Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Republican Delight in Being Delusional

Gene Lyons' piece in Salon breaks it down, lest we forget that what the likes of Michelle Bachmann, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, etc. etc. etc. are peddling is even worse than these examples from our recent past:

For right-wing Republicans, the presidency of George W. Bush began as a dream come true. People calling themselves "conservatives" ran everything in Washington. Even before the GOP won both houses in 2002, Congress gave Bush everything he asked for. Republican apparatchiks controlled every agency from the Pentagon to the Treasury Department. Fox News savants expressed intermittent outrage that dissent was permitted. Rush Limbaugh's interviews of Dick Cheney sounded like a high-school girl gushing over the Jonas Brothers.

To rational minds, the resultant disaster could hardly have been more comprehensive: a lagging economy (the worst job creation since Hoover), yawning budget deficits (Bush doubled the national debt in eight years); two unfinished wars, costing thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars -- one completely unnecessary, the other so forgetfully prosecuted that Gen. Stanley McChrystal warns the United States and NATO could yet lose it.

Meanwhile, if Pakistani terrorists had done to New Orleans what Bush's hapless FEMA appointees did after Katrina, he'd have invaded Iran. Staffing regulatory agencies with See-No-Evil disciples of Ayn Rand made them feckless spectators of the banking crisis that damn near destroyed the nation's financial system, dragging the economy into the deepest recession since (again) Herbert Hoover.

By the time the make-believe cowboy retired not to Photo-Op Ranch, but to the Dallas suburbs, his approval ratings hovered in the mid-20s. That they were so high testified to GOP team spirit. But what on earth were Republicans smoking?

Courtesy of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Limbaugh and a passel of pusillanimous GOP congressmen, we're definitely finding out. With the alternatives being rethink or go crazy, much of the GOP base has chosen the comforts of delusion.

Some may think that going batshit can significantly hurt the Republican Party's chances at gaining power once again by alienating moderate conservatives and independents. I say, never underestimate the Democrats' unending talent for both wimping out and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. More importantly, Lyons frames the dilemma in a far more accurate manner:
The big question is whether indulging lunacy will do more damage to the Republican Party or the country. Nobody familiar with 20th-century history can be entirely confident that reason will prevail. In troubled times, even great nations can go stark, raving mad.
So true.

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