[SPORK] The Last Laugh, political dynamics, and book
geege at barrera.org
Sat Apr 19 11:11:37 PDT 2003
http://www.abc.net.au/am/s291341.htm gives new meaning to reality tv.
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From: fork-bounces at xent.com [mailto:fork-bounces at xent.com]On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2003 11:55 PM
To: fork at xent.com
Subject: [SPORK] The Last Laugh, political dynamics, and book
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 
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 
Jeff Bob sez check it out.
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