What You Say When You Hear Somebody Talk About The Republican “Base”
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
Whatyousay.com thinks Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker is a wise man and a brilliant writer. If you want to be a good writer, go study Hertzberg.
Hertzberg was at his best recently when he described the “base” of today’s Republican Party. The Republican Party, it must be said, is far different from the one that elected Abraham Lincoln the first Republican President.
I’ve spent years studying Lincoln, writing books, producing videos, a training film, and audio books on the 16th President, and I have performed a one-person play on Lincoln all over North America. So I guess that entitles me to have an opinion on the subject. Without hesitation, I can say that Abraham Lincoln would be astonished to see what the Republican Party has become.
When Lincoln was President, Republicans were the liberals and the radicals. Sure, there were conservative Republicans at that time, but it was the conservatives, mainly Democrats, that supported slavery.
What would Lincoln say today? Lincoln, who was formerly a Whig, believed in a strong federal government. He was not a state’s rights advocate nor a nullifier, and he certainly would never have said a kind word about secession–as did Rick Perry who was charm of the month during the early Republican caucuses. In case anybody has forgotten what the Civil War was about, Lincoln was willing to fight those who advocated secession. He considered it treason to attempt to destroy the Union.
However, in recent years the Republican Party has been hijacked by a band of grim true-believers who espouse a weak federal government, state’s rights, voter suppression, hatred of immigrants, and low taxes.
Lincoln raised taxes, which would have made him completely unacceptable to Grover Norquist. He would never have considered signing the Grover Norquist pledge, as have most Republicans in Congress have. I can imagine what would have happened if Norquist had managed to get into Lincoln’s office with his silly pledge. Norquist would have left in a hurry. There’s a good chance Norquist would have been thrown out–physically–by a President who had been a damn good wrestler in his youth.
Are there any Republican left who are moderates or, heaven forbid, liberals? A few. But these few have virtually no influence.
Who does have influence? The base. Here is Hertzberg’s description of the Republican base–“an excitable, overlapping assortment of Fox News friends, Limbaugh dittoheads, Tea Party animals, war whoopers, nativists, Christianist fundamentalists, a la carte Catholics (anti-abortion yes, anti-torture no), anti-Rooseveltians (Franklin and Theodore), global-warming denialists, post-Confederate white Southerrons, creationists, birthers, market idolaters, Europe demonizers, and gun fetishists.”
All this makes some Republicans nervous. As a matter of fact, whatyousay.com recently heard of a movement called Republicans for Obama. This movement is probably quite small now, but if these crazies continue the takeover, whatyousay.com predicts that the numbers of Republicans for Obama will increase.
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–Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-435-2225 or firstname.lastname@example.org Learn more about Gene Griessman at presidentlincoln.com and atlantaspeakersbureau.com
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