You might have read the piece in Salon the other day where John Dean laments the passing of the Republican Party as a positive, or, even, a non-damaging force in American life. The party he has known for forty years, and the party he says that his friends now know, is a hateful, entirely corrupt, and self-interested body composed of those who take revenge and those who fear having revenge taken upon them. Every current candidate for the presidency is "authoritarian" in an extreme and unAmerican way that Dean thinks would have in earlier decades been "corrected" by the political system, but the Republicans, according to Dean, have broken the political system precisely so that it won't correct them. Sounds like the financial markets, doesn't it?
Personally, I would have put things slightly differently. The Republican Party now seems to work like a gang, in which the most valued qualities in members are loyalty to the gang and the leader, obedience to authority, and violence toward outsiders. The gang is constantly having to prove its dominance, and so candidates for leadership vie with one another for the most tyrannical or violent rhetoric, rhetoric which simultaneously demonizes those who don't accept the authority of the gang and the leader and removes all rules and laws for the gang and the leader. No one is exempt from the wrath of the gang. In this case, the Republican party has now separated itself fairly clearly from the general American population, and as Americans support it less, they come to seem to the Republicans to be more and more the enemy. The far away enemy is one thing, in terms of threat (think Al Qaeda, Shiites, Sunnis) but the enemy close at hand is more threatening because their enmity is seen as a "betrayal."
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