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The Party of Brownshirts

By Paul Craig Roberts

04/16/07 "ICH" -- -- Neoconservatives have turned the Republican Party into a Brownshirt Party. 

Look at the evidence.  While real patriots flee the party, the remaining supporters cling to power by asserting dictatorial dominance for President Bush.  The Republican Attorney General denies that the US Constitution provides habeas corpus protection to American citizens.  Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, Republican candidates for the 2008 presidential campaign, believe the president has the power to imprison US citizens indefinitely without warrants or trials.  The “conservative” Federalist Society favors concentrating more power in the executive. Neoconservative ideologues claim the right to impose American hegemony over all others--especially over Muslims.  

All of these Republican tyrants and budding tyrants claim to be protecting liberty and democracy.

Polls show that the percentage of Americans who tilt Republican has declined to 35 percent. Republican recruits are refusing to run for Congress. Ken Mehlman, until recently the party’s chairman, says many voters have lost confidence in Republicans. To win back people’s confidence, Mehlman says the party will have to become less reliant on white males and expand its support among Hispanics and blacks.

Decency and intelligence have departed Republican ranks. The party’s shrunken base consists of ignorant and fearful people who believe Muslim jihadists are going to murder them in their beds, rapture evangelicals who believe that war in the Middle East is the prelude to their being wafted up to heaven, the military-security complex reveling in power and fortune, and resentful and frustrated people who can freely vent their anger and hate on “terrorists.”

This collection of fear, delusion, greed, and resentment comprises the 30 percent of Americans who constitute Bush’s base.  The Republican Party has made itself so unattractive that Democrats believe that it is now possible for a woman or a black to win the presidency.

The Republican Party lost its majority for the following reasons:

Greedy transnational corporations offshored US manufacturing jobs and destroyed the hopes and livelihoods of blue-collar Reagan Democrats.  The gains from offshoring are diffused, but the costs are concentrated.

The same greedy and short-sighted corporations have spent the first years of the 21st century destroying the prospects of American middle class university graduates by offshoring jobs in professional services and by importing foreigners on work visas who work for less. 

Neoconservatives captured conservative philanthropies, cut off funding to true conservatives, and used the captured conservative foundations to entrench themselves as advisors to the Republican party.  The same neoconsertives that Reagan fired as a result of the Iran-Contra scandal occupy important policy positions in the Bush administration and dominate the National Security Council.

Republican “law and order” apathy to civil liberties easily transferred to the “war on terror.”  Republicans regard civil liberties as protective devices for criminals and terrorists. Republicans mistakenly believe that the law can be cut down selectively so that only certain despised groups are deprived of its protection. 

The Bush administration lied to the American people and invaded two countries on false pretenses for indefensible reasons that the administration has never acknowledged.  The war has had catastrophic consequences that are now apparent to a majority of Americans, but the Republican Party still supports the continuation of the war.

The Bush administration has destroyed American prestige and moral aura with torture scandals and disregard for Iraqi, Afghani, Palestinian and Lebanese civilian lives.

The Bush administration’s budget and trade deficits have undermined the dollar.  The Bush administration is calling for currency realignments that will lower the real incomes of import-dependent Americans.

The Bush administration’s determination to exercise American hegemony through warfare, and its assaults on civil liberties, the separation of powers,  American prestige and on good American jobs and the value of the dollar have destroyed the party’s support.  

America’s virtue is its Constitution. An administration that attacks the Constitution attacks America’s virtue.  The true dangers that Americans face come from George W. Bush and Richard Cheney and their neoconservative  Brownshirt Party.

Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is author or coauthor of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

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