Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India and Defender of the Faith. Planetary Hegemonist of Three Fifths of the Human Race (although that was not one of her official titles), during the course of her reign was frequently beset by demands from a woman with a much grander title.
Empress Dowager Cixi, whose son had the modest handle of Son of Heaven, Lord of Ten Thousand Years and on some occasions Glory of the Universe. Although she always called the shots.
Not bad for the ruler of what was in those days a hopelessly medieval backwater.
And She never stopped giving Queen Victoria orders. After all so far as Cixi was concerned, Victoria was only her regent for those bits of the barbarian outlands that didn't really matter all that much.
Cixi herself was the boss of the what really counted. China. The Middle Kingdom, that which separates Heaven from the lowly realms ruled by Victoria by the generous grace of Cixi. Consequently the inconsequential Empress of China treated the most powerful woman on Earth as troublesome vassal in need of constant correction and guidance.
Today the American right has a similar if more serious problem. A Republican Party Establishment, that views its base in much the same way that Cixi viewed Victoria. As troublesome rabble in need of constant correction and guidance, quite ungrateful for the sagacious rule with which they are being provided.
The most recent expression of the utter contempt for the Base is in the latest Omnibus spending bill that left Obama squealing in such delight he invited House Speaker Ryan around for dinner immediately.
Here is just one minor provision that's just been dug up:
House GOP Whip Steve Scalise sent an e-mail to his members this morning defending the immigration increase that the Republican leadership had secretly slipped into the omnibus funding bill. (It is shown below.) The provision would potentially quadruple the issuance of H-2B worker visas, which are for non-agricultural seasonal jobs. The visas are used to import cheap labor for ski resorts, hotels, factories, landscapers, and others. (See this 2010 paper on this racket by a former State department visa officer.)
Most of the e-mail is the usual lobbyist-written baloney, but it takes an especially clumsy (or shameless) lobbyist to try to justify this captive-worker program by citing “the current and projected H2B worker shortage”. Worker shortage? To get a sense of how ridiculous that is, just one number: In the second quarter of this year there were 6.5 million people working part-time who said they wanted full-time work but couldn’t find it. (For more, including the growing number and percentage of working-age people dropping out of the labor market, see here.) In such an environment, what possible justification can there be for importing construction workers and hotel maids?
The Republican echo chamber in Washington now resembles life in the Forbidden City. Complete with court eunuchs. Pointless rituals are performed endlessly. Microscopic transgressions against the existing order are viewed as world shaking events. A constant unending stream of fawning praise is heaped on each other.
And all the while, the Tai-Ping rebellion that is about to beat down gates and slaughter them to a man is viewed as but a distantly troubling thing.
But then one day the gates give in.
There is no saving the Republican Party at this point. Don't even try.