The Republican clown car circus
The Republican clown car circus
Anne B. Butterfield, January 6, 2012 (Huffington Post)
As backdrop to the Republican presidential primaries a brawl is erupting among GOP factions. And it's not just the philanderers and extremists who've been dubbed the clowns, it's also the right-wing media who've gone plumb too far in 2011.
The Wall Street Journal tossed a pot of hot rhetorical tar onto Congressional leaders for their tea party resistance to passing the payroll tax holiday, while the Journal itself is also falling into a circular firing squad. David Frum, a former editorialist for the Journal and speechwriter for George W. Bush, has opined on FrumForum that it's time to downgrade the Journal's editorial page, enumerating many instances of false and flip-flop arguments.
And seven studies conducted at universities and foundations have shown that viewers of fellow organization Fox News are least informed on a variety of hot-button subjects. So, a once-great newspaper falls into disrepute and millions of voters grow less informed on important matters, thanks to the rightward push of parent company News Corporation.
As Republican candidates and officials drink the News Corp. Kool-Aid, there is more circular firing going around. Former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) was "disgusted" by his colleagues' conduct around the debt ceiling fiasco, and conservative columnist David Brooks penned the "Mother of all no brainers" about the GOP intransigence on the same matter. Former Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.) was "embarrassed" by the Republican presidential primary debates, and a Greek chorus of Republicans came out against Newt Gingrich running for president.
But topping the ship-is-burning-and-rats-are-leaping department came the Mike Lofgren essay, "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP operative who left the cult." This lengthy and literate indictment stressed that political "rottenness" is by far the art of the GOP. The goal behind the use of the Senate filibuster, he states, has been to destroy government effectiveness itself as a way to make the anti-government GOP look like the crew to clean up that mess.
And in hating government, what could be more hated than regulations to address climate change? On this, Republican candidates trot out all manner of fancy -- such as taking it as doctrine that climate change cannot come from a "naturally occurring gas" -- even if that gas would kill you in minutes if you tied a plastic bag around your head. Better to believe that scientists who earn ordinary salaries are crafting climate conspiracies for the money (in spite of several official exonerations on "Climategate"), while fossil fuel companies earning billions per quarter can't possibly be funding so called skeptics (they are). And so Congressional Republicans voted unanimously to keep up fossil fuel subsidies, and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) crowed our nation can't compete with China in clean tech. American exceptionalism be damned.
In a refreshing win for reality, the GOP attack on the Environmental Protection Agency has drawn resistance. A Journal editorial about reduced electric reliability stemming from new EPA mercury rules brought letters from utility executives to blast the Journal's assertions and defend the rules. David Brooks and others have shredded the Republican argument that regulations crush jobs. Manufacturers of appliances and light bulbs in line for higher efficiency regulations have squawked at Congress to be sure the regulations stay on track.
Frum's frame about the GOP being mired with too many dinosaurs is working, as the party's reply to polls seems to be "polls schmolls." In a Colorado College study, 71 percent of respondents from the tea party say that environmental regulations can coexist with a strong economy, and a League of Conservation Voters poll conducted by a Republican company also revealed that 71 percent support EPA regulation of carbon dioxide, including majority support among Republicans.
At Halloween, the planet slid into the frightening fact of having 7 billion human mouths to feed as food prices are hitting record highs and fresh water supplies are in decline. In response, Republicans in the United States, where the earth's resources are devoured at unethical proportions, have attacked Planned Parenthood. Thankfully on this we also see glimmers of pushback in ultra conservative bastions such as Mississippi, which trounced by a wide margin a personhood amendment like the one defeated twice here in Colorado.
Those who are conservationist Republicans, Independents, moderates, progressives, liberals and greens should make it their cause to turn the tables in the next election on this clown car party which seems intent on stuffing the nation into a cannon and shooting it into oblivion. The only ones belonging in the cannon are the clowns themselves.