Republicans:  Why They Were Once a Great Party but are Now the Party of Hate, Bigotry and Greed – AKA Donald Trump– Part 1

dumb-republicansToday the Republicans have become the party of Dumb and Dumber.  The likes of Palin, Bachmann, Inhofe and Sessions are not so mute testimony to the fools that now dominate the Republican Party.  Add Donald Trump to the hand and you have a five ace hand of losers.  Every day, we read of some new evidence that shows how bigoted, hypocritical and vile the core beliefs of the Republican Party have become.  The leadership of the Republican Party seems to have no integrity.  Half of them spend their time trying to explain the inane and dangerous comments spewed out daily by their party nominee. A candidate so devoid of any character or morality that many in his own party are trying to dissociate themselves from him.  What is left of the party leadership are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  There is no longer any true leadership in the party. Trump and his supporters are destroying what once was a grand old Party.  The party of Lincoln, which stood for freedom and equality has now become a party of fear, greed, intolerance and hatred.

Today, the Republicans even hate themselves.  They are now trying to destroy their star candidate for the 2016 Presidential elections.  A gross Neanderthal who equates money with character and morality named Donald Trump has upstaged the Party’s chosen one to rally the extremists who have now come to dominate the Republican Party.  The grand old Party which once attracted many progressives who believed in the power of the individual over the power of the state now is controlled by a clique or power structure which has no connection to the traditional core Republican values. (I will say more about these values in this blog)

“Republican voters view Donald Trump as their strongest general election candidate, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that highlights the sharp contrast between the party’s voters and its top professionals regarding the billionaire businessman’s ultimate political strength.”  – Steve Peoples and Emily Swanson  

In addition to those who I would call the traditionalists, the Republican Party has attracted a large contingency of supporters that we can divide into the following five blocs:

  • Bigoted Voters
    republican messages
  • Uneducated White Male Voters
  • Greedy Voters
  • Fearful Voters
  • Religious fundamentalist Voters

I will say more about each of these in Part 2 of this blog.   Suffice, it to say for now, that the voters in these five blocs have now taken over the Republican Party (I will also explain in Part 2 how and why this happened.)  Just like the Nazis took over Germany, the traditionalists in the Republican Party made a pact with the devil and the devil has now tinfoilhatrush3come to collect his dues.  The Traditionalists know that the candidacy of Trump will destroy the party.  There are indeed a large contingent of voters who will support Trump but by and large, the people in the USA are not so stupid or ignorant that Trump will be elected.  Mark my words on that!  Trump, who hates women, minorities, immigrants and anyone with a brain, will go down in defeat in the biggest landslide in history for our next Democratic president and he will take the entire Republican Party with him.  The stalwart traditionalists in the Republican Party understand this and that is why every day we see headlines like:

The Republican Party Tries to Take Out Its Front-Runner

“Trump has proven highly successful in manhandling a parade of bland Republican politicians. To him, Carson and Fiorina present different challenges because they both possess the outsider status that elevates them over Republican officials who have to deal with reality of some sort, and they symbolize demographic groups that are some of the biggest stumbling blocks for Republicans. The party wants to show the world that it has a black friend and a lady friend.”  — The National Memo

Returning to the concept of traditional core Republican values, you may well be wondering what they are.  The first core Republican value is freedom from intrusive government interventions.  The traditional Republican is not so much against big government as they are against a government that might try to dominate the will of the individual with the will of the state.  Hence, traditional Republicans hate the idea of gun control, federal regulations, government red tape, and government watchdog agencies.  However, they are not against “Big Military” since the military is seen as protecting those very values that Republicans cherish most.

“Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.”  — Barnhill, John Basil (1914)

A second core Republican value is the right to earn and keep as much money as possible.  “You earned it; it is yours to spend.”  This is a value that still resonates with much of our society.  The idea being that if I work hard, I should be entitled to spend my money anyway I chose.  What Republicans and many people in the USA hate most is the thought of working hard to earn a pot of money and then having that money taken away by a government agency to distribute to some unnamed “others.”

“That government is best which governs least;” — Henry David Thoreau

A third core Republican value is the value of a capitalistic economic system.  This value overlaps to some extent the two named values above but I believe it is a distinct value of its own.  In the USA, we are and have been a country strongly against communism and to some extent socialism.  The values of these two economic systems are seen to be in direct contradiction to the value of free enterprise and a capitalist economy.

