Steven Jonas, MD, MPH. This entry, "Author's Preface," Part 2, was written in my voice, in 2013.
The Republican Party and the "Rightward Imperative"
An essential element of this process [a description of which concluded Part 1 of this "Author's Preface"] is what can be called the "Right-Wing Imperative". For example, consider that in the 2012 Republican primaries a candidate for his party's nomination known as 'moderate' would propose to abolish Medicare as then known, adopting something similar to the infamous (Rep.) Paul Ryan plan (which happened to sink any presidential aspirations Ryan himself might have had; but of course tone-deaf Romney did give him the consolation prize). In boasting about it, this candidate said: "I'll end Medicare faster than Newt Gingrich." He also supported the proposed Mississippi Constitutional "Personhood" amendment to ensconce a particular religious belief as to when life begins (turned down by the voters of Mississippi!) Yes, that was Mitt Romney, who continued to have all sorts of trouble cozying up to the Republican Far Right, because of that awful label 'moderate' earned when he was Governor of Massachusetts.
Then there was the "traditional conservative" Rick Santorum who said (12): "As long as abortion is legal in this country . . . we will never rest because that law does not comport with God's law." In other words, Santorum, as in that Mississippi "Personhood" Constitutional Amendment initiative that Romney supported, would put "God's law" above the U.S. Constitution. (Romney, it should be noted, believes that the Constitution was "divinely inspired.") None of the other Republican candidates pointed out either of two major features of Santorum's position. First, the central feature of the Islamic "Sharia Law" that they all so eagerly pounce on as if its institution were just around the corner in the United States, is that it proclaims that "God's law" is to stand above any civil constitution that happens to be in place in the country. Second, "God's law" in any country that is governed even in part by it is means simply what some group of men happen to say it is, of course always citing some "holy book" (that just happens to have been written by men). But the Republican Party was by then so far to the Right that this position of Santorum's is not challenged within it (13). (See also "Rick Santorum's Most Outrageous Campaign Moments," The Progress Report, Jan. 5, 2012.)
Then there was another
Ron Paul. The bulk of the Republican establishment doesn't like him, because he
would like to cut out virtually all of the US imperialistic overseas
involvements, military and otherwise. That of course would lead to a major
reduction in US military spending, but it would also end the cash cow that the
war industry provides for its owners and their Congressional stooges in the US.
It would also put an end to the central element of Cheneyism (14), the
establishment of Orwellian Permanent War. It is this element of Paulism that
attracts certain elements of the Left to him. But Paul also takes these positions,
as The Nation's Katha Pollitt has pointed out (15):
"In a Ron Paul America, there would be no environmental protection, no Social Security, no Medicaid or Medicare, no help for the poor, no public education, . . . no anti-discrimination law, no Americans With Disabilities Act, no laws ensuring the safety of food or drugs or consumer products, no workers' rights, [no] Federal Aviation Authority and its pesky air traffic controllers."
On the other hand, this so-called "libertarian" would let the states criminalize any belief that life begins other than at the time of conception, and (quoting again from Pollitt) "he maintains his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and opposes restrictions on the 'freedom' of business owners to refuse service to blacks. . . . No wonder they love him over at Stormfront, a white-supremacist website with neo-Nazi tendencies."
In a rather remarkable way Libertarians--chiefly by practicing ahistoricalism--have succeeded in selling themselves to a wide section of the electorate as "reasonable conservatives" but, in reality, in many areas, as Pollitt enumerates, they hold radical right-wing positions. Nobody in today's GOTP [Grand Old Tea Party] would get anywhere by challenging any of them. Today's GOP is a far cry from that of Dwight D. Eisenhower who said publicly that the New Deal reforms were accepted and acceptable public policy and that the only differences between Democrats and Republicans on them were how they should be implemented. But how did the Republican Party get from Ike to Mitt and Newt and Rick (either of them) and Ron? Through what I have already referred to as the Imperative of the Right-Wing Imperative (12). It started with Goldwater and has proceeded through Reagan and the Bushes down to the present day.