Stupid or Evil?
Republican Party death watch
If at first you don’t succeed—or the first 42 times, whatever—burn the entire country down, eh GOP?
If at first you don’t succeed—or the first 42 times, whatever—burn the entire country down, eh GOP?
The current government shutdown has brought out the worst in the Republican Party and the pundits who align themselves with it. In a way I feel bad for regular, non-Tea Party Republicans—they’re faced with following some elusive notion of party loyalty even as most of them, possibly, are genuinely appalled by how radical the demands of the Tea Party have been. The Republican Party is (and has been for a while) the party of immediate gratification—they were happy enough to take over the House in 2010 on a head of Tea Party steam, but now they’re paying the rent on that move—and how. A savvier, more responsible party would have found a way to placate the batshit crazies on the fringe—instead they hoped to “use” them as a means for checking President Obama but now find themselves just as wigged out by where the Tea Party will take them as anybody.
At least that’s my read.
As the Beltway idiots argue about who caused the government shutdown and who’s being intransigent, in my mind it’s a settled issue. It’s sad to watch Bill Kristol on CNN try to argue that Obama’s unwillingness to open the World War II Memorial shows him to be the stubborn one. Obama has no true option—he must stand firm because the Tea Party/Republican Party has so often proven itself to be opportunistic negotiators who won’t hold to earlier promises. If Obama gives an inch, they’ll take a mile—that’s what Obama learned the last time we went through this. Curiously, Benjamin Wittes, the legal writer who helped convince President Bush to select John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court, is having no difficulty figuring out who’s to blame—he says this is all the fault of the Republican Party. Pity that most CNN/New York Times journos can’t figure that out.
But let’s move from the current crisis to the next one. I’m referring to government default on the national debt, of course, which clearly is the next item on the agenda of the Tea Party. Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida’s 3rd district alarmed a great many people when he was quoted in The Washington Post on Friday as saying that “I think we need to have that moment where we realize [we’re] going broke. ... I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets.” Business Insider has called this “the stupidest thing said about the debt ceiling.”
If you had any doubts about the Tea Party’s rabid insistence on the denial of reality and the recourse to potentially catastrophic solutions to … well… to problems as severe as a national deficit that’s been decreasing sharply over the last two years (at precisely the moment that the economy most needed stimulus) and the possibility of providing health care services to our nation’s uninsured in a way that too decreases the deficit—well, get a load of this.
Earlier today TPM reported that John Boehner’s press secretary, Michael Steel, sent out an email urging Democratic opinion-makers to emphasize the calamitous effects of a default, linking to this Bloomberg article.
You read that correctly: Boehner is so bewildered with what to do about the far right of his own party that he’s seeking help from Democrats in order to avert a catastrophe. He daren’t ask his own party members to do the same thing because they’ll just demand his ouster for ... well, for pointing out that a government default would be really bad for the country—and the entire world. Just yesterday Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was on Meet the Press reassuring viewers that a default would not be so bad, for which lefties Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum promptly chided him. That’s the context for Steel’s email—Democrats being insufficiently alarmist about the road to ruin Tea Party folks are hell-bent on taking this country on.
This ties into my overriding theory about John Boehner. I actually think he sees the current shutdown as part of a master plan to deal with the out-of-control GOP fringe. It’s likely that Boehner can properly disobey the Tea Party in a major way precisely one time. Once that happens, he’s out and most likely, Eric Cantor becomes the new Speaker of the House. I think Boehner is keeping that one rebuke in his pocket until the day that really counts—when the fight over defaulting on government debts happens.
Steel’s email is the icing on the cake. So take a moment and send the Great Orange One your prayers—he’s got an awfully tough lot, and, as annoying as he can be, I think he’s doing something genuinely patriotic here. And he’ll never get due credit for it.
Is it wrong to hold up someone who is so obviously mentally ill to mockery and then sell advertisements against it? Am I a bad person for lampooning someone clearly losing his shit for laughs and banner ads?
Nah. This kind of thing happens on Fox News all the live-long day, doesn’t it?
I think if you showed a younger Alex Jones what he would eventually come to represent, and how the general public would regard him, as they do today, “Winning” like his pal Charlie Sheen, just a sad, pathetic clown, he’d probably break down and start sobbing.
Imagine the sheer, unmitigated hell his wife must go through!
Crack is wack, but whatever Alex Jones is on should be avoided at all costs.
Maybe the Illuminati HAVE already gotten to him. I guess I wasn’t thinking, you know, enough steps ahead!
Still trying to live up to his reputation as Glenn Beck, on his program today Glenn Beck insisted that it was really “Marxist revolutionaries” in the Obama administration who were causing national parks and monuments to be shuttered during the GOP-led government shutdown.
