We ought to become acquainted with how we conservatives must appear to GOP establishment politicians, analysts and strategists. At every instance of their serial abuses of the grass-roots, conservatives “go wobbly” and buckle, ultimately returning to the fold. They know how to pull at our heartstrings and seize on our desperation in order to get us to back down from our outraged, uppity high horses. They play the loyalty card, the race card, the poverty card, and anything else they can contrive in order to convince us to return their waiting arms in order to comply with their wishes, but it’s the whip they hold to which we ought pay more attention. They don’t see us as equals, but as a herd of inferiors to be managed, and in order to do so, sometimes they recognize the need to grovel a little. It should sound familiar to conservatives any time they listen to the latest establishment attempts at re-framing their disgusting behavior into something born of the “best intentions.” Just like serial domestic abusers, the establishment always make a rationalized, dishonest appeal in order to avoid charges of abuse, and just like the real victims of domestic abuse, we conservatives keep going back when they offer their excuses:
“I didn’t mean any offense. I didn’t want to hurt you. It was all just one big confused misunderstanding. I’m sorry you took my actions as a sign that I meant you harm. Nothing could be further from the truth. Can’t we just get along and make it all better? We can seek counseling. I’ll enroll in AA! You know I really love you, and I only do these things because I love and need you so much. I didn’t want you to make the choices you did because I only wanted to protect you[from yourself.] Baby, this will never, ever happen again.”
Of course, that’s what they say, but it’s not what they mean. For example, Karl Rove is trying to undermine Iowa Congressman Steve King in any attempt to run for Senate in the next election cycle, and he’s happy to point to dishonest statistics about King’s re-election campaign in 2012. What Rove won’t tell you is that King’s re-election bid was as narrow as it had been because Democrats made his district a priority, dumping millions of dollars of anti-King advertising into the district. As Mark Levin pointed out during the second hour of his Friday show, Rove wasn’t satisfied with mere distortion when availing himself of the podium of Sean Hannity’s radio show. Instead, he resorted to outright lies. Here’s audio from Dr. Levin’s show:
This process by which the establishment wing of the GOP attacks grass roots targets should seem familiar to readers. It should also sound familiar to anybody who has ever worked in law enforcement, social services, or even listened to a few tapes of 9-1-1 calls. Millions of women and not a few men have lived through the self-imposed nightmare of returning again and again to an abusive spouse(or significant other) in order to retain some semblance of normalcy and predictability in their lives. They just want the beatings to stop. They just want it to end, but so desperate to hold onto some part of their lives, they frequently return for another dose, often ending in tragedy. After all, haven’t we conservatives behaved with freakish precision like sufferers of what had been known formerly as “battered wife syndrome?” Do you doubt me? Imagine Karl Rove in a plain-white sleeveless undershirt. You get the picture.
Many people ask the obvious question about battered spouses: “Why do they keep going back?” If you’re a member of the Republican party, but also a conservative in principle and philosophy who has become annoyed or offended by the direction of the GOP, it’s time for you to ask that same question of yourself. Some will say I have been too crass in posing such an analogy, but I think it’s fitting because it seems to me that when it comes down to the point at which rational people would flee for the sake of self-preservation, too often, we stop and return to the scene of the abuse, knowing what must be coming eventually, despite all the promises of reformation. We’ve heard the rationalizations:
“It’s better now. Fault has been admitted, and we’re seeking counseling, and I’m treated much better now.”
All of these are preludes to the real confession of helplessness that follows:
“Besides, what else was I going to do? Leave? Where would I go? What would I do? Better to stay put.”
With respect to the Republican Party and its miserable, corrupt establishment, who among conservatives hasn’t contemplated some version of these notions in order to trick themselves into holding the nose and walking back in to the booth to pull the lever for the GOP’s preferred candidates? Right. Me. You. Virtually all conservatives have gone through this one or more or even dozens of times, and each time, we knew with virtual certainty what would be coming: Another attack by the establishment on the grass-roots, or another surrender by party leadership to the leftist agenda would soon be in the offing. Once the electoral objectives are met for the cycle, we and our issues are discarded and off we go with the next Republican-led effort at big government statism, and further support of a purely leftist agenda. It happens so often that we cringe now when a Republican hand is raised, expecting it to smash down on us as it has done so many times before.
Many were outraged by the actions of the GOP establishment in 2011-12, but in the end, how many of us did their bidding anyway? We keep coming back. Even a dog learns that if you recall him, only to bash his nose with a rolled-up paper, approaching you is something to be done at his peril. Eventually, the dog won’t come back at all, and no amount of false praise or treats will make him return when called because he has learned recall is the prelude to another beating. Are we conservatives not more able to recognize our antagonists than are dogs? Do we not possess the requisite self-esteem to leave?
What we have done is to reinforce the behavior of our batterers. It’s gotten so bad that fleeing for a night or a week to the political battering victims’ shelter of the blogosphere or talk radio to voice our displeasure will no longer be enough. It’s time finally to press charges and stand up for ourselves and go, never to return. Yes, there will be hard times as a result, but the long-run dangers of staying are worse, and at some point, for people who claim to be concerned with the welfare of their children, shouldn’t we correct the environment in which they will be growing?
I say “we must go.” Otherwise, how many black eyes will we endure? How many betrayals? How much infidelity must we accept? We might claim that we had no choice but to stay, or to return, but after the tenth 9-1-1 call to Rush Limbaugh, our whining begins to lose its impact. Do you think the GOP establishment hasn’t noticed our regular return to the fold, irrespective of what they do to us next? We fall for their sweetened tone because we want to, and because it’s harder to strike out on our own than to come back and live in terror of our next beating at their hands. It’s time to recognize that it is our fear of the uncertainty that fuels our repeated returns, but also that in so doing, what we are guaranteeing instead is a certain result that will only grow worse. We must ask instead how much we value such predictability, if it amounts only to the certainty of our next beating. It’s time for conservatives to reject the continued abuse at the hands of their tormentors in the Republican establishment. It’s time to break the cycle.
Note: It’s not my intention to minimize domestic abuse, but instead to demonstrate how conservatives have responded to their abusers in the same way many victims of real domestic abuse react to their plights. I don’t intend to compare the horrors inflicted on such victims with the political victimization that goes on the Republican party, except as an illustration of how dependent conservatives have become on their abusers. The immediate results of the political context I’m discussing in no way measure up to the terror under which victims of domestic violence live, but I will point out that in terms of the country and its future, the dire consequences of permitting the abuse of the GOP establishment to continue will be no less severe on a national basis.