by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
If the Republicans have been sounding particularly insane, this year, it’s because Barack Obama has staked out so much traditional Republican political territory, they have been forced into Loony Land. The GOP presidential contenders spend their time taking bizarre positions on social issues as “a direct result of Barack Obama having taken over every other Republican talking point.” Obama has traveled “as far to the right as Ronald Reagan but Democrats still see him as their savior, the facts be damned.”
Freedom Rider: Obama Usurps the GOP
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Republicans don’t know how to run against Obama because he has governed as one of them from the start.”
It seems strange that the issues of abortion and contraception have taken up such a large proportion of Republican campaign rhetoric. Every Republican presidential debate features candidates outdoing one another in declaring their opposition to a woman’s right to choose abortion.
“I’m against abortion,” one will say, only to be silenced by another candidate declaring that he has been opposed to abortion longer, or with more vehemence, or even in cases of rape. Bizarre statements about contraception are the order of the day, and former senator Rick Santorum uses his home schooled children as a rallying point, unless of course he is telling Americans not to enjoy sex, because it is only for making babies. Liberals, who love nothing more than feeling superior to conservatives, are mystified by the campaign, which looks more like a trip in a time machine back to the 1950s.
Why would the Republicans use campaign issues which appeal to such a small group of their electorate? It is true that religious conservatives make up a large portion of their base of support, but there is something else going on, too.
The prominence of these outlier issues are a direct result of Barack Obama having taken over every other Republican talking point. Before he even took office Obama showed whose side he was on when he made it clear that he would continue the bailouts to the banks that George W. Bush began. He has expanded America’s defense budget and the wars that inevitably result. His “grand bargain” with conservatives has resulted in cuts to government programs and an agreement on austerity measures which are the exact opposite of what should be done to improve the economy and prospects for unemployed people.
“Bizarre statements about contraception are the order of the day.”
Republicans don’t know how to run against Obama because he has governed as one of them from the start. They may mutter about “Obamacare” but his health care plan is a bailout of the health insurance industry and Big Pharma. They can’t call him weak on defense issues when he sends drones to kill people in Afghanistan or Pakistan or when he makes good on his threat to kill Muammar Gaddafi. Even American citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki are not safe when the president decides to literally take them out.
What is a conservative to do? Conservative pundit Bill Kristol called Obama a born again neo-con and Republican commentator Ben Stein said that Obama was the perfect Republican candidate. There is nowhere for the Republican faithful to go except to rail against the birth control mandate in the health care plan and call Obama an enemy of the Catholic church.
It isn’t difficult to amuse oneself when Rick Santorum says he throws up thinking about John F. Kennedy’s promise to the American public to keep religion out of government. It is all seemingly harmless theater, but the economic elite, the 1% if you will, win no matter who is in office.
It is indeed appalling when state legislatures across the country take on extreme positions in order to attack abortion. But make no mistake about it, there is never any opposition to thievery at the top because both parties kiss the rings of the rulers. The divide and conquer strategy is at work once again. While it is necessary to point out the dangerous Republican positions regarding women’s reproductive rights, it is also necessary to remember who runs the country and how they and their corporate media spokespersons never allow us to truly debate the most fundamental issues of the day.
“Conservative pundit Bill Kristol called Obama a born again neo-con and Republican commentator Ben Stein said that Obama was the perfect Republican candidate.”
The media do not point out the inherent dangers of a billion dollar presidential campaign. If they did so, they would have to reveal how they manufacture public opinion and create phony outrage regarding a number of topics. Despite all the campaign rhetoric to the contrary, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama are all conservatives. Gingrich may call Obama the food stamp president now, but neither man had any problems with the other when they joined forces to conduct a jeremiad against public education. Gingrich was welcomed to the White House, and he joined Obama mininion Al Sharpton in pushing for privatization of the schools and promoting a panoply of deadly corporate school “reform” measures.
We are fed a steady diet of manufactured opinion, pure propaganda which diverts our attention from the one constant in American politics. Money rules, and it will rule in January 2013 on inauguration day. Barack Obama will be that person because he plays the game better than anyone else. He has moved as far to the right as Ronald Reagan but Democrats still see him as their savior, the facts be damned. While the media have succeeded in creating smoke screens around contraception or the debate over the role of religion and government, the bailouts continue.
On Election Day in November 2012, we the people will lose, no matter who is giving a concession speech. All the outrage will have been misplaced and another defender of corporate control will rule over the rest of us. The divide and conquer strategy still wins the day.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.