Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Conservatives: Crazy, Idiotic, Dangerous.


In Wikipedia's entry on the "Timeline of Modern American Conservatism" (well worth a read!), the last two years are as follows:

"2010:  November 3: in the largest GOP gain since 1938, 2010 became one of the most important elections in conservative history[194] as GOP candidates, fired up by Tea Party support, make major gains in midterm elections across the country for Congress, governorships and state legislatures. Conservative voters (self-identified) comprise 42% of the voters and support GOP House candidates 84% to 13%. Liberals comprise 20% of the voters and support Democrats 90% to 8%. Moderates comprise 38% of the voters and support the GOP 55% to 42%.[195]2012

"2012:  A central concern for conservatives in the 2012 GOP primaries was whether front-runner Mitt Romney is conservative enough. Numerous other challengers on the right rose and fell, notably Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann.[196] Romney moved sharply to the right and chose deficit hawk Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate.[197] Obama, however, successfully mobilized his base and won reelection, as Democrats made small gains in the House and Senate."

And with the exception of the newly-elected Crazy Teds, Ted Cruz and Ted Yoho, the entries highlight some of the crazier members of the Conservative "movement" as we reprint for your education and entertainment two articles: "Republicans’ Big Problem With Crazy" and "7 Idiotic and Dangerous Statements From Right-Wing Nut-Jobs Just Last Week."

A padded cell waiting for Michelle Bachmann

The first article, "Republicans’ Big Problem With Crazy," by Michael Cohen from the Guardian.co.uk, is on the Rawstory.com site, and illustrates one of the problems with taking Conservatism to its absurd conclusion - the inmates take over the asylum, resulting in the current GOP Civil War:

"The GOP establishment pandered to Tea Party extremism to win the 2010 midterm elections. Now, it’s reaping the whirlwind.

"If you’re looking for a Republican congressman who truly embodies the ethos of the Tea Party, Maryland Representative Andy Harris is a pretty good pick.

"Harris, you see, is no fan of 'big government' and he’s definitely not a fan of Rinos ('Republicans in name only').

"Harris made a national name for himself in 2008, when he successfully launched a primary campaign against insufficiently conservative 18-year congressional veteran Wayne Gilchrest. Although Harris lost in the general election, he was more successful two years later, joining his Tea Party contingent in the House of Representatives.

"As a congressman, Harris has had a difficult time finding a single government program or legislative initiative he doesn’t hate. He opposed the debt limit deal in the summer of 2011; he was one of the handful of Republicans to vote against the fiscal cliff deal in January 2013; he’s against immigration reform, foreign aid, more money for Pell grants, and even theViolence Against Women Act.

"And, of course, he hates Obamacare.

"This record of conservative allegiance would, you might imagine, inoculate Harris from Tea Party criticism. Yet, earlier this month, in a town hall meeting in his home district, he was assailed by his constituents – for not being strident and uncompromising enough.

"'You guys are being nice guys' and 'I want to see more defiance!' were just some of the accusations hurled at the congressman in a heated session that included questions about the supposed IRS scandal and the current lodestar of conservative lunacy – Benghazi.

"Harris is not alone.

Blake in his p.j.s
"Blake Farenthold, another Tea Party Republican from Texas, who voted against the fiscal cliff deal as well, and told constituents “there are several [cabinet] departments we could completely get rid of”, was assailed by “birthers” for the GOP’s failure to impeach President Obama. (His defense was not that impeachment would be insane, but that it would be infeasible.) Tea Partiers in North Carolina pummeled Congressman Robert Pittenger for refusing to support defunding Obamacare even thought he has supported a number of bills repealing Obamacare.

"Indeed, across the nation, Republican senators and congressmen are finding themselves under withering assault from Tea Party critics.

"After three and a half years of legislative hostage-taking and policy nihilism and unceasing, uncompromising obstructionism of President Obama’s agenda, the message from the Tea Party is a simple one: we want more crazy.