Despite knowing fully well which party was to blame for the shutdown, Beck blamed Obama anyway, spinning a yarn about “a secret cabal” in the White House whose goal is to “inflict pain” on Americans.
“I want you to understand you are now seeing what I told you about three weeks ago. I told you they have gone from nudge to shove. Your next step is shoot.”
“Understand they are into shove, every Marxist communist revolution always ends with millions dead. Always, without fail, every time.”
Somehow Beck equates Stalinist and Maoist atrocities to the Washington Monument being closed down temporarily and a supposed starvation endgame of the Obama administration:
“They starved them to death. Why? To teach them a lesson. This is the beginning of teaching the American people a lesson: don’t you screw with us.”
Oddly, considering his animus for the “Marxist” President, at the clips end, Beck admonished his listeners to support his “Defund the GOP” campaign before “it will be too late.”
Seems like odd logic, but it’s Glenn Beck so why bother asking why?
How senile would you have to be to willingly choose to tune into Glenn Beck’s radio show??? His audience must have a collective IQ of approximately one peanut… The folks at Rightwing Watch, they at least get paid for this torture!
Via Rightwing Watch
I have to tread a bit lightly here since every blood relative of mine is a Creationist, so I’l just link to what Richard Dawkins has to say about American science being held back by religious myths and sidestep whatever familial shit I might personally step in.
On Monday, Dawkins and Steven Pinker appeared on Capitol Hill on behalf of the Secular Coalition for America.
Via Raw Story:
A reporter asked Dawkins about the fact that more than 40 percent of Americans believe the Christian creation myth, that God created the world in seven days.
“This country is, without a doubt, the leading scientific nation in the world, beyond the shadow of a doubt,” Dawkins replied. “I can’t help wondering how much more advanced this country would be if you were not held back by this astonishing burden of 40 percent of the people who literally think the world, the universe is less than 10,000 years old.”
“I mean,” he said, “that is a staggering piece of ignorance. It’s a scandal.”
Believing that the world is less than 10,000 years old, Dawkins said, “is not a small error. It’s a gigantic, ridiculous error.”
The problem, he said, is based in part on the fact that school boards are elected in local elections, and that “in particular districts, it may be that the electors are electing ignoramuses.”
I’m more partial to the way Charles P. Pierce writes the plural form—“ignorami.” That has an even meaner sounding ring to it and I appreciate that.
As I was saying earlier, I wish I had a wall of video screens so as not to miss a single second of the insanity going on in Washington, DC today. It’s such an incredible spectacle to witness. The ultimate reality show and it’s on thousands of channels at once. It’s hard for me to do anything else other than just gawk at it slack-jawed and scour the Internet for new news. I’ve been called “perpetually amused” and that description more fits me to a tee, but never have I been more amused than I have been in the past few days. Today especially.
Shit is getting GOOD. The DC follies is the greatest show on Earth now that Breaking Bad is over.
I feel like we’re just about three-quarters of the way through a movie where the bad guys are about to get their asses handed to them, but then again, maybe not. The end of this one hasn’t been written yet, so there’s genuine suspense. From where I’m sitting, it does look like the Republicans have overplayed their hand, yes, and I think the outcome to all of this self-inflicted damage is all but assured, yes to that as well, but it also seems certain that we’re going to see at least a few more twists, turns and moments of high drama—and low humor—along the way.
Anyway, in my voracious appetite for vacuuming up and processing every bit of information I can about the government shutdown and the lunatics who are at present in charge of the asylum, nowhere have I seen it put better than by THE GREATEST AMERICAN WRITER OF OUR TIME, CHARLES P. PIERCE, writing at Esquire. This is required reading:
Only the truly child-like can have expected anything else.
In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress—or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress—a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court, a law that does nothing more than extend the possibility of health insurance to the millions of Americans who do not presently have it, a law based on a proposal from a conservative think-tank and taken out on the test track in Massachusetts by a Republican governor who also happens to have been the party’s 2012 nominee for president of the United States. That is why the government of the United States is, in large measure, closed this morning.
We have elected the people sitting on hold, waiting for their moment on an evening drive-time radio talk show.
We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too. We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government.
We have elected a national legislature in which Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann have more power than does the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has been made a piteous spectacle in the eyes of the country and doesn’t seem to mind that at all. We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade that believes that its opposition to a bill directing millions of new customers to the nation’s insurance companies is the equivalent of standing up to the Nazis in 1938, to the bravery of the passengers on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and to Mel Gibson’s account of the Scottish Wars of Independence in the 13th Century. We have elected a national legislature that looks into the mirror and sees itself already cast in marble.
