There are a few Republican documents which can be credited with the destruction of the U.S. democratic process, including the disappearance of real political issues from the discourse. These are

  • Lewis Powell’s famous 1971 memo;
  • the invention by Terry Dolan, Paul Weyrich and Richard Viguerie of hot-button single issues to get the wangnut vote out (abortion, for example, which is not a political issue and which most Americans either don’t care about, or are inclined to say is a private matter)
  •  — Dolan also invented political action committees, which circumvent caps on political contributions;
  • and the Frank Luntz talking points war of words which brought you the weasel words “climate change” and so much else.

Now comes evidence that trash-talking your opponent while actively avoiding political issues is the invention of Newt; though I suspect Weyrich — famous for enunciating the New Right’s anti-democracy tactic, we don’t want people to go to the polls, we win when people stay away — had a hand in the invention of the ad hominem campaign ads and strategies. These are sometimes fingered as culprits in keeping people from voting.

New Right Founder Weyrich Condemns High Voter Turnout

I think Newt’s trash talk tactics, which he characteristically touted via tapes you could listen to in your car, take their place in these apocalyptic strategery documents, and I look forward to their surfacing in the months to come.

I am also waiting for the Republican enemies Bob Michel warned Newt against to come forward. I’m not holding my breath. Bob Dole, whose bipartisanship I always respected, even when he was known as the meanest man in the Senate, has endorsed Romney. If this is what they mean by the Republican establishment coming forth to support Romney, my fears for the continued existence of the democratic process — in which, let me emphasize, people of good will should disagree — are not abated. Under this libertarian right wing regime, the economy and the political process itself have imploded as a matter of their strategy.

By this time, Mr. Gingrich had already taken charge of Gopac, a once-sleepy political action committee dedicated to electing Republicans. Mr. Gingrich pumped it up into a fund-raising machine and a training organization in which Republican candidates were given step-by-step information on how to run for office. He produced seminars and a series of cassette tapes; today hundreds, if not thousands, of Republican officeholders in states around the country can recall riding around in their cars listening to Mr. Gingrich’s formula for winning.

Mr. Edwards, the former Republican congressman, described the tapes as “all about how to demonize the opposition, how to use invective and scary language,” adding: “It wasn’t that he trained them to have a better understanding of foreign policy, or economic policy. They were techniques in how to wage a nasty partisan war against your opponent.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/us/politics/the-long-run-gingrich-stuck-to-caustic-path-in-ethics-battles.html?scp=1&sq=gopac&st=cse

Here is somebody’s senior thesis on Newt and the GOPAC tapes.

Gingrich recalled “Pete Du Pont approached me in the fall of 1984. Du Pont founded GOPAC with the idea to raise money for local candidates. He was beginning to look at a presidential race and he wanted GOPAC to survive so he would be seen as an institution builder. He had the choice between me and Dick Cheney and I guess he chose me because I was more of an activists. There was a high dollar fun fundraiser in 1985 and I walked in and saw the amount of wealthy friends that Du Pont had. I saw so much potential that this organization and this wealth could provide. In 1985 and 1986 I studied and saw that the party needed a training institution, not a funding institution. The problem was that I did not know how to change it. A few months later, I was out in Lansing, Michigan doing a tape series and it suddenly hit me that most legislators spent long hours in the car. If we had a training and recruiting system that could reach them while they were driving, we would have their full attention. They would be bored and would like to listen to us. It was a constant and mobile training program.”53

https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/bitstream/handle/10288/13655/WCorkery2011.pdf?sequence=1

Newt’s 1996 GOPAC memo, listing words with which candidates are to demonize opponents:

abuse of power

 anti- (issue): flag, family, child, jobs

betray

bizarre

bosses

bureaucracy

cheat

coercion

“compassion” is not enough

collapse(ing)

consequences

corrupt

corruption

criminal rights

crisis

cynicism

decay

deeper

destroy

destructive

devour

disgrace

endanger

excuses

failure (fail)

greed

hypocrisy

 ideological

impose

 incompetent

insecure

insensitive 

 intolerant

liberal

lie

 limit(s)

machine

mandate(s)

obsolete

pathetic

patronage

permissive attitude

pessimistic

 punish (poor …)

radical

red tape

self-serving

selfish

sensationalists

shallow

shame

sick

spend(ing)

stagnation

status quo

 steal

taxes

they/them

 threaten

traitors

unionized

urgent (cy)

waste

welfare

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4443.htm

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