Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Growing Republican Hysteria

As one who has condemned the Republican Party's embrace of ignorance, religious extremism and increasingly blatant racism for a very long time - I left the formally resigned from the GOP roughly 15 years ago when I could no longer stand the batshitery and nastiness of the "godly Christians" being voted onto the City Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach - I feel as if I was a Cassandra long ignored by one time colleagues who refused to see the poison seeping into the party.  Of late - and very belatedly - I suddenly find myself joined by a chorus of "moderate Republicans" and "conservatives" who are lamenting the insane asylum the GOP has become perhaps best embodied by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.  In today's Washington Post Kathleen Parker joins the cavalcade of those warning of the end of the GOP and takes on a tone one more often expects from Maureen Dowd.  Admittedly, Parker has vented vigorously on occasion before.  This time, she targets those who for too long did nothing to stem the metastasizing cancer in the party while gloating over short term election victories.  Here are column highlights:

At first it seemed too weirdly awful to be true, but there she was: Sarah Palin standing next to Donald Trump on Tuesday and endorsing him for president. 

Like previously conjoined twins who had shared a brain before Ben Carson separated them, these two anti-everything, post-lamestream media instigators presented themselves as political doppelgangers, a he/she, yin-yang, sis-boom-bah political marriage of the carnival barker and the bearded lady.

The challenge for those of us in the observation business is to illuminate what’s plainly obvious without offending those who prefer not to see. But there’s no winning once passions are engaged, and hating the messenger is a time-honored tradition. Even though it was, in fact, obvious in 2008 that Palin was out of her league, as I pointed out in a column, her fans wouldn’t hear of it. About 20,000 of them took time out of their busy schedules to send me emails expressing their displeasure. . . . .  The whole episode was instructive in multiple ways, but most important, it foretold a dumbing down of the GOP that eight years later may prove irreversible.

Into a blizzard of irony gallops National Review with a “symposium” of opinions from noted conservative writers saying what must be said: Trump is terrible for conservatism (because he isn’t a conservative) and that populist demagoguery and vulgarity have no place in the party. You don’t say!

The irony, which is so delicious I may skip the chocolate sauce and forgo the cherry, is that this same publication dropped my syndicated column not long after it ran my Palin column. Hoopla and all that. And now suddenly, the editors, one of whom all but telepathically dated Palin, are blind to the former governor’s charms, opposing her choice for president in the strongest terms.

One wonders only what took them so long to say what has been plainly obvious for months.
It must be difficult for some of these writers to go out on a limb like this and recognize in Trump what they were unable to see in Palin in 2008. Trump, to his credit, has managed to clarify matters for them.

Her erstwhile siren call was mostly siren, her formerly hopey-changey, winky-blinky charm turned cranky-wanky and shrill. “You ready for a commander in chief . . . who will let our warriors do their job and go kick ISIS ass?” she shrieked. 

[I]t looks as though Republicans may get what they deserve — a bombastic, bellicose, self-aggrandizing, mean-streaked, golf-cheating, bullying narcissist without plans or policies beyond his own, no doubt fickle, fantasies.   Once Republicans forced the party to take the governor of Alaska seriously as a vice presidential candidate, they opened a populist door that they’ll not easily shut. 

[N]ow we have Trump, who has Palin, who has cemented the anti-intellectual, anti-“elitist” fervor of the Republican base. William F. Buckley’s conservatism seems headed for the door, and National Review deserves plenty of blame. There is, alas, no one left to stand athwart history and yell, stop! 
The question that puzzles me is this: how and why can anyone remotely sane and decent remain a Republican?   And let's be honest on one other thing.  Ted Cruz is as bad or worse than Donald Trump.

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