BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
Conservatives Waking Up in Droves
Well, it seems that the GOP is finally coming into its own. Both its numbers, and its rhetoric, reflect that its rapidly becoming more of a cult than a political party. Recent polls indicate that now only 20% of the American people will even admit to being Republican these days. That's down from 32% in November. If its current rate of decline continues, after the 2010 election there won't be enough Republicans left in Washington to throw a card party - and that's with good reason.
History doesn't lie, at least, until Republicans get a hold to it. But with their desperate attempt to regain power at any cost, this current crop of GOP 'leaders' have inadvertently betrayed their true agenda - to promote the interest of big business at the expense of the American people. Every initiative that they champion is transparently designed to do just that.
And this is not a new agenda for Republicans. It's just that this current group of Republicans are so inept and blinded by greed that they've allowed their animus to be revealed. Alexander Hamilton, the father of Republican thought, advocated that the poor didn't even have sense enough to think, therefore shouldn't be allowed to govern - and the Republican attitude towards the average American hasn't changed a bit. Hamilton said the following:
"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, the other the mass of the people.... The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive an advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government." (Debates of the Federalist Convention, May 14-September 17, 1787).
Thus, the GOP, literally, treats the American people like mindless children who lack the capacity to remember what took place the day before. So many well-educated and thinking conservatives are falling over one another as they leave the Republican Party. The reason for that is that they've been given a front row seat to witness how undereducated Republicans and wing-nuts are being manipulated through use of the "isms" and xenophobic fear by the Republican leadership to act against their own interest.
They're beginning to recognize that internal American politics is no longer driven by race or ideology. In the new world order the GOP leadership no longer sees any profit in such nonsense. The GOP even sees America's eternal fight for freedom in terms of dollars and cents - THEIR freedom to make a dollar. In short, it's all about class, stupid.
A perfect example of that can be found in the case of a young lady by the name of Jamie Leigh Jones. This young woman had the ridiculous idea that she wanted to do something for her country, so she went to work for KBR, a subsidiary of Dick Cheney's old company, Halliburton. But as soon as she hit the ground in Iraq, she was drugged, gang raped, and thrown into a shipping container under armed guard for twenty-four hours by KBR employees. She was only 19 years old at the time.
Now Ms. Jones is seeking justice, but she's being blocked by a stipulation in the Halliburton/KBR contract indicating that her only recourse is to go through arbitration - a kangaroo court designed to protect the contractor. In response, a newly elected Democratic senator, Al Franken, drafted an amendment to the senate defense appropriation bill to reverse the policy that's preventing Ms. Jones from seeking legal recourse. The amendment passed by a 68 to 30 vote, and all 30 votes against the amendment was cast by White Republican males.
This is only one of thousands of votes that are routinely cast in the United States Senate. But this vote holds particular significance, and should certainly go down in the annals of political infamy. Because it clearly demonstrates that the Republican Party has crossed the line that separates their advocation of a thriving and robust business environment, to a position that promotes the primacy of business interests over the justice and welfare of the American people. Thus, it's no wonder true conservatives are leaving the Republican Party in droves. The GOP has literally embraced a philosophy that is clearly, and blatantly, un-American.
But this has been the case for some time. It's just that only now are Americans beginning to believe their lying eyes.
If the American people ever started looking back through history they'd notice that the same policies, the very same names, and the same corruption is recycled by the Republican Party every generation. As I've pointed out in a previous articles, as far back as October 29, 1929, the Republican Party ushered in the Great Depression under President Herbert Hoover, and it took Democratic president, Franklin Roosevelt, to bail the nation out; then on October 19, 1987, under Republican Ronald Reagan, the stock market fell 508 points due to the excesses of Reaganomics. Then, again, due to the continued freewheeling fiscal policies of conservative Republicans, between 1986 and 1989, spanning the presidencies of Reagan and Bush Sr., the FSLIC had to pay off all the depositors of 296 institutions with assets of over $125 billion.
Then in 1988 Silverado Savings and Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $1.3 billion. It was headed by Neil Bush, brother of George W. The investigation alleged that he was guilty of "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." The issue was eventually settled out of court with Bush paying a mere $50,000 settlement.
Then there was the Lincoln Savings and loan scandal in 1987 involving John McCain. The scandal was very similar to the one that is currently playing out on Wall Street. He was one of a group of senators dubbed "The Keating Five" involved in a scandal by the same name.
In 1976 Charles Keating moved to Arizona to run the American Continental Corporation. In 1984, shortly after the Reagan era push to deregulate the savings and loan community, Keating bought Lincoln Savings and Loan and began to engage in highly risky investments with the depositors' savings. In 1989 the parent company, which Keating headed, went bankrupt, and it resulted in over 21,000 investors losing their life savings. Most of the investors were elderly, and the losses amounted to about 285 million dollars.
After having received over a million dollars from Keating in illegal campaign contributions, gifts, free trips, and other gratuities, the Keating Five--Senators John Glenn, Don Riegle, Dennis DeConini, Alan Cranston, and Sen. John McCain--attempted to intervene in the investigation into Keating's activities by the regulators. Later, they were admonished to varying degrees by the senate for attempting to influence regulators on Keating's behalf. Charles Keating ended up being convicted for fraud, racketeering and conspiracy, for which he received 10 years by the state court, and a 12 year sentence in federal court. After spending four and a half years in prison, his convictions were overturned. But prior to being retried, he pled guilty to a number of felonies in return for a sentence of time served.
Now, even at this writing, Sen. John McCain is involved in a bill that would allow telecommunications companies to partition off the internet for profit, and Dick Cheney is pressuring Obama to go off half-cocked like he did in Iraq, yet again: "Come on, wimp, lets get this war rollin'. You must me scared, or something." And of course, I'm sure that Cheney's hurry to 'get it on' has absolutely nothing to do with Halliburton's profit line.
And these are the people who want us to turn our backs on President Obama, and place our faith in them: "Just trust us . . . again."