GOP Needs Divine Intervention
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GOP Needs Divine Intervention


PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Paul Jay in Washington. In Iowa, the caucus is now over, a bit of a tie between Romney
and Santorum with Ron Paul in the third, as everybody probably knows by now. They’ve all
headed off to New Hampshire. But what does all this mean in terms of the coming 2012
election? How is this going to play out a few months from now? Now joining us to help
us deconstruct this is Tom Ferguson. Tom’s a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute,
and he teaches at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Thanks for joining us again, Tom. THOMAS FERGUSON: Hi there. JAY: So what do you make of this roadshow
so far? FERGUSON: Well, it’s–look, let’s face it,
this is a pretty good circus. I mean, you know, we’re back to–you know, back when P.
T. Barnam was a Republican, we’re almost–we’re well past the sucker born every minute in
this one. I mean, look, you’ve got to love a campaign in which, you know, Santorum basically
comes up out of the ground. He’s sort of like in the position–I mean, I know on election
night he was thanking, actually, God. He said that God’s grace got him through that. And
then he just thanked God in public. I mean, my take was this guy survived Iowa pretty
much the way, you know, some small animal like an armadillo might survive a nuclear
exchange. That is to say, Romney blew off–Romney’s super PACs blew off Gingrich and Perry. Perry,
thinking that his, you know, main rival for second or third was probably going to be Ron
Paul, blew Ron Paul off a bit there. And nobody spent any time on Santorum. So, you know,
in the last few days, he’s the only ultraconservative left standing, and he collects the endorsement
of a bunch of resigned evangelical pastors, and he does, you know, pretty well. I mean,
mostly the one thing you’d notice is that three-quarters of the state Republicans that
showed up for the caucus–’cause it’s not a primary–three-quarters of those people
didn’t vote for Romney there. Okay? Now, the question is, you know, what does
this all mean? I think it means now he’s pretty much–that is to say, Santorum’s going to
be now in the sights of the super PACs and he’s going to get blasted. And he’s pretty
vulnerable. He’s got–I mean, this is a guy who claims–walks around telling everybody
he’s a former coal–he’s a coal miner’s son who has in fact become a millionaire since
he left the Senate, in just five or six years, actually, basically by associating with medical–various
medical companies and energy companies, you know, which are the backbone of the ultra-right,
that is to say, in the Republican Party, that is to say, the folks who oppose, you know,
what they keep calling Obamacare or any discussion of global warming. I mean, that’s where Santorum’s
coming from. JAY: Yeah. Let’s unpack that a little bit.
If you look at who’s behind–who is the big money behind this section of the Republican
Party, if you want, this section of the American elite that operates through the Republican
Party, they need to get a lot of votes who are not all going to be multimillionaires,
obviously. A lot of them are going to be middle class, upper middle class people. But in order
to get those people, that wing of the society, to vote for these kinds of policies, at some
point they’re going to have to address the economic crisis, they’re going to have to
have some solutions other than simple formulas about smaller government. What the heck are
they going to say? FERGUSON: Well, this is their problem. I mean,
look, Paul, this is pretty straightforward. I mean, ironically, the leadership of the
national Republican Party is pretty much in the position of generals who prepared for
the wrong war the last war and now fight a new one. I mean, you know, if you’re not a
Republican, I have to tell you, it could be pretty funny. I mean, they’ve spent the last
30 years essentially doing a very strange constructed party [sic]. Their problem basically is this. If you start
studying how the Republicans behave in power, they really shovel money toward the upper-income
voters. I mean, Larry Bartel’s book, you know,Unequal Democracy, there is quite a
good study of this. There’s a lot of others. Anybody who can look at the evolution of the
U.S. tax code will see this. That is to say, Republicans in power are really quite single-mindedly
focused on, really, cash-flowed upper-income groups. But that makes them unpresentable
in public. And it means that they can count on–when they sort of do a national campaign,
they can count on a very large vote in the upper-income groups, although in 2008 their
luck finally ran out there. And then their problem is, since that’s not
enough, they’ve got to find a few other votes. And so, basically what they’ve done for a
generation is find anything they could do to sort of splinter middle- and lower-class
voters, though most lower-class voters, it’s important to note, they are always the most
reliable voters for the Democrats, with essentially almost no exceptions there. Anyway, so what
the Republican Party does is they get the discussion as fast as they can off economic
issues and they move to, well, you know as well as I do, race, guns, abortion, gays,
