The Republican Party likes to tout itself as representing "The Real America". Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Tea Party crowd have raised hoards of money playing on the grievances of low-income, mostly white Americans that fit their definition of this group. Yet, a closer analysis of the GOP's policies and priorities definitively show that helping out The Real America is not the party's main concern.
That assumption would have been proven wrong quickly as the GOP threw its hat in with BP and railed against the Obama administration. I'm not just talking about Joe Barton's infamous "apology" to BP or Sharon Angle's slush fund quote. As Eugene Robinson reported in the Washington Post, the Republican Study Committee, a group that represents 115 House Republicans came out with a statement saying that there is no legal authority for the president to compel a private company to set up or contribute to an escrow account. The group went on to accuse the president of "Chicago-style shakedown politics".
Wall Street did more to cause the economic crisis than any other actor and its reckless bets wiped out the savings of millions of real Americans. Surely, the Republicans would stand up to the bankers on behalf of The Real America... right? Wrong. Three Republicans voted for the bill in the Senate; all of them belonging to the GOP's endangered species - moderates from the northeast. The rest of the party sided with the banks.
The party's recent obsession with the deficit is not based on principal but rather priorities - as Senator John Kyl of Arizona made clear when he outlined the Republican fiscal platform for 2012 and 2014. The Arizona Republican stumped for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 a year - even though they would add approximately $678 billion to the deficit.
In other words, we can't spend $30 billion on the newly-poor but we can spend $678 billion on the already-rich.
I don't have an issue with the GOP being the party of big business and the wealthy. There's a reason we have two parties in America and I don't begrudge the GOP for its priorities. I take exception to the party's insistence that they are looking out for The Real America - Joe the Plumber, if you will - while actually supporting Tony the CEO.