent* party line, now?  (This may 
or may not be business as usual, but at least they used to be quite a 
bit less blatant about things.)

There's a strong case to be made for the fact that the electorate and 
the demographic distribution of power in national elections has been 
shifting away from the Reagan Republican "majority" of the 80s.  W/o 
reconstructing an entire book, let me merely point at a great resource 
for understanding this shift, how and why (and where) it's happening, 
who is involved, and what it means for the future of American two-party 
politics.  It's called

	_The Emerging Democratic Majority_  by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira [1]

One interesting thing about this is that it points to one ideological 
shift.  If you collapse all the various political dimensions down into 
the familiar "liberal / conservative" line and distribute the 
population across it, you (unsurprisingly) get a bell curve.  In fact, 
the center of power in this country is a moderate majority.  These 
centrists were during the 80s default Republican voters.  The book 
makes the case that many of these centrists defected to Clinton in '92, 
turned off by the religious conservative agenda and big deficits of the 
Reagan and Bush I administrations.  Many of the rest of the centrists 
voted Perot in '92, spoiling things for Bush.  The trend appears to be 
that the centrists are drifting away from the Republican party, often 
towards the Democratic Party, and at the same time pulling the 
Democratic Party more to the middle.

The 2000 election showed a more complete division than we've ever seen; 
  neither Gore nor Bush II was sufficiently compelling (or even 
different!) to rally the moderate majority, so they split the 
difference.  But with four years of Bush II under our belts, it seems 
that the writing is on the wall...

Anyway, it's a good book that has contributed significantly to my 
understanding of American politics in general and the current situation 
particularly.  BTW, it's not a pure propaganda piece --- the last 
chapter presents the tenuous case *against* the idea of an emerging Dem 
majority.  It points out that Karl Rove believes exactly the opposite 
of the case this book presents;  but then, Karl Rove is hardly 
unbiased, himself...  Speaking of Rove, from the Know Thy Enemy file:

	Boy Genius: Karl Rove, the Brains Behind the Remarkable Political 
Triumph of George W. Bush [2]
Jeff Bob sez check it out.


[1] http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0743226917/
[2] http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1586481924/

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