Monday, April 13, 2009

Mourning The Imminent Death Of The GOP

Dear Republican Party:

I know you and I have some serious policy differences but I also want you to know that I really do appreciate the concept of a robust opposition party. I think it is crucial to create serious debate about the issues that face this nation.

So it’s with great sadness that I mourn your passing as a substantive contributor to the national dialogue. You guys have stepped over the edge into Crazyland and I can’t help but think the nation suffers as a result.

There are so many real issues that you guys could be challenging President Obama on, important stuff such as the state secrets flip-flop, for example. But that’s not what we get from you guys. No, we get stupid shit like this. Sadly, I have no hope for any serious dialogue coming from the opposition.

I’m not just talking about right-wing blogs like Red State; let’s face it, blogs can get away with being a little looney. But come on, Rush Limbaugh supposedly has an audience of 20 million; that’s not fringe, that’s mainstream.

Look at some of the nonsense you’ve brought to the table of late:

• Here’s Brit Hume, supposedly a respected Fox News anchor, calling the Obama’s dog “girly”.
• Here’s Michelle Bachmann, U.S. member of Congress, waxing hysterical over Obama bowing before the Saudi king (BTW, I don’t recall anyone on the right tsk-tsking President Bush’s "girly" lip lock & garden stroll with the same Saudi King. Just sayin’.)
• Here's Karl Rove, a former top advisor to a U.S. President, getting his panties in a wad over something Joe Biden said.
• Here’s Lyin’ Bill Kristol, editor of the Very Serious Weekly Standard, former New York Times columnist and the Washington Post’s conservative voice:
He complained to Brett Baier of Fox News on April 6, "Look . . . We have defended Muslim nations against terrorists. It would have been nice if President Obama could have said a word about the young Americans who went to Afghanistan . . . and . . . Iraq. But could Barack Obama say something that would be mildly unpopular to an audience [to] which he was speaking? No."

Somehow Kristol seems to have missed the part of Obama's speech where he emphasized that Turkey and America were fighting a common enemy, side by side, in Afghanistan. "Finally," said the president, "we share the common goal of denying al-Qaida a safe haven in Pakistan or Afghanistan. . . Turkey has been a true partner. Your troops were among the first in the International Security Assistance Force. You have sacrificed much in this endeavor. Now we must achieve our goals together." In other words, Obama said precisely what Kristol alleged that he did not.

It’s really sad to see the Republican Party--the party of Abraham Lincoln, with a history going back nearly 150 years--crumble before my very eyes.

Painful though it may be, I highly recommend Republicans read Paul Krugman’s column today. Krugman shows how when you could be serious, when you think you’re being serious, you come off looking like idiots. For example:

Thus, President Obama is being called a “socialist” who seeks to destroy capitalism. Why? Because he wants to raise the tax rate on the highest-income Americans back to, um, about 10 percentage points less than it was for most of the Reagan administration. Bizarre.

But the charge of socialism is being thrown around only because “liberal” doesn’t seem to carry the punch it used to.

True, Krugman goes on to warn us Lefties that Republicans have been crazy for a while and that hasn’t kept you from winning elections. But I have to think that the bloom is off the rose.

As you gather for your little tea parties, where you complain about “oppressive” taxes while enjoying the benefits they provide, I wonder how much longer you can withstand mocking such as this:

The day was dark already, but the atmosphere became foggier and more indistinct with each new speaker. It all seemed to boil down to a battle of good nouns against evil nouns.

“Liberty, yes! Tyranny, no!”

“Keep your socialistic dance! We don’t want to live in France!”

Before you could say “Marquis de Lafayette,” it was time to hurl tea. A man with a megaphone gave a warning about littering. Then a bagpiper led the crowd through the harbor town’s loveliest taxpayer-supported amenities, from the municipal gazebo in the municipal park, across the municipal parking lot and down the municipal dock.

The chief of the Northport Fire Department, which like many on Long Island is bristlingly equipped by compliant taxpayers with enough gear to protect small European principalities, kept watch from his official S.U.V. The Northport Police directed traffic as a search-and-rescue boat idled over by the marina. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, alerted to the possibility of tea dumping without permits, had sent two armed officers.

You know, the vast majority of Americans see these shenanigans for what they are. You’ve lost the middle, and you’ve lost the argument.

We live in an information age. You can't get away with spreading hysteria over Obama re-education camps or the coming one-world currency, and not think a large number of people aren't going to go home and hit the Google and research this stuff for themselves. Maybe not your base, that hard-core 25%, but the rest of the country, yes. So stop fooling around with the lies and conspiracy theories and get serious.

Republicans, we need you. We really do. Come back from the edge. As Krugman says, it’s just not right to make fun of crazy people. And I really don’t want to spend the next three years talking about stupid shit like whether Obama bowed before the Saudi king or if the Obama family dog is teh gaii.

Just something to think about.


Southern Beale