The reason they're so obsessed with apocalypse? If they can't have the country, they don't want anyone else to
By Amanda Marcotte
Over and over again, right-wingers warn that all the things they hate, from pro-gay Broadway shows to immigration to multiculturalism, are not just signs of an evolving American society, but portend the actual end of it. The Roman Empire is often darkly alluded to, and you get the impression many on the right think Rome burned up and descended into anarchy and darkness. (Not quite.) But really, what all these fantasies of cities burning down and impending war and destruction are expressing is a belief that the culture of white conservative Christians is the culture of America. So it follows that if they aren’t the dominant class in the United States, then America isn’t, in their opinion, really America anymore.
Once you key into this, understanding why certain social changes alarm the religious right becomes simple to see. Hostility to abortion, contraception and gay rights stems directly from a belief that everyone should hold their rigid views on gender roles—women are supposed to be housewives and mothers from a young age and men are supposed to be the heads of their families. School prayer, creationism and claims of a “war on Christmas” stem from a belief that government and society at large should issue constant reminders that their version of Christianity is the “official” culture and religion of America.
It’s hard to underestimate how much of a crisis moment the election of Barack Obama for president was for the religious right because of this. And his re-election, of course, which showed that his presidency was not a fluke. Even before Obama was elected, the possibility that a black man with a “multicultural” background was such a massive confirmation of their worst fear—that they are not, actually, the dominant class in America–that the campaign against Obama became overwhelmed completely by this fear. The media frenzy over the minister in Obama’s church was about racial anxieties, but it was telling that it was his church that was the focal point of the attack. The stories were practically tailor-made to signal to conservative Christians that Obama was not one of them.
Sarah Palin’s campaign as the running mate to John McCain made right-wing fears even more explicit. On the trail, she notoriously described conservative, white, Christian-heavy America with these words: “We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard-working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.” McCain’s campaign tried lamely to spin it, but the subtext was text now. The Christian right believes their culture is the only legitimate American culture, and the election of Barack Obama was a major threat to it.
Birtherism, a conspiracy theory movement that posits Obama faked his American citizenship, is easy enough to understand in this light. It’s an expression of the belief that Obama cannot be a legitimate president, because, in white Christian right eyes, they are the only legitimate Americans. So how can someone who isn’t one of them be president?
That’s why the election of Obama has triggered an all-out response from the Christian right. If they seem more enraged and active in recent years, especially with regards to attacks on abortion rights, it’s because they really are afraid they’re losing their grip on American culture and are casting around wildly for a way to regain what they perceive as lost dominance.
Another take on what conservatives want: a return to rule by a small white elite a la the Founding Fathers. Failing that, the destruction of the government and the economy because they're impure and corrupt.
What's Really Going On With The Republican 'Civil War'
By Ed Kilgore
Sooner or later, and it might as well be sooner, non-Republicans need to accept that the GOP knows exactly where its “soul” is located, and has an agenda that is impervious to significant change. What keeps getting described as a “struggle for the soul” of the party or a “civil war” is generally a fight over strategy, tactics and cosmetics, not ideology. For the foreseeable future, the conquest of the Republican Party by the conservative movement, itself radicalized by the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, is the prevailing reality of politics on the Right, and the GOP’s practical options are accordingly limited to one flavor or another of that persuasion.
Why is that the case? There are a lot of contributing factors, including the GOP’s shrinking but homogeneous “base,” the supremacy of conservative ideological media, and the rise of heavily funded political players determined to root out heresy. But the most important source of rigidity is conservative ideology itself, which does not aim (as do most European conservatives) at “moderating” or countering the bipartisan policies of the past or the Democratic policies of the present, but aspires to a counterrevolution that “restores” what conservatives regard as immutable principles of good government and even culture.
It its most explicit form, that of the “constitutional conservatives” who really dominate discussion within the GOP and who are likely to produce their next presidential nominee, the only genuinely “American” policies, designed by the Founders according to both natural and divine law, involve a free-market economy with extremely limited government and a traditionalist, largely patriarchal culture. These policies, buttressed by an increasingly chiliastic view of the status quo (e.g., the “Holocaust” of legalized abortion, and the social policy “tipping point” at which an elite-underclass alliance will destroy private property and liberty entirely), simply are not negotiable.
The audacity of this agenda, which requires uprooting decades worth of laws, programs and constitutional precedents, many of them supported or even created by Republicans, requires a set of assumptions about electoral victories and defeats that many mainstream media folk or Democrats do not seem to understand. A “victory” that does not lend itself to counterrevolutionary outcomes is far less preferable than a deferred victory that brings down the whole rotten edifice of the welfare state and routs the secular-socialist elites who could survive a RINO administration.
One could post many, many items proving that Republicans think America is dying or doomed. In other words, that it's growing more female, brown, gay, and multicultural--i.e., less white.
Here's a typical one:
North Carolina GOPer: Obamacare is worse than Hitler!
Oh, no! Obamacare is worse than Nazis, Commies, and terrorists combined! It's the End of Days!
Nor is this an aberration. Conservatives have compared Obamacare to slavery and to Auschwitz. And of course there was the whole "death panel" lie that accompanied the healthcare debate. The lunatic right seriously thinks that providing more insurance at a lower cost is akin to doom because (I guess) it helps poor, brown people.
Reminder: The idea of an insurance mandate came from conservative think tanks. Mitt Romney successfully implemented it in Massachusetts. If it's "evil" to force people to buy insurance now, it was evil when conservatives invented the idea and when they implemented it.
Any conservatives who don't protest all this "evil," from beginning to end, are hypocrites. If they focus only on Obama's implementation of the conservative idea, they're probably racists as well. There's no other reason to oppose this conservative/Romney/Obama program.
For more on the subject, see The Rage of Angry White Men, Republicans Want to Restore Confederacy, and "Defund Obamacare" = "Nigger, Nigger."