A terrific older essay by Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce on how fucking insane Republican Party has become (it appeared in the magazine’s May 2012 issue) has been resurrected on reddit/r/politics. I must have missed this one when it went around the first time, but it has not dated in the least since then (if anything it’s more true with each passing day). A gem, courtesy of one of the very best political writers in America today:
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Republican party, root and branch, from its deepest grass roots to its highest levels, has become completely demented. This does not mean that it is incapable of winning elections; on the contrary, the 2010 midterms, as well as the statewide elections around the country, ushered in a class of politicians so thoroughly dedicated to turning nonsense into public policy that future historians are going to marvel at our ability to survive what we wrought upon ourselves. It is now impossible to become an elected Republican politician in this country if, for example, you believe in the overwhelming scientific consensus that exists behind the concept of anthropogenic global warming. Just recently, birth control, an issue most people thought pretty well had been settled in the 1960s, became yet another litmus test for Republican candidates, as did the Keystone XL pipeline, to which every Republican presidential candidate pledged unyielding fealty despite the fact that several prairie Republicans and an army of conservative farmers and ranchers are scared to death of the thing.
In Washington, there is no leadership anymore, no “Republican establishment” to which anyone can appeal. The ferocious strength of faith-based know-nothingism in the party’s base has resulted in a stubborn refusal to adopt even those ideas — like an individual mandate for health care, or cap-and-trade as an energy policy — that began as Republican ideas.
In the states, we have seen a staggering overreach on the part of Republican governors in the Midwest regarding labor rights, wildly restrictive voter-ID laws aimed at solving a problem that doesn’t exist, immigration statutes that are leaving lettuce to rot in the fields because nobody’s left to pick it, and a welter of preposterous antiabortion statutes. And behind all of that, a party base that has constructed its own private history, its own private language, its own private logic, and its own wholly rounded private universe.
That’s how Sarah Palin can tell people that Barack Obama wants to bring us “back to days before the Civil War” because Obama once hugged Derrick Bell, a law professor at Harvard. That’s how an insurance-friendly health-care bill can be declared to be socialism when it’s not being called the first step toward fascism. That’s how Mitt Romney came to tie himself in a bowline trying to run for president, even though he was the only real candidate in a field of crackpot poseurs, and even though he was running the only real campaign as opposed to tent revivals, exercises in brand maintenance, and extended book tours. Too late did Romney realize that the path to the nomination led through an alternate reality.
This was a development long in the making, and one of which we may well never see the end. It began with the vicious, truthless campaigns run by the National Conservative Political Action Committee in the late 1970s. This initiated the creation of a conservative network that was outside the formal party structure. To this was added independently financed think tanks, Christian colleges and (later) Christian academies and organized home schooling, and conservative boot camps that produced young people, and young candidates, whose primary allegiance was to conservative ideology and not to the Republican party. Eventually, as was proven by the failed candidacies of Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle, which helped lose the Republicans a golden chance at controlling the Senate as well in 2010, these people cared less about whether the party succeeded than they did that their ideology was kept pure and their private universe invulnerable. In trying to control the uncontrollable and to appease the insatiable, forcibly locked in with itself, like the Beales in Grey Gardens, the party gradually lost its mind.
That last sentence is quite simply… prose perfection. Pierce deserves a Pulitzer prize based on that line alone*.
The Democratic party has an obligation to beat the Republican party so badly, over and over again, that rationality once again becomes a quality to be desired. It must be done by persuading the country of this simple fact. It cannot be done by reasoning with the Republicans, because the next two generations of them are too far gone.
The whole thing is most definitely worth your time. While you are there, you should bookmark the Esquire Politics blog, it’s an essential daily read for political junkies.
His post this morning about Harry Reid and why he’s letting it rip so hard on Mitt Romney is also a must read.
Let’s Stop Being Upset with Harry Reid Already (Esquire Politics)
(*If it were up to me, I’d award a Pulitzer to Charles P. Pierce, if for no other reason, his snarling use of an all-purpose, southern-fried epithet my grandmother used to employ with great disdain: “dipshit doodlebug.”)
Posted by Richard Metzger |
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