“A market economy based on private property, buttressed by the rule of law, is truly the best environment for mankind. People will work harder and with ingenuity if they know they have earned rewards from that labor. When the rewards are given to them for nothing, there is frustration and despair. Capitalism benefits more people than any other economic system. To work for oneself and reap the rewards is a basic human aspiration.” –Sally Julian, Writer of ‘The Case for Capitalism’

The fourth core Republican Party is a conservative approach to adopting new laws or changes to the US Constitution.  Traditional Republicans have long resisted change to the US Constitution as well as new laws that they see as infringing on the rights and dictates of the US Constitution.  Hence, the Republicans have resisted many changes in the Constitution which were intended to create a more equitable society for women, minorities, disabled and those below the poverty line in this country.

Part of this resistance lies in the belief that a government cannot and should not dictate how people chose to live their own lives.  If you want to be a racist, that is your right.  If you do not want to hire women and minorities and the disabled that is also your right.  This core value has resulted in a fundamental contention between those who say that the constitution must be changed to reflect new times and new circumstances and those who do not want to see changes that might infringe on rights or responsibilities prescribed in the US Constitution.

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”  — Abraham Lincoln, Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan, August 27, 1856

The fifth core Republican value lies in the doctrine of fiscal conservatism (There are other important Republican values but I think these five are the most important).   Fiscal conservatism finds its roots in the theory of scarcity.  Money and time are both scare commodities and must be carefully managed.  Trends like cheap credit, government bailouts, deficit spending are anathema to a fiscal conservative.  A fiscal conservative wants a flat tax, balanced budget and strict guidelines for loans and government spending: “Thou shalt not run budget deficits.”  “Thou shalt not spend more money than thou maketh.”

Its-not-Obamas-faultI must confess, that I am not critical of these five core values.  I have long ago learned the value of juxtaposing opposite viewpoints so as to provide a clearer roadmap to truth and progress.  Every “ism” needs a counter “ism” and a system where the two opposing viewpoints can debate each other and Aristotle’s “Golden Mean” needs a democracy.  Capitalism must be balanced against socialism.  Liberalism must be balanced against conservatism.  Individualism must be balanced against collectivism.  One of the strengths of the United States has been its ability to allow opposing viewpoints and to strive to find a consensus among dissenting political perspectives.  Sadly, of late the constructive dissent of old has given way to a practice of destructive warfare between the two dominant political parties that has put the good of each party over the good of the country.

However, to return to the theme of this blog, the dumbing down of the Republican Party, the majority of the Republican Party now no longer seems to understand or care about these five core values.  Instead, the narrow-mindedness and shear obstructionism of the five voting blocs that I noted above have taken precedence over political compromise and searching for 1193-20120917-NoSmartPeoplethe Golden Mean.  The “Stupid Voters” are hijacked by the anti-intellectualism that has always characterized much of the political right.  The “Ignorant Voters” already believe that voting-republican1they know the truth and there is no persuading them otherwise.  The “Greedy Voters” want to keep as much of their wealth as they can and have no concern for the poor or needy.  The “Fearful Voters” are worried about crime, immigrants, health care, growing old and losing what they have already worked hard to obtain.  The last of the five Republican blocs, the “Religious Fundamentalist Voters” are worried that their biblical Christian God will be taken out of the USA and replaced by an obscure assortment of new Gods from various religions that are confusing and esoteric.

The Traditionalist Republicans (many of whom I know and hope still tolerate my views enough to call me a friend) are aghast at this assortment of new Republicans and their extreme uninformed viewpoints.  The Traditionalists could reach across the aisle and talk to their Democratic counterparts.  The Traditionalists realized the need for dialogue, discussion and compromise.  Furthermore, the Traditionalists also appealed to many independent voters (Which I am and remain to this day).  They appealed to us because we while we could ally ourselves with Democrats over many social issue, we could also see the value in the economic policies and positions often adhered to by the Traditionalist Republicans.

I can see the value in all five of the core Republican values I described above.  God Forbid, I would ever live in a country that totally extirpated even one of these core values.  Nevertheless, while I am for a balanced budget and against deficit spending, I can see making some concessions to Keynesian economics during times such as the most recent recession.  I am also for less government intrusion in our lives.  However, unlike Perry who could not name even three government agencies he would abolish, I can name ten I would abolish tomorrow if I were able to.  I am also against government bailouts.  I did not think GM should have been bailed out although I could concede with the value of hindsight that it may have been the right thing to do at the time.  And while I am against big government, I can and am equally critical of big unions.  Nevertheless, in my USA, unions and government would still have a place at the table.  I would like to paraphrase a part of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech.”

