children of all ages

from The Group News Blog
sara robinson writes:

Over time, some weird alliances formed. The corporate and military-industrial cons played a lot of golf and joined each other's boards. The religious cons embraced the free market as the Bible's ordained economic order; and they also fell in love with the military and started buying up Warrior Jesus Action Figures. The military cons began to make it clear that getting right with God was at least as important as combat experience for anyone who hoped to be promoted. In a few quiet corners of the Big Tent, at least, things got pretty cozy.

Still, the tensions never went entirely away -- and you have to pity the poor Republican presidential candidates who aspired to be the ringleader in charge of this three-ring circus. You couldn't make it to the White House with just one or two of these acts under the whip; you had to get all three lined up and ready to perform at your command. Furthermore, that thin handful of shared beliefs that held the roof up -- imperialism, racism, antipathy to democracy, militarism, and authoritarianism -- was absolutely unacceptable to the vast majority of Americans; so you couldn't put any of that rigging out there where the voters might chance to see it.

So you learned to talk in code, and to distract and dazzle with fine lies and bright lights and shadow; and to master the fine art of "message discipline." The common ground a candidate could stand on was so very small: one tiny tip in one direction or another, and you'd risk saying something stupid that would alienate one of the other two groups. So you stuck to the short list of topics you could safely discuss in public -- low taxes, limited government, personal responsibility, and strong defense -- while tossing a few winks on the sly to the religionists and the racists. Talking about anything else in more detail was likely to start a brawl.

READ MORE: The GOP: From Big Tent to Three-Ring Circus

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