Following the Republican Party of late has been a movingly depressing experience, sort of like watching Old Yeller die — if Old Yeller were a worm-infested feral bitch who spent the past eight years biting children at bus stops and shitting in neighborhood swimming pools. As a useful force in American politics, the Republicans have been dead for a while now. But in the seven months since Sarah Palin's nomination, they have taken on an intriguing new role: providing much-needed comic relief during dark times, serving as the unofficial rodeo clowns of the Financial Crisis Era.I recommend looking for it (the excerpt from the Rolling Stone site is nice, but get a back issue of the April 30, 2009 Rolling Stone for the full beauty of his words - it's got the Kings of Leon on the cover, if that helps). But I'm starting to wonder whether Taibbi went far enough. The current Republican party is littered, not merely with class clowns and ass-clowns, but with the actively insane. Even Taibbi pointed out, for example:
The real prize for nutty Red-baiting went to Rep. Michele Bachmann, a drooling dunce of a Minnesota soccer mom who is now a serious contender for the title of dumbest person ever to sit in the House of Representatives. When the Chinese recently proposed creating a new system for international reserves, Bachmann - who founded a charter school that banned the movie Aladdin for promoting witchcraft - sponsored a bill establishing the dollar as the official US currency for ever and ever, despite the fact that no one anywhere was talking about doing anything to the dollar. It was like calling for an end to aid to Turkey because we eat them on Thanksgiving anyway.And Ms Bachmann certainly hasn't found a hidden stash of sanity since then: she's gone on record saying that the new energy bill is "tyranny" because "the federal government will virtually have control over every aspect of lives for the American people."
And now she's saying that she will break the law and not send in her census form, and she urges every other American to do the same; see, she explains, in the 1940s, "that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps." Which shows that she is simultaneously ignorant on history, how the census works, and the fact that aluminum foil won't protect her from the evil mind-control rays.
This isn't the first time that Michele Bachmann has brought up the specter of internment camps, incidentally - the last time, she said that the AmeriCorps program was going to become "re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums."
(Are we starting to notice a theme in Ms Bachmann's lunacy? She's apparently fallen into the 1984/Big-Brother-themed brand of insanity, which, I understand, can barely be controlled by lithium and electroshock therapy. Perhaps it's become time for Michele to be fitted for a straight-jacket before she stabs herself in the eye with a pencil - I once helped arrest a 6'2" screaming crackhead who was trying to smash his head through a car window, and he was making about as much sense as Ms Bachman has been lately.)
Even the right-wing talking heads on TV and radio are crazier than ever these days: one of the most popular, Glenn Beck, is also a direct philosophical descendent of those late-night radio talk shows where the UFO's were taking over the world, mind-control devices were being implanted in our goldfish, and we were being monitored from secret moon-bases where eighth-dimensional hive-minds were injecting radioactive isotopes into our movie-theater speakers.
Paranoid psychosis seems to be the only defining characteristic of the GOP these days. And the fact that ranting delusional maniacs are being mainstreamed into "normal" society (if such a thing exists) is leading America down an ugly path where wide-eyed gun-wielding killers shoot up churches for not believing exactly the same way they do. Whether it's Scott Roeder killing abortion providers, or Jim Adkisson killing people just for being liberal, this is an ugly, evil side to right-wing politics that needs to be stamped out.
Back in April, when the Department of Homeland Security came out with a report on right-wing extremists, members of the right-wing wouldn't stop screaming about how "Obama's claiming all right-wingers are evil!"
And, as I pointed out elsewhere:
So let's go back to the report. Derided by the right, what exactly did it say?Now, I want to be clear. I'm not saying that the Freedom of Speech of the media talking heads should be diminished. They are welcome to have these nut-job views if they want them. But at a certain point, their national platform should be removed, in the interest of public safety; if they're inciting violence, I'm pretty sure that's a crime. For example, let's look at Ann Coulter's column from this week (since we're talking about the batshit-insane, and she epitomizes that description):
— (U//LES) DHS/I&A has concluded that white supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy—separate from any formalized group—which hampers warning efforts.
— (U//FOUO) Similarly, recent state and municipal law enforcement reporting has warned of the dangers of rightwing extremists embracing the tactics of "leaderless resistance" and of lone wolves carrying out acts of violence.
— (U//FOUO) Arrests in the past several years of radical militia members in Alabama, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania on firearms, explosives, and other related violations indicates the emergence of small, well-armed extremist groups in some rural areas.
Now, if this report was wrong, please explain James Von Brunn. And Scott Roeder. And James Adkisson. And Richard Poplawski.
For that matter, please explain the rise of right-wing violence across the country. There's nothing particularly new about it, but why are we seeing this increase?
Here's the thing. If you have Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh talking about these blatantly stupid lies, like "DHS reeducation camps" or "Obama is a Muslim/communist/socialist/anti-american/selling us out to the terrorists," and any one of the thousands of brain-dead chuckleheads who've been feeding off the lies of the Bush Administration (as filtered through the mouth of Karl Rove), and now believe that Obama is the anti-Christ, sent to earth to bring down "the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth," do you think that maybe this same chucklehead might be incited to violence? Maybe?
I wouldn't kill an abortionist myself, but I wouldn't want to impose my moral values on others. No one is for shooting abortionists. But how will criminalizing men making difficult, often tragic, decisions be an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the shootings of abortionists?Now, let's put logic like that into the hands of somebody who is both batshit insane and owns a gun.
Following the moral precepts of liberals, I believe the correct position is: If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, then don't shoot one.
See, what the Republican party has now given us is the single best argument for Universal Health Care. If we had decent health care for every American, perhaps a few of these people could be placed on antipsychotics (or in the worst cases, locked up), just to prevent them from harming themselves and others.