Winning Ugly

I suppose it’s old news now that the Republicans have let slip their inner (or in the case of Rich Iott, outer…) Nazis this election cycle; the “arrest” of a reporter by Joe Miller’s goons, the head-stomper at the Rand Paul “rally,” yesterday’s assault on a young, female protester at a Dino Rossi event show that these folks mean business.  As a response, the reluctantly apologetic candidates invariably all condemn violence from “both sides,” although no lefty violence has emerged amid the dozens of right-wing examples.  The fact is, the right is violent and does not believe in Democracy, and alarmingly, this disturbing trait is more often a feature than a bug.

Nixon, under whose tutelage Karl Rove learned his political ropes, reveled in the power of redneck anger, inviting the “hard hats” who beat up hippie war protesters to the White House and famously blaming the victims for the Kent State slaughter, shortly after then-California Governor Ronald Reagan tear-gassed protesters at Berkeley and intoned that the Vietnam problem could be solved by genocidal carpet-bombing, “… pave it, stripe it, and be home by Christmas.”  Bloodlust is now just part of the DNA of the Republican Party; just ask America’s Worst President, George Bush, whose approval rating shot skyward as he babbled, “dead or alive,” and “smoke ‘em out,” to dazzled FOX watchers in nursing home dayrooms all across America.  Republicans clearly got carried away with their initial electoral success at selling violent retribution for its own sake during those years, and now such final solutions have acquired quite a devoted and evidently insatiable following.

For these “folks,” as Bill O’Reilly calls them, once you have God, Blackwater, and the Koch brothers on your side, the Ten Commandments no longer apply to you, and it’s time to pull out the terrible swift sword, but good.  For decades, as the wealthy benefactors of the Republicans sought to drown out rational discourse, which tended not to go their way, they chose to create an Axis of Thuggery, first by doing away with the Fairness Doctrine, which was rooted in the quaint notion of giving equal time to both sides, and then grabbing the public airwaves to spew right-wing hate radio from sea to shining sea.  Rupert spent a half billion dollars to launch Fox News, to give Hate Radio and its social Darwinist, fact-free ethos a video companion.  Over time, though, the act began to get old, and competitive forces made these propaganda arms more and more difficult to control even as they became ever more violent and apocalyptic in the wake of Bush’s many catastrophes and the election of a, you know, to the Presidency, but a desperate and demoralized party stung by two searing defeats had nowhere else to go.  The craven corporatists stoking this fascistic know-nothingism couldn’t be bothered by the fates of any victims of the violent rhetoric they were sponsoring, for the simple reason that for the time being it seemed to be working.  After all, in midterm elections they needn’t bother with the delicate sensibilities of of the so-called “independent” voter, they go for the guys with guns, missing teeth, and a trailer full of restraining orders, who lap this stuff up like it was spilled Budweiser.  So some hippie chick got her head stomped….   Maybe it’ll teach her a lesson.  It’s hard to believe that, on some level, even a grabby racketeer like Dick Armey or a fiendish parasite like Karl Rove isn’t made a tad uncomfortable by all this unseemly directness; they have spent years perfecting their Victorian fainting, followed by schoolmarmish finger-wagging, performance art over the slightest insult from the left, and now their guys are, pretty much daily, decorating the pavement with liberals.  Worse, they do it so un-heroically…  several larger Americans ganging up on a girl, or an old fat guy, is not the sort of television image Rove could easily pretty up with a sunset or codpiece, which probably explains his occasional, if mild, expressions of distaste.

Unsurprisingly, even as they fall into their unintentionally telling fake panic attack about “voter fraud” that besets them each November, the Republicans now have, or ought to have, twin fears; winning and losing.  Win, and they’ll be saddled with a passel of loudmouth nitwits in Congress, making daily asses of themselves and dragging the brand down even further; lose, and they might realize that there is a bottom to how low one can go in politics, and they have no plan B.  Either way, they will have a self-created,  large and angry army of  conspiracy-minded neanderthals breathing down their necks, or worse.

It couldn’t have happened to nicer guys.


  1. Yes, Nixon did indeed “revel in the power of redneck anger.” I personally witnessed some of that anger.

    I attended an antiwar rally at San Jose State University in 1972. The rally was held on campus in the afternoon, followed by a march to the San Jose Civic Auditorium where Richard Nixon was giving a reelection speech later that day. I had been to several antiwar rallies at Bay Area campuses, but this one was very strange. I had gotten to know most of the players in the Bay Area antiwar movement and was familiar with the rally routine. There would usually be some great musical entertainment, some fiery speeches and some hot babes. We’d all get high and have a good time.

    The San Jose State rally was much different. There was a large group of very vocal agitators, wearing pseudo-hippie garb, who were trying to take over the event. They brought their own megaphone and were constantly trying to drown out the speakers. No one knew who these people were. A friend and I finally decided to leave the rally and head to the auditorium to see if anything interesting was going on there.

    As we walked along the planned march-route we noticed an “old” police car on a side street just off the march-route. It was an 8-10 year old Chevy black-and-white, a model that the San Jose police department hadn’t used in several years. I remember saying to my friend, “What the hell is that doing there. I thought they got rid of those a long time ago.”

    Anyway (to make a short story long), my friend and I found there wasn’t anything happening at the auditorium, so we went back to her place to watch the news coverage of the event.

    We had dinner and turned on the TV to see that old police car in flames, with a few of the outsiders we had seen at the rally off to the side yelling at the crowd in front of a police line. The car was on its side, and the camera shots were only of the burning car, the outsiders and their tossed bottles and cans. It looked like an extremely violent protest.

    The next day my friends who had stayed through the rally and marched to the auditorium said that the outside group took off before they did on the march-route, and by the time the main march group got to the intersection where the burning police car was, it was already blocked off by the police.

    The whole thing was a preplanned publicity stunt for the reelection of Richard Nixon.

    If you remember, Nixon’s main platform that year was “Law and Order.” The following evening he spoke in Phoenix. Using “expertly” filmed footage of the San Jose “violence,” he gave a fiery speech about how only through the continuation of his presidency – with his emphasis on “Law and Order” – could these atrocious events be prevented in the future.

    Richard Milhous Nixon – A real piece of work!