If Republicans had any brains, they’d be Tories

With the recent “shutdown” in Washington, the American government resembles either a roundabout or The Godfather Part IV. From the other side of the pond, we can’t quite make out which.

Democrats have u-turned on Syria.

Republicans want to hold the country at knifepoint over Obamacare.

And the Tea Party seems to be looking to burn Capitol Hill to the ground.

Aside from a mild inclination to reference “Remember, Remember…” and “You turn if you want to…”, British Conservatives are finding this all a bit too frantic for our taste. If the argument cannot be won by four, then one had best put it off until tomorrow, lest one be late for tea.

More importantly, shutting down government spending might force us to switch from Fortnum & Mason to PG tips. Fortunately, this stoic approach also affords the benefit of preventing the political transgressions that incite temper tantrums akin to those of Mike Lee and Ted Cruz.

If a single British government can manage social austerity, NHS maintenance, and defense budget cuts during a deficit, surely you can find a way to pay your own salaries and avoid tautological entropy?

Perhaps we are being too harsh. Perhaps there are hidden cultural differences between the conservative people of the UK and the fraternal conservatives of its former colony, which have led to an occlusion in our perspective.

For the purpose elucidation, we shall explore this point of potential sociological misunderstanding.

Tories love women.In British conservatism, you see, we prefer common sense. We were reasonable enough to allow Elizabeth I to reign without a husband. Modern Tories are no different. Conservatives elected Margaret Thatcher to be the first woman PM decades ago. Republicans, by contrast, don’t seem to know enough about women to understand rape, let alone put one up for the oval office.

Indeed, one wonders if some Republicans have ever met a woman (aside from the Sarah Palin sort).

David Cameron, Conservative PM, had a special needs son and would never dream of standing in the way of stem cell research that could help a child like his. Furthermore, Parliament’s recent legislation to legalise same-sex marriage was put forward by the Tories. Although, we might have expected it with several ‘out’ members of the British cabinet and we’ve all heard the rumours about old Etonians.

Remember that Reagan was a centrist and, like Thatcher, believed in proactive government—not retroactive leadership focused on undoing measures you simply don’t fancy.  Without such pragmatism, the West could not have brought down the East and Britain may have never recovered from its post-war depression.

Tories keep to that sensibility. Republicans seem to have taken a wrong turn on the Long Walk to Finchley.

So, to aid Republicans in their navigation, we’ve prepared a sensible shortlist:

  1. If you’re going to be conservative, at least learn how to wear white tie.
  2. For the appropriate use of God, as a word, see British political usage. Notice it has little to do with anything but saving the Queen.
  3. Guns are for grouse not grousing.
  4. Insisting on repeal and engaging in filibuster—what seems to us as babbling like a loon—wastes the operational budget.
  5. Preventing gay marriage will not keep men from touching each other, nor cohabitating, nor making those delicious cupcakes that make your church so much money in the bake sale. Also, it will not affect your son’s sexuality.
  6. Religion is an institution for pageantry and pretty songs—not oppression.

In the end, we ejected our religious zealots and malcontents to you in the 16th and 17th Centuries.

 

We’re sorry you’re still having trouble with them.

Being Reformation Christians, perhaps they should…. reform.

Then, there’s always Australia.

 


 

If any Republicans wish to comment on the above, correspondence may be submitted in triplicate during the month of July in leap year, signed in witness of a notary, received by the Home Office for inspection, and pass secondary review at the British High Commission, Canada, before being delivered to destination. Cost, fifty Pounds Sterling. 

America, stop it: you’re ruining conservatism for the rest of us

Embarrassing

Embarrassing

Something dreadful is happening to American politics. It isn’t the absurd boo-hurrah dynamic in the public square. It isn’t the idiotic posturing and “gotcha” dynamics of the modern media machine. Nor is it even the slimy vicissitudes of comics who pretend they aren’t commentators. You know who I’m talking about.

All these things have been around for some time, and are, in their own way, rather charming to those of us choked by the cloying goo of bien-pensant European socialism which has infected parties of all stripes and deadened public discourse.

Instead, what disturbs us about American politics today is how utterly fucking mad the Right has become in recent years. We Europeans who previously looked admiringly across the Atlantic, dreaming idly of green cards, or at least of importing some of the rugged, tooth-and-claw style capitalism that we imagined had made the US the greatest country on earth, now look on in mild terror at the unmitigated car crash that is the Republican Party.

The rot probably, perhaps predictably, set in with an unknown governor of a distant state, whose selection as John McCain’s running mate in 2008 catapulted what might previously have been written off as peculiar and parochial politics onto the national stage. Angry, demotic intellectual lightweights were legitimised overnight.

Of course, Sarah Palin is a delightful figure to celebrate, because, like the President whose successor she hoped to serve, she had an almost preternatural ability to wind up the humourless, fact-obsessed bores of the Left. Our own Margaret Thatcher still, even in her twilight years, has much the same power, which is, I am convinced, the primary reason the British Right still adores her.

But Palin was not an injection of youthful energy into a tired establishment. She was the opposite: an admission of desperation by the GOP, an abnegation of responsibility. Sarah Palin was a Republican cry for help. And the loony political landscape she helped to construct during that campaign has dealt a serious blow to conservatives everywhere.

All we want, here in Europe, is to be able to point to the US and say: “Look! These people want to crush the poor and eradicate public spending on healthcare and privatise schools and sell guns to third-world dictators and take a scythe to welfare programs (excuse me while I change my trousers and mop my brow) … but they built America! And eradicated slavery! And created the best gosh-darn nation in the goddamn world!”

But we can’t, any more. And it’s the fault of hair-raising harpies like Michele Bachmann and tub-thumping lunatics and bores and oddballs like everyone who ran for the Republican nomination this year. “Must it really be – holds nose – Mitt Romney?” wrote James Delingpole, the soundest commentator in the UK. He said what we were all thinking.

It’s as much how you say it, as what you say. Thus, Romney appears to have been chosen for no better reason than he was the least weird of the GOP candidates. That’s right: the perma-tanned, Barbie-wifed, mega-rich Mormon was the least weird person the Republicans could come up with. To those Lefties who bleat on about a vast, Koch-sponsored conspiracy across government and industry, you have to say: “OK, but… the Republicans couldn’t field a single credible candidate.”

The reason I’m so furious about all of this is that we used to look to America as a symbol of how politics ought to be done, and how debate on the Right ought to proceed in particular. But instead of flying the flag for military intervention (yay!), tax cuts for the rich (yay!) and privatised healthcare (double yay!) the American Right has become a liability to the rest of us.

No longer can the Tories in England point to the GOP and say: “Check those bitches out. Look at them. Don’t you want to be like America, with all the wealth and consumption and brilliant warmongering and global policing and moral superiority and cultural hegemony and all the other wonderful things and Oh! My! God! have you heard The Star Spangled Banner?”

Instead, we find ourselves making excuses for Republicans. We distance ourselves from them, and hope that the liberal media – the genuinely liberal media, which enjoys almost complete power in Europe, unlike the attractive polarity of the American TV and talk radio landscape and, ye Gods, Rachel Maddow – don’t lay the guilt by association stuff on too thickly.

It was all fine and dandy when American conservatives were simply fiercely conservative. But since they leapt off the deep end, and the Tea Party began to look more and more like the authentic voice of the Republican Party, we desperate, outnumbered, endangered European Right-wingers are stepping back and laughing along with the rest.

The Right in the US, in its anger and desperation (traditionally liberal qualities), is now making the same mistakes as its enemies: alienating the majority of moderate voters with shrill battle cries. The global warming lobby screwed up by making too many outrageous claims in too hysterical a tone. Now Right-wingers are doing the same with their (otherwise absolutely brilliant) economic arguments.

Come on, America. You used to be good at this stuff.

 


 

Milo Yiannopoulos is founder and editor-in-chief of The Kernel, a European tech, media and politics magazine.