You see their faces everywhere, proclaiming how broken the Republican Party is now. What you don’t see is them realizing they’re the ones who built this thing.
I mean, you don’t think the Republican Party was in great shape before the Orange Menace took its ride down the escalator to proclaim its candidacy in the name of racism and dishonesty, did you?
Don’t you remember the Southern Strategy used by Richard Nixon to win the White House with dog-whistle phrases that racists would understand and the rest of us might not? “Welfare queen.” “Poor people are just lazy. If they would pick themselves up by their bootstraps …”
Reagan’s campaign was even worse, as he promised to stop giving “handouts” like food and medical care to poor people to force them to work. And we all knew these greedy, lazy bastards weren’t white like we were. No, it was those Black and Brown people who were multiplying like mad and taking all OUR money.
Papa Bush’s campaign went to Willie Horton, the Black man who was released from jail for the weekend in Massachusetts and committed a second murder. Bush blamed then-governor Michael Dukakis, who was running against him in the presidential election in 1988, for being “soft on crime.” What that really did was convince racists that Bush was on their side. He would have kept this criminal in jail forever, even had him put to death. Racists ate it up.
Clinton was little better than a Republican, ending Aid to Families with Dependent Children and other programs to help lift poor people out of poverty and replacing them with shorter, less effective solutions, and putting in place trade agreements that harmed American workers and sent almost all of the good-paying jobs overseas. Clinton’s “miracle” economy moved wealth upward again and left workers in he cold.
Then things got really crazy with George W Bush and Dick Cheney and all their cronies. This is where Steve Schmidt and Michael Steele come in. They were the architects of what the Republican Party has become. They worked tirelessly to advance the cause of trickle-down economics, illegal wars, torture and the establishment of a permanent underclass to serve the rich.
As we cheer Steele and Schmidt for fighting fascism, we need to remember they helped to create this mess. They stood by and approved while all of out political traditions and mores were dismantled so the Republicans could have their “revolution.”
When Donald Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the Army you have,” they cheered and did the rounds of talk shows to defend him.
When the administration opened the prison at Guantanamo Bay, they defended it.
They defended “rendition,” which involved kidnapping people for “interrogation” in secret sites.
Every step Bush and Cheney took away from Democracy and toward fascism, they were in lock-step.
Then came 45. They fell silent.
By comparison, George W. looks like a statesman, so now we’ve rehabilitated him. Look what a good guy he is. He wasn’t fascist at all. meanwhile, Gitmo is still open and nobody’s talking about it.
Neither Steele nor Schmidt appear to understand their own complicity in the mess we’re in now, with members of Congress involved in an attempted coup on Jan. 6 — and four months later, those members are not only still in Congress, they just ousted Dick Cheney’s daughter from her leadership position because she won’t repeat the Big Lie that Biden isn’t really president because victory was stolen from the former guy.
Fascism isn’t defeated here. In fact, it’s still gaining strength, and it’s thanks in large part to the work done by Steele and Schmidt, who helped Bush and the GOP defy convention after convention, paving the way for this disgusting madman to take over the party.
Schmidt and Steele are no heroes. They created this mess and now they want you to forget their role in it.