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Today's GOP: The Wealthy, the Bought and the Duped

Thom Hartmann used this line the other day. It’s insightful. For the most part, those who vote for Republicans or support their agenda consist of three groups, those with money, those who have been bought by those with money and those who have been duped by them.

Now, if you’re a Republican and not among the wealthy nor among those with sufficient influence that the monied have bothered with you, you might feel somewhat displeased with these categories. No one, of course, wants to believe that they’ve been duped. But they have been and it happens all the time.

Those on the far right have experienced this before when they bought into National Socialism in Germany between the wars. We tend to forget that Hitler was actually elected in a democratic vote. He didn’t get a majority (actually some 44%) but became Chancellor because his party won more seats than any of the others. And, for the first few years, he was wildly popular.

It’s not just the right wing. During Stalin’s era many on the left in Europe and America were taken in by the promise of a Communist Utopia. In fact, these well-meaning but naive folks were often referred to as “Stalin’s dupes” or his “useful idiots” by conservatives.

Similar but less persuasive propaganda emerging from China during Mao’s rule had analogous impact and, again, many on the extreme left were taken in by the illusion of a socialist paradise.

So, if you’re among those currently duped by the Koch brothers, turned into useful idiots by Fox News, seduced by the lunacy of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, emboldened by the incoherent blatherings of the Tea Party, intellectually twisted by the Cato Institute don’t feel bad. You’ve had lots of company over the years.

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