The Perils of Being Right and Wrong

If I wasn't quite so busy thoroughly
enjoying it, the prospect of one of the two major political parties
of the world's only superpower self-destructing so buffoonishly might
otherwise give me pause.

As it is, however, few things could delight
me more, and one of my major disappointments in life remains that I
live in country where crackers like those in the GOP aren't considered
absolutely certifiable, and sent off to some Abu Ghraib for the ideologically
criminal insane, right next to the rapists, child molesters and treasonous

If I wasn't quite so busy thoroughly
enjoying it, the prospect of one of the two major political parties
of the world's only superpower self-destructing so buffoonishly might
otherwise give me pause.

As it is, however, few things could delight
me more, and one of my major disappointments in life remains that I
live in country where crackers like those in the GOP aren't considered
absolutely certifiable, and sent off to some Abu Ghraib for the ideologically
criminal insane, right next to the rapists, child molesters and treasonous

I like to have some fun with this stuff,
you know, but only some of my words are meant for entertainment purposes.
If you think 'crackers' and 'certifiable' are unfair potshots,
have a gander at Alexandra Pelosi's new film, "Right America:
Feeling Wronged", charting the discontents of McCain-Palin supporters
from last year's campaign. I defy anyone to make a meaningful
distinction between these people and the ones at Jonestown.

Heck, for that matter, just take a look
at the crazies who are supposed to be the responsible leaders of the
conservative movement, and at its marionettes in the GOP. They've
been putting on quite a show lately, and the timing is especially bad
from their perspective. Not only is the country in no mood for
such tomfoolery now, but the current contrast to regressive idiocy is
no longer the adamant insistence of insisting on nothing, courtesy of
Harry Reid's and Nancy Pelosi's Democratic Party. Now there's
a guy in the White House who's confident, articulate, popular and
sometimes even bold.

I couldn't help thinking of that contrast
watching Rush Limbaugh perform at the CPAC religious revival the other
week. He is the antithesis to Obama, and I don't just mean in
terms of body-type. So much bluster (not to mention blubber) covering
so much transparent insecurity and neediness. The guy is the ultimate
Napoleon or Hitler who got shoved around on the grade school playground
and is now seeking revenge on a global scale. But, of course,
there will always be clowns like that. The real question is what
sickness pervades the mind of those who empower such mountebanks by
giving them positions of power, even if only giant soapboxes?
More frightening than Limbaugh was the room full of Moonie-like acolytes
hanging on his every word, most of them quite young in age. No
one should follow anybody quite so religiously, let alone a sick crank,
but these folks sure did. Limbaugh told a little ha-ha joke toward
the beginning of his speech, in which he half-kiddingly referred to
this being his maiden address to the nation, given that Fox Lies was
carrying the entire rant (I'm sure they'll pay equal attention to
Noam Chomsky's next speech as well). Everybody laughed.
Okay, no problem - it was slightly humorous if you discount the delusions
of grandeur he was pretending to self-mock. What blew me away,
though, was how he repeated the same line - I'm not exaggerating
here - another ten times over the next hour, and how all the disciples
laughed each time, right on cue.

Scary, but in some ways not as much as
watching the nominal leaders of the GOP prostrate themselves at the
feet of this Jabba the Hut of the airwaves. Prodded into doing
so by a politically adroit White House, four or five of them have gotten
their backs up and said a ridiculously truthful unkind word or two about
Mount Rushmore lately. No sooner did that happen then that he
was giving them just the on-air whipping errant sons should get from
the angry and disappointed paterfamilias, and no sooner did that happen
then that they were crawling back to him - also sometimes on air -
begging his forgiveness. The issue was whether Limbaugh was the
de facto leader of the Republican Party. The nominal leaders of
the party, their manhood insulted and their masculinity in question,
sought to show who was the real boss. They did, too, but it turned
out, um, shall we say, a bit different than the way they intended.

That seems like bad news over on that
side of the aisle, but in fact, cavemen everywhere should be reassured.
I mean, do they want Bobby Jindal instead, doing his impression of Herbert
Hoover, complete with the rigor mortis stage presence and embalming
fluid circulatory system? Or how about Newt Gingrich, the guy
who once impeached a president for marital infidelities, even while
he was off having a bacchanal of his own? No worries, though.
Newtie's now apologized for how he dumped Wife #2 on her post-cancer
surgery hospital bed to run off with the babe who would become Wife
#3. Besides, he's full of ideas! The only problem is that
they literally involve stuff like space flight and reorganization of
the military command structure. Ah, the man of the hour in America's
time of need! What voter couldn't be smitten by that?
Or do you prefer Mitch McConnell, instead? He may not be as slimy
as Newt, but he is slimier than a newt, and less appealing than a three-toed
tree sloth.

That's the GOP A-Team, folks.
Newt, Mitch, Bobby and Sarah, all taking direction from Rush. It's
like some kind of emetic factory, or something.

Not to worry, though. They've
brought in the big guns to save the day. Michael Steele is the
new chairman of the GOP. One month into his new job, and most
members of the party are already trying to figure out how to get rid
of him (don't be surprised if he has a tragic 'accident' soon).
Like they really needed this freakin' headache now, just as every
imaginable disaster is already imploding on them at every imaginable

It's kinda hard to imagine why Steele
is having so much trouble, though. I mean he seems so top notch.

