As much as I appreciate a clever observation, I do prefer governance that moves things along in the best interests of the country. Since we’re not going to get the good governance, now, or when the Senate comes back from recess, me and everyone else will have to settle for the clever observation, Explaining the Farce of the Hagel Hearings
It’s easy to shake your head and laugh at the incredible things said by some of the nincompoops who occupy the GOP’s backbench in Congress, whether it’s Louie Gohmert ranting about “terror babies,” or Paul Broun (an actual doctor, for whose patients I fear) saying “All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” or any of a thousand things Michele Bachmann has said over the years. But as we laugh, we know these people don’t shape policy, so the damage they can do is limited. Not that the rest of the Republicans on Capitol Hill are a bunch of geniuses or anything, but most of those who have that golden combination of crazy and stupid are pretty far down in the pecking order.
But looking forward to the next four years, you have to wonder if Barack Obama is, through little fault of his own, making the entire Republican party dumber with each passing day. Fred Kaplan, a thoughtful journalist who reports on military affairs for Slate, watched Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearings and can’t contain his disgust at how little the Republican senators serving on the Armed Services Committee seem to understand about things related to the armed services:
Not to sound like a Golden Age nostalgic, but there once was a time when the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee prided themselves on having an understanding of military matters. They disagreed in their conclusions and sometimes their premises. But most of them worked to educate themselves, at least to the point where they could debate the issues, or ask questions of a general without coming off like complete idiots. The sad thing about this new crop of senators—especially on the Republican side—is they don’t even try to learn anything; they don’t care if they look like complete idiots, in part because their core constituents don’t care if they do either.
Normal people, people who are just a little crazy as most of us are, are not show your ass like baboons crazy. Conservatives see no down side to showing their ass because the conservative base rewards such behavior. It would never occur to them that they lost two major election elections because, among other things, voters had a choice between the level headed black guy and the crazies, and decided that lunacy was not the best course for the country. While many conservative get down on one knee every time Dick Cheney releases a statement to Fox News to give thanks, the current stars of the conservative movement – Paul Broun, Ted Nugent and Ted Cruz are worshiped because their vision for the USA is to abandon everything in the Constitution except their bizarre interpretation of the 2nd Amenedment. I’m not a science fiction writer so I can’t really do that vision poetic justice – one where there is no 1st Amendment protections for freedom of religious conscience, only protection f far Right and corporate speech. No right to petition for grievances, a country where tea baggers can parade with racist signs, but occupiers can’t protest the injustices and greed of Wall Street. A place where a clump of cells has more legal protection than grown women. A conservative America where the 4th Amendment interferes with delivering instance justice. An unregulated America where citizens are thrown into private prisons for profit, while billionaires get away with poisoning working families. If you stand for economic and legal justice you’ll have the please of being branded an anti-Christ Marxist by the Broun-Cruz-Nugent crowd. Do they understand that by saying that anyone who stands up for good, for decency, for ethics is a Marxist, rather than the loyal opposition, they are giving Marxism an undeserved good name.
Another aspect of conservatism that while tiresome from a long time bloggers’s point of view, can be interesting as well, is the conservative base’s perception that they and the Conservative movement are some brand of populism. Whether it is Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Florida Criminal in-Chief Rick Scott or conservative radio pundits, they are all captives of crony corporatism. The Grand Old Jurassic Party
The Republican Party is a presidential election away from extinction. If it can’t win the 2016 contest, and unless it has bolstered its congressional presence beyond the benefits of gerrymandered redistricting—which is to say not only retaking the Senate but polling more votes than the opposition nationally—the party will die. It will die not for reasons of “branding” or marketing or electoral cosmetics but because the party is at odds with the inevitable American trajectory in the direction of liberty, and with its own nature; paradoxically the party of Abraham Lincoln, which once saved the Union and which gives such passionate lip service to constitutionality, has come to embody the values of the Confederacy in its hostility to constitutional federalism and the civil bonds that the founding document codifies. The Republican Party will vanish not because of what its says but because of what it believes, not because of how it presents itself but because of who it is when it thinks no one is looking.
I remember reading similar columns in 2009, only to see the tea party – the nation taking it’s first steps out of a calamitous economic meltdown, an unpaid for three trillion dollar war based on lies, the most morally corrupt administration since Andrew Jackson win the 2014 mid-terms because of unhinged anti-immigrant fever and a story book of evil myths about health care reform. Conservatives can hang on for years as the do as much damage as possible movement. They haven’t had an actual idea – one that would work anyway- ironically since health care reform.
