“Observe [Governor Ronald] Reagan’s futile attempts to arouse the country by some sort of inspirational appeal. He is right in thinking that the country needs an inspirational element. But he will not find it in the God-Family-Tradition swamp.” — Ayn Rand, 1975
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all Republicans are racist, sexist homophobes. Just the people they choose to elect into office.” — David Cross
Republican voters want to move to Australia now that Fartbongo, that ineffectual Nazi, has won a second term, and if you happen to be a Republican, this is the perfect moment to gin up another False Equivalency. After all, when the
ineffectual pathologically indifferent George W. Bush somehow won a second term through, among other things, his Nazi rather ruthless and efficient propaganda machine over at Fox News, that was the cue for liberals to talk about moving to Canada, right? I admit making that joke. (Okay, half a joke.)
Yes, like America, Canada and Australia were both vast and beautiful Edens of savage wilderness where darker-skinned natives lived until Englishmen came along and subjugated them properly, or just killed them outright. All three countries have certainly done their share to oppress minorities, women, and gays. And yes, they’re both moving towards a more conservative government.
Except that Canada’s conservatives were the ones who offered up a stimulus during the world economic collapse: $40 billion. That’s about half of President Obama’s stimulus when adjusting for GDP, but then again, Canada has a much bigger social safety net in place. Australia’s is just as vast; both have universal health care. Both countries are socially moderate, even liberal by American standards — pro-LGBT rights, pro-abortion rights, pro-gun control. And when Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller puckishly decided to offer conservatives a new home for their ideas, they apparently couldn’t find a single country with a top marginal tax rate lower than the US. In fact, the only other countries that consistently come up as being more conservative than America are Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and — the ultimate irony — most of the countries in darkest Africa.
What’s more important than where conservatives want to move, however, is the fact that they want to move at all.
When Bush was inexplicably elected to a second term by voters still cleaning out their pants over 9/11, liberals vowed to move to Canada. Or Australia. Hmmm. Yet when the right-wing’s ugly hate machine began to ramp up over President Obama, and it became clear he couldn’t just be wished away with claims of illegitimacy, conservatives didn’t talk about leaving the country they called home, they talked about taking it back. Having another American Revolution. Usually at a rally where they were strapped with guns.
Now they don’t seem to want it “back.” And that’s because they know it’s gone.
This is why the clarion call of the re-election has been “America is dead.” Who would the right wrest control of America from? From Democrats? They’d been in office before. From liberals? They’ve been doing that for 30 years. Look at the exit polling from the 2012 election and you can easily see what happened: people who weren’t straight white Christian Republican males voted in the majority. A razor thin majority, but a majority all the same: Hispanics, gays, blacks, and women, not to mention young whites of all genders and orientations, voted for Obama overwhelmingly. Only 34 percent of the exit pollers identified as white men at all.
Mitt Romney, as the “liberal” pollsters had been vilified for noting early on, didn’t stand a chance; the numbers just weren’t there. In 2008, we were told that liberals voted for Obama because he was a liberal (he’s half a liberal) and because he’s black (ditto). This time out, with a still-struggling economy and history taken care of, they voted for him again. Almost to a person. Which is why Karl Rove steadfastly refused to go along with the numbers coming in to Fox News when presented with this new reality; the America where straight white Christian men were the majority, certainly as a voting bloc, were gone. Amurka was dead.
This is, it should be noted, not the same thing as a repudiation of fiscal conservatism, which has taken hold in Australia and Canada as well. But Mitt’s 47% remark, blithely written off by the right wing even as it gouged him in the polls, was quite prescient: no, Mitt, those unrich people (and 5 percent on top of that, as it turned out) were never gonna vote for you. Backing Governor Jan Brewer’s anti-immigration bill in Arizona, which affects the civil liberties of documented immigrants, wasn’t going to get you the Hispanic vote, and neither was telling voters’ family members they should get the fuck out — excuse me, “self-deport.” The “war on women” was not one 51% of the population felt like they should have to lose; your media buddies typically pretended it wasn’t happening, but all women at least know someone who needed birth control, or was raped, or found herself pregnant with a child she had no way to feed. Black people took special note of Brewer wagging her finger at the President like he was a child, and Rep. Joe Wilson interrupting his State of the Union, and Donald Trump insisting the President was from Africa. For his part, Obama, like JFK had with race, felt the change in LGBT awareness coming and reacted like a leader does, by altering — actually altering! — his views. Protestants, Baptists, and Catholics were persuaded to go along with the faith of a Mormon, but the rising tide of atheists were not, especially when the entire GOP consistently denied any science not alluded to in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
There are simply no longer enough voters in the South and Midwest to make a racist, sexist, homophobic, Christian candidate viable. You, the Republican party, are going to have to go back to the conservative values you abandoned by creating a monolithic WASP military-corporate coalition and piece them back together if you ever want to sell fiscal frugality and small government to Americans. And if you do that, please make sure to explain to us exactly, using actual plans and figures, how privatizing everything will improve the lives of the pregnant teen, the single mother, the inner-city student, the rape victim, the documented worker, the undocumented worker’s child, the small businessman, the gay married couple, the atheist blogger, the suburban teacher, and the struggling Iraq vet. Because those people have voices now. And it’s not necessarily Barack Obama’s.
Mr. Reagan is not a champion of capitalism, but a conservative in the worst sense of that word — i.e., an advocate of a mixed economy with government controls slanted in favor of business rather than labor (which, philosophically, is as untenable a position as one could choose — see Fred Kinnan in Atlas Shrugged, pp. 541-2). This description applies in various degrees to most Republican politicians, but most of them preserve some respect for the rights of the individual. Mr. Reagan does not: he opposes the right to abortion.
…Ayn Rand, 1981