True, he does have a record of massive
failure. He couldn't cut it as a priest, so he went into law,
where he failed the Maryland bar exam. He passed the Pennsylvania
one instead (Yo, PA: time to up your standards, fellas), and then
proceeded to launch a consulting firm so successful that he nearly lost
his home. He's never won an election for public office, though
he did manage to produce an ongoing federal corruption investigation
into his 2006 smashing defeat in running for the Senate, because of
a $40,000 payment he made to his sister's company. For what,
is still unclear. While running, he not only hid from being a
Republican, but his campaign workers passed out sample ballots on election
day that listed him as a Democrat. Just the kinda guy who should
be the top Republican, eh?

But, you know, success can really be
overrated. I guess that's what Steele had in mind when he recently
said "I always found it interesting that people would cast aspersions
on failure, as if it were a bad thing".

Um, 'scuse me? Good god, is there
a way to clone this man? Let's get all his cousins and put them
on the GOP payroll. Hey, that's what he's probably actually
gonna do! You know, along with his sis.

Some people think that Steele is merely
the most crass and buffoonish opportunist in the Glorified Opportunist
Party, but it's hard to see why. I mean, yes, he is a black
man who was recruited to the GOP by Lee Atwater, the same guy who apologized
on his deathbed for having run the racist Willie Horton ads back in
1988. But, so what? You know, Condoleeza Rice and Clarence
Thomas are black Republicans! Uh, well, never mind about that...

Anyhow, the GOP decided, as the roof
was falling in on them, that they really had to go with their varsity
squad. True, Steele was elected on the sixth ballot. True,
that was only after one candidate dropped out because he was a member
of a racially exclusive country club. And, true, another guy also
quit the race after the party actually debated whether it was okay for
him to have distributed CDs to committee leaders complete with the happy
tune, "Barack, The Magic Negro", on them. (Remember that moment
in "Spinal Tap" when the hapless metal band is told that the record
label won't let them have the S&M misogynist album cover they
want for their new release, "Smell The Glove", because it's sexist?
And they respond, "So what? Wot's wrong with being sexy?"
I think you get the idea here. Rob Reiner, time for "Neanderthal
Tap", wouldn't you say?)

But, you know, the Democrats elected
Barack Obama president, so I guess the GOP decided they were gonna go
after the young, black, contemporary vote as well, and hence they picked
Rapmaster Steele to carry their standard. And so The Notorious
M.I.K.E. has promised to give the Republican Party a "hip-hop makeover".
You think I'm makin' this shit up, don't you? I wish I was
capable of such malicious creativity.

And you gotta hand it to the White House
- they've played these fools like fiddles. Calling Limbaugh
the "de facto head of the Republican Party" was as sure a bait as
imaginable for getting the de jure head of the party to worry about
his manhood and thus lash out at the Rustic One by calling him "ugly",
among other epithets. Until the next day, that is, when Macho
Mike, Man of Steele, was on the phone apologizing profusely to the actual
de facto, de facto head of Republican Party and his big fat radio audience,
begging to keep his job. He did, so far, but Republican National
Committee staff have not been quite so lucky, as around seventy of them
have either quit or been fired under the new Steele Curtain regime,
and the RNC house is empty these days.

But if it seems like this is all some
cartoonish clown show, instead of the leadership of one of the two major
parties of the world's most powerful country, you ain't seen nuthin'
yet. Ol' "What's Wrong With Failure" Mike is just getting
started. As he recently explained to the New York Times:
"'I'm very spontaneous,' comparing working with him to riding
a roller coaster without knowing when the next dip or curve might come.
'Be prepared; you have no idea,' he said. 'Just buckle up and
get ready to go.'"

Ooooooohhh! Baby! Gangsta!
What a manly man! What an appealing swashbuckler! Boy, is
he ever gonna peel away the black vote from Barack Obama! Boy,
is the GOP ever gonna be getting its act together under Michael Steele's

I give the dude about one more month,
after which I expect the Republicans will decide that abortion's not
such a bad thing after all.

Not that it matters a whit, anyhow.
Steele's pompously inflated exercises in idiocy are to the implosion
of the GOP what a gnat is to a drowning elephant. Even if the
gnat swims real, real hard, the big beast is still goin' down.
With the possible exception of Howard Dean, nobody knows who party chairs
are anyhow, and for good reason. Does anyone think Mitch McConnell
or John McCain are going to take direction from some staff flunky who's
never even won an election on his own? Does anyone think that
a chairman could significantly change the fortunes of a party from where
its real leaders are taking it anyhow? This guy could have all
the leadership chops and strategic smarts of Alexander The Great and
it wouldn't matter a bit.

The GOP's problem is its ideology,
plain and simple. Their toxic brew of regressive policies, sold
through hate-driven marketing techniques, all backed by the engine of
kleptocratic thievery, just isn't getting traction anymore.
Just as it was inevitable that Bristol Palin and her nineteen year-old
boyfriend, Levi Johnston, won't be getting married after all (golly,
didn't see that one coming at all!) - Republican family values notwithstanding!
- so was it clear that the GOP would end up being its own worst enemy.
Americans show an amazing capacity for stupidity, to be sure, but just
the same they will usually figure out in the end that what's bad for
them is bad for them.

