First off, remember, there are always silver linings. For example, Donald Trump may fix our energy shortages! Take Arizona, which today draws 17.3% of its electrical power from coils placed around the spinning in Barry Goldwater's grave.
A smart Republican I know bemoaned "how did it come to this? Where is the real GOP?" Quashing impatience, I had to reply: The "real" GOP has been virtually extinct for a very long time.
Back in Gingrich days, absurd culture war was occasionally punctuated by serious negotiation over bills to help America improve. For that crime of negotiation, Dennis Hastert (role-model for all boys), along with (later convicted felon) Tom DeLay, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan, led a coup against Newt, declaring the Hastert Rule to 'never ever negotiate!' Leading to the laziest, noisiest, most unproductive and most silly congresses in US history.
Then came neocons and the Cheney administration -- under which every metric of U.S. national health plummeted while "culture war" blossomed into a new phase of civil war. And now you are surprised that the Beck-Limbaugh-Fox hate festival has metastasized? Till a carnival barker was able to seize control?
Dig it. If the recent dominance of Trump and Cruz reveals one thing, it is that the War on Science (and against all other smartypants knowledge castes) has left today's GOP lobotomized... a mob easily hijacked by demagogues.
Do not blame Trump for this! The methods that he uses are not his own innovations. His polemical tricks were developed and refined in the Limbaugh-Beck-ClearChannel R&D department. They are brainchildren of Roger Ailes.
Want someone to blame? Look to the masters of Beck and Hannity. "Smart" Republican moguls like the Kochs, Murdoch, Adelson and the Saudi royals, who - like 1920s Junker lords in Germany - thought they could whip a frenzied mob and it would stay their willing beast... till someone charismatic leaped aboard and snatched the reins. They made this bed.
You want a "real" conservatism? Your hope, like a phoenix bird, can only rise out of ashes.
== The 'Trump Error'? ==
As for the rest of you... I can’t believe all the hand-wringing among blue Americans. Sure Donald Trump is bringing things to a head… but it would have come anyway with the equally and pyrotechnically raving Ted Cruz. And little better with Bush-Cheney clan member John Kasich. To be clear, there was never, at any point during this GOP primary season, a candidate of the stature of Goldwater, or Eisenhower or even Reagan.
Asked one fellow I know: “How do we avoid the Trump error?"
That's the wrong question, defensive and fretful. Instead ask: "How do we exploit the Trump error?"
The Murdochians must be defeated in detail, down to Congress and local assembly races. Bernie Sanders should motivate his young crowd to go make those local races their own. And libertarian-minded Americans should recall that market enterprise is wrecked more by oligarchy than by civil servants.
Send Rupert Murdoch back to peddling papers from a box in Sydney. Do that and U.S. conservatism will finally enter the long, hard re-evaluation it should have done 20 years ago, recalling that Barry Goldwater loved science. As did Newt Gingrich. As should any sane person who cares about his or her grandchildren.
Shame on all of you for quailing in hand-wringing fear! Reach out to sane-conservatives now, in their time of angst, and tell them that sane-conservatism will be welcome at the bargaining table. Offer friendship amid their stages of grief. Remind them that their first loyalty is to America and our shared Experiment, not Fox-induced rage.
Music can help this transition. Julia Ward Howe is renowned as the poet who woke up one night in an inspired state to pen the lyrics of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," the song that would become the victorious psalm of the Civil War. Join this battle filled with joy.
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