Typically, Bush encourages the belief that he alone speaks with God. Meanwhile, there is evidence that like all cults, the GOP, communicates to its base in code words designed to assuage the base and dupe the rest of us.
The attack on Social Security was of this form. So, too, the war of aggression in Iraq. There is only one reason a political party would want to communicate with its membership using "code words": it wants to hide its real agenda. It wants to keep non-members in the dark. That the GOP has eschewed good English for propaganda and "code words" is a dead give away: the GOP is not a political party. It's a kooky cult. A very recent use of "code words" to communicate covertly with a cultist base, was found in a statement by Condi Rice:
"What we're seeing here ... are the birth pangs of a new Middle East and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one.""Birth pangs" is found prominently in scripture:
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs."It is fair to ask if Condi Rice, a "self-professed evangelical" is, in fact, communicating a message to Bush's whacked-out, Republican base, many of whom have tried to justify the US war against Iraq with scripture and vague, weird references to rapture. Was Condo re-assuring the dogs of war who still support Bush? It would be alarming to know just how many of these folk truly believe that Bush is on a "Mission from God" to bring about Armageddon and, hence, the rapture. The GOP has been taken over by hard core extremists and religious ideologues. I became aware of this in the early eighties. A state rep race used the term dynamic conservative to describe its candidate. I was curious -never having associated the word "dynamic" with conservatives. In this case, the code word dynamic conservative had been the product of a Chicago based political consulting firm that had been associated, at some point, with Congressman Phil Crane who had been, until his defeat in the elections of 2004, the longest-serving Republican member of the US House of Representatives. Interestingly, Crane went to Congress in 1969, succeeding Donald Rumsfeld who had been appointed to a position in the Nixon administration. I had thought the phrase -dynamic conservative -an oxymoron. Was the candidate dynamic? Or was he conservative? Contradictory? Well, focus groups don't have a problem with that. And neither, apparently, do cults. There is a difference between mere jargon and code words, used by the GOP to both reveal and conceal. A code word is a signal to initiates, but a mask to everyone else. Code words are designed to keep the public in the dark while GOP cultists communicate in code with one another. When Bush tried to destroy Social Security, he wished to reassure his radical base of robber barons and fanatics while concealing that fact from normal, hard working folk who depend upon Social Security. How to do it? Bush uses code words, understood by the base for what they are, but taken at face value by the rest of us. In this case, Bush's solution was the code word: privatization! Admittedly, more odious and overt bigots have gone underground. And that is Bush's problem: how to communicate with them without giving the game away, without revealing to the world what he really is. Both dynamic conservatism and compassionate conservatism deserve special mention. Neither label, of itself, is a sure indicator of cultism. Both, however, serve a single purpose. They are the face the candidate shows his base; they are the glitzy store front he shows the world. It is significant that both labels came into being at about the same time -a post Watergate world when the GOP began to realize that if they simply told the truth, they would lose. Lying, therefore, became GOP strategy. It must be kept in mind that the GOP had been under siege during Nixon's Watergate scandal and again when Ford pardoned Nixon. The bunker mentality born of those times is most certainly a defining characteristic of cults. There are others. A cult is unquestioning in its commitment to a leader just as the GOP rank and file were unquestioning in their support of George W. Bush. Indeed, there were numerous billboards, presumably paid for by local GOP groups, which proclaimed Bush "Our Leader" or "The Leader". In another language that is "Der Führer". As with any cult, the GOP leadership dictates how members think, act or speak. Until Iraq fell utterly apart, it was verboten to question, doubt, or disagree with "Der Führer". This was a time of "freedom fries", the Dixie Chicks boycott, and the orchestrated demonization of Michael Moore. At this time many fundamentalists considered Bush to be "the Messiah" who had come again on a special mission from God to save humanity, or perhaps, to start Armegeddon. Even if that were true, I prefer the Blues Brothers. Like many another cult, the GOP is elitist -but to point this out is called culture war, a code word understood by the GOP's elitist base. ? There are two senses in which the term culture war or cultural war is used. It was Pat Buchanan who first used the term cultural war to assure the religiously inclined that the opposition -liberals and Democrats -are evil:
(Matthew 24:3-8 RSV)
There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself. And in that struggle for the soul of America, Clinton & Clinton are on the other side, and George Bush is on our side. -Pat Buchanan, 1992 Republican ConventionHitler used the same, simple-minded tactic. Aryan good; Jew bad! There is yet another sense in which the GOP uses the term culture war to assure the affluent base that "greed is good". In this sense of the term, culture war immunizes Gordon Gekko wannabes from evil liberals, indeed, anyone possessing a concscience. It is a warning to those who might be inclined to blow the whistle on GOP economic policy. To criticize improvident tax cuts as benefiting only the super-wealthy, for example, is labeled culture war. Merely labeling is enough to make weak-kneed Democrats fear and tremble. In the GOP, as in any cult, "der Führer" is thought to be above the law. Nixon said "...if the President does it, it is not illegal". Bush has claimed similar "executive privileges" that are equally cultist in tone and effect, equally absurd. Because Bush is thought to be above the law, exempt from the restrictions of the US Constitution, the GOP has internalized an "us-versus-them" mentality. In smaller cults, this often leads to conflicts with society as a whole. The situation is complicated, however, when the cult leader, der Führer, occupies the Oval Office. A cult will teach or imply that its ends justify any means. Means, for Bush and the GOP that enables and assists him, means trashing treaties, breaking international law, committing war crimes, perpetrating torture, waging wars of naked aggression. Like other cult leaders, Bush has often claimed that his "higher mission" justifies the various tortures and atrocities that have their origins inside the Bush bunker...uh..White House. For example, Bush could only have been referring to tortures and/or summary executions in his 2003 State of the Union address:
All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies. (Applause.) -George W. Bush, State of the Union, 2003As far as anyone knows, none of those referred to by Bush received a trial. If so, it was a secret trial and therefore, a violation of international law and treaty. Or, Bush was simply lying through his teeth as he most certainly lied in his first debate with John Kerry. It was at the end of one of John Kerry's stronger moments when he explained that George W. Bush would prefer the people believe that it was Saddam Hussein who attacked the US. Bush snapped petulently: "Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that." Then he stumbled:
"Of course we're after Saddam Hussein -- I mean bin Laden. He's isolated. Seventy-five percent of his people have been brought to justice."Oh really? The fact is there is no credible data on al Qaeda at all. Then or now. The CIA had estimated at the time that al Qaeda consisted of about two dozen operatives. 75 percent of two-dozen doesn't sound very impressive. But it does raise new questions about the US capture, detention and torture of the 3,000 detainees referred to by Bush in his address. We have only Bush's word that any were connected in any way with al Qaeda. Since Bush made his remarks, the tortures of Abu Ghraib have come to light. It is fair to ask if Bush had merely communicated to his understanding base, his cult of torture and atrocity. In any case, true to the cultist nature of this illegitimate regime, Bush would justify both lie and atrocity on these grounds: he was on a mission from God. Again, I prefer the Blues Brothers. They didn't murder or torture anyone.
If Bush is on a mission from God so, too, the GOP which makes it all possible with its money and support. Those cult members in danger of getting caught are often thought to be justified in lying in order to protect "der Führer". This occurred during the Watergate scandal to protect Richard Nixon and it has happened during Bush's illegitimate occupation of the Oval Office. There are many other characteristics of cults. I am confident that all apply to the GOP, a society apart where members are encouraged to obey "der Führer" without question even as his policies have proven disastrous for the people of America, indeed, the world. - The Existentialist Cowboy