Posted tagged ‘GOP’

Peak Wingnut Is The Lying-est Lie Ever

June 11, 2014

Thought it couldn’t get worse/crazier than a unknown Randroid college “economist” knocking off the sitting majority leader?

Oh, no.  No. No. No. No.

There’s yet a Marianas Trench for these folks to dig.

Today’s case-in-point comes from the grea  batshit insane state of Oklahoma, where we meet this fine primate:

Tea Party state House candidate Scott Esk endorsed stoning gay people to death: “I think we would be totally in the right to do it,” he said in a Facebook post. Esk went on to add nuance to his position:

“That [stoning gay people to death] goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.”

Never mind the deep ignorance of a key foundational story from the faith in which he claims to live:


Not to worry, though. Pressed on the subject, Mr. Esk allowed as he merely accepts such a course of action, rather than actively planning to work to put Oklahoma squarely into the 5th century. Before the Common Era.

I never said I would author legislation to put homosexuals to death, but I didn’t have a problem with it.  [from here, with many more gory details here]

Glad that’s clear.

Also clear: these people hate America.

They are ignorant of its history and have no connection to the essential principles on which a pluralistic, free society utterly depends.

They must not be allowed near the levers of power.  And they are the base of the Republican Party.

I leave the rest of the exercise to the reader.

Image: Lucas Cranach the Younger,  Christ and the Adultress, after 1532.

Don’t Know Much…

August 13, 2012

There is the one bit of conventional wisdom coagulating around Romney’s Veep selection that is absolutely true. We face a stark — really an existential — choice this November.

There are any number of ways to characterize the two branches that split from that decision, but for me it boils down to a commitment to the idea of society — that we exist as both individuals and as members of groups, with all the enhancement and constraint of experience that comes with such associations.  One side honors that concept; the other derides it.

All this is to say go read Benjamin Hale’s very thoughtful piece up at The New York Times‘ The Stone blog.

Hale offers a much more measured argument than anything I find myself capable of composing right now, channeling his inner John Rawls to provide a framework for understanding just how literally anti-social Ryan and Romney are.  His restraint makes his conclusion all the more potent:

The question of fairness has widespread application throughout our political discourse. It affects taxation, health care, education, social safety nets and so on. The veil of opulence would have us screen for fairness by asking what the most fortunate among us are willing to bear. The veil of ignorance would have us screen for fairness by asking what any of us would be willing to bear, if it were the case that we, or the ones we love, might be born into difficult circumstances or, despite our hard work, blindsided by misfortune. Society is in place to correct for the injustices of the universe, to ensure that our lives can run smoothly despite the stuff that is far out of our control: not to hand us what we need, but to give us the opportunity to pursue life, liberty and happiness. The veil of ignorance helps us see that. The veil of opulence keeps us in the dark.

Do go read the whole thing.

The modern Republican Party can’t be reformed, I think; it can only be unmade, till not one brick stands on the next.

Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est.

Image:  Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Potsdamer Platz,1914.

Fry and Laurie Do the Entire 2012 GOP Campaign in 3:30

June 4, 2011

Via the young Fry and Laurie, the next year of Republican campaigning distilled to its essence:

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This video goes into the dictionary next to the phrase “word salad.”  Sarah Palin clearly took notes.

I Love the Smell of Godwin in the Morning: Rich Iott/Gay Mexican Muslim edition

October 18, 2010

I’m as jaded on the snark-subtitled Hitler-in-the-Bunker vids as the next blogger, but this version did have a bit of a kick to it.  So in the spirit of Monday, enjoy:

Quote of the Day: Batsh*t Crazyspeak/GOP Deep Thinker edition

March 14, 2010

On the subject of noted political philosopher and moral exemplar Newt Gingrich, here’s Grover Norquist as quoted in The New York Times. (h/t  Atrios)

“He’s out there working with and building a broader movement,” Mr. Norquist said. “As we know from Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, you don’t have to be president to be part of the conversation in American politics.”

No you don’t.  But it appears you do have to be paranoid, divorced from reality, insurrectionist and unqualified.  (Warning — that last link is in the spirit of rickrolling.)  Which is, I guess, suitable company for you to aspire to, Mr. Disgraced Former Speaker.

Seriously:  this is a measure of how debased the GOP has become, and how nonsensical the whole notion of a “conversation” in American politics now is.  What can you say of a party that is willing to elevate as thought leaders people for whom ideas reduce to this kind of thing on the significance of Cosmo centerfold Scott Brown’s election prop:

“What if I have to haul a moose?” Mr. Gingrich said, to laughter. “You cannot put a gun rack in the back of a Smart car.”

