April 27, 2012

"A larger pattern of rejection of reality"

"For me, the most disturbing aspect of the Republican political culture is how it puts its unquenchable thirst for power, domination and a radical ideology above facts, reason and the truth."  ~Al Gore

“The dismaying truth is that birtherism is part of a larger pattern of rejection of reality that has taken hold of intimidating segments of one of the two political parties that alternate in power in our governing institutions. It is akin to the view that global warming is a hoax, or that the budget can be balanced through spending cuts alone, or that contraception causes abortion, or that evolution is just another theory, on a par with the theory that the earth is six thousand years old.” 
― Hendrik Hertzberg

In a classic "no shit Sherlock" moment, the Washington Post notes the following:

Let's Just Say It: The Republicans Are the Problem

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

Holy Flying Spaghetti Monster, you'd think they just learned that water is wet.

This, of course, has been obvious to a lot of people since President Obama's inauguration. In fact, the Huffington Post reported that Republican conniving started that night. With the takeover of the GOP by the white ultraconservative bloc calling themselves the Tea Party, Congressional dysfunction was assured.

This is pointed out by an invaluable book I just finished reading, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, by Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson. To me, this book is very damning, because it simply reports on what the authors saw and heard during the past couple of years, visiting various Tea Party groups. I've stuck bookmarks throughout the book's pages (since it's a library book, I can't highlight it, and I hate doing that to a poor defenseless book anyway). Here are some relevant paragraphs.

By now it should be obvious that Tea Partiers have a self-centered understanding of democracy. Tea Partiers consider themselves to be the true, patriotic Americans, and they believe that elected Republican representatives are "hired" to do pretty much exactly what Tea Partiers themselves say should be done. Government by and for the Tea Party, could be the motto. Little thought is given by local activists or by national advocacy groups to discussing vital national issues with people outside the Tea Party. When we spoke with small grassroots activists and observed discussions in meetings, we never heard anyone acknowledge the need for two-way dialogue with other Americans who think differently from Tea Partiers. The talk was all about getting GOP representatives to do what they had "promised" Tea Party voters, with no acknowledgment that other kinds of voters also supported successful GOP candidates, let alone any acceptance that Democratic representatives, elected by other constituencies, also have legitimate roles to play in Congress and state legislatures. [p.183]

In other words, they just want politics, laws and a Constitution for themselves, not for the entire diverse population of this country.

Despite their fondness for the Founding Fathers, Tea Party members we met did not make any reference to the intellectual battles and political compromises out of which the Constitution and its subsequent amendments were forged, let alone to the fact that key Founders were Deists, far from any brand of evangelical fundamentalism. Nor did they realize the extent to which some of the positions Tea Partiers now espouse bear a close resemblance to those of the Anti-Federalists--the folks the Founders were countering in their effort to establish sufficient federal authority to ensure a truly United states. The Tea Partiers we met did not show any awareness that they are echoing arguments made by the Nullifiers and Secessionists before and during the U.S. Civil War, or that their stress on "states' rights" is eerily reminiscent of dead-ender white opposition to Civil Rights laws in the 1960s. [p. 50]

Hmm. Wonder what it is about President Obama that sets these people to frothing at the mouth?

Heaven help us if they get into power in November. The country they would remake in their image is not one I would want to live in.

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