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Masters of Disaster Are Back! Why?

Why Americans Put the Republicans Back Into A Position of Power

By Jeff Dutton
On February 8, 2011

After holding the presidency for eight years and controlling both houses of Congress for four of those eight years, the Republican Party by 2008 had effectively lead this nation into the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, and started one absolutely needless war while mismanaging another costing this country roughly $2 trillion to date, not to mention the lives of numerous brave young men and women.  Yet, after all of this tragic loss of life (American, Iraqi and Afghan), waste of money, and ruinous economic stewardship, here we are in the early days of 2011, just two years after the Republican Party was wisely removed from power, and we find ourselves with Republican leadership againin the federal government.  Their return to power is a result of their winning back the House of Representatives in last November's mid-term elections, but I cannot help but ask why? 

My first inclination is that Republican voters, especially those from the working, lower/middle middle class, are ignorant of certain facts and lack the ability to think critically for themselves and appropriately analyze arguments.  I point out working, and lower/middle class voters on the account that Republican policies are incredibly hostile to their economic interests and hopes for long term prosperity.  It is no coincidence that the working and lower/middle classes of this nation have been steadily eroded since the Nixon administration; all the while the rich in this country have gotten richer. 

My inclination here has recently been bolstered by the fact that in recent debates and discussion with some Tea Party types I have found that their arguments are nothing, but parroted lines from the likes of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly.  When I challenged some of the assumptions their arguments were based on, I found they knew very little on how our market economy system works, even though they are constantly touting the virtues of the market to fix societies problems.  They like to discuss the founding fathers with pride, yet seem to know very little about the enlightenment philosophies that our founding fathers had drawn inspiration from in creating this great nation.

Their knowledge of how our political systems and government institutions operate has also proven to be lax in my experience debating them.  When I questioned a Tea Party voter as to why they don't think critically for themselves and why they simply take part and parcel what conservative commentators say as truth, I was rebuffed with the fact that they search the internet and find verification of everything these commentators say.  You are a university student you don't need to be told of the shortcomings of relying solely on the internet for research.  It is no wonder that the Republican Party wants to get rid of the Department of Education, voter ignorance and inability to think critically plays right into their hands.  Yet, ignorance is not the only reason for the Republican victories last November. 

As I have already alluded to the media plays a strong influence on Republican voters, as it can do for anybody.  Not only are their openly conservative media outlets like most of talk radio and Fox News, but the mainstream media is beneficial to Republicans as well.  The notion that the mainstream media is liberal is one of the more ridiculous ideas out there.

The large networks such as NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN are all members of large corporate conglomerates that benefit greatly from business friendly conservative politics.  While the so called mainstream media may not be as radically reactionary and outright deceitful as Fox News, they do very little to call out the Republican Party for its deceitful rhetoric or disastrous policies.  They allow the political debate to be framed in conservative terms with other ideas or opinions almost always on the offensive.  Which brings me to what may be the biggest reason the Republicans were able to win back power in the house; they are masters at branding and getting out a unified message. 

The Republican Party can market a message as well as any advertising firm on Madison Ave.  They are uncanny in their ability to craft a message that plays on people's fears and anxieties, and then push that message relentlessly.  An example would be their Cold War era relic of threats of socialism, which is still incredibly effective amongst Baby Boomers. 

"President Obama is a socialist" has been repeated time and time again since he was elected.  Then there was the ridiculous talk of "death panels" when the healthcare debate was raging.  Now it is "the job killing healthcare law" that you hear them constantly discussing, which plays directly on peoples anxiety over high unemployment in this country.  It is sadistically brilliant how they are able to create these half truths and outright lies that prey on peoples fears, and then repeat them until they become the truth for many.

It has to be noted that there are some who are intelligent, can think critically, and vote Republican out of self interest.  They don't believe society has an obligation to its most impoverished and struggling members.  It is about "me" not "we" to these individuals and all that matters is their own self interest, and Republican policies serve their self interest; whether that is fewer taxes they have to pay or the ability to operate their business any way they see fit regardless of the damage it does to others or the environment.  

So here we have a confluence of ignorance and fear, a favorable media environment, brilliant marketing, and greed and self centeredness that has wrought upon us Republican power in the House of Representatives for at least the next two years.  May we only hope they don't mess things up as bad as the last time they wielded any kind of power in Washington.


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