you name it. And [incompr.] the sort of libertarian streak in the party could even be viewed as
a very special case of that kind of cultivation of sort of exotic plant. And then they sort
of load those folks into a very small electorate. I mean, Republicans also (along with some
conservative Democrats) spend a lot of time trying to push down voter turnout. I mean,
in recent years it’s been mostly trying to get photo ID legislation across, which–there’s
a wave of that since Republicans took over the state legislatures in 2010–and then also
to try to cut down early voting there. Well, I mean, so when you get to a Republican primary,
it’s like a kind–you know, it’s an electorate. It’s like a Japanese garden: it’s been heavily
cultivated for ages. And so they got all cranked up after–for a whole generation or more,
really, since Nixon at least, and, you know, under one reading of this, since 1868. They
have been trying to change the subject. Then they come into this election where, you
know, by all rights the Obama administration should be an easy target. Its economic record
has been awful. The unemployment rate has just been very high. The administration, you
know, came in with–and as we’ve talked many times, they came in with a very small economic
stimulus, one that was half the size of what they needed. They’ve done nothing about mortgages
and they’ve concentrated on just shoveling money first to banks, and then letting them
recover indirectly, I mean, with forbearance schemes. I mean, they basically concentrated
on the banks. They’ve done almost nothing for traditional Democratic constituencies.
By all–or anybody else, except the ultrarich. You know, by all rights they ought to be losers.
But now–so the Republicans see that. They’d love to run on economics. Their problem–and,
I mean, Haley Barbour said the other day, we should just run on economics, and there’s
nobody better connected to big business in the Republican Party than Haley Barbour. JAY: Yeah. But how do they run on economics
when they’ve got to keep a constituency happy within the party whose economics doesn’t lead
to any more jobs? That much seems pretty clear. FERGUSON: Well, look, I have to tell you,
now I think they really do need divine intervention. They got a problem. I mean, you know, they
are–they prepared for the wrong type of campaign. Now they just want to campaign on economics.
And, you know, you’re right. I accept your point. They’d like to keep these folks happy.
What they will now do–. I mean, they’re sort of stuck with this. It’s too–. You know,
you remember the old line when the workers rioted in East Berlin in 1953 and Bertolt
Brecht, you know, famously said, well, maybe the government should dissolve the people
and get a new one? Republicans can’t do that trick in the middle of the election. They’re
going to have to be stuck with their sort of electorate that they’ve cultivated now
for a generation. And so I guess all they do is they spend a [incompr.] super PACs,
they bulldoze these folks, and then they try to keep them from going off to some third
party. You know, as I say, this is an order–Santorum, you know, I don’t believe time is on his side,
but he needs divine intervention. I think he’s got the need for it. JAY: Well, maybe the reason there wasn’t a
stronger field of candidates is that the people that were smart enough to figure this election
out realized it ain’t worth it. I mean, Romney has a shot at it if Obama starts to implode.
But Obama seems to have taken the national security card away from them, which normally
would be a good one, but he’s the guy that got bin Laden, and he’ll be happy to be militaristic,
at least in rhetoric, if not more than rhetoric, about Iran. So he takes that away. He’s been
draconian in terms of civil liberties. He’s deported more people than Bush did. FERGUSON: Well, I agree. JAY: I mean, you go on and on, he’s taken
over the Republican issues. And, in fact, you know, a lot of people were joking, the
Republicans couldn’t have a better president. So it doesn’t look very good for them right
now. FERGUSON: Well, I still think–I mean, if
you look nationwide at voter registration, you’ll find the Democratic edge in that has
disappeared, and in one tabulation counting, now, a move toward independence as a move
away from the Democrats, which I think it is. There’s a 7 or 8 point switch from where
they were in 2008. I think turnout is going to be a huge problem for Obama. I’m not persuaded
that, like, all of the exciting things that the Beltway’s talking about, like suddenly
doing a recess appointment on Richard Cordray (who is a very mixed case anyway–he’s no
Elizabeth Warren), is going to do him all that much good. And frankly, you know, I am
among those who think that, you know, the recent dip in unemployment is likely to be
actually counterbalanced fairly fast. I think it probably will go back up at least once
more before the election. JAY: Well, maybe this election will be decided
by whose people stay home more or less. FERGUSON: I–look, you don’t have presidential
elections with none of the above, but if you did, that would be–I mean, I have never in
my life seen an electorate as jaundiced at both parties as they are right now. JAY: Thanks for joining us, Tom. FERGUSON: Yup. Have a good one. JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

