Posted tagged ‘GOP’

GOP Squad ’09!

March 1, 2009

They’re young. They’re hip. They’re “bad.” They’ve got conservative vibes and a with-it vocabulary full of talking points and “buzz words” and they really know what’s happening, baby. They can bum out the seniors with some hairy entitlement alarmism, and then hang loose with the Jesus Freaks by coming on all traditional-values and stuff. And they can rap with the kids, too, tweeting their wiki down the google tubes and blogging their browsers in high-def in your facebook, luv. They work for The Man and even sometimes for The Woman. They function within the System, because they do their own thing, and the System is their thing.

If it feels good, they tell you not to do it and then they do it. If it sounds good, they say it. If it polls good, they support it–or they say they do, or they say they did whether they did or not and hey: If it doesn’t add up, make sense, or prove true; if the scene goes bad or the vibe gets bummed, that’s your hang-up. They’re not “escaping Reality.” They’re building their own Reality. And they’ve been brought together by one man who believes they can get down, get funky, and get votes all at the same time.

They call themselves the GOP Squad. Check out their happening thing:

SARAH!–She’s young. She’s fine. She’s a mom and a governor and a rising star of the far right and a stone cold double-talking wolf-shooting fox. Her old man’s a hunk who used to want to secede from the Union, ’cause Alaska is outta sight. You know Sarah’s hip to the environment, ’cause she’s got a dead crab on her coffee table the size of a schnauzer. She blows off global warming, too, because it snowed somewhere last week and the chick is cool. Brains? She’s reads so many newspapers she can’t remember any of them.

And feature this: the lady lobbies for scratch (for a bridge to, like, Nowhere, man) and then she hears it’s not groovy? She says she didn’t want it from Jump Street. And then cops it anyway! That’s ’cause she doesn’t dig the whole Socialism thing, and every time she lays some bread on her constituents via their annual share of the income realized from investing the royalty revenue from the oil companies’ exploitation of the Prudhoe Bay oil reserves, she hips them to it, and it’s beautiful. She talks the talk even when she’s too busy laying the groundwork for the 2012 campaign to walk the walk. So ask her anything. She’ll be lip-flappin’ and jive-talkin’ ’til you wig out bad, baby.

MIKE!–What if they gave a Republican Party and everybody came? That’s Mike, Chairman-With-No-Hair-Man of the GOP. But hey. Never you mind that chrome dome, Jerome–Mike is five freaking months younger than Dem Chair Tim Kaine and that, in essence, is what-it-is. He’s black, you understand, so the brother possesses what most people can agree is a reasonable quantity of soul. The cat knows how The Machine works ’cause he was part of it–in state Government, that whole trip. Now he’s laying down some righteous riffs.

Says government jobs aren’t jobs, they’re “work.” Says the Party needs to let the sunshine out with a boss and groovy Hip-Hop-type packaging approach of marketing and “branding” and so forth. Says the way to bring power to the People is to let Republicans lead ’em out of the Big Economic Muddy they got us into because they got us into it. Says jobs that go away “come back.”

You tell him: Hey, man. But that’s like a cop-out. Big banks are crashing and don’t know how to value their assets from a hole in the ground, and the Dow is barely more than half of what it was, and this bad trip is global. What does Mike say? He says, “Small businesses will get us out of this.” You say: Oh wow. The small businesses that are going bankrupt? The ones that need credit and can’t get it? The ones that only exist thanks to contracts with big businesses, as GM goes belly-up and CitiCorp gets nationalized? He says, There it is.

That’s Mike’s bag. It’s a backwards-upside down-trickle up-psychedelic freakout. It’ll do a number on your head ’cause it’s got levels. Because everything is everything and This Is It. Far fucking out.

BOBBY!–He’s young. He’s smooth. His ancestors were Indian and he looks kinda black and his parents were Hindu–like Ghandi. But there is no need to flip out or become up-tight. When Bobby speaks he sounds more like Mister Rogers than Mister Nehru, and he converted to Catholicism. Which is cool, and fab, and very, very gear, our-Judeo-Christian-heritage-wise. Meanwhile, are you interested in heavy? Bobby took part in an actual, somewhat documented, super-tuff exorcism. Not only can he talk to political conservatives, and to religious conservatives, he can talk to demons, okay?

But that’s not the limit of the extent to which he is with-it. Bobby is an Intelligent Design head. The cat is a Rhodes Scholar and has a degree in Bio from Brown, so he can get down with the brainiacs. But folks who think the Earth is 6,000 years old and that God produced the beetles dig him, too. Accident? Hang in there, baby–it’s politics. There are no accidents. Contradiction? There are no contradictions, although sometimes there are. Schizophrenic? Yes and no. When it comes to irreducible complexity, Bobby’s as irreducible and complex as they come.

