Monday, January 17, 2011

Herding Idiots

Okay, okay, I apologize. In this new era of toning down the rhetoric I should not refer to Republicans as idiots. But I am concerned about just who it is that is going to take charge of what is now a rather disparate collection of Republican individuals with such a wide range of issues they seem desperate to attend. Gone apparently are the days when the Republican agenda was simple, reduce taxes and government. Take, for example, their very first priority, repealing the health care bill. This is a big mistake on their part if for no other reason than it is not going to happen, nor should it. At best it is a waste of time for a symbolic gesture to their “base” of know-nothings, and at worst, from a realistic point of view, it may give Democrats an opportunity to improve it. Their desire to make tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy permanent is also going to brand them as ridiculous.

Then there is Senator Mike Lee of Utah who thinks that child labor laws are unconstitutional. How far do you think that will go? Then there is Pawlenty of Minnesota who not only is opposed to raising the debt ceiling (a virtually suicidal act for the U.S.), he also wants to reverse DADT. There is also Trent Humphries, Tea Party founder in Arizona who thinks Gabrielle Giffords was responsible for her attempted assassination. And don’t forget Louie Golmert of Texas who thinks members of Congress should carry guns while in session. Representative Burton has suggested a plastic dome to protect Congress from potential assassins, and another Republican Representative, Steve King, wants a law against anyone carrying a gun within 1000 feet of a Congressperson (how one would determine this is not very clear). Another Republican stalwart, the new Governor of Maine, Paul LePage has announced the NAACP can “kiss his butt,” and President Obama can “go to hell.” That has to be a real winning strategy for the state of Maine (one might wonder how he got elected in the first place). Not to be outdone is Texas State Representative Leo Berman who has introduced a bill to prevent any religious or cultural law that might result in a Judicial use of laws from other countries (this is basically a law against Shari’a law that is actually not an issue). Congressman Duncan Hunter is another who wants to repeal DADT. Arizona Republicans in general apparently want University and College faculty to carry guns, and our good ol’ Rudy Giuliani thinks we should be able to involuntarily commit anyone who talks “crazy” (according to whom and what definition?). Of course there are also those Republicans who want to repeal Roe vs Wade, attack Iran, impeach Obama, and revive the gold standard (is there actually enough gold in the world to now back U.S. currency?). And last but not least is Representative Darrell Issa, recently given subpoena powers, who, mad with his newfound power, is apparently going to investigate everything about the Obama administration. Usually investigations occur after someone has been accused of something, in this case it appears that is not the case, Obama is apparently to be investigated simply for existing at all.

I haven’t even mentioned those perennial blabbermouths, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Sarah, the Housewife from Hell, is trying to convince us that she, not Giffords, is the real victim of the Tucson shootings. Bachmann, the Loon from Minnesota, still wants her constituents to be “armed and dangerous” while she contemplates running for President (of the U.S., no less). Happily Sharon Angle and whats-her-face O’Donnell have temporarily fallen by the wayside (not to worry, they will both be back with even more absurd ideas). Of course there are the religious ones also, represented not only on the extreme right by Palin but also by the more moderate Huckabee who, along with others, does not believe in evolution. Mormons, too, will have a candidate.

I have also not mentioned Rush Limbaugh who seems at the moment to be the main voice of the Republican Party. And there are others as well, with more than just nominal influence, Beck, Hannity, O’Reily, and others who spew their nonsense and hate on a daily basis. They, along with all of the above, are all presumably members of the Republican Party. This is indeed a bizarre mix of belief and desire. Who, I wonder , is going to be able to “ride herd” on them? There seems to be no agreed upon leader of the Party at the moment who can organize this disparate bunch and somewhat integrate and pursue their various interests. Herding cats, I suspect, will be much easier than trying to deal with this mix of Tea Party, Libertarian, and more traditional Republican ideas, especially with no strong leader even on the horizon. John Boehner, the new leader of the House, will certainly have his work to do, and many of these other influential Republicans are completely out of his jurisdiction. It’s going to be a most interesting year or two.

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