The most extreme voices in the Republican Party – who in fact control the GOP – have been quiet as church mice as Mitt Romney has migrated to more moderate positions on a range of issues in the closing weeks of his campaign for the presidency.
Should anyone be surprised by the deafening, yet noticeable, silence on the right? I don’t believe so. It is very predictable for two reasons.
First, the right wing is ready to do anything – and I mean anything – to win this election. They see it as their political Armageddon, especially given their existential alarm about the changing demographics (majority minority) of the country.
If that means right-wing fundraising political action committees (superPACs) spending hundreds of millions of dollars on anti-Obama attack ads riddled with falsehoods, they will do it. If it means making racist appeals to white voters, they will happily do it. If it means suppressing the vote of people of color, young people and seniors, they will show no hesitation to strangle the laws on voting rights.
And if it means that their candidate has to temporarily shed his “severe conservative” positions because they aren’t resonating with voters across the country, in the battleground states, and among women, these folks will be the last to object. Right-wing extremists never allow truth to get in the way of their cause.
The other reason that the extremists on the right are not going apoplectic about Romney’s political makeover is that if there is a Romney victory it doesn’t matter too much which Mitt shows up at the White House. Why? Because the center of political and legislative initiative, as they see it, will reside not with Romney, but rather with a right-wing controlled Congress.
In the New York Review of Books, Frank Rich penetratingly writes:
… in the event he [Romney] enters the White House, he will serve as a pliant errand boy for the elements in the base he tried and failed to placate throughout the campaign. Grover Norquist spoke for the real powers-that-be in the GOP when he told the Conservative Political Action Committee in February that the GOP candidate’s only function as president would be “to sign the legislation that has already been prepared” by the Republican congressional caucus, starting with the government-slashing Ryan budget.
In other words, Romney would be little more than a puppet. He wouldn’t call the shots; he wouldn’t set the agenda. That would be done on Capitol Hill, particularly in the House of Representatives where tea party Republicans currently reign supreme.
And as we know, the right wing has an agenda to undo all the economic and social legislation enacted ever since the New Deal.
It would overturn the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) to get the ball rolling. And then it would move to destroy Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid in the name of “responsible” deficit reduction.
And from there the GOP extremists in Congress (and on the U.S. Supreme Court) would set their sights on other long-standing social legislation and policies that have protected people’s rights and improved living standards.
Nothing in their mind is too sacred to undo; everything is subject to nullification and destruction. Whatever you might say about the right wing, one thing is for sure – when they have their hands on the levers of power, they have no hesitation to use that power in the interests of the 1 percent.
Indeed, they are salivating at the thought of overturning the great legislative achievements of the 20th century – achievements that have brought a measure of security and happiness to millions of Americans.
But what stands in their way at the present moment is millions of Americans who are seeing through the fog of lies and deceptions issuing from the propaganda machine of Romney and the right wing.
I believe – and polls in the battleground states reveal – in the end truth will win out. And people-to-people action will help make it so.
Photo: Corey Butler // CC 2.0