Thursday, February 5, 2009

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Thank goodness for Rush Limbaugh. Oh, wait, there's more: also, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and what the heck, throw in Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham and cute little Mark Levin too! It gets even better; I think we should have a parade in honour of Sarah Palin. Am I off my rocker? Have I lost my mind? Gone coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs? Nope, not yet at least. Here's the thing, all these conservative nut jobs are so out of touch with reality, such anathema to the rational person, spewing the most fundamentalist of beliefs, that they guarantee the Republican party will stay out of power for the foreseeable future.

Pity poor Michael Steele. Here's a man tasked with taking over a party that has just lost the White House to go along with huge losses in Congress for the second straight election. This Republican party ain't Lincoln's, hasn't been since 1876, Jim Crow and all that. Heck, look at the other candidates he beat out to become the RNC chairman: one a man well known for defending his membership in an all-white country club and another notorious for circulating a parody called "Barack the Magic Negro." In his letter of candidacy for the RNC chairmanship, Michigan Republican Party chair Saul Anuzis observed, "We were once the party that America trusted on national security. But when intelligence failures and poor planning led to unexpected challenges in Iraq, America lost faith in our party. We were once the party of fiscal responsibility. But when members of our own party led the way in pork barrel spending, which led to the fattest federal budget in history, America lost faith in our party." I couldn't have said it better myself.

It's hard to imagine the party coming up with any new ideas, it's dangerous. Step out of line and the axe comes down pretty swift, in the form of a Limbaugh lashing. Yes, the man who when questioned about his hopes for the Obama presidency said, "I hope he fails"; the same man who was kicked off Monday Night Football for saying that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was only starting because he was black. This doctor shopper is now in charge of the Republican party. To illustrate one need look no further than the case of Rep. Phil Gingrey who had the audacity to defend his party leadership from some typical Limbaugh self enlargement. Senator Gingrey said, "I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks...they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell." For suggesting that these right wing nutters show leadership instead of complaining, Gingrey's office was flooded with angry calls forcing him to not only issue a retraction stating that Limbaugh, Hannity and Gingrich were "the voices of the conservative movement’s conscience", but also to apologize on air to the hate radio host for what he self-debasingly called "foot in mouth disease". This apology to the man who told his listeners: "[Barack Obama's] not black … he's a human being," adding "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president." Talk about bending over and grabbing the ankles.

It gets worse for the Republican party I'm afraid. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 55 percent of Republican respondents said the party should be more like Sarah Palin (insert double-take with huh? sound effect here)! I guess that explains the lack of new ideas out of the Republicans, there hero is too busy with other things. She's created a PAC, originally enough called SarahPAC to help get like minded conservatives elected. There's also all the time she has to spend complaining about the unfair media coverage she received during the election. Don't think she's relevant? Maybe not, but she seems to think she can command an $11 million book deal advance. Oh yeah, plus she's still governing a rather large state and spends a lot of her time shooting wildlife from airplanes.

The rear view mirror is even more distressing. Even in defeat, the policies of the past eight years continue to be the mantra. So what's the plan to get the Republicans back in power Dick Cheney? Easy: hope for the stimulus plan to fail or a major terrorist attack. Both of which are likely due to the Obama administrations policy of actually talking with people to solve problems according to an interview with Politico. In the same interview, the man who got rich out of sending his countrymen to die in the name of oil chided the Democratic party for the many tax indiscretions made by some of Obama's appointees. For shame, they must be morally weak! At the same time he was busy attempting to vindicate his authorization of torturing suspects by claiming that waterboarding had helped to avert other 9/11 type attacks. You see Barack, the way to solve conflict is to lash out you silly man, never open dialogue.

So where does this lack of a viable opposition party leave America? Some would say much weaker than with a strong, vibrant Republican party, one with new ideas and something to add to the discussion. I say good riddance to bad rubbish. A one hit wonder like the GOP is nothing but dead weight, one that you can try to appease by watering down legislation, but in the end will just act like the spoiled children they are. Perhaps it could even spell the end of the anachronistic two-party system in the US which could do a world of good. When you have a multi-party system you quite often end up having to learn to negotiate - and heaven forbid - compromise. What exists now is stale and diseased. Take the recent House stimulus package vote, where not a single Republican voted yes. Instead of lamenting the lost opportunity, Michael Steele speaking at a GOP retreat said, "The goose egg that you laid on the president's desk was just beautiful, absolutely beautiful": yeah we lost and didn't have any new ideas of our own, but we sure showed him! The US deserves a system where there doesn't necessarily need to always be a loser for every winner, one where the victories can be shared. Sure the line between right and wrong may become a bit more blurry, but imagine a world where there's more than just a choice between Coke and Pepsi.