From the frying pan into the fire, the Speaker of the House debacle
Or… how to destroy American Democracy
Yesterday, the Extremist dominated, Republican party took another unsteady step towards destroying American democracy by, not only failing to elect a SoH/ Speaker of the House, but nominating an even more extreme competitor.
The predictability of this is clearly visible to those who truly understand narrative, not the US national security community understanding but actual expertise.
As I and my colleagues at Narrative Strategies have often written about, the key to predictably comes in understanding the actual identity of audiences, NOT demographics, the mainstay of marketing. This is a narrative principle that those entrusted with protecting us from foreign influence, refuse to grasp. Even the Pentagon’s new doctrine, JP 3-04 is a critical lesson in misunderstanding narrative.
Now… back to the SoH debacle that is playing out in front of the nation and the world. For the past 7 years, at a minimum, the Republican party has aggressively cultivated an extremist party, hell-bent on destroying our democracy and replacing it with an authoritarian power structure based on elite dominance. If this sounds familiar, it’s the Russian model with Putin ruling over oligarchs that support him. Other oligarchs who fail to… end up accidently falling out of high windows with strangulation marks around their necks or with gunshot wounds. In fact, in a case-study I will begin working on this year, I will point directly at FOX media/ Rupert Murdoch for their decades-long creation of a Pavlovian audience based on fake American values and fake patriotism.
The current Republican party is literally an extremist movement. This is my professional opinion with a couple of decades of my national security career, immersed in CT/CVE, Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism. Principled conservatives have either left or no longer support the party. Those who remain have no voice, even if they had the courage to speak up for our national values. This is about as rare as finding a T-Rex in your backyard. In fact, I would go so far as to call out all media for calling them conservatives. They are not. Not one thing accomplished over the past few years can be mentioned in the same sentence as principled conservatism, which I define as the principles of former POTUSes, Eisenhower or H.W. Bush. Both would deny the current party and from my opinion, would be correct.
So today, seeing the global news, there is coverage of the SoH debacle in every corner of the world. Yes, the entire planet is seeing one of our two major parties, behaving like Putin, Bolsonaro, Orban’, Modi, Maduro or similar’s thugs.
Narratives are damn near impossible to change without internal and principled narrators from within, or from those who are supposed to actually understand narrative. Without a substantial group of principled conservatives voicing a courageous case from within today’s extremist Republican party, the country will have to depend on all others and those actual principled conservatives outside the party to sustain America’s place of democratic leadership in the world. Trump, Putin, 1%ers of greed like Musk, Adelson, Koch etc still using the weakest links like McCarthy, Jordan, Scalise, Gaetz and the idiots led by Santos, MTG, Boebert etc. to help them acquire more wealth, hence power, US democracy will remain at significant risk.
As I type this, McCarthy has lost round 4 of voting for SoH. Where the hell are principled conservatives? Where is their voice? Yes, rhetorical questions. They are as described above, absent, corrupted, cowardly or all three.
Today I will also add a little personal information regarding my feelings about Jim Jordan. This extremist lives just outside the small Ohio town I hail from. Another close and smaller town is where 4-H began. Yes, the wholesome organization that teaches our youth, morals and skills, centered around farming and related occupations. The 4 Hs refer to American qualities very similar to what George Washington patterned his life on and best described as virtue, by Roman philosophical standards. I was involved in 4-H, as were my parents and later, my children. Jim Jordan, the cowardly and immoral extremist, represents not one damn thing about American values and especially the small rural values that I was raised with. He represents a community wholly swayed by false and destructive narratives. Such is the power of narrative. He’s at the root of supporting a traitor, an armed insurrection, Russian propaganda and dishonestly turning Americans against each other for personal power. This is just the short list. He also represents a district that is easily one of the worst gerrymandered, in the nation. I am beyond embarrassed by those voting for him where I was raised. Keeping him in office is a threat to US democracy.
If any truly principled Republicans remained in the party, they would band together and restore American democracy. The only two that tried regarding the January 6th, armed insurrection are now no longer in Congress. The so-called base, wouldn’t tolerate principles and those with them, don’t have the guts to demand them from their colleagues. This my friends is the state of American democracy as we begin the new year. Tragically, instead of making the progress our nation is capable of, we must expend countless millions/ billions fighting to keep American democracy alive in the face of another… domestic assault from the Republicans.
As usual, I must add my normal disclaimer to this type of post. I frankly don’t give a damn about big money political parties. This is even more true in the wake of SCOTUS’s,. “Citizens United” case that allowed money, already a threat to control our policy making in Congress and beyond. That case has also allow foreign adversaries and competitors to have too much control over our Congress. Things will only get worse with an activist SCOTUS that includes three activist Associate Justices who dishonestly claimed ROE vs. WADE was “settled law” while supporting an opinion based on toxic misogyny from a 17th English legal expert.
Our founders were absolutely right about how to protect bloody acquisition of American democracy. It requires morality, integrity, equitable law, limits on financial contributions and most of all, a well and accurately informed citizenry. If those who believe in American democracy wish to keep it, now is the time to stand up for it, not for a party, any party. If you are still watching/ reading FOX, Breitbart, Newsmax or any comparison on the other side of the aisle, you have already proclaimed that you don’t give a damn about America.
Today’s post is admittedly harsh but someone must lead on this since nearly half of America has already decided to fail our founders.
Thanks to all who’ve taken the time to read until the end,
AKA, Cincinnatus when I have to be…
Thank you for your cogent response, Paul, and the recommendation of First Principles. Also, hadn't really considered Scottish Enlightenment philosophy as a foundational master narrative structure within US master narrative identity, but as a proud McEwan and fan of Adam Smith, well, of course! Regarding rhetoric and narrative strategies, your comment on Logos, Pathos, and Ethos is interesting. I can see a connection, and an implicit typology of strategies under those headings.. I clearly need more grounding in rhetoric and its history to develop my theoretical work on narrative strategies. As always, thank you for your patience and generosity in response. Maggie
thank you for the essay above, Paul. The link to the Roman virtues page was particularly interesting. Would you say that you consider true American values to be equivalent in kind and type to the Roman virtues listed?