Saturday, August 8, 2009

The GOP Freak Show

Conservative radio talk-show host John Batchelor says the whack jobs disrupting health-care town halls confirm the Republican Party has become a cruise ship to the seventh grade.

The sad-eyed Townhall Turfers now follow the saucer-eyed Birthers and the cranky Tea-Baggers as the latest political fad that the weakling Republicans not only cannot get away from but also cannot get enough of, like chocolate sauce on anything.

The Turfers are freakish, passionate, half-baked, dignified, defiant, rude, anarchistic, but they are not Republicans.

Well, they sure as hell aren't Democrats. Nor liberal. What does that leave?

Would that the Republicans were capable of such a vast right-wing conspiracy to rally and deploy growling scene-stealers with signage that is indifferent to paradox, “Stop Obama,” “Stop Socialism,” “Stop Fascism.” Those who have discovered these shadowy links of the nonsensically named “Conservatives for Patient Rights” to the infamous Swift Boaters’ latest awkward fantasy, “Tea Party Patriots Health Care Reform Committee,” serve less to enliven their suspicions than they do to prop up the spirits of the deracinated Republicans. Democrats are imagining a Republicanism that is ambulatory, omnipotent like the fabled days of the Brooks Brothers Brigade storming Dade County in the stolen election of 2000.

In the battles of spin, perceptions count more than reality. And to have these yahoos associated with anti-Obamaism and anti-reform helps the liberal side.

And what does the Republican Party provide the generally despairing and alienated American citizens who come out to the town halls? It answers shouts for help with teasing and cooing, the behavior of groupies with the language of quitters.

The GOP seems to have no strategy other than saying no and being disruptive.

With Boehner and Steele cheering like gamblers at a cockfight, with the tempestuous DNC joining in the food fight with both hands, the shabby, timid GOP is left exposed to the predations of the demagogues of talk. The usual cynics are outperforming in fear-mongering and self-promotion. Limbaugh swerved all over the road to combine the Turfers with his imagination of the younger chief executive ... Lou Dobbs is toothless in comparison to the Limbaugh bite, but Dobbs can gush like Bruno.

That's today's Republican Party: Michael Steele, who'll get dumped next year; Boehner, with his tan and yellow ties; and two broadcast demagogues. O, and the cheating Senator from Nevada and the cheating Governor of South Carolina. And ex-Governor Palin, who gives credence to the absurdity that the health care reform bills now in Congress would include a senior-citizen-euthanizing "death panel." And this is, no, was, the party of Lincoln.

If the Republican Party existed except as a club of groupies and roadies for the rabble-rousers on radio and cable, it would rouse itself from its narcotized self-satisfaction of second best and give a speech that the Turfers, Birthers Tea-Baggers and all the other amateurs of dissent must sit down and listen to the reason of statesmanship or else leave the halls of Congress. The GOP would tell the snipers that this is a somber, modest political party, not a cruise ship to the seventh grade. Somewhere in the outline of this speech, this make-believe worthwhile Republican Party would include the language of liberty and restraint. And then this never to be given speech by a non-existent leader to the never again to be dignified Republicans would build to a quiet conclusion that very much resembles Edmund Burke. "But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.”

John McCain couldn't do it, for he had to solidify his right-wing support.

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