Seriously: This kind of rhetoric is fun, I guess.  But it is designed to make its listeners dumber, less capable of working out what might or might not make sense in a world in which reality is not whatever it is Fox News claims it to be on any given night.  Remember: Gingrich is the man that Republicans turn to for policy ideas.  He sees himself as a visionary and an agent of change, and his friends do him the kindness of taking him at his word.  Hence the impact of his deep conclusion on energy policy: “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less,” which became the McCain/Palin gamechanger, “Drill, baby, drill!”

And mah point (and I do have one): It is that the impossibility of meaningful bipartisan engagement on actually governing the country  — and making some stab at reversing the catastrophic damage to US wealth and power going forward done by 8 years of Bush misrule — does not rest on the heads of the Congressional GOP alone, not by a long stretch. This isn’t a problem of elected officials pursuing a strategy designed simply for short term electoral advantage.

Rather, what you have is the more-or-less complete capture of the entire party apparatus — the think tanks, the media contacts, the grass roots connections (Gingrich hearts him some teabaggers, by the way) — the whole shooting match (and, yes, I’m looking at you, Dick “Deadeye” Cheney) by people who simply have no interest at all in actually forming and implementing political solutions to the problems that attend either daily life or the long term prospects of the country.

They don’t for two reasons: the first is that true believers think that there are no problems, only obstacles placed in the way of the best of all possible worlds by the interference of government; and the second is that many, even most of the elite players aren’t true believers in much of anything, except the main chance.

That’s where Gingrich lies, on the evidence.  Here are the last relevant quotes from the Times piece:

Like Sarah Palin and others who have discovered that they can command a political platform and a good income without running for office, Mr. Gingrich remains relevant by having built himself into a one-man industry churning out speeches, books, films and policy positions…

…He sits atop an empire of interlocking policy groups, political networks and media enterprises with a total of about 60 employees. His chief vehicle is a policy center calledAmerican Solutions for a Winning Future. It has 1.5 million online members and raised more money ($8.1 million) in the last quarter of last year than Ms. Palin and Mitt Romney, another potential 2012 candidate, combined. His group is a so-called 527, which can accept unlimited donations, while the others have political action committees, which are restricted.

That is:  if you want to understand what motivates the seemingly farcical willingness of people smart enough to know they’re uttering fact-denied nonsense, follow the money.  As Dennis G. is documenting over at Balloon Juice, you have to recognize that much of the modern GOP is simply a con game, populated by familiar American figures, the plausible, smiling, confident/confidence men, spouting rivers of words designed to so thrill their listeners that the audience’s pockets don’t even need to be picked; the marks rise up in ecstasy to empty their wallets on their own.

Nice work if you can get it.

Image: E. W. Kemble:  “Travelling by Rail,” illustration from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn of the King and the Duke being tarred and feathered and ridden on a rail after attempting to perform “The Royal Nonesuch.” 1884

Sullivan, Huckabee, and the step not taken.

January 18, 2008

Andrew Sullivan has been consistent on Huckabee — he thinks that a truly committed Biblical literalist would make a scary President. I agree with him, as too many posts on this blog should make clear.

Now, Sullivan has put together his clearest account of Huckabee’s commitment to the view that the Bible is absolutely true. That’s really true — not only in the sense that a man named Moses really did lead the Israelites through dry land in the sea of Reeds or that a divine/man named Jesus really did bring another man named Lazarus to life — but in that the inerrant text of scripture is the only real judge of truth for any claim made outside the Bible — law and government, the arts, medicine and science, everything.

Again, Sullivan seems entirely in the right of it here to me. These views are incompatible with reality. You can’t have a President who thinks the Bible is a medical text, or a guide to physics and so on.

But the real story here is that Huckabee is extreme in degree, but not in kind. Some kind of magical thinking infects all the major GOP candidates, not just the man from Hope.

You can see this most clearly in the near universal defense of a false, but foundational GOP belief, the idea that tax cuts pay for themselves. McCain is the latest of the Republicans to wave that magic tax-cut wand. But Giuliani did it too. Romney goes there and of course, Huckabee himself has signed on with a 30% “fair” tax. See this post and its links for one of the multiple debunkings of self-paying tax cuts, and this article for a takedown on the Huckabee tax proposal.

Such willingness to ignore the contrary, inconvenient fact takes us back to a running theme of this blog. The real reason that it matters whether or not the candidates and the voters understand and support science is not just to make sure that something we might like gets funded next year. It is because the stories of science teach that the goal is not to defend what you know is right — but to make sure that what you know is not wrong.

(I need to add that, of course, the Democrats have un or ill-examined assumptions of their own. But one of the consequences of being out of power for so long is that a lot of received wisdom erodes during the desert years. Right now, this is an acute problem on the GOP side. If the Dems hold power for ten or twenty years, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this kind of unreflective certainty become much more prevalent on that side of the aisle.)

Update: shortened and edited for clarity.’

Update #2:  John Cole puts my whole screed faster, cheaper, better, here.

Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, “Moses smashing the tablets of the law.” Source: Wikipedia Commons.