Sometime in the last 30 years, however, the party became a flack to corporate culture at the expense of either freedom or individualism, and as the country grows more economically oligarchic, the Republican Party that best reflects that oligarchy loses political credibility with the public.
What the current party shares in its collective psychosis with the party of the ’60s is its yearning for martyrdom. If it’s true that what hold on power the GOP still has lies in congressional districts more and more resembling outliers—a power that will die off as figuratively as the constituents of those districts die off literally—it’s also true that many in the party are gripped by the death wish that thrills all martyrs and leaves them moist for self-annihilation.
And of course, President Obama only supports pre-school for all so that he can breed a bunch of l’il Obamabots who will support him in 15 years, which might make sense in a world where President Obama can run for president again in 2036, but which is — spoiler alert! – not the world we live in:
VARNEY: Look what the president is doing here, it’s a repeat performance of his campaign, which is you raise taxes on the rich and you offer all kinds of free stuff to people who will vote for you in the future. Free preschool education for 4-year-olds, it’s free, here it is. Hand out the goodies.
Varney has a lot in common with a toddler, without the innocence of course. He is right that people follow certain political courses of action because, we hope anyway, they act in their own rational self interests. Conservatives vote for conservative and their point of view because of the corporate nanny state. This is where a disproportionate amount of the nation’s GDP goes into the pockets of people who the hardest thing they’ll do all day is walk to the executive washroom. Top 1% Got 93% of Income Growth as Rich-Poor Gap Widened .And $21 million payday for Goldman Sachs CEO. And Facebook Paid No Corporate Income Tax Last Year, After Making More Than $1 Billion In Profits. While Varney and I differ in our politics the differences between us are far more fundamental. He believes in a reality fabricated from the pocket lent of the Koch brothers.
Lots of coverage of the Russian meteor, but maybe some of you missed this great satellite photo, Satellite Sees Russian Meteor Explosion from Space
And a reminder that there are conservatives everywhere, Despite advances in scientific knowledge, many of us still want random events and misfortunes to have a deeper significance
Like all random events and misfortunes, we want these things to mean something. The Russian fringe politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, rushed to the microphones to claim that the shower of stones that broke windows with their sonic boom, injuring 400 people, was a dastardly test of a new American weapon.
In one recent column, I reprinted some words from a guy who wrote several years ago: “Guns are not for hunting. When will you people figure that out? Guns are for hunting down politicians when they steal your rights away through tyranny. Hello!…
“You can’t protect your freedom when the government has more guns than the people.”
[ ]…”When that redistributionist Marxist [deleted] Obama decides to take away decent people’s homes and businesses and give them to the black criminal gangbangers, the garbage illegal aliens [deleted] and the rest of the low information welfare/food stamp crowd who voted for him, we who have our guns can meet them at the door, loaded and ready.”
And there are many like Bryan, who asked: “What if the German Jews had been well armed” against Hitler?
My answer: They would have been slaughtered by the Nazi Panzer divisions.
The French and Poles were well armed. How’d that work out?
But, insisted Tom, “throughout world history, superior armies with superior fire power have been defeated by well-motivated forces with little more than small arms.”
OK, enough. Suffice that too many people think that private citizens should be sufficiently armed to take on not only the local police, but the Army, the Navy, the Marines and even the Air Force.
They hang onto the words in the 2nd Amendment about the people’s right to bear arms “being necessary to the security of a free state,” but ignore the part about the militia being “well regulated.”
Remember the recent wacky outbursts from Tactical Response CEO James Yeager who threatened to ‘Start Killing People’ if the govmint started doing crazy stuff like better background checks or banning the kinds of assault weapons used in Newtown. Does he really think that if the LAPD came for him he’d fight it out and win. Remember Timothy McViegh and Terry Nichols, the conservative anti-government bombers of Oklahoma City. When the govmint came for them that was the end of the stort despite their military training, guns and bombs. Or remember conservative religious zelaot David Koresh and the Branch Davidans. Conservatives blame all deaths on the FBI, but Koresh stared the fire that burned all those children to death. maybe the government could have handled things better, but at the end of the day when the govmint comes for you, all the ammo and high powered weaponry in the world will not save you. Life is not the movies. If state police or federal officials want to question or arrest you, start a legal fund, not a shoot out.