The Grand Obstructionists Party’s Presidential Choice?
The Grand Old Party has become the sick man of American politics. The Republican Party has been a formidable political force in American politics since the middle of the 19th century. It fought the expansion of slavery and served as a catalyst for the abolition of slavery. It promoted American industrialization and was in part responsible for the dynamism of American mass production and scientific innovation. But from the latter part of the 20th century, the GOP has become a force thwarting American progress.
The Grand Old Party in the latter part of the twentieth century opposed the civil rights movement and opportunistically, rode the wave of the white backlash movement. It remained an uncritical advocate of oligopolistic capitalism and stumbled into the 21st century failing to understand the revolutionary changes of globalization.
The GOP morphed into an extremely destructive force at the beginning of the twenty-first century. This destructive propensity is apparent both in foreign policy and domestic policy. The invasion of Iraq in March, 2003 was a manifestation of this destructive propensity. A band of neo-conservatives seized control of America’s national security apparatus in the early days of the Bush administration and became convinced that America’s military superiority could be used to force the rest of the world to accept America’s dictat. The invasion of Iraq was selected to demonstrate America’s military superiority.
The neo-conservatives manufactured the threat that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and worked the country into a frenzy that led to the invasion of Iraq. The presumption was that the war would be of short duration. American arm forces would pulverize Baghdad from air, sea and land, decimate Hussein’s forces and speedily impose a pro-American democratic regime in Iraq.
According to Paul Wolfowitz, one of the leading neo-conservative thinkers of this muscular invasive foreign policy, prognosticated not only would the war be of short duration, but that the cost would be picked up by the export of Iraqi oil.
Paul Wolfowitz: Architect of Bush’s Iraq Policy
What the Devil looks like in the 21st Century
The American invasion lasted eight years and cost American taxpayers approximately $1 trillion. Not only was their loss in financial resources but over 4,000 lives were lost, 30,000 returned physically damaged by the war effort and another incalculable number damaged psychologically. The last American combat troops were withdrawn in December of 2011.
Iraq is still engaged in a religious struggle that pits Shites against Sunni and Kurds trying to maintain autonomy from the central government. All signs are that the Shites who are presently in control of the central government will continue to milk America of its resources while concomitantly drifting into a religious kinship with the theocrats in Iran who themselves are Islamic Shites.
Ayatollah Khomeini: Leader of Islamic Revolution in Iran
The Iraq Invasion expanded his influence
The Iraqi debacle led to the discrediting of the neo-conservative national security adventurers but that propensity for destruction, having been disarmed, has been replaced by domestic neo-conservative neophytes that have been the architects of the decline of the American economy.
The abandonment of New Deal liberalism and the de-regulation of the economy ushered in an age of inequality. A racketeering form of capitalism surfaced in the 1990s which has destroyed the living standards of the American working class at the same time creating a new class of billionaires.
The financial sector of the economy now gobbles up over 40% of gross domestic product and has used financial gimmicks to generate mega-profits. In September, 2008 Wall Street collapsed like a house of cards. The economy is slowly trying to extricate itself from the neo-conservative architects of sub-prime mortgages, bundling of mortgages, derivatives and over-leveraging of risky investments. The collusion between Wall Street and conservative politicians has left the American economy with a mountain of debt. America’s accumulated debt is $16 trillion.
Whereas the neo-conservatives in the foreign policy arena have been discredited, the neo-conservatives on the domestic front still have some credibility. The American electorate is still uncertain about the appropriate domestic policy to pursue. The nature of contemporary American capitalism is being debated in the presidential Republican primary.
Members of the GOP even moreso than the Democrats have slovenly romanticized capitalism. The free market is embraced as the solution to every societal problem. The documentary concocted by Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC, “When Romney comes to Town” should have triggered a debate about the changing nature of capitalism. Instead it has forced the Republican establishment to circle the wagons in an un-examined defense of capitalism.
The capitalism of the middle nineteenth century when small scale production predominated differed from the capitalism of late 19th century and early 20th century America when mass production became the order of the day. As capitalist production has morphed in a multi-national platform and with the advent of globalization, the dynamics and dialectics of the system have had a profound impact on the fortunes of a formerly secure white working class.
Sociologist William Julius Wilson
William Julius Wilson, the Harvard Sociologist in the 1980s, wrote about the de-industrialization of America and the impact that these economic changes were having on American life. As we stumbled into the latter part of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, capitalism developed new forms of accumulation that were separate and apart from industrial production. As the Gingrich documentary on Romney highlights public equity firms discovered new ways of accumulating massive profits.
Companies were bought, the exploitation of workers was accelerated, debt was accrued, benefits eliminated, and companies sold to new owners at astronomical profits. It was a form of blitzkrieg capitalism that destroys everything in its wake. The lives of workers were ruined and communities were left in an immiserated state. The discussion of the Gingrich documentary over what Governor Rick Perry called “vulture capitalism” revealed the inability of the neo-conservative movement to understand the variegated nature of American capitalism.
The GOP’s continued romanticization of capitalist enterprise will thwart the development of the appropriate policy to save capitalism from itself. In a democratic society, the change will not come from Wall Street barons or the ailing GOP but from those imperiled by the new twist in the system.
The recent findings of the Pew Research Center that the white working class has begun to understand the saliency of class and recognize that their salvation lies in electing politicians who can protect their class interest is a ray of hope that we can stop the domestic propensity for destroying people’s lives.
By: Dr. Basil Wilson
Queens, New York
March 17, 2012