The GOP is toast today, not because of
the pathetic idiots at the helm, any one of whom could have become the
Fourth Stooge, but because it has nowhere it can go, regardless of who
leads it.

It has basically three choices, ideologically

It can stay where it is. But even
the anvil-heads within the party can see that that's a prescription
for (more) disaster. Getting your clock cleaned in two elections
running has a way of getting one's attention. Near-death experiences
tend to motivate change.

But, of course, that leaves the rather
large question of what kind of change. You can see the party struggling
with this every day, but I personally don't see a viable solution
anywhere on the horizon. Option Two is to turn to the right, and
there are quite a few dingbats in the party who are making that argument
right now. Evidently suicide by election is neither rapid nor
violent enough for this lot. Of course, having governed with a
hard-right agenda for eight years now, it becomes a bit awkward to make
the claim that they haven't been conservative enough. That's
why you're now seeing the astonishing visage of party flacks trying
to recreate George W. Bush as a non-conservative. Here's John
Bolton, for example: "Too many people identified Bush as being conservative,
and we know that's not the case". Or Mike Huckabee: "Lenin
and Stalin both would have loved Bush and Paulsen's bailout plan".
Wow. Lenin and Stalin. Like, THE Lenin and Stalin?
Gosh, imagine how bubble-headed Huckabee would have sounded if he had
given in to the temptation to exaggerate here!

It's quite amazing, not to mention
absurdly improbable, this astonishing Bush-the-left-winger rap (who
knew?). As such, the only thing they really talk about is spending
(no war policy, no stem-cell stuff, no Terri Schiavo, no foreign policy
issues), and since money is all that it's really about for them, that's
not such a surprise. Nor is it a surprise that they didn't object
to W back when he was President Bush, rather than now that he's former
President Bush. Nor is it shocking that they don't also criticize
regressive demi-god Ronald Reagan, who presided over a tripling of the
national debt in his voodoo economics spending spree. I guess
you can only cover so much, you know?

But, golly, even if this made the slightest
bit of sense, think of how rigorously batty you'd have to be to believe
that if the Republicans only become more regressive, they'll start
winning elections. You know, like, if only they started more wars
based on lies! If only they slashed Social Security and Medicare,
in order to balance the budget! If only they let more cities drown!
If only they intervened into every family's personal medical crisis
with congressional legislation! If only they deregulated Wall
Street, so that we could have more frequent and far deeper recessions!
If only they could give us further tax cuts to enrich the wealthy even
more, and impoverish our children even further! If only they could
make sure more of us die by blocking additional scientific research!
If only they could make sure more of us die painfully by criminalizing
not just medical marijuana, but all remedies! If only they could
alienate more young voters with their homophobia, more Hispanics with
their xenophobia, more women with their Palin pandering, and more blacks
with their Magic Negro routines! If only they could replicate
John Yoo, so that even the remaining shreds of the Constitution could
themselves be shredded!

What a winning platform, eh?!?!
Hard to imagine nobody else has thought of this before!

Of course, the only remotely plausible
thing the GOP could actually do to ever hope for subsequent success
would be to move toward the center, which is Door Number Three.
Even that won't work for quite some time, if it ever does. People
are not soon going to forget the Rushpublican brand, and my guess is
that Obama is going to continue to be popular for a long time to come,
even if his policies don't solve the economic crisis he's been handed.
But one could imagine, much as with Labour and the Tories in the UK,
that a decade or two from now the Democrats will get lazy and corrupt
and stupid enough to lose to a deradicalized Republican Party that runs
on a non-ideological appeal purely focused on competence, as an alternative
to the messed-up incumbents.

The problem for Republicans is that they
can never get there. Perhaps after a third trouncing in 2010,
but not now. And I'm even skeptical that that would be enough.
This party is owned by the radical right - especially the social conservative
base. These freaks are not going to let go, and they are going
to punish horrifically any defectors from their ideological purity.
John McCain is a real object lesson here. Having secured the nomination
only by accident when two other candidates split the true-believer vote
in a series of winner-take-all primaries, he was never embraced by his
own party, who saw him as suspiciously liberal. John McCain!
These are people who think - and will continue to think - that Sarah
Palin is a really inspired choice who could make a great president.
They even secretly still think that about Lil' Bushie, though they're
at least sentient enough to realize that it's impolitic to say it.

Progressives should count their blessings,
after decades in the wilderness.

The new president and Congress show some
signs of having moderately good politics, to start with.

But, as importantly, the Republicans
are fielding their very best team, and it consists of transparent buffoons
telling transparent lies. With lousy delivery, no less.

Best of all, though, is that they simply
have nothing credible to say right now.

When the best you can offer to a frightened
and submerged American public is some cheap and disingenuous rap about
earmarks, along with a government that would do nothing to help, your
party is going to go the same way as Herbert Hoover.

Because you are Herbert Hoover.

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