Let the Golden Mean ring from the hallowed halls of Congress!

Let the Golden Mean ring from the esteemed corridors of the US Senate!

But not only that; let the Golden Mean ring from the benches of the Supreme Court of the USA!

Let the Golden Mean ring from State Capitals in the east to State Capitals in the west!

Let the Golden Mean ring from every school and university of America.  From every village, city, town and hamlet in this great country, let the Golden Mean ring.

In my blog next week, I will explore how the Republican Party let stupidity, ignorance, fear, greed and intolerance come to dominate its political agenda.  If you are a Republican, you might not like what you are going to hear.  However, if you are a Republican, perhaps the truth that I have to tell could help you to understand what you must do to restore the Republican Party to its rightful place in the US political system.

Time for Questions:

Are you a Republican? What did you find that you disagreed with in my blog today?  What did you agree with?  Which of the Republican voting blocs are you in? Why?  Do you think the Republicans will take the next presidency?  Why or why not?  If you are a Democrat, what did you like or dislike about this blog? Why?  What do you think I should have added?

Life is just beginning. 

Republicanism is the guiding political philosophy of the United States. It has been a major part of American civic thought since its founding.[1] It stresses liberty and “unalienable” rights as central values, making people sovereign as a whole, rejects aristocracy and inherited political power, expects citizens to be independent in their performance of civic duties, and vilifies corruption.  Wikipedia

One Night in Bangkok I Played Chess for World Domination

ChessThe song goes “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble.”  It was by Murray Head and was featured in the musical Chess.  This was a story put to music about the battle between Bobby Fischer, the brilliant American chess genius and Boris Spassky the efficient machine like Russian chess grandmaster.   (In the play, the antagonists are an American chess champion and a Russian chess champion and Fisher and Spassky are never mentioned but the characters are thinly veiled portraits of Fisher and Spassky)  Ostensibly this was a chess match between two magnificent chess players.  However, only slightly beneath the surface it was in reality a match between the United States and the the-production-company-chess-michael-falzon-and-castSoviet Union for dominance of the world.  (If you would like to hear the song, click here)

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the Devil walking next to me.

1972wc Fischer vs Spassky The New York Times bookThe match took place at the height of the Cold War between the Russians and the US.  Everything from sports to ballet to politics was imbued with the animosity that characterized Russian American relations during this time frame.  The match took place in 1972.  Spassky was the defending world champion and Fischer was the United States great “Western Hope.”  The Russians were well known for being the greatest chess players in the world and few would have ever hoped that the US could challenge them at what amounts to their national game.  For the previous 24 years, the Russians had defeated all comers to remain the world chess champions.  All eyes, all hopes, all dreams, all aspirations and all of the US national pride rode on the shoulders of Bobby Fischer.  People who would not know the difference between a pawn and a knight were tuned into what would become one of the most epic battles of the entire Cold War.

I grew up playing chess when my father taught me the game at about the age of 6.  At the age of 8, I could beat my father easily.  I played whenever and whomever I could and rarely lost a game more than once to the same person.  I thought of chess as my game since it was a game of logic and intellect.

Bobby Fisher could have easily been described by the following adjectives:  eccentric, idiosyncratic, unconventional, unorthodox, unusual, strange, bizarre, peculiar and odd.  At age 15, Fischer became both the youngest grandmaster in history and the youngest candidate for the World Championship.  Fisher died in 2008 in Iceland at the age of 64.  This was the same country where he had defeated Spassky in 1972.

At the time of his death, Fisher was no longer a national hero (if he had ever been one).  He had been considered a fugitive from US justice over some tax payments that the government believed he owed for more than sixteen years.  Haunted and hounded by the US Department of Revenue, he had to flee arrest several times.  He no longer had the support of the American public due to his rabid anti-Semitic comments as well as his other anti-American views.  Few in this country saw him as upholding American values or the American way of life.

I don’t see you guys rating
The kind of mate I’m contemplating
I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you.

PokerPoker is a more popular game in the United State than chess.  It is estimated that there are over 60 million poker players in the US, forty millions of whom play regularly.   It is estimated that there are 45 million chess players in the US but only a small subset of this play regularly and there are only 90,000 active tournament players in the US for chess compared to 10 million Americans who play poker regularly for money.  Poker is a game of bluff, luck and intuition.  Chess is a game of logic, cognitive ability and foresight.  Both are games of strategy.  Poker favors an emergent strategy which takes stock of trends, cards, people, bets, emotions, tells and previous history to determine the best odds on which to place a bet, hold em or fold em.  Chess favors a predictive strategy which takes stock of position, history, foresight, patterns and possibilities to determine the next best move.  There is no luck in chess since both players have the same pieces and the same possibility for moves.  Poker can be determined by the luck of the draw wherein one player gets dealt a full house and the other player gets a pair of deuces.  Nevertheless, it is possible for the player with the deuces to still win.

