Friday, August 24, 2012

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff


When Todd Akin shot himself in the foot the other day he didn’t just put a Senate seat in play that was clearly trending red, he inadvertently opened up a Pandora’s box that his Party was hoping they could keep closed, at least until after the November elections.  Inside that box lies the true Republican Party, not the one Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOP want you to see.  Like the Wizard from that fabled story of Oz, the GOP doesn’t want you to pay any attention to what’s lurking behind the curtain.  Because if you did, if you ever really took a close look at just what was behind that curtain, you’d shit your pants.  

You see Todd Akin isn’t just some rogue warrior within the Republican Party; he personifies everything the Party stands for.  He’s not the exception to the rule, he is the rule.  He just doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid, he bathes in it.  And now, thanks to his big fat mouth, the former Party of Lincoln will have to spend the next few weeks denying that it has been taken over by a bunch of religious fanatics, science deniers and birthers, while at the same time desperately trying to convince a majority of the electorate they all don’t march to the same beat.

Don’t believe it for a minute.  The dust hasn’t even settled on the Akin mess and already the GOP is preparing to unveil a tough, no exceptions anti-abortion platform at its convention next week.  Want to lay odds on how many “brave” souls dare refute that platform?  I’ll give you a hint: it won’t equal the numbers of fingers on one of your hands.

Pick a policy, any policy, and the answers will be both predictable and virtually identical throughout the rank and file.  This is now a party that to a man and woman believe that climate change and evolution are nothing more than hoaxes; birth control promotes promiscuity; there is such a thing as “forcible” rape; homosexuality is an abomination; the cause of the Great Recession was Fannie and Freddie; the stimulus and auto bailout were a waste of taxpayer money; the banks should've been allowed to fail; environmental and financial regulations are costly and unnecessary; the Civil Rights Act went too far; tax cuts pay for themselves; and, last but hardly least, birtherism is a legitimate issue.

Any one of these archaic ideas could easily be debunked by a simple examination of the facts.  But then facts have been a problem for the GOP for quite some time now.  Challenging the Republican orthodoxy these days is akin to playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun.

In fact, one of the few Republicans who had the courage to challenge at least some of the above maxims of the Party was Jon Huntsman.  You might remember him as the presidential hopeful whose candidacy lasted about as long as a coherent thought in Sarah Palin’s head.  Unlike Mitt Romney, Huntsman at least went down in flames with his dignity intact.

This isn’t an À la carte menu, where you get to pick choose which entrées you like and don’t like; it’s more like a price fix package.  Everything’s included. You just have to pay the tab.  And make no mistake about it; this is one hell of a tab.  From the trillions they want to hand over to the top one percent, to the roll backs of both financial and environmental regulations, to the “revisiting” of virtually every civil rights decision going back to Brown v. Board of Education, to the social agenda they have in store for millions of women, 2013 may be the beginning of the longest nightmare in American history. 

If you thought this election was just about the economy, you have been duped.  If you were expecting some serious debate between the followers of Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes, good luck.  May I suggest PBS?  Not that the economy isn’t worth having a serious debate over, mind you; it’s just that the Republican Party had other ideas. 

Publicly they decry the President’s handling of the economy, while privately rooting for it to crash so they can reclaim the country they feel was stolen from them. They are beholden to a fantasy that insists supply-side economics is a sound economic principle and that the only way of growing the economy is by slashing spending. They see the disaster of austerity in Europe and have collectively decided to steam full speed ahead towards it.    

And now, with his campaign being bombarded by “distractions,” Mitt Romney, the presumptive nominee of his Party, has decided enough is enough.  He is refusing to grant interviews to anyone unless they agree to refrain from asking questions about Todd Akin and abortion.  How soon before Bain Capital and his tax returns also land on that list of unacceptable questions? 

The main-stream media cannot go along with this ultimatum.  They cannot allow the Republican Party to put this genie back in the bottle.  These issues aren’t distractions; they go to the core of who and what the GOP is.  They can no more be ignored or swept under the rug than pigs can fly.  Todd Akins screwed the pooch, and now his party must deal with the fallout.  That’s politics.  You don’t like crazy?  Stay out of the nuthouse.

The pundits are right.  This is no longer a referendum; it’s now a choice.  But a choice requires an informed opinion.  Each and every voter, when they step into that booth, has a right to full disclosure of ALL the facts before they pull that lever. 

The Party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower has now become the Party of Palin, Limbaugh and Trump.

Be afraid; be very afraid.

1 comment:

Peter Fegan said...

After some careful consideration and a comment made by a reader of the post on another site, I've decided that Akin didn't fall on his sword. That would've been honorable. What he really did was shoot himself in the foot.

Therefore, I have made the change.