Like Sarah, he can tell a story: Said he was there, when Katrina went down, in a sheriff’s office as the fuzz got righteously P.O.’d at a Fed bureaucrat for withholding boats to rescue folks from their flood-imperiled pads. Then it turned out he wasn’t there, only heard the pig yakkity-yakking about it on the phone days later.

Like Mike, he has a mantra: “Americans can do anything.” It’s “Om mani padme hum” Looziana-style. Say it long enough and it changes the universe. Or at least folks think it does. Or at least Bobby thinks folks think it does. Because it’s all in your head.

CAPTAIN RUSH: A gentle giant who’s only giant horizontally and is anything but gentle. Irascible-but-lovable-but-obnoxious-but-loud, with a crusty exterior concealing a heart of soft, warm hate, he’s the one in charge, the grown-up, the boss. This was his idea, to bring together these three non-conformist rebel-hot-heads-patriots-symbols-of-conservative-resurgence-with-racial-ethnic-and-gender-crossover-appeal. Of course he can’t do it alone. He’s got help. That’s where Joe “My Name Isn’t Joe And I’m Not a Plumber” The Plumber fits in.

Rush knows that war is not unhealthy for defense contractors and other Republican things. He knows that reality is for people who can’t face drugs–and he faces drugs every day. He knows that if Obama fails to solve the problems created by Republican policies, then they weren’t created by Republican policies–and if he does solve them, then they weren’t problems. Like the I Ching says, you’re either on the bus or off the bus; well, dig–Rush is the bus. And he wants to throw America under it every day, in the name of “conservative principles.”

If Sarah’s finances look hinky, Rush is there to blame everything on Clinton. If Mike goes off-message, Rush is there to call Harry Reid a socialist. If Bobby’s speech is a turn-off and a bring-down, with a come-on like a come-down you can put down as a put-on, Rush is there to dub him “the next Ronald Reagan.”

The GOP Squad: Three misfits of gender and color, ready to take it to the streets and make the Party happening again. With Michele Bachmann as “Michele, The Embarrassing Secretary” and Mitch McConnell as “The Crypt-keeper.”

Can you dig it? Peace out.


Steele Crazy After All This Year

February 8, 2009

First they came for me, because I had made fun of Sarah Palin. And they said, “Well, yeah, she’s a congenital liar who can’t give a coherent answer to a simple question even with the aid of a TelePrompter and a ventriloquist–but she’s not representative of the new era of Republican leadership.”

And then I said, “Oh, yeah? Well, how about Michael Steele, the new GOP chairman, who believes that ‘work’ for the government isn’t ‘a job’ (even though it rewards labor with wages, which are spent by the worker on food, clothing, shelter, and health, which payments go back out into the private economy and provide income for fooders, clothers, shelterers, and healthers), plus this clown Steele says that, while government contracts are temporary, private sector jobs (for some magical reason) aren’t.”

And they said, “Oh, yeah? Well who is more likely to pay taxes: a private business owner, or the government?”

And I said, “Oh, yeah? Well who is more likely to be in business a year from now: most new private business owners, or the government?”

And they said, “Shut up.”

Then they came for me because I reminded them that this Michael Steele, who proves you don’t have to be a rich white man to be an idiot Republican, said, “a job is something a business-owner creates, it’s going to be long-term,” but when told that private sector jobs have disappeared in the millions, replied “But they come back, though, George. That’s the point. They’ve gone away before, but they come back!” (Exclamation point added.)

And they said, “What’s wrong with coming back? Jesus is going to come back. And when he does he’ll be a small business owner, a one-(Son of) Man entrepreneur employing himself as Messiah looking to grow his business and thrive the economy and flourish the righteous.”

So I said, “Okay, but wait. That’s when the private sector jobs are going to come back? With the Second Coming, as thoroughly described in a highly amusing manner here? What if he never comes? And even if he does, eventually, what if The American People can’t wait that long?”

And they said, “He’ll come. He has to come, and he’ll bring those jobs back with him. This is a Judeo-Christian nation. The Founding Fathers were all Judeo-Christians and the Founding Mothers were all virgins before they were married. The American People will wait as long as the Republican Party tells them they have to.”

Watch Steele’s interview with George Stephanopoulos, from which one emerges as from a dream, with two questions:

1. What’s with George’s hair? Is he auditioning to be Treat Williams’ stand-in? (You Want: Kurt Russell. You’ll Take: Treat Williams. You Get: George Stephanopoulos.)

