Banana Republicans

By Suzanne Blanchard

This week I'd like to take a minute to talk to any real Republicans still planning to vote for George W. Bush, El Jefe de la Banana Republic of America, mostly to satisfy my curiosity about how it is possible that any but the most strident neocon or radical "christian" fundamentalist would do so. Even some pretty crazy Republican types are catching on to Bush's bizarro world version of conservatism.

It isn't just the trail of broken promises or the panoply of "-isms" Bush has inflicted upon us (reverse terrorism, corporate cronyism, ruthless cynicism, oblivious unilateralism, and, yes, inane "Bush-ism").

With breathtaking alacrity, the Bush cabal can rightly claim to have changed America and the world more radically than any administration within memory. It's hard to see how anyone could conclude that this transformation will lead to a more stable, peaceful and prosperous world or nation.

The dissonance between the rabid group occupying the White House and the every day homegrown Republicans I have known in my life could not be greater.

A "Republic" is a form of government with the "supreme power lying in the body of citizens." The party was founded in the 1850s by anti-slavery advocates and homesteaders under the banner "Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men, Fremont" [their Presidential nominee was John C. Fremont]. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President. says: "With a core belief in the idea of the primacy of individuals, the Republican Party, since its inception, has been at the forefront of the fight for individuals' rights in opposition to a large, bloated government."

In contrast, these new "Banana Republicans" have capitulated on every tenet of the traditional Republican party to further economic and geopolitical interests that work in direct opposition to those core beliefs.

Traditionally, Republicans believe in free markets, small government, low taxes and conservative government spending. They believe the federal government should only dictate to state governments in very limited circumstances on rare occasions where absolutely necessary. Government intrusion into private lives should likewise be severely limited. Grand Old Party members believe foreign policy should be limited to advancing American interests and security, and that the U.S. should never be "the world's policeman," though we should maintain a strong military. They generally hold that judges should not be "activist" and should be circumspect and respectful of precedent. They value the opportunities afforded by a free society and economy, and value the power of public education to allow individuals to advance through discipline and hard work.

Virtually all of these precepts are threatened or already undone by the Bush junta's approach to government.

A White House aide once characterized "Bushism" as "an activist, reforming conservatism that recognizes it's sometimes necessary to use the power of the government to change the status quo."

Let's look at what kind of "activism" the White House has undertaken over the past three years:

In sum, we have a President whose dubious "election" resulted in a Republican republic which is neither Republican nor any longer a republic, controlled by corporate robber barons and foreign "friends of W." It sure smells like a Banana Republic to me.

So, really, why are you voting for Bush?

August 19, 2004 7:22 AM