Reprinted from Empire Burlesque
(Many other more important things happening in the world right now -- Turkey, Gaza, Syria, etc. -- but this struck me while reading a "process" story in the NYT, so I put it down quickly for what it's worth.)
In the imbroglio over the House Speaker post, it's amusing to watch mainstream and "progressive" media fall for the "Freedom Caucus" myth. Every story -- without exception as far as I can tell -- reports that a 40-member group of ultra-conservative GOP members has somehow prevented the entire 247-strong Republican majority from electing anyone the Freedom Caucus objects to. Endless reams of "serious" analysis have been devoted to this situation. Apparently, none of our savants have paused for a moment in their disgorgement of wisdom to ponder this question: how can a caucus of 40 hold a majority of 247 "hostage"?
By these lights, the more "moderate" Republicans need only to nominate someone from their ranks, then out-vote the Freedom Caucus 207-40: an easy victory. Hell, the non-FC Republicans could even split their ranks between two candidates, and still win easily: 67-40-40, say, or any other such combination.
So what's really going on? Just the same old disguising of how radical the entire GOP Congressional delegation really is. The reason why the GOP "moderates" -- that is to say, the GOP extremists who are not quite as openly extreme as the gleeful knuckle-draggers of the Freedom Caucus -- have had so much trouble is that ... there are no GOP "moderates." The majority of their entire delegation is cut from the same intransigent, intolerant, Talibanic cloth as the Freedom Caucus.
It is this majority that doesn't want anyone who even hints at the slightest deviation from ideological purity. But the presence of the FC -- and the constant references to it as the "cause" of the current chaos -- allow not only the GOP leadership but also our well-wadded media class to pretend that our political system is fundamentally sound. It's just being mucked up right now by a small group of radicals who are preventing "moderate" leaders like ... John Boehner? Kevin McCarthy? Pete King, for god's sake? -- from getting on with the serious business of governing the country through good-faith compromise with the opposition.
The fact is, there is hardly any Republican in the House today, and very few in the Senate, who would not have been considered morons, madmen and mouth-frothing goobers -- by the GOP itself -- well within my lifetime. They've been empowered by Rupert Murdoch's poisonous intervention (do any of these Islamophobic super-patriots care that FOX News is part-owned by a Saudi prince?), which has given a national platform to people and positions that in previous decades could only have been found in badly mimeographed sheets or smudgy pamphlets slipped into a handful of mailboxes.
Now, thanks to Murdoch and other oligarchs, there are literally hundreds of millions of dollars put at the disposal of the most radical extremists ever seen in American politics. Yet our media mavens continue to push the pernicious myth that the only thing wrong with our system are a few "bad apples" here and there, a few cliques of "crazies" on both right and left.
Of course, this willful blindness is also directed toward Democrats. We are asked to believe -- and millions do believe -- that a party whose president operates death squads out of the White House is somehow just part of a normal political system. That a Democrat-led administration that partners with Saudi Arabia to inflict a near-genocide on Yemen, which continues to bomb and assassinate and subvert and terrorize at will, all over the world, is somehow not only representative of a normal democratic political system, but even exemplifies the "progressive" side of such a system.
(I could of course go on and list a plethora of Democratic policies that are brutal, senseless and inhumane -- such as, hey, the draconian Bankruptcy Bill that good old progressive hope Joe Biden inflicted on millions of ordinary people, blighting their lives and causing untold, unnecessary misery, all in the service of his decades-long paymaster, the credit card industry -- but life is short.)
So again, the idea that only 40 "nuts" can hamstring a far larger majority is, well, nuts. It can only have become "conventional wisdom" in a system already so super-saturated with falsity and fanaticism.