60 Comments

  • kroovyandcal

    It is not possible that a man who got a consistent 1% of the vote surged to 24% on voter day. Fraud. Just like your channel's "dissection"

  • Licmycat

    O-He's a political scientist….no wonder he's tired. Sounds like one that is in the middle like a net between tennis players….the ball aways gets tangled up in it…lol.

  • CalZukiWorks

    @mispistoleros I couldn't have said it better. Lucid and right to the very marrow of the issue. I value and appreciate having TRNN, but in this particular interview… makes me really wonder, why is it, Ron Paul is not at all mentioned, of all the candidates he is the one consistently addressing the subject of the economy! Seriously what's up TRNN?… a former libertarian addressees time and time again, the core variables that effect our economy and he is not worth mentioning? I don't get it.

  • Khannea Sun Tzu Von Thorne–Żytkow

    Would be a change if the Republican party invoked the divine; they have been sacrificing babies to Hell since Nixon.

  • demonorse

    I watched a little of the debates, despite being sickened by the sight of these fools who have never done a days work in their lives. Glittering platitudes was all I heard. Politicians have been using this tactic (along with preachers) for hundreds of years. We are all doomed.

  • carlo a.

    @sk8tafrnk exactly,he regales the besotted youth w/ sexy ideas about ending drug war/legalizing mj,ending liberalism in foreign policy,killing the fed,which are all cool but not as important as his economic policies concerning this country,in domestic econ policy he's just a corporate shill:supports Citizens United,for MORE deregulation(baffling when considering how the financial crisis fermented in the first place).RP JUST doesnt get what's been sodomizing the US for the past 30 years

  • carlo a.

    @HuxleyWasRight no, he loves like hell to incessantly bash the Fed and talk balancing the budget, which is one thing, but has scarce ideas about how to revitalize the economy and shoring in jobs corporations are outsourcing in pursuit of their bottom line(which is antithetical to the US bottom line)–he's a mess in actual long term econ strategy–of course debt should be addressed, but eventually! when the economy is recovered. its too soon to talk repaying debt..we need more stimulus now

  • xxbobdeexx

    Labor unions continued to receive the overwhelming majority of waivers from the president’s health care reform law.
    Documents released in a classic Friday afternoon news dump show that labor unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers from President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation since June 17, 2011.

  • John Smith

    @F250badgirl To quote Stalin "It is not who votes it is who count the votes" DUH! There is not such thing as voter fraud.

  • John Smith

    @taxisgay12 Warren will win the Mass US Senate race. According to a poll in my local Newspaper, the voters prefer her over Scott Brown.

  • John Smith

    @F250badgirl It is just that you sound like someone who supports the voter ID crap. A idea the republicans are using to prevent people from voting so only their candidate wins

  • John Smith

    @F250badgirl Their is no need for voter ID. Illegals don't vote. Dead people don't vote. The real threat to elections are voting machines and people who wish to count the votes in a manner so their candidate wins. Bush both 2000 and 2004 won because of Election fraud not because of voter fraud.

  • daveruda

    Ron Paul is NOT the answer..could someone lift the pink mist from peoples eyes? He is republican hardcore rightwing on many issues…that is scaary!!

  • Matt Mosley

    @daveruda many issues ….. but you should try looking into him before judging him, Paul is "left-wing" on MANY inssues – you are put off by his right-wing membership but not every person on the same side always believe the exact same things

    Ron Paul is anti-war, anti-Fed, Pro-gold standard, anti-NAFTA, anti-Patriot Act, anti-C.I.A and FOR cutting the massive "Defense" budget

    Obama & Co. wouldn't dare touch those subjects and that's why i'm a liberal for Ron Paul myself

  • TravistheHuman

    @sk8tafrnk Russia has a growing economy right now. Do you know the problem with Africa these days? Rwanda and Botswana are doing great compared to other African countries but they implement many free market principles unlike the others. Why would Ron Paul turn us in to Zimbabwe when his economic policies are more like that of Hong Kong's?

