Sometimes I feel like this political season is all part of an episode of Punk’d. Any day now, Ashton will show up on CNN with his camera crew and let all of America in on the joke:
“Damn you people are oblivious! We had Mitt say he didn’t give a fuck about the very poor, we had Newt, fucking Newt Gingrich!!!, talk about the sanctity of marriage, and you idiots still bought every word. We had to find a way to close up the show, so we made Rick “Ol’ Frothy” Santorum the front-runner, and had all our ‘candidates’ attack birth control, and you people still thought it was legit. Seriously, it’s 2012! America, you’ve been Punk’d!!!”
Yes, it would be obnoxious, but at least those of us still clinging to our sanity could breathe a little easier. For the first time since I’ve been politically aware, I am genuinely frightened by the tone and direction of the political discussion this season. It’s no secret that my political views lean towards the left. I consider myself a progressive libertarian, but I won’t deny that many of my stances on issues can be called “liberal,” if not “far-left.” That being said, I have never voted a straight party ticket in any election, and am only registered as a democrat because I wanted to vote in the 2008 primary. Politics is not a sporting event and it shouldn’t be treated as such. Too many people root for their party like they root for their football team; “screw what’s good for the country, as long as my team wins I win!”
That being said, I forgive readers of this blog for thinking I am a hardcore Democratic partisan. It is going to sound that way this year because I am terrified of the current Republican party. I have been politically aware for about 20 years or so, and voting for 18 years. Of course I always wanted the candidate I voted for to win the election, not because he was on my “team,” but because I thought he would be the best choice for the office being filled. In 2000 if John McCain would have won the nomination instead of Bush, I may have voted Republican as I had great respect for McCain at the time. In 2004 I honestly wish I could have voted “none of the above” and been given two new candidates to choose from. In 2008 after 8 years of W, for me the real election was the Democratic primary. McCain winning the Republican nomination gave me brief pause until his VP choice and practically everything that came out of his mouth caused me to lose all respect I ever had for him. And I know some of my friends and many liberals will be giving me dagger eyes for this, but in almost any other political climate I would be voting Obama out of office this year due to his stances/actions on several of my “hot-button” issues.
But we play the cards we are dealt. Not only will Obama get my vote, but I will be working locally on his campaign Why?
Because the Republican party has gone batshit insane.
That statement is not political rhetoric. It’s not an obnoxious pundit trying to get a reaction (although I will definitely admit to being obnoxious). I’m not trying to tar a candidate, or swing someone’s opinion. I don’t mean I disagree with their platform; I disagree with many people with a better grip on sanity than me. It’s not a figurative usage either. When I’d call W. “insane” for slashing taxes on the rich or for claiming Iraq had WMD’s, I never actually thought he lost his foothold in reality. This isn’t like that.
The Republican party has gone batshit insane. Reality has no meaning for them anymore. The far right has built a train over the past decades through extremist talk radio and “fair and balanced” Fox News. The conservative leaders have sounded the culture war alarm time and time again, exploiting the beliefs of their base to get them to vote against their own economic interests. They’ve “otherized” their political opponents, using racism, sexism, homophobia, and religion to rally the base behind whatever issue they needed to push, all while attempting to retain plausible deniability. They spawned a “grassroots” Tea Party movement, and rode it to victory in 2010. But the train never stopped and it is out of control now. The group they created through the cynical manipulation of their base, a group that only sees one distorted side of the issues because of being told year after year that all media other than Fox and right wing talk radio is controlled by socialists, a group that seems incapable of rational discussion, let alone compromise; that group is now conducting the train.
This isn’t about policy disagreements. This isn’t two sides having separate opinions on how much to tax the wealthy. This is about a significant portion of one of the two political parties living in a world that does not exist. Over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton calls it ” Planet Wingnuttia”. Rachael Maddow calls it “Republicanland.” Whatever you call it, it bears only a passing resemblance to reality. And what happens when you give people living in a fantasy land real power?
You get blatantly racist political ads like this:
You get billionaires saying the only contraception women need is to keep their slutty legs shut:
And presidential candidates attacking……..birth control.
You get speakers at CPAC saying their proud of Christians who attack Mosques:
I could keep going here for days. I’ll finish with one link that proves more than anything that the Republican party has gone insane.