2. That’s it? That’s the wisdom of the new (and black!) leader of the GOP? Some yakkity-yak double-talk about “work” vs. “jobs,” and a plea–as though this were 1993–to eliminate rules which “have hindered and frustrated the banking process”? When everyone, from Judeos to Christians, agrees that the banking process hasn’t been hindered and frustrated enough, that it’s been the lack of rules (or of their enforcement) that led us to the edge of this economic cliff?

And then I asked them, “Hey. Where does Michael Steele think the Interstate Highway System, the TVA, NASA, and the beloved sex education film Where The Girls Are: VD in Southeast Asia came from? Didn’t the poor shmucks who built, engineered, key-gripped and associate-produced those projects have ‘jobs’?”

And they said, “Shut up” again and left me alone. For now.

We are witnessing, not so much the collapse of the Republican Party, as its slide into insanity. Granted, some (like my wife) believe it’s already collapsed. Now that the Democrats have stopped shooting themselves in their various feet, it’s the Republicans’ turn, and they’re going after all pedal extremities with every available sidearm–as exemplified by the appointment of Steele, for whom a chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sitting there, but chair is not a house, and a house is not a home, and “work” is not “a job.”

Collapse, or craziness? I have my personal opinion. For truly: What was the GOP’s great accomplishment last week, about which they openly admitted they felt good? A show of “unity” enough to block the first stimulus package. That’s what put a spring back in their step: obstructing a desperately-needed solution to a problem rooted in their political philosophy. “Yes, we helped cover your house with gasoline, and we paid private contractors to shoot flaming arrows at it, yes. But we don’t believe in Socialism, so we got the gang together–which wasn’t easy!–and had everyone stand in the street to keep the fire trucks away. Yay us! We feel good!”

There are now articles seriously discussing whether–or even why–Rush “America’s Favorite Saloon Loudmouth” Limbaugh is the most influential Republican gracing us with his wisdom (“I hope Obama fails”) here in Freedom’s land. Meanwhile, back at the turkey ranch, “a majority (55%) of Republicans and a plurality (46%) of unaffiliated voters think the GOP should follow Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the future.” (Cf., to your disbelief, here. )

What can that mean, apart from reading “all” newspapers, shoving $160,000 worth of couture into garbage bags, and looking to Joe The Plumber, whose name isn’t Joe and who isn’t a plumber, for advice? We don’t know. We can’t know. For all of our personal and political failings, we are still blessed with half a brain, ten percent of which we proudly use on a daily basis. We simply cannot conceive of what the world looks like to whomever is left still calling themselves a Republican.

Sadly, if hilariously, it may be that the usual modalities–psychoanalysis; pharmaceuticals; electro-convulsive therapy; imprisonment in the public stockade subject to shaming, shunning, and the throwing of vegetables–will prove to be of only partial efficacy. In the end, or by this Wednesday, the Republican Party may very well have become an out-and-out cult: self-fulfillingly isolated in its delusions; self-defeatingly exclusive in its narrow insistence on ideological purity; increasingly cut off from the most generous conceptions of reality; and swellingly fervid in its members’ imagined threats and grandiose in their fantasy accomplishments. Don’t believe me? Read their blogs. Can we bear to witness such a metamorphosis?

You bet. With popcorn. And when even Michael Steele is purged as not being krazee enough for the Sarah-Palinized party, and returns to government employment in the state of Maryland, we’ll have just one piece of advice for him: “Dude–enough with the work. Get a job.”

Let My GOOPers Go

September 1, 2008

Arianna Huffington writes:

So read Borosage’s post and let us know what you think the Republican Party should be doing to save itself. Electing McCain/Palin clearly is not the answer. What do you think the answer is?

Talk about a hanging curve…Still, if someone throws it, someone else is morally obligated to hit it.

The Republican Party, in order to save itself, should do what the children of Israel did to save themselves upon their exodus from Egypt. They wandered in the desert for forty years.

What was the life expectancy around that time? Who the hell knows. Let’s say sixty years. In which case, everyone over the age of twenty (except Moses and his posse) could be expected to die before the Jews were allowed past the velvet rope into the Promised Land.

Thus for the GOP. Literally: send them, at taxpayer expense, to some vast desert area in, say, Saudi Arabia or Libya (or Iraq), and let them wander. Sans GPS, sans cell phones, sans every other goddamn thing except a couple bottles of Jim Beam and a case or two of Vienna sausage. They’ll get by.

