Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Crazy Industry

As I’ve noted earlier, the Republican party is still having a great deal of trouble admitting they are wrong about anything. America tried their toxic formula of redistributing wealth from the middle class to the rich, waging war on women and minorities, and pursuing a chest-beating foreign policy abroad, and after thirty years America said they’ve had enough.

The problem is that The Crazy isn’t just a party, the Republicans. It is also an industry. At the bookstore, there are entire sections dedicated to books generated by the Crazy Industry. Ann Coulter alone has written nine books; Glenn Beck, fourteen books as well as a movie; Dinesh D’Souza, fifteen books and two movies attacking Obama and Michael Moore; Bill O’Reilly, ten books. And many, many more. All attacking Obama, attacking Democrats, attacking liberals.

The Crazy Industry controls a television network, Fox News, not even counting the religious channels with Pat Robertson and the like. They control a number of major newspapers including the Wall Street Journal, and a huge swath of the radio spectrum by means of Rush Limbaugh and his other radio buddies. There is merchandising, fake Confederate flags, wipe-your-ass-on-Obama toilet paper, anti-Obama T-shirts and coffee mugs. The Crazy makes big money: selling ignorance, fear and hate is boffo business.

On the internet, there are a thousand bloggers spewing, and recirculating, hate against Democrats: WND, Breitbart, Drudge, Newsmax, the Examiner. And of course right-wing think tanks, often with wildly-misleading names, like the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, American Family Association, Americans for Truth, Center for Individual Rights, Family Research Council, etc. Just imagine all the right-wing money needed to fund all these institutions!

They are supplemented by Republican couch potatoes who do nothing all day but re-post Democrat-bashing articles on internet forums, over and over and over. That is pretty much their entire lives, every waking moment they are not eating and pooping. The Crazy Industry is an army of millions.

The Crazy Industry is well-funded. Any Republican who strays from the Crazy Sheet Music on guns gets wiped out by the NRA and its donors; a candidate who gets wobbly on taxes gets carpet-bombed by the supporters of Grover Norquist; any Republican who even looks like he’s thinking about taking a step or two to the left will be primaried out of office by the Club For Growth. Express the notion that abortion should be considered to save the life of the mother and you will get dirty looks from a thousand evangelical ministers and their deep-pocketed flocks.
The Crazy Industry. More powerful than the banking Industry, or Big Oil, or Big Tobacco, or Big Pharma.

And it is increasingly a closed system. People who live on the Crazy Planet don’t talk to anyone except other Crazies. Analysts call this “epistemic closure”, which is inaccurate: the phrase actually means something else entirely, to philosophers. But the intent is accurate: the desire by the inhabitants of the Crazy Industry to hermetically seal themselves off from facts, logic, reason, science and reality. This is why arguing with them or even trying to educate them is pointless. They cling bitterly to their delusions like the most determined, unmedicated schizoid. The Democrats have now cornered the market of reality-based thinking, because Republicans have been forced to live on the Crazy Koolaid.


All of this we know. The problem with all this, is that the Crazy Industry does not have the same interests as the party that helped create it.

Republican party regulars know that in the real world of politics, the only way to get anything done is to compromise once in a while, and sometimes embrace moderation. But the Crazy Industry insists that since the other team is evil, compromising with them is like negotiating with terrorists, and that it’s better to destroy Democratic accomplishments even if people in the real world are hurt in the process: that is why conservatives are laboring with might and main to undermine Obamacare even though it is hurting their own supporters. Party regulars know that the middle ground is where a lot of progress is made; the Crazy Industry has done all they can to turn the middle ground into a scorched, uninhabitable no-man’s land, and to persecute moderates and “RINO’s” of both parties. The party cries “Victory!” while the discordant Crazies cry, in another key entirely, “Purity!”

Republicans want to control government, but the Crazy Industry wants to destroy it; Republican party regulars occasionally want to accomplish something, but the Crazy Industry wants to see dysfunction so they can complain about it.

The Crazy Industry has always thrived on hate and fear: in the 1980s they scared the dimwits with the Russians, and later they scared them with Usama and Saddam. Now they are frightening their base by using what they call crime, illegals, abortion, uncontrolled sex and immorality, but anyone with an IQ above room temperature knows that they are really trying to inspire fear and hate among white people against black and brown people, women and gays who threaten white power and the memories of earlier ages in which those other people knew their place. And all those blacks and browns and women and gays vote, in every-growing numbers. The Republicans can only survive by going brown and getting brown votes; the Crazy Industry has declared war to defend the white against the brown. A nation cannot move forward if their governing ethos is all about destructive hate and fear, but the Crazy Industry cannot survive once the hate and fear subside: spinning up deep, nasty currents of emotion is how the Crazy Industry makes reason impossible and keeps The Crazy in the ascendant.

And as folks like Chris Hayes, Kos and Steve Kornacki have intimated, the Republican party of course wants to win elections, but the Crazy Industry actually thrives on defeat, and the hate and fear which defeat generates. When Democrats win, the Crazy Industry can spew hate against Democratic leaders, their statements, their actions, their policies, and their imagined conspiracies against Traditional America. Their ideal situation is one in which the Republican party is in full retreat before the advancing armies of Obama the wicked communist from corrupt Chicago, Pelosi from the sinful city of San Francisco, Harry Reid from the sinful city of Las Vegas, Bawney Fwank from Massa-taxes. Hating Democrats isn’t enough: the big thing is hating Democrats in power. The Crazy Industry wins when the Republican party loses: they make money selling hate, and hate requires powerful Democratic targets.

The Crazies are a bit like some politicians in parliamentary democracies. They do okay in an opposition role, but as soon as they get anywhere near real power, all hell breaks loose. As Sam Rayburn said, any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one; America's extreme rightwing has become, ironically, the Jackass Party.

Citizens United was seen as a boon for Republicans. Hooray, the big money boys can spend money on Republican races is obscene quantities, as long as it is not coordinated with the party and the campaigns! And there’s the key problem no one noticed at first, the lack of coordination. A scary metric for Republican politicians: in the 2012 election, most of the money being spent to elect Mitt Romney, was being spent by organizations out of Romney’s control. And those outside groups spewed so many outrageous lies against Obama that the efforts backfired, hurting Romney (of course Romney’s own dishonest ads hurt him too).

The Republican party not only tolerated the rise of the Crazy Industry, they helped create it, and exploited it to win elections. But now the Crazy Industry has become as powerful as the party itself, and has goals which are often in conflict with the interests of the party. And the party has no clear way of regaining control of The Crazy. It’s a bit like the Pakistanis who undertook a great deal of effort to create the Taliban, a bunch of irrational extremists to do their dirty work for them, and then were shocked when their creation, Frankenstein-like, turned on its master.

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