Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Republican Fringe Festival

GOP clown bus contenders

As Christofascists and Tea Party loons - who are 85% Christofascists masquerading under a different moniker - have taken control of the Republican Party base, driving sane people out of the party, the quality of Republican candidates has taken on the appearance of a carnival of freak shows.  The likes of Dwight Eisenhower or even Ronald Reagan could never be serious contenders now that the embrace of ignorance and every imaginable conspiracy theory is the norm within the GOP base.  I know so many former Republicans and the few moderates who are left are mostly women who built their social lives around Republican women's clubs and seemingly try to ignore the insanity swirling around them.  (Yes, Karen, I am talking about you).  A piece in the New York Times looks at the freak fringe festival that is the GOP presidential candidate pool.  Here are excerpts:

In 2008, Mike Huckabee ran for president as a likable chucklehead who had lost 100 pounds. And you can, too! Now he’s running for president as a grievance–burdened theocrat who has lost his mind. In the interim, he lent his name to infomercials hawking a dubious diabetes treatment of cinnamon and some other concoction, putting the Huckster in Huckabee.

In 2005, Carly Fiorina was fired as chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, after laying off nearly 30,000 people and overseeing the collapse of the company’s stock price. She left with a $21 million severance package. She then lost a Senate race in California by a million votes. Now she’s running for president. And why not? Rewarded for failure in business, she’s trying it in politics.
Up until 2013, Dr. Ben Carson was known mainly as a celebrated neurosurgeon, much in demand on the speaking circuit for his inspirational talks. But then he compared President Obama to a psychopath, said expanding health care was the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery, and claimed homosexuality was a choice, because “people go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.” Of course, he’s now running for the highest office in the land.

Last election cycle, the Republican presidential field was a clown car, holding the thrice-married Newt Gingrich lecturing about values, the pizza magnate Herman Cain fending off sexual harassment claims, and Michele Bachmann confusing John Wayne with a serial killer. That was just the front seat. This time around it’s a clown bus, with as many as 17 Republicans expected to compete for the nomination.

Most of them are unelectable, to say the least. But can any of them get out of the party’s winnowing period without saying things they picked up in the far right netherworld? Probably not. As previous gaffe-a-matics have shown, it pays to be crazy. And for many Republicans, crazy is the new mainstream.

There is no ceiling for crazy in Texas, nor political consequence. This year, the Lone Star State’s most odious export is Senator Ted Cruz, who also has some concern about the nefarious designs of our military, and those Walmart tunnels. He couldn’t just say, as the Pentagon did, that our troops would soon be conducting a long-planned field operation, called Jade Helm 15. He had to dog-whistle to the mouth frothers.

If you don’t think the inability to distinguish a military exercise from a totalitarian takeover disqualifies you from leading the free world, Fox News has a hosting chair for you in its studios. That’s where Mike Huckabee promoted his brand of Gomer Pyle politics over the last few years, building a following for quack health remedies and Christian victimhood.

Since moving out of the Fox nursing home, he’s gone ever deeper and darker, all while traveling by private jet and building a palace in Florida. . . . . Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister who learned his shtick on the traveling preacher circuit, has become an outright theocrat, attacking the constitutional foundation against state-sanctioned religion.

Ben Carson, like Huckabee, sees the secular world through Scripture. He makes much of his standing as a Seventh-day Adventist . . . But the Adventists, to their credit, are distancing themselves from Carson. Following his presidential announcement, the church released a statement warning officials that the pulpit should remain neutral in politics, based on “our historical position of separation of church and state.”

[I]n the last week Republicans have gained two people whose political philosophy could find a home among Iran’s governing ayatollahs, and a failed chief executive who thinks driving a great company into the ground is a good business model. All are featured prominently in conservative media.What this shows is that, if you’re on television long enough, you start to think you’d make a good president.
I shake my head in dismay over what has become of a political party that once valued, logic, reason, science and staying out of people's bedrooms and allowing citizens to follow their own religious beliefs or no religious beliefs.  The rest of the world must think Americans have gone insane.

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