We are seeing a measurable fracture, a two-part breakage to the Republican Party. This results from infiltration of the GOP based on contributions from the same families and sources of money that financed the John Birch Society from the beginning. Birchers in the House are pursuing JBS goals and recycling JBS slogans.
This is the Birch Society, not the populist Tea Party from 2009. Recent efforts by JBS have centered on rebranding efforts. Suddenly they present as soft Libertarians, are racially neutral, as pro-Jewish, and as constitutionalists.
Effectively, based on "Fiscal Cliff" votes and the changeover to 2013, we have three distinct caucuses in the House of Representatives:
- Regular Democrats (now 201 Members)
- Business Republicans (84 Members)
- Birch Society Republicans (150 Members)
Birchers are anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-compromise, and opposed to taxes in all forms and appearances. The Bircher billionaires' agenda is not the mainstream Republican businessmen's agenda.
The Koch family helped found the John Birch Society. They remain prime backers for these Bircher Republicans. They assure that JBS ideological slogans and xenophobic paranoia define Bircher campaigns.
Bircher infiltration of the Republican Party (1984-2004 and 2010) is covered here. Gold Rules. Spend $3-trillion over the years and seat after seat in Republican areas fell to Bircher candidates.
At the same time President Obama is seen, clearly, to have set about playing off these Bircher and Business Republicans against each other. Significantly, Obama has timed his alternating "Cave"/"No Cave" messages during "Fiscal Cliff" negotiations to maximize the Bircher schism.
National leaders for this Birch Society Republican party are reported as Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Marco Rubio. The earlier populist Tea Party people have quit the game, more than not. One of the co-founders, Mark Meckler, was arrested at New York's LaGuardia Airport and charged with felony possession of a weapon, for trying to get a pistol onto an airliner. Michele Bachmann is the chairman of the 60 Members of the more populist Tea Party Caucus in the House.
Nationally these Bircher Republicans show up pushing traditional John Birch Society positions, often using language that goes back decades. These positions range from eliminating use of fluoride in drinking water to opposing the teaching of evolution to anti-communism and anti-Islam to cutting off use of non-real estate tax revenues to help educate minority students.
Their public statements and the language of the Bills they pass in the House of Representatives fall far outside the bounds of mainstream Bush or Reagan or Eisenhower Republicanism.
Still, JBS approved candidates began to achieve success as early as 1984. They replaced normal conservative Republicans steadily through 2004 and then made further inroads in 2010.
The official Tea Party Caucus has 60 members. Hard core Birchers show up with approximately 150 votes on key issues.
Large sums of money flow into some 250 congressional races. The propaganda arm of this movement has centered, in recent years, on Freedomworks. Dick Armey, Jack Kemp, C. Boyden Gray, Bill Bennett, Matt Kibbe, and Steve Forbes served as the familiar right wing mavens. Koch and other ".01%er" money goes for such as $10 million worth of campaign paraphernalia bearing modernized JBS slogans.
Bircher Republicans say, increasingly, that they are willing to shut down the day-to-day operations of the federal government, to default on debt payment, and to freeze all actions in Congress. Pursuit of the Bircher billionaires' agenda is what matters.
You would be hard pressed to find one elected national-office Democrat who is on board for the main elements of the Bircher agenda. Sixteen Democrats voted against this recent fiscal deal, but none of them are Birchers. (Alan Grayson in Florida helped fund Peg Dunmire. She served as an unwitting False Flag candidate, presenting as a Bircher-Fascisti. She attracted racist voters from a mainstream Republican opponent.)
A typical Bircher Republican reaction to the "Fiscal Cliff" vote is provided by Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina:
"We have not cut spending. In fact, the one place we were supposed to cut spending was on the sequester [and associated measures.] But that got delayed. So our question as conservatives is, when are we going to start this battle over spending? We've waited two years now. We're not going to wait much longer."
The Birchers have run the country to the edge of default and over this "fiscal cliff." What does it take to make a political "battle" in their eyes?
The goals you see in their slogans are difficult to translate to law, except for fighting taxes:
- Honor the Constitution
- Reduce the size and intrusiveness of the government
- Stop raising taxes
- No more bailouts or crony capitalism
- Repeal Obamacare
- Cease out-of-control spending
- Reduce the national debt
- Bring back American prosperity and jobs
- Restore traditional American values
They have no understanding of capitalist macroeconomics or the operation of national accounts. They're more in line with feudalism and Mercantilism. America is in a Balance Sheet recession, exacerbated by lending dysfunction at the Too Large To Fail banks. The Birchers have no idea how recessions operate or than banking is a critical element.
Of course they oppose any and all jobs bills. Their ideas for traditional values run to bigotry, gun-nut fantasies, and a Pax Americana global militarism. Their economic knowledge runs parallel to their knowledge of the science connected to Global Warming.
