The Last Yahoo

By what I could discover, the YAHOOS appear to be the most unteachable of all animals: their capacity never reaching higher than to draw or carry burdens. Yet I am of opinion, this defect arises chiefly from a perverse, restive disposition; for they are cunning, malicious, treacherous, and revengeful. They are strong and hardy, but of a cowardly spirit, and, by consequence, insolent, abject, and cruel.

Gulliver’s Travels, Chapter 35, Jonathon Swift

Second, the country is nowhere near as closely divided as the popular vote indicates. That’s because non-voters, who were about 43% of the electorate in 2008, favor Obama by a margin of about 2.5 to one.

Indeed, the resources and political power that Republicans mobilized in an effort to deny millions of Americans their right to vote, and to suppress voter turnout, raise serious questions about their legitimacy as a political party. A legitimate political party does not rely on preventing citizens from voting, in order to prevail at the polls, any more than a legitimate government relies on repressing freedom of speech or assembly in order to remain in power.

Barack Obama’s carefully crafted economic populism carries the day,” Mark Weisbrot

We’ve said for years— maybe too confidently– that the Republican party is doomed by demographics. Or, rather, that the so-called Southern Strategy is doomed by demographics. There just aren’t enough white people in the U.S. to allow the right-wing to rely on racism to get out the vote. The Bush administration was a bit of an anomaly, allowing the Yahoos to use the fear of terrorism (along with the racism) to get into office.

I think the Tea Party is a similar anomaly, a right-wing populism rushing in to fill the vacuum created by the Democratic party’s timidity. It was bound to fail because the Republican party has little interest in helping working people and will only shrink government if there’s a buck to be made. I’m hoping that someone like Elizabeth Warren and perhaps Sherrod Brown, will keep a populist fire under the Obama administration’s feet.

No one was running the Republican Party this time except the Yahoos like Karl Rove. They’ve convinced themselves that it was their marketing skills, and not the widening income disparity (or 9-11 or two wars) that created the Tea Party and that maintains the Republican stranglehold on the House. This time, at least, the big lies didn’t work. That might be a more important victory than the reelection of the president.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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