The Sick Man of American Politics

The national Republican Party, on this day of the South Carolina Presidential primary, looks more like the Ottoman Empire on the eve of World War I than any political party in American history. Yes, it holds both the House, Senate, most governors’ mansions and state legislatures. That’s not insignificant. But the Ottoman Empire once (theoretically) held North Africa (including Egypt and the crucial Suez), all the Middle East, Iran and the sultan was technically the caliph of all Islam, from India to Indonesia. But no one thought it a stable entity, including the jackals of Tsarist Russia who were constantly nipping at its outlying areas.

The Republican Party gives off that same sense of imminent doom today. Like the Ottomans, the Republicans have an inability to innovate. Forget Reagan (as have most Republicans, except in name). The fact is, since 1952, that is by my count 17 Presidential elections (not counting this one), or in terms of time 64 years, the Republican Party has only three times (1965, 2008 and 2012) fielded a ticket that didn’t have the name Nixon, Bush or Dole on it. With Jeb Bush’s suspension tonight, this will be the fourth time. This is not the symptoms of a healthy party.

The defeat of Jeb Bush is particularly telling. The party money collectors (in other words the heart of the party which is devoted to capital accumulation) even in the face of this startling historical fact raised over $100 million to elevate yet another Bush to the highest office. But the voters in three small states put an end to that plan.

Instead, the current front-runner won a Southern, military-minded state (which only recently retired the Confederate flag at the statehouse) having one week ago said something that everyone, except most Republicans, acknowledged a long time ago: That the American invasion of Iraq under George W. Bush was based on a lie about the existence of so-called weapons of mass destruction. A Republican actually said that in a Republican debate, and then won! And that President’s brother dropped out of the race!

I have no insight into how Republicans think. But I can observe them like someone observes any group of organisms regulated more-or-less by a central nervous system, say bees for example. It seems to me that this colony is exhibiting the signs of Colony Collapse Disorder. Or maybe we should look at this group as a pack of canids. But if we do, then we have to conclude that the alpha male is rabid.

All of this might portend good news for the American Republic. Except for one thing. The other party had a caucus today as well. And that result shows that the preferred candidate is one, who unlike the front-runner among the GOP, supported the invasion of Iraq and accepts money from the very Wall Street bankers whose insatiable greed had world capitalism on the verge of collapse less than a decade ago.

So maybe none of this is a reason to rejoice. It is just another sign that we should simply bide our time until we become part of the Sixth Great Extinction Event, and then Mother Nature will bury this unsuccessful experiment in “consciousness” as a really bad idea.

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  1. This is very funny — and prescient! Colony Collapse is perfect. Trump on Iraq — and Hillary on Iraq . . . too much, too much!

    • It’s good to hear from you again, Martha. Are you in NM? We who can’t bring ourselves to go below the Mason-Dixon line, are freezing, but I suppose it gets cold in New Mexico too. I have been reading much Witter Bynner poetry recently. Are you near his home in Santa Fe? Have you ever seen it?

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