"So what’s going on here? Quite simply, Republicans are being destroyed by the rightwing monster they created.

"Although, once upon a time, the divide in the GOP was between moderates and conservatives; today, the intra-party cleavage is between the Republican establishment and the lunatic fringe. And the fringe is not so fringe-y.

"For years, the GOP establishment mined this wellspring of racial and economic anxiety. They railed against gay marriage and abortion; attacked big government and out-of-control federal spending and demonized welfare and social programs.

"But once in office, Republicans had a funny way of never really carrying through with their tough rhetoric. Rather than do away with social security or Medicare – they strengthened it and expanded it. Rather than slash government spending or the size of the federal bureaucracy – they increased it. The more visceral imperative for Republican officeholders was to provide tax breaks for their wealthy supporters, weaken regulation (be it financial, environmental or workplace) and, above all, hold on to their political power. Going after sacred cows like social insurance programs or popular spending programs, or working to enact abortion restrictions, were political nonstarters (or were quickly shelved once they became political liabilities).

"Then, in 2009, things began to take a turn. With the election of Barack Obama, Republicans found themselves with a new political adversary uniquely capable of upsetting the far right – and the GOP made sure this was exactly what happened. Playing on fears of social change, racial anxiety and expanding big government, Republican leaders inveighed against the evils of Obamacare and the president’s alleged profligate spending.

"They pulled out every stop to thwart Obama’s legislative agenda, and even went far down the political rabbit hole as they flirted with 'birtherism', charges of socialism, and allegations that the president was a secret Muslim. In the process, they both enraged and energized the party’s most radical followers.


"The result was a short-term political victory (control of the House of Representatives, won in the 2010 midterms) – but an increasingly long-term political headache, like the one playing out in GOP town hall meetings across America right now. The establishment players in Congress found themselves with a host of new Tea Partier colleagues little interested in following the usual GOP script of compromise in the name of political necessity. They were willing to undermine the full faith and credit of the US government in order to force draconian spending cuts upon the White House. They’ve continued their assault on Obamacare, voting to repeal it 40 times, and now, one of the group’s biggest bomb-throwers, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, is talking about shutting down the government in order to defund it. They’ve allowed sequestration – and its devastating affect on communities across the country – to continue. And they have resisted any and all effort to moderate the party’s image, dragging the Republican establishment under the bus with them.

"On immigration reform, the Tea Party contingent has made clear that the Senate immigration bill is dead-in-the-water – thus, gravely undermining national GOP efforts to improve the party’s image among Hispanic voters. On abortion rights, state legislatures filled with ultra-conservatives continue to pass legislation restricting access to reproductive health services and, in the process, further devastated the party’s already poor relationship with women voters. In the struggle between those who want to moderate the party (albeit only slightly) and those who want to ride the train straight to crazy-ville, the latter are winning.

"Finally, they’ve turned their guns on their own leaders and, in the process, driven the party more and more toward their uncompromising positions.

"With deadlines coming soon on a possible government shutdown and an extension of the debt limit, Republican leaders like Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who is facing a Tea Party primary challenge are under growing pressure to not get off the politically suicidal path on which they find themselves – but instead to stay the course.

"The result of all this is more dysfunction, more budgetary shutdowns and more political black eyes for a Republican party unable to reason with its most ideologically fervent followers. None of this should really be unexpected. If you’re going to tell radical conservatives that Obamacare is the worst thing to ever happen to America, is it really a surprise that those same extremists are not going to meekly nod when you tell them that it’s now a fact of life? If you’re going to tell voters that government debt is destroying the country, is it really a surprise when those voters demand that every step must be taken to reduce it?

"Any hope that the defeat of Mitt Romney in November 2012 would begin to drain the GOP’s fever swamp has gone by the wayside – and Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. In nurturing and radicalizing its extremist fringe – in pursuit of short-term gain – the Republican establishment created a political Frankenstein. Increasingly, however, it looks as though the monster’s first victim is going to be them."

