Well, it’s finally happened.
The Republican Party has gone from mildly psychotic to full on crazy. Stark raving mad.
Down in Texas, they’ve just rejected a well-known candidate and former Lt. Governor who’s so conservative that Rick Perry endorsed him. Dewhurst, the loser, wanted to require women seeking an abortion to get and view a sonogram. He advocated defunding Planned Parenthood. He championed defining marriage solely as the union of one man and one woman. He supported more hydrofracking, less green energy and less environmental protection. He …oh, you get the idea. He’s pretty much bought into the whole panoply of bait and switch policies designed to keep slack-jawed yokels from realizing they’re getting fleeced by fat cats.
The man who beat him, Ted Cruz, was a relative unknown whose main assets seem to have been that he claimed to be to the right of Dewhurst, that he expressed more rage, and that he had the backing of Sarah Palin. You know, Sarah “I can see Russia from my porch” Palin. Yes, Sarah “Stand with our North Korean allies … I love the smell of emissions … Refudiate” Palin.
Cruz also had the backing of Koch Brother's favorite, Congressman Jim Demint. The Koch Brothers – for those who have been off the planet or listening to FOX “News”—are in the process of buying candidates lock stock and barrel in what amounts to a plutocratic coup d’état designed to remake the country in the graven image of the radical right wing – or what used to be considered radical. Right wing wackiness has become the new mainstream. Oh, the Koch brothers also want to eliminate regulations covering their own industries and shift most of the wealth from middle and lower income wage earners into their own pockets. But hey, it’s about principles ...
Dewhurst is just one of many mainstream conservatives and even radical right wingers to get replaced by raving right wingers. Long-time Indiana Senator Richard Lugar lost to relative unknown, Richard Mourdock; Tea Party candidate Deb Fisher defeated John Bruning in Nebraska; In Utah, Senator Bob Bennet who has a lifetime rating of 84% from the American Conservative Union came in third to candidates running to the right of him.
Moderate Republicans are an endangered species, if not altogether extinct.
It is often said that life imitates art. What we’re seeing is almost precisely what was forecast in the movie Network, some 36 years ago. Modern-day Howard Beales – the Mad Prophet of the Airwaves -- deliver ratings, but very little real news.
And his plea of “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” has been resurrected and brandished by demagogues.
People are mad. But it’s an inchoate rage that the rich and powerful are taking advantage of. With billions at their disposal they are seizing this wave of anger and turning it against the interests of those who are angry.
They’ve created conditions that make it impossible for government to be effective, and then taken government’s failures and used them as a justification for shrinking government to the size where it can be “drowned in the bathtub.”
Of course government doesn’t work. It’s been vilified, defunded and hamstrung. But the solution to that isn’t no government or powerless government. It’s good government.
But a government that works isn’t in the interests of the Koch brothers and their ilk.
That’s why, in the frothing frenzy of blame and scapegoating -- in the divide and conquer world of paranoid politics and psychotic rage that is the Republican Party -- affixing blame is more important than finding solutions.
Don’t look for help from the Democrats. For the most part, they’re feeding at the same trough, or cringing in the corner. Probably both. The Progressive Caucus, which has been steadily cranking out viable solutions to our biggest problems, is ignored by the White House and the Party leaders.
If Network forecast our current national insanity, Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom explains how it happened. Decades of he-said, she-said reporting in which balance replaced truth, context and accuracy are laid bare before us. Anchor Will McAvoy shreds Tea Party lunacy about immigrants and socialism using … gasp … real facts … in a way you will never see on real news shows.
That the show has been panned by most media critics shouldn’t come as a surprise. What Sorkin is pillorying -- using real data – is the failure of this same media to actually expose the hypocrisy and lies of the right wing whack jobs back in 2010, and by extension, today.
Time was, facts mattered in news.
Now, not so much. Now, the media is owned by the people trying to sell crazy to Americans.
Without the constraining influence of reality, a shared sense of our common destiny, and a government capable of assuring both, the US is rapidly coming to resemble the gang of adolescents in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.
The ultra-conservatives have hi-jacked the Republican Party and are now leading the way. It has become an every-man-for himself refuge of selfishness and us-against-them politics grounded in counter-factual fantasy.
In short, crazy.