In fact, they’ll love it. They adore being–or, at least, claiming to be–persecuted. And they’d be thousands of miles from all the things they (profess to) abhor: government; freedom-hating “liberals”; nanny-state hand-outs; labor unions; forced indoctrination in evolution, sex education, contraception, long division, and arugula maintenance; mandatory health insurance, gun licensing, fluoridation, speed limits, abortions, Title IX–hell, mandatory anything; media; gay marriages; elitist elites; Michael Moore.

Of course, if they “love it,” how does that purify and temper and improve the Republican Party? Won’t this enforced isolation make them hew to their quaint and barbaric values all the more? Won’t they just emerge from exile tanned, leather-skinned, lean, mean, dumber than ever, truly inbred and ready to rule?

Yes, they will. But no one will recognize them. In the forty years of their absence we will (despite regular “Where Are They Now and What the Heck Are They Eating?” features on tv and in magazines) have moved on. Hillary’s second term will have long-since ended, Barack Obama will have won his third Nobel Prize, Karl Rove will be literally dead, and the Cubs dynasty will have come and gone. The Internet will have attained self-consciousness and ended global warming. Sarah Palin’s grandchild (named “Jane,” to spite the mother’s mom) will have children of her own.

After forty years, the next generation of Republicans, purged and cleansed by their nomadic desert life, will arrive in the U.S. like the sand people in Dune visiting the capital, but without all their moral authority and the riding-giant-worms thing.

They will reveal themselves to an amazed, educated, sympathetic, and pitying public for what they are: the offspring of a brutal, ignorant, and savage tribe once somehow involved in U.S. politics and now, both for the good of themselves and for the nation (and, therefore, the world), thankfully an anomaly, an historical curiosity and a reminder of our less civilized past.

Interestingly, four decades of insulation from the rest of the English-speaking world might result in a pressurized mutation of their language, leaving them speaking a pidgin amalgam of American English, Christian code words, hate-garbled profanity, and the normal sort of secret language that evolves among isolated groups. Thus, while we may still think of them as “The Republican Party,” their name for themselves might to our ears sound like “Duh Ruppin Pie” or “The Rubber Part,” etc. We should not be surprised to see their leader step forward, on the tarmac at JFK, and shout into the microphones, “WE BE THE RUBBER PART AND WE ARE RUN FOR PREZNIT GOD BLESS!”

Their future as a political force in the U.S. will, by then, be past discussion. But, in their absence, we will have become, once again, a compassionate people. We will allow them to live out their lives on a reservation somewhere in Arizona. Because, as someone will vaguely remember, they used to like Republicans in Arizona.

Paper Mooned (Or, The Republicans: Crazy, or Nuts?)

January 2, 2008

Say it’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
It’s the Party of Make-Believe
It’s called the G.O.P.

First Ann Coulter tells us Joseph McCarthy was a national hero. Now Jonah Goldberg tells us the Nazis were leftists (never mind all those socialists and communists they killed, or their close collaboration with private industry,), and that liberals are fascists because some of them, like Hitler, are vegetarians. “The Nazis took food very, very seriously,” Goldberg writes, in case any of us thought the Nazis didn’t take food seriously.

First President Bush tells us Osama Bin Ladin is our mortal enemy. Then he tells us he doesn’t think about him very much. We were attacked by Saudi Arabians living in Afghanistan, so under Bush’s command we attack Iraq and declare “Mission Accomplished.”

First Dick Cheney says we’ll be welcomed as liberators; then he says the insurgency is in its “last throes” when, really, it’s in its first throes. And we’re not allowed to know which energy companies are helping him to write energy policy so that they feel secure.

Bush says God speaks to him, then he vetoes health insurance for children. Pat Robertson says God caused Hurricane Katrina because homosexuals are wicked (and Jerry Falwell agrees), but fails to explain why God didn’t send a hurricane at New York, L.A., or San Francisco, where the real homosexuals live.

Alberto Gonzalez (not the Attorney Corporal or the Attorney Captain–the Attorney General) can’t remember anything and can’t remember what he said he can’t remember. Clarence Thomas, the greatest beneficiary of affirmative action in history and a man who has risen to literally the highest position possible for someone in his profession, is against affirmative action, feels victimized and sorry for himself, is angry at almost everybody, and doesn’t really “like” the job.

Condoleezza Rice warns us that Saddam has nuclear weapons ready to create a “mushroom cloud” when, as intelligence reports said, he didn’t. Meanwhile Pakistan, which does have nuclear weapons, is paid billions of dollars and its military dictator is coddled and proclaimed a “good friend” while one of his physicists sells nukes to all comers and Al Qaeda is allowed to frolic free on his border. Now Musharaf and his government face collapse and chaos while Rice worries about her “legacy.”

