The Communist Party was denounced in the 1950s for 'cynically using the democratic process to subvert democracy'. The same could be said of today's Republican Party, which seeks to replace our democracy with a system approximating the Latin American 'banana republics' of the early 20th century.
The strength of our democracy has always been our large educated middle class--by which I mean those citizens who define themselves as middle class. This in turn has depended on a strong, well-funded public school system.
So it isn't surprising that the top item in the modern Republican agenda, judging by their actions, is the destruction of that school system by every means possible--primarily starving it of funds. It's no coincidence that Republicans blocked both the federal stimulus package and the California state budget until funds for public schools were cut. The U.S. once ranked first in the world in the percentage of its people who held a college degree, and also in the percentage who held at least a high school degree. Today it ranks seventh in the first category and ninth in the second. Students in American schools today lack many of the resources that European and Asian students take for granted. Prevented by the ignorant prejudices of fundamentalists from learning anything significant in science, the social sciences, or the arts, condemned to the rote parroting of archaic material, American students do especially poorly in comparison with other countries when asked to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. Teaching our children to think is called "pork" by Republicans.
Republicans want a nation sharply divided between a small, wealthy class and a huge underclass--the system that characterizes so many Third World nations, especially dictatorships.
The poor majorities in Third World dictatorships are typically kept in line by a swollen military and a police system unconstrained by considerations of human rights or legality. So it's hardly surprising that Republicans, who are such extreme fiscal conservatives when it comes to the health and education of our children, are the world's most uncontrolled spendthrifts when it comes to funding weapons of mass civilian destruction. The Pentagon's budget is higher than that of the next highest 25 nations combined.
The only reason Republicans oppose Democratic spending proposals is that they have always regarded the federal government as their own private cash cow. Corporations get handouts of land for timber, mining, oil exploration, etc., for little or nothing, and when done maiming the environment, simply move on, leaving the government to clean up and undo the damage. "Tax Reform" for Republicans means "let the poor pay". Since the 1950s every Republican alteration of tax laws--federal, state, and local--has involved shifting more and more of the burden away from the wealthy and onto the average middle- or working class American. The corporate share has gone from 50% to 14% during the same period. Locally, taxes have shifted from progressive income taxes to sales taxes--placing the heaviest burden on the poorest citizens.
The Republican agenda prioritizes inflating the wealth of the already wealthy few. They achieve this goal with the backing of a phalanx of deluded poor white Stepinfetchits who imagine that voting Republican will magically enhance their social status.
Small wonder Obama is such a threat to modern Republicans. He seems to have a vivid understanding of what democracy is all about, and his program is designed to restore American democracy to what it was before the neo-cons began so vigorously tearing it down. One can only hope the Republican party, as now constituted, will wither away, and a party based on something more than hatred and greed will emerge to replace it.
In his inauguration speech, Obama talked of a whole new way of doing things. To understand the cultural paradigm shift that engendered this change--the shift that both Bush and the Taliban have resisted so fiercely, see my website for information on THE CHRYSALIS EFFECT: THE METAMORPHOSIS OF GLOBAL CULTURE.