Russian chess players versus American poker players!  In many ways, the differences between the two games highlight the way Americans seem to pursue foreign policy versus the way the Russians have pursued foreign policy.  To beat the Russians at chess required someone like Bobby Fisher who was perhaps the most creative and innovative chess player in the history of the game.  There was little that was methodical or predictable about Fisher’s game playing.  In many ways, Fisher was a poker player who adapted his skills to the game of chess.

“Fischer was a master of clarity and a king of artful positioning. His opponents would see where he was going but were powerless to stop him. I like to say that Bobby Fischer was the greatest Russian player ever. All of his great opening moves came from the Russians. He studied all of their methods. But what made Fischer a genius was his ability to blend an American freshness and pragmatism with Russian ideas about strategy.” – Bruce Pandolfini

Bobby_Fischer_graveThere are many claims to the “Great American Tragedy” but in my mind, few equal the tragedy of Robert Fischer.  Perhaps at some level, I can find myself identifying with him.  Not in terms of his anti-Semitic or anti-American opinions but certainly in his idiosyncrasies regarding his playing and his involvement in tournaments.  When I was a child, we used to play a game called “King of the Hill.”  You could only be king for so long and eventually either one or the entire group would pull you down.  This game taught me that you can only “reign” for so long and eventually whatever greatness you have will be eclipsed by others.  Great actors become has-beens.  Great athletes become washed-up.  Great singers become past their prime.  Great politicians outlive their times.  Great thinkers are no longer able to think great thoughts. Whenever we become “King of the Hill” there is only one direction to go.

115226110.jpg

Chess Champion Bobby Fischer

Bobbie Fischer was the greatest chess player in history.  But the more he won the higher up the hill he went.  The higher up the hill he went, the farther he had to fall down.  I stopped playing chess regularly many years ago.  The more games I won, the harder it was to play.  I could not bear the idea of losing or the possibility of losing.  Despite the fact that I had always learned from losing in my early years of chess playing, I could no longer accept the idea of losing.  I told myself repeatedly that one has to lose to get better and that even if someone beat me, I could adapt and overcome.  Something inside me lost the drive to win.  I lost the will to power. I no longer aspired to be a “higher” man.   It simply seemed like too much work.

“The higher man is distinguished from the lower by his fearlessness and his readiness to challenge misfortune.”  ― Friedrich NietzscheThe Will to Power

russia versus US chess setI can only imagine what it must have been like to be Fischer. The entire esteem of the United States was riding on his match with Spassky.  All minds and all hearts needed him to beat the Russian.  We had to show the world that we were not only the economic and physical match for the Russians but we were also their intellectual match.  The Free World, democracy and God were riding on the outcome of Fischer’s match with Spassky.  Can you imagine the pressure that was riding on Fischer’s shoulders?  The stress that he had to cope with would have been incomprehensible.  I think it would have driven most people stark raving mad, which I sometimes suspect it did to Bobbie.

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the Devil walking next to me.

Obama-and-Putin-s-International-Chess-Match--115652It is now almost 50 years later and we are still playing chess with the Russians.  Obama and Putin have taken the place of Kennedy and Khrushchev.  The game of chess is still pitted against the game of poker.  World fortunes and prestige still ride on the outcome of matchups between us and the Russians.  The pawns have become the Arabs while the rulers of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, ISIS, Iraq, Jordan and Europe fill in for the knights, bishops and rooks.  Putin is the King for the Red side and Obama is the King for the White Side.  The head of the Sunnis will fill in for the Red Queen while the head of the Shiites can fill in for the White Queen.  Let the games roll on.

“The more things change, the more they are the same.” — Alphonse Karr

Time for Questions:

Do you play chess?  Do you play poker?  Which do you prefer? Why?  Have you ever played in a tournament?  What does it take to be great?   Which strategy works best in politics?  Why?

Life is just beginning.

“I believe every chess player senses beauty, when he succeeds in creating situations, which contradict the expectations and the rules, and he succeeds in mastering this situation.” — Vladimir Kramnik

 

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