They demonstrate no awareness of the management issues that underlie the big long-term budget issues. They never say a word about the Big Buck problems: medical expenses for chronic care and elderly disabled patients; the "mission creep" that has driven military spending since the Korean War; and our failure to keep up America's infrastructure of bridges, anti-drought reservoirs, and the like.
Birchers learn nothing from established, peer approved experts.
"No awareness" is the key. Bircher candidates go out of their way to maintain Know Nothing status. At public events they refuse to answer questions. They never publish position papers or endorse professional work that establishes planned-and-budgeted government policy alternatives. Their idea of a "budget plan" is a half-dozen slogans with no numbers.
They like prayer. They do not like government action. That is what you get as the prime drive of 150 Members of this 2013 session of the House of Representatives.
Essentially they are hostile to democracy, which for the United States of America developed from the sceptical, reality-testing premises of the Enlightenment. Here is the text, written by Gouverneur Morris as head copywriter of the 1787 "committee of style" (supporting the legal work of James Madison), that set forth our core goals and coincidentally named this country:
Preamble to the Constitution
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Even in the 21st Century with competition from a couple dozen advanced industrial nations, these Birch Society Republicans oppose large-scale government actions that would either "establish Justice" or "promote the general Welfare." They would stop at setting up police and sufficient schools to turn out some number of students with passable literacy.
They were perfectly willing to go to the barricades to eliminate a simple CDC program to get rid of poisonous lead in the environment. The lead is thoroughly documented as poisonous. Lead poisoning from existing background deposits affects millions of children. The Birchers would have none of it for federal lead abatement.
They are careful to keep their analysis statements to one-liner slogans. Here are the slogans that win top place in one of their polls:
- Dear President Obama, Did They Accept Our Apologies?
- It Is When People Forget God That Tyrants Forge Their Chains (Patrick Henry)
- George Soros, Puppet Master
- God Has Given Us a Christian Nation (John Jay, 1st US Chief Justice)
- U.S. Out Of U.N.
- We Are Not Tolerant of Treason!
- Public Schools: Leftist Re-Education Camps
- An Education Without the Bible Is Useless (Noah Webster, Founding Father)
- Liberal Congress: Killing Our Economy and Raising Unemployment, Since 2006
- Seal The Borders NOW
- If Liberals Could Win an Election, Why So Much Voter Fraud?
- Sheriff Joe Arpaio - A Real American!
- GOP Leaders, You Are the Problem! We Don't Want Moderates!
- BUILD THE FENCE
- It Isn't the Quanity (sic) (Term Limit), Its the Quality (Character)
- Loss of Sovereignty At Core of Obama Agenda
- Background Checks and Questionnaires for All Politicians, Judges
- We Want an In-Depth Investigation of Soros, Obama, and Acorn!
- Get 'em Out Now! Every Day They Destroy America More!
- Mainstream Media, Hollywood - Guilty of Treason? Yes, They Are!
- Don't Expect Wicked Men to Pass Good Laws
- Clean Up the National Voter Registration System Up Now!
- Thank God for the 2nd Amendment
- Remove the RINOs from the Republican Party!
- Bring Family Values Back From Liberal Perversions
- Spend Our Taxes on National Security, Not Liberal Stupidity!
- Wipe Voter Rolls Clean! Re-Register "Legal" Voters Only!
- Impeach Obama!
- O.B.A.M.A. = One Big A** Mistake, America
Apart from references to Soros and Obama, this could be the 1950s Birch Society. "Quanity" is a misspelling. Might have been done by the "moran" guy. Substitute any of the leading Dixiecrats for Sheriff Arpaio. The alleged quote from John Jay is bogus.
Plus that Noah Webster opposed religious education, developed his famous dictionary, and was a supporter but not a participant in the founding of the country. He served Alexander Hamilton by editing the Federalist Party's newspaper from 1793 and then continued successfully in the newspaper and printing business in New York.
The slogans attack the U.N., gun control, moderate Republicans, public schools, Hollywood, and a perceived wickedness in the elected officials of our democracy.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s one of the big John Birch Society themes of the day argued that the Supreme Court had a majority of "secret Communists." These guys today do not get to repeat that claim.
So that is what you've got for the Third Party. They are what they do.
The presidency is likely out of reach for them. As with Senate seats in the larger-population states, excepting Texas and Florida, there is too much publicity generated with the presidency for Birch Society Republicans to win a general election.
Presidential primaries are at the balance point. You could see a Bircher win a primary.
Low-population states' Senate seats are another matter. Rural House seats and Bible Belt seats are also winnable for these candidates. Where the winning total is under 500,000 seats and education level is below average, expect Birchers to do well.
State and local elections are raw meat for their candidates. Beware your local school board. They feast on low turnout elections.