Larry Craig says he’s not gay but is caught soliciting gay sex. Mark Foley says he’s not gay but is caught flirting with and hustling male Congressional pages. David Vitter is vigorously in favor of “abstinence education” but is caught cavorting (in a diaper) with prostitutes.

William Bennett, who pontificates about “virtue,” is an avid gambler.

Rush Limbaugh, who has said that the way to treat people who illegally use drugs is to “find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river,” is caught illegally using drugs (and admits to it) but is not, himself, sent up the river.

And now look: of the two leading Republican candidates for president, one is a man who takes the Bible literally and doesn’t “believe in” evolution, while the other is a man whose religion holds that Jesus came to America, that Native Americans are descendants of the Hebrews of Israel, and that early (2200 BC-600 BC) inhabitants of North America migrated here from the Middle East. With chariots.

Mike Huckabee believes in the Rapture. Mitt Romney believes in the transparently-fraudulent Book of Mormon. And these two cartoon characters, Mike ‘n’ Mitt, are the GOP front-runners for the White House.

Take one step back from this carnival of make-believe and let’s-pretend, and it becomes clear: The Republican Party has become an aggregation of people who prefer to live in a world of fantasy–and their first fantasy, the Ur-myth on which the entire conceit rests, is (classically) “we are the realists.”

It degrades, into farce and Newspeak, from there. The perpetrators and defenders of the outing of a CIA agent are “patriots.” Tom DeLay is a “leader” and Newt Gingrich is a “visionary.” The President plays guitar while New Orleans drowns, causes a hundred thousand Americans and Iraqis to be killed or injured, and outsources torture, and it’s the Democrats who, per the repellent Ramesh Ponnuru, are the “party of death.”

It’s one thing to praise “faith.” It’s another to be, not only indifferent to the idea of objective truth, but actively hostile to it–unless, of course, like any other good psychopath, they’re not aware of their condition. Who knows what they really think is going on in the U.S., in the world, and in their own heads?

Does George W. Bush really believe that he is a good Christian? Does he really believe he’s a “compassionate conservative”? Does Ann Coulter mean what she writes? Does Dick Cheney think he’s done a good job? Does Rudy Giuliani mean well?

We don’t know. We probably can’t know. They probably don’t know. They don’t want to know. Do we want to know? I don’t know.

I do know this: When the Supreme Court halted the vote-counting in Florida in 2000 and anointed Bush president, it was the equivalent of dropping that gang of boys on that island in Lord of the Flies. Actually, it was worse: they didn’t have any adult supervision. The administration, supposedly, did. But the adults, in the form of the Democrats and the media, were too intimidated (by the tragedy of 9-11, by their corporate masters, by careerist insecurity) to do any supervising.

And so for seven years, under the watchful eye of the genial, soulless Karl Rove, Republicans from sea to shining sea pigged out, yielding to their most gluttonous impulses and indulging their pettiest proclivities. The result? Like Saddam Hussein’s (evil, awful) sons, the Republican Party, drunk on power and unmediated by any sensible outside force, went fucking insane.

Yes, we’ve all enjoyed an easy laugh or two, identifying their obvious hypocrisies and compiling mile-long lists of their lies. But let’s not be disingenuous: The sex scandals and the corruption; the no-bid contracts and the sweetheart deals; the payoffs and the fired U.S. Attorneys, the missing billions in Iraq and the incriminating emails that either are or aren’t destroyed–look, nobody’s perfect. The Democrats have their own skeletons rattling around in their own walk-in closets.

But read the above rundown and add the ten thousand things there isn’t room enough to cite… Factor out the witting lies and brute propaganda… Take out the deceptions they committed on purpose (or think they did), and just leave the stuff about which they are (or think they are) sincere, and you get a picture of mass pathology.

It has gotten so that you have to muster all the compassion and understanding of which you are capable just to think of the Republicans as a party of greedy corporatists manipulating the credulous, the provincial, and the bigoted. That’s the nice way of putting it. But it doesn’t capture the full picture of the sheer moral and intellectual decay of these people and this institution.

Are you happy now, Bill Buckley? Is this your idea of an honorable and worthy political party, Newt Gingrich? Is this what you mean by “conservative,” Bill Kristol? Does it make you proud to be their apologist, David Brooks? Is there anything here you’d like to defend, Peggy Noonan? Glad to be one of the gang, Fred Barnes? Pleased with what you’ve accomplished, Brit Hume?

Of course, they could all answer, “You bet!” and claim to have deliberately engineered all of this on purpose and with open eyes. Which would really be sick.