We did this. We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons.
This is what they came to Washington to do—to break the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter any more whether they’re doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party’s mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in which government “was” the problem, through Bill Clinton’s ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being “over,” through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find “common ground” and a “Third Way.” Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country’s higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains.
Charles P. Pierce. He’s the best of the best, right? He’s also one of the last sane men left in America. Miss his wisdom at your peril. He’s good. Mark Twain good. Hunter S. Thompson good. Joe Bageant good. Jon Stewart good. He’s damned good!
Read Charles P. Pierce daily at the Esquire Politics blog
Andrew Sullivan nails it…
“I regard this development as one of the more insidious and anti-constitutional acts of racist vandalism against the American republic in my adult lifetime. Those who keep talking as if there are two sides to this, when there are not, are as much a part of the vandalism as Ted Cruz. Obama has played punctiliously by the constitutional rules – two elections, one court case – while the GOP has decided that the rules are for dummies and suckers, and throws over the board game as soon as it looks as if it is going to lose by the rules as they have always applied.
This time, the elephant must go down. And if possible, it must be so wounded it does not get up for a long time to come.”
He’s too kind, though. “Wounded”? Merely wounded? Like many of you, I’d dearly love to see that bloated, cigar-puffing pachyderm’s head paraded through the streets on the end of a pitchfork.
The longer this drags on, the worse it’s going to get for the GOP. What’s currently transpiring in Washington is easily the worst political miscalculation made by a political party since… since I don’t know when.
No, it might not have quite the same humiliating panache as yesterday’s classic “House of Turds” cover, but it certainly shows just how OUT OF THEIR CONTROL the “shutdown” narrative has gotten from the hapless Republican Party, doesn’t it, when they’re losing the support of even the mainstream conservative papers like The New York Daily News?
Yesterday there were essentially two competing and contrasting visuals: On Fox News, Breitbart, Drudge Report and the like, all you saw were signs of strutting cock-of-the-walk Republican imbeciles grinning, bragging, proudly acting like they’d just beaten the hell out of the black guy in a barroom brawl. Each and every one of them seemed ridiculously oblivious to the way people outside of their bubble might regard the accuracy of what they were saying, the validity of their “true believer” arguments and also the ridiculous hubris of their behavior. Consider the non-verbal message the Republicans are sending by turning on Fox News for a little while with the sound down, and you’ll see what I mean.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m all over this stuff. I wish I had a whole wall of TVs like David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth. I can’t get enough. Watching the GOP dig itself deeper in shit IN REAL TIME? Pass me the popcorn and a shot of Jim Beam each time they say it’s the Democrats who won’t negotiate. (I’m seeing this sentence in triple, and sliding off my chair, jus’ so’s you fine people know that, okay?...Hiccup!)
Back in the real world, where most people don’t get their “informations” from screaming lunatics on AM talk radio and ALL CAPS EMAILS FILLED WITH PARANOIAC IDIOCY forwarded from someone they go to church with, well, we saw some of that, too, but what of the millions who were desperate to sign up for affordable healthcare yesterday?
That was news, too and so it now sets up a battle of images that the GOP—who were all so sure that Obamacare would be a resounding flop—did not perhaps anticipate:
One side is against the interests of sick people. This party is also the one favored by the vast majority of Christians, go figure.
How many of these Republican voters truly feel in their heart of hearts that if their savior came back TODAY he’d kick the crutches right out from under a sick person or deny health insurance to someone who can’t afford it? What VERSION of Christianity is that? It’s THE AMERICAN VERSION. No wonder young people want no part of it.
We’re witnessing one of the single most absurd moments in all of American history! These people seem to want to bring on another Civil War solely to deny poor people healthcare! It’s sad, it’s pathetic, delusional, too, but in the main, it’s simply absurd.
When all’s said and done, one factor in all this is is becoming more and more obvious and yet no one will say it out loud: It’s not merely a Right vs. Left political conflict in America anymore, it’s a Smart vs. Dumb thing!
Idiocracy is NOW.
Since none of them probably watch The Daily Show, why not share this clip with every idiot Republican you know, work with or are related to? (Every single blood-relative of mine is a Republican and a Creationist, they don’t seek out Jon Stewart. This morning, he’s coming to them.)
Stewart lays out what’s at stake in the current crisis in Washington so clearly that even a Republican could understand it.
His punchline at the very end is pretty profound. This isn’t necessarily Jon Stewart at his funniest, but this is a must-see segment nonetheless.
One for the ages, here. One John Boehner will never, ever live down.
Superb! It certainly beats the previous winner by a longshot.