Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Charlie Pierce is Smarter Than Me

Take it from me, Charlie Pierce over at Esquire is the smartest political writer working today.
There is no question in my mind anymore that the Republican Party has reconfigured itself as a Confederate party. Not because it is so largely white, though it is. Not because it is largely Southern, though it is that, too. And not because it fights so hard for vestigial accoutrements like the Confederate battle flag. The Republican Party is a Confederate party, I think, because that is its view of what the government of the United States should be. It is written quite clearly in the party's platform that the Republicans adopted last week in Tampa: "The Republican party... stands for the rights of individuals, families, faith communities. institutions — and of the States which are their instruments of self-government." 
Or, as John C. Calhoun put it, years earlier: "The error is in the assumption that the General Government is a party to the constitutional compact. The States ... formed the compact, acting as sovereign and independent communities." 
(Writing from his retirement in Virginia, no less an authority than James Madison called bullshit on Calhoun. "The essential difference between a free Government and Governments not free, is that the former is founded in compact, the parties to which are mutually and equally bound by it. Neither of them therefore can have a greater fight to break off from the bargain, than the other or others have to hold them to it."
We are not a union of states. That argument lost in Philadelphia in 1789. The Constitution is a covenant between We, the People, not We, the States. The national government is every bit the "instrument of our self-government" as any state is. Nevertheless, the Republican Party has gone full Tenther. Now a lot of it is couched in arguments against the tyranny of EPA regulations and the jackboots of the individual health-care mandate, but there is no question that the driving force of this theory of government is resistance to full African-American citizenship just the way it was in 1860, in 1879, in 1957, and in 1965. And the most obvious manifestation of that resistance today is the staggering welter of voter-suppression laws that have emerged in the years since the president was elected. Almost all of them are being defended on Tenther grounds; Texas is directly challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
So-called States Rights is and always has been a cover for racism in America.  The Constitution is a pact between The People, not between The States.


  1. Yeah, man. I think we have all been taking note of Republican interpretations of the Constitution as if it were the Articles of Confederation. It's pretty unmistakable. Rejecting the principle of federalism does strengthen the rights and liberties of globalized commerce and finance, though. There's that upside, eh? Pierce is probably more optimistic than I am when he says "... if the Democratic Party doesn't stand in opposition to the Confederate view of the United States that prevails in the other party, it it lets people like Virginia Fields and Henry Marsh down, then there isn't enough left of it to care about it at all."

    I haven't seen much left to care about at all. If the Democratic Party conscientiously resisted Conservatism and Corporatism at any time during the last 30 years we'd not be in this situation now. The Democratic Party has already failed and shows no sign of recognizing its own failure. The party has hollowed itself out. I don't see how it can come back without making a massive shift in party priorities.

  2. Republican governors like Rick Scott and Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted are forcing confrontation - forcing the federal government to intervene - then defying federal authority when it does. I doubt they'll stop pushing for more confrontation.

    Maybe secession was the answer after all? Maybe it's the answer now. Split up the nation 50-50. Conservatives take 25 states and the Southern border. Non-conservatives take 25 states and the Northern border. Split the debt and the deficit. Let them retain the capital. That's a compromise. Maybe better than hoping the GOP will regain sanity and foster sanity within its base.