***



And for those who doubt whether "crazy" is an appropriate or respectful term to describe our elected officials, the second piece by Janet Allon at Alternet.com, "7 Idiotic and Dangerous Statements From Right-Wing Nut-Jobs Just Last Week" erases all doubt:

"We can't have a woman president until every other country has a woman leader"...and much more.


"1. GOP Congressman: Multiculturalism is bad. There is an 'American race.'

McClintock is the crazy one - on the right.

"At a townhall meeting in El Dorado Hills, California, Rep. Tom McClintock enlightened attendees about his views on immigration reform. He suggested that immigrants need to shed their own culture and become something he termed the 'American race' then added that if they can’t do that they should just go home. 'There’s only one race here: it’s the American race,' he said.

"Later, a Latino man who had been in the audience challenged McClintock’s view, saying that people who bring different cultures and personalities to this country is in fact what makes it both great and strong. So McClintock took it a step further: Multiculturalists want to 'divide America into warring factions separated by culture, by language, by attitude,' he told the man.

"Suggestion to McClintock: Read a history book! Diversify your friend pool. Something.

"2. Donny Deutsch: The U.S. can’t have a woman president until Al Qaeda does.

The deutschbag rants on.

"Donny Deutsch may have been a genius brander/advertising guy, but as a political analyst, umm...not so much. In an appearance on 'Morning Joe' this week, he laid out his theory of why a woman (read: Hillary Clinton) should not be president. In a nutshell, it seems to be because she’d have to deal with foreign leaders who are men. And that wouldn’t be fair.

"We’ll let him dig his own grave. Here’s what he said:
"'Problem: we have a woman, but our enemies are still on the opposite side of the equation. I don’t think the Al Qaedas of the world are going to be headed by women, so it falls apart a little bit. Women plus women equals a win to me. Women and still men on the other side of the table? Theoretically the world would be a better place with women running it. It doesn’t solve the problem.'
"'If you have two women down to negotiate something, it’s going to get done without bullets,' Deutsch continued, undeterred by the ridiculousness of his position. 'On our side of the equation, we solve it, but there’s a world that’s still a century behind in our evolutionary state or progressive state in how we feel about women.'

"So no woman president until every other country has a woman leader. As Jezebel quipped: 'Does Angela Merkel know about this?'

"3. Minnesota Rep. offers conceal carry permits and target practice to donors.

Crazy?  Who's crazy?!

"Here’s a novel idea for a fundraising event: Promise more gun privileges to every donor. This Saturday, gun-loving Minn. Republican lawmaker Cindy Pugh offered free concealed carry gun-training classes to people who donate a minimum of $125 to her campaign. For those potential donors who already have concealed carry permits, the deal was sweetened by having their permit automatically renewed, for a mere $100 donation.

"Pugh was really pleased with herself for coming up with this idea. As she told Watchdog.org:
"'I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’ve never heard of anyone doing this before and I don’t know that it has been done before. But this is an idea that my campaign team came up with as we were brainstorming ways to connect with my voters and my constituents and just heighten awareness about issues that are important.'
"This should in no way be construed as buying votes (or donations) though. That is something only Democrats do when they, say, offer food stamps to hungry seniors.

"4. Rush Limbaugh bullies listeners into choosing between God and science.

Rush, the ladies man!

"One mark of a borderline personality, we’re told, is seeing the word in black-and-white terms — either/or — no nuance allowed. An armchair diagnosis of Rush Limbaugh suggests that syndrome may apply to him. Another diagnosis: intellectual (using the word loosely) bullying.
"And so it was this week when Limbaugh made it plain to his listeners that they could not simultaneously believe in God and in climate change science. Take your pick, he said, ‘cause you can’t have both. His comments were occasioned by Secretary of State John Kerry having the audacity to say in a speech to the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives that climate change was 'a challenge to our responsibilities as the guardians — safe guarders of God’s creation.'

