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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/29/16

The Republican Platform: The Democratic (non-) Response

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Reprinted from Greanville Post

Criminality and and even buffoonery are inherent in those seeking the top political office (frontmen) in today's American empire.
Criminality and and even buffoonery are inherent in those seeking the top political office (frontmen) in today's American empire.
(Image by CC BY-SA by DonkeyHotey)
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Dealing first with all of the Republican candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination other than Donald Trump, present and recently departed (from the political scene, not from this life), can be likened to playing a Great Game of Let's Pretend. First, there are no major differences between them in terms of substance. That is when they manage to get to substance. Which of course is rarely.

Jeb Bush's major argument for himself seemed to be that he would have a steady hand on the helm of the ship of state (although he could hardly use his brother's example in support of that claim). Ted Cruz seems to rely on "toughness" and invariance (that is when he and/or his campaign is not indulging in dirty tricks. But really, they did such a poor job of covering them up -- that has to be taken as a bad sign for Ted's potential as a Teapublican President).

Dr. Carson seems to think that having no experience in government (and also seeming to know not too much about it or the process) is a prime qualification for its leadership. Plus, having been awakened at 2AM for an emergency involving one patient in a hospital bed or an emergency room Gurney and having to mobilize (as he has said -- really[!]) at least 12 to 15 physicians, nurses, and techs for the care team, is just like, say, being awakened at 2AM to deal with, say, a missile firing from North Korea (or some other, slightly stronger, power, like you know which).

Then there is Marco Rubio, who got into trouble by repeating his standard response to virtually any question -- an attack on Obama -- just one or two times too many during the same Republican shouting match (oops, I mean debate). Most of the other candidates, present and past, operate[d] more or less in the same vein. That is except from time-to-time the arch-reactionary "Let's have a Ministry for spreading 'Judeo-Christian' values" John Kasich, who comes across as sane only in comparison to the others. Which is why I think that if the Repub. establishment can figure out a way to stop Trump at a brokered convention, without alienating too many of his supporters, Kasich will be the party's nominee. And if Hillary has clinched the nomination by then, his VP will be Carly "Clinton Attack Dog" Fiorina. (The other possibility for the Repubs. Presidential Nomination arising from a deadlocked convention, would be Pretty Boy Ryan, also an arch-reactionary in "sensible looking" clothing.)

Hyper-narcissist and proto-fascist Trump has confounded the party's establishment and shaken the political game, but despite the noise and the bluster, the US empire is not run by the whim of the presidents, but by the confluence of powerful elite interes
Hyper-narcissist and proto-fascist Trump has confounded the party's establishment and shaken the political game, but despite the noise and the bluster, the US empire is not run by the whim of the presidents, but by the confluence of powerful elite interes
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But then there are the real policies and the Real Republican Platform (which has not changed since the time of Reagan), about which very little is said: further tax breaks for the wealthy; vastly expanding military spending (which already stands at an amount greater than that spent by all of the other countries in the world); which would only further expand the deficit; while of course they would all vastly reduce the deficit (presumably by selling off the National Parks closing the National Weather Service [which happens to keep track of Repub. no-no's like the advance of the consequences of global warming] and etc.); cutting back on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; criminalizing abortion based on a religious belief about when life begins; to the extent possible rolling back civil rights gains recently made for the LGBT community; repealing Obamacare and "replacing" it with something only vaguely defined; and for certain candidates, like Rubio, running the government based on the "truth" found in the Bible (there's that religious-doctrine-governs-government approach again), and so on and so forth.

Donald Trump is of course the exception. He doesn't do policy much either, except in broad brush-strokes, but his are somewhat different, in the campaign, from those of others. As is well known, he would: deport 11 million or so Latino undocumented persons while letting an indeterminate number of them back into the country "eventually;" build an impenetrable wall along the Mexican border (in certain places this would require a] building in the middle of the Rio Grande River, b] claiming a goodly amount of privately owned property {most likely at least some of it owned by far-right Republicans with guns}, and c] figuring out how to put it into some pretty impassable mountainous country); banning Muslims until "we figure out what is going on" (that is with the one recent Muslim terrorist attack being carried out by an American citizen and his legally admitted wife); vastly cut taxes; somehow bring back all that U.S. capital which is doing so well in China and indeed has fueled the rise of capitalism in China (just how he would accomplish this feat in the face of existing trade agreements like that of the World Trade Organization, he doesn't say).

All this while: a) certainly sounding authoritarian all along the way (which is the secret to his success: racism combined with authoritarianism will often overcome reservations that many "evangelicals" [read Dominionists] might have about him); preserving Medicare and Social Security: and so on and so forth. He is thus all things to all people. You know the drill.

Donald Trump Goes Full Fascist
Donald Trump Goes Full Fascist
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Of course he is a great performer. He yells and screams. He takes full advantage of the free media which his natural acting ability draws to him like flies to fly-paper, while at the same time he is often lashing out at that same media when it doesn't treat him quite right (by asking him tough questions). Of course there are his former positions on certain policies at the center of Republicanism, like abortion rights, healthcare for all, and so forth, but those contradictions mean nothing to his supporters, as long as he maintains the central racist/authoritarian character of his campaign.

My big question about Trump is whether his performances are scripted or are semi-improvised according to some general plan of attack, but with little detail planned out in advance. Hitler, who appeared to be spontaneous, is known to have practiced in front of a mirror. Whether Mussolini, who Trump resembles more than Hitler in his performance style, did too, I do not know. And we surely don't know whether Trump rehearses or not.

But then we (finally) come to the Democrats. Hillary and Bernie. Where are they? Vigorously debating each other, on policy (although Hillary, the old DLCer, veers into process when she continually attacks Bernie as a "one-issue" candidate, which is clearly not true but makes for a good line). Which is all well and good, except that the Republicans collectively spend at least half their time attacking Bernie and Hillary and for good measure, Rubio's favorite target/talking point, President Obama (as if he were running for a third term) ---- which, Rubio knows -- is prohibited by the 25th Amendment.

But this is how the Duopoly works. There is so much to attack the Repubs. on, from Permanent War, to the related policy of further expanding the military-industrial complex, to further destroying voting rights, to attempting to continually shrink the electorate, to blaming police violence on the victims, to claiming that the answer to gun violence is more guns (there's a self-contradictory whopper waiting to be whapped), to not dealing with global warming, to only empty rhetoric criminal justice reform, to national policing reform, to wanting to shrink Social Security, to establishing a series of policies on women's rights and sexual orientation that are clearly grounded in a particular set of religious beliefs, to the absolute importance -- with many examples -- of the number one Republican target: government regulation of the environment, carbon emissions, the financial system, and the workplace.

And so on and so forth. But so far, for the most part (Flint is one exception, as even there the attacks are half-hearted) silence. A prime opportunity is being missed here. But that is how the Democratic half of the Duopoly works, at least so far.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a ├ éČ┼"Trusted Author,├ éČ Ł he is a Senior (more...)
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