If Gene Lyons is right, and there’s a good chance he is, a majority of the U.S. public recognizes much of the recent health care insanity for what it is. And while some of the furor is self-inflicted, it is pretty obvious that a lot of this is more about racism than health care.
So I’m trying to envision a scenario where Republican politicians who may exploit idiocy without necessarily being idiots themselves see an advantage in doing this. That they may fatally cripple Obama’s presidency is certainly a factor. But how does it work to do this if Republicans make themselves look worse?
It works if Republicans have reached a similar conclusion to the Center for American Progress that their long-term electoral hopes are dim. It works if Republicans want a vocal and potentially violent enough faction to frighten a majority already suffering a profound dissonance between their experience and their beliefs about the U.S. into acquiescence. It works when Democrats undermine their own mandate and preserve the status quo by doing everything possible to appease Republicans. It works if Republicans are moving towards a fascist future.
Of course, I don’t know that this can work. It might be that if anything like this scenario came to fruition, the people of the U.S. would rise up, violently if need be, to restore the system of government they were raised to expect. But when I look at what didn’t happen in the wake of two stolen elections, when I look at early public acquiescence followed by an enthusiasm for the Iraq war that waned only when it became clear the U.S. could not win, when I look at public reaction to passage of the Patriot Act, I’d have to guess that just maybe the Republicans are on to something.