Anyone who has been paying attention knows that here in the United States, we have two teams to choose from – Team Blue and Team Red. The reality is, politics in this town are never as simple as the light-switch-on-or-off options we are publicly presented. There’s factions inside each team, each with their own agenda.
Up until recently, the Red Team, consisting of Traditional Conservatives (Fiscal and Social), and the Radicalized Conservatives (Birthers, Tea Partiers, and Yellers).
The TC part of the Red Team was always the quiet money, the guys who pay for the golf junkets, the members funding ALEC (http://www.alec.org), the advertisers selling you stuff during the Superbowl, but at the end of the commercial, you have no idea what they were offering, but the wheat-fields and the puffy cloud-skies were pretty. The TC is the part that greases the wheels, and gets the agenda moved forward.
The RC part of the team, on first appearance, has no real use. They are noise. They make up stuff. They cut video to make people who are well-adjusted, admirable people look like racists, liars, “socialists”, “fascists”, and whatever convenient terms are put out there. Whoever is decided to be “The New Boogeyman”, its the RC’s job to point at it, scream, whip up the masses, and then stand back and watch the bonfire.
On first blush, the RC is just noise. In reality, they serve a very real function – moving the Centrists.
Centrists are pragmatic, amenable people. They are the guy being punched in the face trying to break up the fight. They are the compromisers, diplomats, and other go-betweens that keep the extremes from tearing each other into tiny gristly bits. The problem with Centrists is the need to appear to be right in the middle and not too extreme.
The RC’s purpose is to go as far to the Right as possible and start yelling. LOUDLY. Whatever they are saying does not have to be the truth. It doesn’t have to be PC. It just needs to be loud, and usually a little shocking.
The Centrist, then seeing that the Right has moved, and that they now appear too Liberal in the sliding scale of things, starts to move to the right trying to hem in the crazy, and to create an environment of compromise. Two problems with this: there is no sliding scale and there is no balance. The sliding scale is a construct put together by conservatives as a delightfully slippery slope designed to move the argument to the advantage of Conservatives. The media seems to be attracted to broadcasting any noises made by the RC and rarely televises any of the noise made by their opposite numbers on the Left (http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com). How much have you heard recently from the Occupy Movement? Yeah, me neither.
Is there a solution? Not really, but something seems to be organically happening.
The loudspeakers for the RC, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Donald Trump, and Anne Coulter all appear to be in the process of being moved to the sidelines. I’m not sure if the Right moved too far to the extreme, and the TCs have discovered that their agenda is now tipping off the cliff along with the economy and has decided to dial back the rhetoric. It could be after the multiple Billions of dollars spent in the past election cycle, the only folks who held their seats were those in those tiny-weird-gerrymandered out districts. The rest of the country ran from the Tea-Party dudes like fleas jumping off a dog-on-fire.
One of the problems with letting the extremes on the right lead your message is that you wind up with people left with the distinct impression that you are the party of Angry Rich White Dudes. Specifically, that you are part of a “No-Girlz” club holed up in your little clubhouses, smoking your little cigars, waiting for the day when the servants find the sharp knives and hoping your clips of ammo buy you 5 more minutes.
Here’s the deal, most of us people (brown, gay, female, immigrant) are a little busy trying to pay bills, feed ourselves and our families, get our drink on, and maybe find someone to fuck, (or love depending on how honest you really are and what you really want) to be bothered with a bunch of people who appear to have no joy in life other than finding new ways to increase the personal bank balance. We really don’t care about you or your kids or your money as long as you keep the spitting and the abuse to the bare minimum. Keep whipping up the crazy and you seem to find that nowadays, everybody has a video camera in their phone, and the folks who actually buy the crap you used to sell are brown, gay, female, or immigrants, and that the reason rich people are rich is because THEY DON’T SPEND MONEY or they find ways to get stuff at the expense of poor people. No, not the middle class. The poor. So if you want to keep seeing that bank balance go up, the first thing you need to do is stop talking when cameras are around. Saying bad stuff about access to health care or cutting wages on people who live on tips while you sun yourself with your bought-and-paid-for wife is in bad taste and really not likely to earn you the sympathies of the folks who actually put the money in your bank account by purchasing those weird pseudo-food compounds you guys created in a lab. Ever wonder why cancer rates are up? Maybe because we stopped eating real food in this country ages ago. More on that topic later.
So the RC messengers get less and less airtime because what they have to say is more and more extreme and less and less relevant. They have crossed the line and are in that moment in the cartoons where they are hanging in mid-air waiting for the inevitable fall.
In order to keep us from starting back on that march towards Fascism, where the dictates of big business control the Government agenda to the point that you can no longer hear for the sounds of bones cracking in the wheels of the machine, someone needs to find an effective way of amplifying voices of reason. Those in the middle who don’t necessarily want free abortions for everybody or want to live in a commune because frankly pachouli is vile, and detuned guitar playing mopey people are not as much fun as a good round of Angry Birds. We need to hear a bit more from the reasoned middle. Not the Centrists who keep trying to tack to the center. The stable folks who have jobs and lives and really want everyone to shut up so we can watch the TV machine in peace.