From Socialist Worker: http://socialistworker.org/2010/09/01/the-right-calling-the-shots
It's not just the right that's the problem, but both wings of the political establishment.
September 1, 2010
"DEFUND EVERYTHING. Get rid of the socialist aspects of government, not just in health care, but the other entitlement areas that are driving us into insolvency." That was the response of Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, when Fox Business News asked him what parts of the federal government he would get rid of first.
Talk like that would have marked Miller as a crackpot on the far fringes of the Republican right not that long ago. But this is what passes for mainstream discourse in U.S. politics today--the Republicans spout inflammatory lies and pander to bigotry, and the Democrats, though still in control of both the White House and Congress, retreat even more and act like there's nothing they can do about it.
A year and a half ago, when Barack Obama was moving into the Oval Office, it seemed like the demoralized Republican Party would face years as an ineffectual minority party in Washington. Even half a year ago, when the Obama administration finally overcame all the GOP obstacles to passing health care legislation, most commentators thought the Republicans would pay a political price for their fanatical right wing.
Not anymore. Now the Republicans are setting the agenda in U.S. politics, and their right-wing attack machine--from Fox News to the crusaders of the Christian Right--is on the warpath, supremely confident that they can get away with anything, from blocking the construction of a religious center in New York City to appropriating the iconic image of Martin Luther King speaking at the Lincoln Memorial for a right-wing circus presided over by Glenn Beck.
Whether from a politician like Miller or a celebrity blowhard like Beck, the right's campaign is mostly exciting the minority of hard-core conservative supporters that the Republicans can always rely on. The Tea Partiers aren't the "populist" insurgency sweeping the country that the mainstream press often makes them out to be.
But when reactionary ideas go unopposed in mainstream politics and the media--and in an economic climate of uncertainty and fear for millions of ordinary people--they can gain a wider hearing.
The right wing claims it represents the majority of Americans. It doesn't--by any number of measures, most people in the U.S. reject the bigoted and pro-corporate policies that the right actually stands for, once its rhetoric is swept aside.
But because of the pitiful performance of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party, the right never faces a real challenge from inside the U.S. political system. That's why the key to reversing the right turn in U.S. politics is to organize and mobilize outside Washington, in struggles that demand justice and democracy.
Continue reading at: http://socialistworker.org/2010/09/01/the-right-calling-the-shots