Stealth candidates carry the Birch Society flag. Their campaigns feature disinformation. You have to tally how they vote, where they get their campaign funds, who they work with to figure out there they are politically.
The Deb Fischer campaign in Nebraska is typical of successful efforts. She offered no discrete policy proposals, repeated the same dozen slogans throughout, and ended up taking 57.8% of the popular vote (455,593 ballots) over Bob Kerrey.
Nebraskans think she is a centerist.
Similarly, Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District is represented by John Kline. They have no idea how he votes on issues. His campaigns echo Bircher slogans, but omit the anti-immigrant rants to achieve a 54.1% victory (193,586 ballots.) There is no local coverage for his actions in Congress.
People in MN-02 think John Kline is a centerist.
In fact he gets a 97.8% rating on the right. That is about as far right as you can find, as most of these congressmen vote for "left" bills that support their local businesses and regional initiatives. For the fiscal deal, Kline voted with Boehner. Publicly he spoke against compromise with Obama.
Pat Toomey, a Senator representing Pennsylvania, insists that "all the tax increases in the world would not solve the debt problem in the United States." Toomey's solution is that Republicans in Congress need to shut down the federal government to keep it from spending money.
Mark Halperin replied that "If you let the government shut down, then markets will be in chaos and we will face a debt downgrade." This will lead to a "worldwide recession."
But slogans are what matter to Birchers. Reality-testing. Expert analysis. Even recognizing that a worldwide recession can kick in. None of it matters.
It's all a test of authoritarian Will. Can they get their way? "If that's the leverage that Republicans must use in order to get the federal government to cut spending, then the Republicans must take that course of action." If all they got to exercise their Will is a hammer, then they have to pretend that the rest of the world is nails.
It's all a shell game. Birch Society Republicans get campaign contributions and vast material support from far right billionaires. For the most critical functions in the House of Representatives they present as Americanized "Fascisti" with fundamental opposition to democratic ideals. They target other contributors bound up with Fundamentalist religiosity and all-out tax avoidance.
They are threats to win House seats. They hold at least 150 House seats now and likely have a dozen more Members who backed the fiscal compromise for reason of expediency.
This is a strong political party. They may or may not see themselves as a distinct party. They run as a pack, not as a disciplined political party.
The Bircher clast is not like your father's Republican Party. It is the John Birch Society in word and deed. They conceal their agenda -- like Deb Fischer and John Kline -- and present publicly as moderates and insist they are good compromisers.
It is in too-large a part the "nut cases," such as the hate-driven bigots that Barry Goldwater worked to remove from his own conservative movement during the 1970s and 1980s.
It is fundamentally destructive.
Obama has succeeded in enhancing this split in his opposition by sharpening the self-identification of Members who vote in the Bircher caucus. Whether the split widens or goes back to status as a hidden fault line remains to be seen.
Obama has worked an effective strategy. He starts out issuing public statements that appear to "cave" on policy issues. Then a day or so later there follow detailed policy proposals from his Cabinet that undo the "caves" and infuriate Business Republican leadership. Political analysis within the two Republican camps is driven to utter confusion.
Birch Society Republicans, more than not, have had no idea what was going on. Birchers do not participate in negotiations.
As the Bircher came to distrust their Business Republican partners, they broke off in mid-December and formed their own political clast.
Obama has to know that the Birchers have no strategy whatsoever for their actions in the House of Representatives.
Birchers in the House have one mainstream tactic: they vote against taxes. Nothing if not predictable. Even that tactic is in trouble, come March of 2013, because the debt ceiling and the "sequester" deadline are now set for the same day.
Consider the language of Obama's position on the debt ceiling:
President Obama in his weekly address, Honolulu, Hawaii.
January 4, 2013.
"And as I said earlier this week, one thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up. If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic. The last time Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it. Our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again."
The main backers of the Business Republicans will need to see expensive alterations to the "sequester" deal to satisfy their donors -- not possible without offsetting tax increases. Obama presents these revenue increases as "closing loop holes."
Business Republicans also have no use for Bircher squabbles related to the federal debt limit. Their backers live and die by NYSE stock prices.
"Divide and conquer" goes back to Julius Caesar and to Phillip II of Macedonia before him. You betcha, Barack Obama is aware of the concept.
Birch Society Republicans form up as a major force in American politics. They are a Far Right party on a line with European authoritarian parties though the Birchers have achieved more success by applying camouflage and using the GOP as their hunting blind:
- La Pen's French Front National
- Geert Wilders Freedom Party
- Jörg Haider Austrian Freedom part
They are overtly dishonest, destructive to governance and to democracy. We non-billionaires need to do a lot more than writing them off as a populist, Mad Hatter "Tea Party."
As Joe Biden might say: "This is a big deal."