The ongoing orgy of tears for GHWB is starting to really grate on my nerves. It’s part and parcel of an issue that seems to afflict the news media almost as much as it does the GOP: an overwhelming belief in what you want to be true, at the expense of the reality in front of your face. It comes up most when you have the Never-Trump Republicans bemoaning the fact that there is no place for them, that they are pious principled individuals with no party and only some third middle way will ever bring back the rightful true America.
First of all, there was never a rightful true America. The great age of compromise and parties that were less ideologically sorted happened at a time when African-Americans were largely cut out of the political process in the South. Rednecks were all for the government when it was delivering Social Security and TVA electricity and paved roads, but as soon as the government said “we have to give all this stuff to the people who aren’t white as well” the necks lost their minds. The great re-sorting of the South to the GOP happened after the civil rights movement, and the partisan sorting of the South into the GOP happened once all the Democratic incumbents of the era were dead or retired. So begin with that: the past is a lie.
Secondly, consider the Democrats now. Are the Democrats going to go in on white people? Unlikely, because white voters are still a plurality of the Democratic base. Are the Democrats against the working class? Not at all, once you consider that the working class isn’t just white people. A lot of the policies that are out there helping poor folks of color are – surprise surprise right in your eyes – helpful to white folks too, and would probably be even more so if the people who claim to represent the white working class weren’t actively sabotaging those efforts. The GOP has made bank for 25 years running against a caricature of Democrats, usually wrapped up in Hillary Clinton-hatred if not outright racism, and you can track that all the way back to George Herbert Walker Precious Moments Bush and his manager, Lee Atwater.
Because look at the Obama years. There were agonies taken to try to get the GOP to buy into a plan that was literally the Heritage Foundation’s Republican alternative to Hillarycare twenty-five years earlier, and they failed. There was a Supreme Court vacancy that was to be filled by yet another white male who was specifically taken from a list of acceptable candidates provided by the GOP committee chair, and he got stonewalled for a year and left by the roadside. There was vigorous prosecution of illegal immigration and the war on terror, probably more than the Democrats would have tolerated from a GOP president, and for it we heard that the Democrats were flinging open the borders and welcoming in ISIS (and given the declining rates of both illegal immigration and foreign terror attacks on US soil all the way to 2016, one can only assume that the “WE’RE OPEN” sign was greeted with “Nah we’re good”).
The Never-Trump press and its amen corner in the Perpetually Sorrowful commentariat have invented this wonderful middle road, and put a left-wing seize-the-means-of-production Weather Underground caricature on one side and Trump on the other. And only one of those three things is real. And right now, the closest thing to said wonderful middle road is the Democratic Party, which right now is probably only just reaching the level of liberalism it held in the 1980s during those mythical days when Saint Ronnie and Tip O’Neill would sort it all out over bourbon after hours.
Because your beautiful beloved George Herbert Walker Bush cast his last Presidential vote for Hillary Clinton. There’s your fucking reality check. Now go cash it.