The modern day Republican coalition consists of three basic factions:
- Plutocrats: This faction, the so-called "fiscal conservatives," includes corporate titans and financial moguls like Steve Forbes, Ben Stein, Larry Kudlow and the like who advocate a regressive tax system and spurn regulation of any kind that might restrain them from accruing wealth by any convenient means. They rail against government spending (by which they mean spending on programs like health care or education), until their greed becomes so egregious that they must overtly raid the federal treasury to rescue their corrupt financial structure. These are the people that cross themselves and make revoltingly pious faces whenever they utter the name "Ronald Reagan." With the current financial crisis exposing the fallacies of their regressive philosophy, they have become discredited and even vilified by the majority of the American public.
- Neo-conservatives: This faction consists of foreign policy imperialists that couldn't resist the mirage of imperial opportunity that appeared with the collapse of the Soviet Union. This group is represented by Big Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, and Junior himself. This is the gang that, even today with our military in a shambles, our adventure in Iraq a morass of danger, and our efforts in Afghanistan collapsing, continues to push for confrontation with Iran and Russia. Their only real success has been the unintentional demonstration of the limits of American military power. They have weakened and imperiled the security of the United States by squandering our strength. With Junior's poll numbers in the tank, it seems that their credibility is shot both inside and outside the United States.
- Religious fanatics: This is the largest faction of the modern Republican party. This is the hoi polloi, the "rabble" of the party; the mass of people that Chris Hedges describes in American Fascists, that Karl Rove manipulated with his wedge issue politics, that he sneered at secretly even as he lied to them. This is the faceless mob that eats out of the hands of demagogues like Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and religious charlatans. They cast their votes based on identity; that is, they vote for the person they deem to be most like them. (Sarah Palin, anyone?)
Their antics at McCain rallies have become increasingly ugly and desperate. Racist and xenophobic statements against Obama, shouts of "terrorist" and "kill him" at the mention of his name, and accusations of "treason" abound. But don't take my word for it. Take a look at these videos:
McCain himself seems to now be trying to dampen the flames that he and Sarah stoked up with accusations about Obama "pallin' around with terrorists." But, the flames were lit long ago by the plutocrats and the neoconservatives who used that fear-induced zeal to impose their agenda on the country.
The Republican coalition is breaking apart. If the trends hold and they are crushed at the ballot box this November 4th, the rabid religious zealots will be looking for someone to blame for their humiliation. And, most likely, the targets of their hatred will be the very people that stoked it in the first place: the plutocrats and the neo-cons.