Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The GOP’s Embarrassing Vetting Season

As a number of recent posts have noted, the crop of 2016 GOP presidential candidates seems to be unusually filled with pathological liars with Ben Carson being but one of the candidates challenged when it comes to truth and veracity.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the GOP's problem of dishonest candidates - a phenomenon which should come as no surprise given the party's embrace of ignorance and self-prostitution to Christofascists who lie seemingly more than any other segment of society.  Here are column excerpts:
Welcome to the vetting season, in which presidential candidates’ résumés are pumped full of air, submerged in water and tested for bubbles like an inner tube. 

None of the Republican candidates, even the few with actual governing experience, has ever suffered the level of scrutiny given to a top-tier presidential prospect. It is part journalism, part tax audit, part fraternity hazing and part, especially when it comes to Republicans, ideological hit job. Only Democrat Hillary Clinton has made a career of sailing in this hurricane.

Carson’s claim that his treatment is unique — “I have not seen that with anyone else” — is disproved by, well, just about everyone else. Marco Rubio is being called to account for questionable purchases as a state representative on a GOP American Express card, including some flooring.

For Jeb Bush, the vetting process has been more about performance. How does he distinguish himself from the wallpaper in the debates? His town hall meetings, by one media account, are “charmingly anachronistic,” apparently because political discourse is better served by Twitter sarcasm. The real question: Is Bush’s stated refusal to be an “angry agitator” disqualifying in a political party that seems to view angry agitation as the sum of the political enterprise?

All the while, Donald Trump lobs sarcastic tweets, appears on late-night television and leads the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Trump is somehow enjoying the presidential vetting season as a spectator instead of a target. For about a quarter of the Republican electorate, there is apparently no scandal that could rock their high regard.

[W]hat does it mean that a significant portion of prospective GOP voters are seriously considering a leader who can’t be embarrassed because he is incapable of shame? A leader who can’t be disgraced because expectations are already so low?

The choice of a president, at least in theory, should have something to do with character, policy views, temperament, governing record and political philosophy. Trump is judged by his followers on an entirely different set of standards, imported from reality television. Is he entertaining? Check. Is he angry? Check. Does he demolish political correctness and political convention? Double check. Is he authentic? Ah, here is the rub.

By one definition, political authenticity is defined by the impulsive expression of everyman instincts. By another definition, authenticity means taking serious things — such as rhetoric and political ideas — seriously. The former unleashes and rides political passions. The latter channels passions into useful public purposes through political and governing skill. The former culminates in the cutting tweet. The latter in Lincoln writing and rewriting the Gettysburg Address or his second inaugural, which were made authentic through thought and craft.

So far, this is the sad, overall summary of the 2016 campaign: They took unserious things seriously.

Unfortunately, the column's author fails to  acknowledge that the party leadership welcomed the crazy and extreme elements into the GOP and that they are now reaping the whirlwind that they put into motion.

No comments: