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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Appealing to the base

It's as predictable as the season change. Republicans facing an electoral challenge have a tried and tested method that, sadly, works almost every time -- appealing to the base. In this case, we're talking about the base instincts that most of us try to suppress.

Our "uniter, not a divider" president (one of his more forgotten lies at this point) will be looking to the Rove playbook once again this fall. The model being trotted out this time will feature heavy doses of greed, nativism, homophobia and religious fundamentalism.

There are some early signs that things may not necessarily be turning the GOP's way. The outrage over Iraq lies, the racially-tinged neglect represented by Katrina and most surprisingly, the unexpected boomeranging of the immigration debate, suggest this will not be a normal year.

But before making any plans to check in with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid (a frightening thought as well) let's never forget the power of fear, a power W and his boys have exploited at every turn since 9-11.

The Armies of the Right are definitely whipping up their troops to rage against gays and immigrants -- images of gay couples turning over our social mores (you know, like a 50 percent heterosexual divorce rate), fretting over immigration rates that will turn this country "minority majority" in the not-so-distant future.

Sadly, fear usually triumphs over common sense. So don't get too comfortable with the thought of electoral changes come November. The one thing Bush knows how to do better (and more successfully) than anything else is pander to fear.

And don't look over your shoulder.


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