Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stabbing the baby before throwing it out with the bathwater seems to be the current strategy

Gilda: Would it interest you to know how much I hate you, Johnny?
Johnny Farrell: Very much.
Gilda: I hate you so much that I would destroy myself to take you down with me.

My emotions the past several days have been volleying between blinding rage and cautious optimism what with the shutdown here in Minnesota and the debt ceiling talks in Washington. The rage stems from what I already knew - we are dealing with a Grand Old Party of grifters and sociopaths, who have managed to wrap themselves so tightly in their own ideology that they are suffocating themselves. They really have very few choices now aside from sinking the country or losing their precious little jobs (and obviously, they chose their own jobs, because they know damn well how badly they've been fucking the unemployed and wisely want no part of that).

It never should have gotten to this point. The tongue-bath the media has been giving the Tea Party the past few years has been an utter and complete joke on the country, and I'm sure Tim Russert's great grandson will tell us as much in about 70 years while assuring us that all the Very Serious people in Real America agree with cyborg-McCain's plan to blow up the moon to defeat the terrorist alien babies.

At the same time, I'm a bit optimistic. David Brooks of all people came down hard on the Republicans this week:

But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.

Richard Cohen in the Washington Post simply sums it up by observing that the modern GOP has become nothing more then a cult. Are these opinion columns all that significant in and of themselves? Not really. It's nice that they've finally caught onto what some of us have been pointing out for over a decade now, but these guys have always been weak idiots that illustrate perfectly why old media is dying. What I think it does illustrate, however, is that the latest antics from the GOP is beginning to cause concern for what is normally their largest group of apologists, the Very Serious Elite Pseudo-Moderate DC pundits.

The GOP is getting so outrageous, in other words, that the pundits can't find any comparable Democratic proposal to misinterpret in order to play the false equivalency game to show how "fair" they are. And once you start to worry a media that is pretty much primed to constantly allow you to run your crazy-train uncontested less they be accused of "liberal bias", it shows just how far off the tracks the modern GOP has gone. I've had a hunch in the past that the Republicans are falling victim to their own livelihood, that they can't survive without pandering to the extremists that both turn out strongly in election years yet alienate everyone else, much like what happened with the Democrats in the 70s. In time, even the most ardent supporters that still have a few brain cells circling somewhere in their cranium can't just grimace and pull the lever anymore. In time, the party they opposed in the past starts to look like the lesser of the two evils.

The party that could never die is, in my opinion, dying. If history is any indication, even if the GOP manages to survive, they will have crippled themselves for decades (we still use 60s/70s-era talking points against the Democrats; all the Hippy Punching/angry liberals/anti-government leftists/hey doesn't Carter totally suck came from somewhere). And I think the old guard knows this, which is why you have two types of old-school Republicans in congress these days, the types that are retiring to get the fuck out of dodge before they are chased out and the ones that have embraced the Tea Party Patriots wholeheartedly even though they know damn well their politics and rigid ideology is toxic, not only to them, but to the country. Somewhere down the line, "America First" ceased to matter, and zealotry took over.

I think in the end, the massive restructuring and/or demise of the modern GOP will be a good thing for the country. But in the meantime, it's going to be an absolute disaster. If they are going to go down, they are going to do everything in their power to drag the rest of us down with them. The Republican Party used to stand for something (and could again, in the future). But today, they stand for nothing more then the fact that they hate you, they will not compromise with you, and as such, if you are not part of their tribe you must be eradicated at any cost. Although this is damaging to their party, it does not bode well for the country as a whole. But what else can be done at this point? You cannot compromise with people like this, even if they would let you. Which they won't.

And I know, I know, it's really fucked up to look at the current political climate and find optimism in respect to the policies that will probably be enacted. That there are actually people being affected, that these aren't mere numbers and statistics. I'm fully aware of my own privilege in these matters, that the loss of government services are really nothing more then an annoyance for me so far.

But I'm not going off of an idea of "Fuck you, I win! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!". It's not a game. It is just getting harder to deny that the current Republican Party just cannot exist inside the frame of what we know as a Democracy. The GOP has given no indication that they will tone it down anytime soon (like I said, I don't think they can at this point, movement conservatism has spiraled out of their own control). And as much as I will continue to disagree with true conservative principles, even I can realize that it does me no favors to have an opposition party that is insane and unwilling to compromise.

Of course, in the end, my optimism could be misplaced. We do get the government we deserve, and sometimes I fear that. And perhaps that's more where the rage comes from.

(Opening quote from Gilda, 1946.)


Tango said...

Nice, Stacy. Nice, indeed. I hope your guarded optimism is borne out.

Better Orange Than Dead said...

I think brooks may have had a stroke..