Friday, September 18, 2015

The Fact Free World of Today's GOP

I have long said that today's Republican Party no longer functions in world of facts and objective reality.  Instead, much of the party and certainly a majority of the GOP base lives in a fantasy world.  It wasn't always this way, but the slide to lunacy began, in my view, when the Christofascists began their insidious hijacking of the GOP grassroots more than 25 years ago.  And as those who base their lives and world view on ancient myths authored by unknown, ignorant individuals have increased in the party, sane and rational individuals have felt compelled to escape the asylum.  The result is the on going spectacle of the GOP presidential nominee field which would have horrified Republicans of forty or fifty years ago.  The New York Times looks at the fact free world in which today's GOP functions.  Here are highlights:

Eleven presidential candidates had three prime-time hours on the national stage on Wednesday to tell the American people why they should lead the country. . . . . the Republican Party’s “A-Team,” as one of them, Mike Huckabee, said at the outset.

And that, America, is frightening. Peel back the boasting and insults, the lies and exaggerations common to any presidential campaign. What remains is a collection of assertions so untrue, so bizarre, that they form a vision as surreal as the Ronald Reagan jet looming behind the candidates’ lecterns.

It felt at times as if the speakers were no longer living in a fact-based world where actions have consequences, programs take money and money has to come from somewhere. Where basic laws — like physics and the Constitution — constrain wishes. Where Congress and the public, allies and enemies, markets and militaries don’t just do what you want them to, just because you say they will.

Start with immigration, and the idea that any president could or should engineer the mass expulsion of 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Not one candidate said that a 21st-century trail of tears, deploying railroad cars, federal troops and police dogs on a continental scale, cannot happen and would be morally obscene.

On foreign affairs, there was a lot of talk about not talking with bad people. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said his first act would be to tear up the Iran deal, throwing the nuclear race back to the ayatollahs and rupturing global alliances — but making a point! Carly Fiorina said: “What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic States. I’d probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message.”

We get the message, and it’s scary.

Jeb Bush spun a particularly repellent fantasy. Speaking reverently of his brother the president, he said, “He kept us safe,” and invoked the carnage of 9/11. Wait, what? Did he mean George W. Bush, who was warned about the threat that Al Qaeda would attack? Who then invaded a non sequitur country, Iraq, over a nonexistent threat?

When the A-Team got around to science and health, many of them promised to help Americans by killing the program that gives millions of them medical insurance.

Despite an abundance of serious issues to talk about, nobody offered solutions to problems like child poverty, police and gun violence, racial segregation, educational gaps, competition in a global economy and crumbling infrastructure. On looming disasters (the changing climate) and more immediate ones (a possible government shutdown over, of all things, Planned Parenthood), the debate offered no reassurance that grown-ups were at the table, or even in the neighborhood.
The insanity is the result of the rise of the Christofascists in the GOP and the years and years over which the GOP has fanned the insecurity of whites who see their era of white privilege waning.  Things did not have to be this way but for the short term cynicism of the so-called GOP establishment that welcomed in the insane and delusional in the hope of winning the next election cycle with no thought to the long term damage being done to both the party and the nation.

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