The Evidence Establishes, without Question, that Republican Rule Is Dangerous: Why It Is High Time to Fix This Situation, For the Good of the Nation
By JOHN W. DEAN
Friday, Oct. 31, 2008
Occasionally, during the past eight years of writing this column, I have addressed the remarkably dangerous manner in which Republican Party officials rule the nation when they control one or more of the three branches of the federal government. Over the same period, I’ve also made this argument, even more directly and loudly, in three books on the subject.
In this column, I will be more pointed on this subject than I have ever been, while also repeating a few key facts that I have raised earlier – because Election Day 2008 now provides the only clear remedy for the ills of Republican rule.
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The Republican Approach to Government: Authoritarian Rule
Republicans rule, rather than govern, when they are in power by imposing their authoritarian conservative philosophy on everyone, as their answer for everything. This works for them because their interest is in power, and in what it can do for those who think as they do. Ruling, of course, must be distinguished from governing, which is a more nuanced process that entails give-and-take and the kind of compromises that are often necessary to find a consensus and solutions that will best serve the interests of all Americans.
Republicans’ authoritarian rule can also be characterized by its striking incivility and intolerance toward those who do not view the world as Republicans do. Their insufferable attitude is not dangerous in itself, but it is employed to accomplish what they want, which is to take care of themselves and those who work to keep them in power.
Authoritarian conservatives are primarily anti-government, except where they believe the government can be useful to impose moral or social order (for example, with respect to matters like abortion, prayer in schools, or prohibiting sexually-explicit information from public view). Similarly, Republicans’ limited-government attitude does not apply regarding national security, where they feel there can never be too much government activity – nor are the rights and liberties of individuals respected when national security is involved. Authoritarian Republicans do oppose the government interfering with markets and the economy, however – and generally oppose the government’s doing anything to help anyone they feel should be able to help themselves.
In my book Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches, I set forth the facts regarding the consequences of the Republicans’ controlling government for too many years. No Republican – nor anyone else, for that matter – has refuted these facts, and for good reason: They are irrefutable.
The McCain/Palin Ticket Perfectly Fits the Authoritarian Conservative Mold
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican candidates, have shown themselves to be unapologetic and archetypical authoritarian conservatives. Indeed, their campaign has warmed the hearts of fellow authoritarians, who applaud them for their negativity, nastiness, and dishonest ploys and only criticize them for not offering more of the same.
The McCain/Palin campaign has assumed a typical authoritarian posture: The candidates provide no true, specific proposals to address America’s needs. Rather, they simply ask voters to "trust us" and suggest that their opponents – Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden – are not "real Americans" like McCain, Palin, and the voters they are seeking to court. Accordingly, McCain and Plain have called Obama "a socialist," "a redistributionist," "a Marxist," and "a communist" – without a shred of evidence to support their name-calling, for these terms are pejorative, rather than in any manner descriptive. This is the way authoritarian leaders operate.
In my book Conservatives Without Conscience, I set forth the traits of authoritarian leaders and followers, which have been distilled from a half-century of empirical research, during which thousands of people have voluntarily been interviewed by social scientists. The touch points in these somewhat-overlapping lists of character traits provide a clear picture of the characters of both John McCain and Sarah Palin.