"Here’s how Limbaugh put listeners between a rock and hard place:
"'See, in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming … You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can’t create.'
"Black or white. See? Simple.

"5. Rick Santorum says 'middle class' is a Marxist term.

"Look, a birdie!"

"Former and perhaps future presidential candidate Rick Santorum is so tired of hearing about the middle class. This is not because of the sad fact that the middle class is shrinking or just becoming part of the poor or one step away from it, it’s because he has decided, the very notion of the middle class is 'Marxism talk' because, 'Since when in America do we have classes?'

"This is Santorum’s notion of creative problem-solving. It is also always good to attach the Marxist/socialist label to Obama, because if there’s one thing Americans hate, it’s socialism.

"As Salon reported:
"'Who does Barack talk about all the time?' Santorum rhetorically asked a group of Republicans recently in Lyon County, IA. 'The middle class. Since when in America do we have classes? Since when in America are people stuck in areas, or defined places called a class? That’s Marxism talk. When Republicans get up and talk about the middle class we’re buying into their rhetoric of dividing America. Stop it.'
"6. Steve King asks Obama to have clown summit.

Larry, Moechelle, and Curly Steve.

"Even his fellow Republicans wish Iowa Rep. Steve King would shut up. He is not doing the brand or the shrinking voter base any good with his comments on immigrants having cantaloupe calves, and other assorted bigoted remarks. Most self-respecting Republicans also disavow blatant racism, and almost everyone agrees that the Obama-mask clown at the Missouri State Fair that lent the event the air of a KKK rally was over the line.

"Not Rep. King, however. Perversely appointing himself the arbiter of what is racist and funny, he tweeted:
"'Mr. President: Invite the rodeo clown 2 the White House 4 a beer summit. Take the temperature down, have a laugh, relax. It's not about race.'
"As if Obama did not have enough clowns to deal with in Washington.

"7. Former Navy Chaplain: Obama is secretly creating an atheist military to attack Christians.

No caption necessary.

"Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt is full of fire and brimstone, and some would say insane paranoia, these days. Having been court-martialed for wearing his navy uniform to a protest a few years back, he is convinced of a huge conspiracy to rid the armed forces of Christians. To do this, he says Obama is amassing an atheist army to attack God-fearing Christians.

"Klingenschmitt told Dove TV, 'The Obama administration is stockpiling armored personnel carriers, and the Department of Homeland Security [has] billions of rounds of ammunition; who are they going to use that against? If there’s no Christians serving in the government, eventually that is all going to be turned against us.'

"Other eminently sensible recent remarks from Chap. Kling according to Rightwingwatch.org: 'Wendy Davis is ruled by a demon of murder and should be prosecuted,' and, 'What gays do behind closed doors is not love, it’s lawlessness.'

"Be afraid. Be very afraid."

***


The fear from crazies in government has historical roots - from Rome's Caligula to Germany's Storm Troopers, crazies kill.

We've repeated the phrase "the inmates have taken over the asylum," and will do so many more times, but the asylum is not necessarily the GOP - it's the country if the Conservatives capture all three branches of government again as they did during the Bush years.

President Obama and a Democratic-controlled Senate, albeit a Senate infiltrated by Quisling Blue Dog and other Conservative Dems, have been unable not only to erase the damage caused by those dark Bush years, but we really haven't recovered from the Reagan years, much less the years where the Congress was controlled by the Conservative GOP front group in the early part of the last century.

Replacing the SCOTUS Five, taking over the House again, and booting out the DINOs, is only the first step in the Journey of A Thousand Miles to criminalize Conservatism, but it must be done if we are to survive as a nation.



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"In view of the fact that God limited the intelligence of man, it seems unfair that He
did not also limit his stupidity."

Konrad Adenauer.  (German statesman. 1876 - 1977.)

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