  • owl_of_minerva

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS If you think Ferguson sees a big difference between D's and R's, then you didn't actually watch the video, or at least all of it. Go ahead, finish the rest. Alternatively, you could read anything Ferguson has ever published, you will be disabused. Also, Ron Paul does represent the interests of monied classes- the petite bourgeoisie, the tiny CEO's, the little economic dictators. They stand to gain from Paul's policies, even if the big CEO's and the workers don't.

  • owl_of_minerva

    @Mosley2 Ron Paul is also anti-labor-rights, anti-child-rights, anti-public-education, anti-media-business-regulation, anti-universal-healthcare and anti-fair-trade. That is why no liberal, or anyone left of Pinochet can reasonably vote for Paul.

  • John Smith

    @jjcale1111 Voting Machines can rig elections. It is only a conspiracy theory if you don't have a valid source, Greg Palast. Also voter activist Brad Friedman has documented cases of election fraud on his website bradblog org. There are many youtube videos that can show you how to rig voting machines. This is not a theory. It is a fact.

  • Xenu

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS Have I ever listened to Ron Paul? Yes. I know he is opposed to the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, civil rights in general, women's rights, supports the Southern Confederacy and would refuse to fight Hitler. He also has a lot of racist buddies and a racist newsletter. He also wants to destroy social security and medicare. Yeah, that's the type of shmuck I want running the country.

  • carlo a.

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS i have no problem parroting what i perceive and smart, i think that's everyone's fucking maxim…duh, the banks ARE indeed holding a trillion and NOT lending, that's why people should think, ie OWS,about forming demands along the lines of turning banks temporarily in case of economic crises into public assets via a gov takeover, to get the banks to invest in infrastructure and small biz, instead on just venture capitalism w wall street&th estock market

  • Xenu

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS Uh… so you're supporting Ron Paul but don't know any of these facts? And you want us to take you seriously?

  • carlo a.

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS did you learn that admonishment "you just parrot the mainstream media" in a Ron Paul conference entitled "Pity remarks for non-believers?" because you employ it very liberally and probably do so as an opening remark to all skeptics–except listen, not everyone who reproaches RP is a sheep like u haughty RP cultist LOVE to believe-&just stop with the"check the Austrian MODEL!"is vexing as hell &NOT a dumbfoundingly impressive idea,its obscure gibberish

  • Stop And Think

    a lot of philosophies of the modern era seem to take it for granted that oil and or coal will last forever, neither will.

  • daveruda

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS His anti government rethoric has been spewed out of the republican party since the Reagan days at least. Very much against the welfare state..like most republicans. He basicly is against the progress made in the 20th century labour/civil rights movements. Capital over labour kind of guy. Stone cold rightwing!

  • daveruda

    @Mosley2 He is sane in some areas like foregin policy. But domesticly he is in the same old republican bracket. Anti government, anti welfare state…his preference as a libertarian would be the time pre labour/civil rights movements made significant progress.

  • daveruda

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS Whats wrong with labour? Its what drives the world forward…its what most of the population are…workers. Dont think that is socialist at all. Why is a socialist something negative but a libertarian positive? They share some core values of liberty, anti authoritarian..exept that the labour struggles accualy did something good for the population. Ron Paul has repetedly talked against welfare states..but a majority of the population like it..

  • daveruda

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS The constitution also said that slaves, indians and women were not considered full human with full rights. Its an old document made by a wealthy elite to keep itself in power. Protect minority from majority… I dont think one should be a constitutionalist like Ron Paul. But thats just my opinion..dont panic.

  • sirellyn

    @daveruda There's nothing wrong with workers or people working at all.

    There is a problem when people who just want to work for other people also want to call all the shots. People have the freedom to be employers, yet many don't want that, they'd like the freedom OF employers without any of the responsibilities / stress.

  • BoredomCorner

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS So that stuff about the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is all just empty garbage to you?

    If you're going to wax poetic about sacred American values, be consistent.

  • BoredomCorner

    @WhatsReallyGoingOnUS Wanting the working class to have a decent life, is socialist? Thank you for illustrating that libertarians are as stupid as conservatives.

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