Friday, October 28, 2016

The GOP 's Brain Dead Zombies

For a political party that once prided itself as being thoughtful, respectful of knowledge and science, and tethered to objective reality, today's Republican Party has descended into something akin to a lunatic asylum or a crowd of zombies from the walking dead.  Leading the way in this celebration of ignorance and bigotry are hypocrites like Paul Ryan, Jason Chaffetz, and a host of others.  At the top of the party, is the narcissistic egomaniac named Donald Trump who would make P.T. Barnum blush when it comes to peddling the outlandish and untrue.  Most frightening of all is that I see no way for the GOP to throw off the insanity and bigotry that now define it.  At least not until the Christofascists, know nothings, and white supremacist are driven from the fold, and that simply is not going to happen.  A column in Salon looks at this state of affairs.  Here are excerpts:
Let’s congratulate Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). He made news twice on the same day. First there was his Wednesday announcement that, as Chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, he or someone on his staff has pulled enough bullshit links about Hillary Clinton from right-wing websites to keep them busyinvestigating her administration for at least two years and more likely for the length of however many terms she serves as president.
Later Wednesday, Chaffetz tweeted that even though just three weeks ago he pulled his endorsement of Donald Trump over the latter’s infamous “grab ‘em by the pussy” comments, he is still going to vote for the nominee. And so Chaffetz becomes the latest member of the GOP’s “Vote for Him but Don’t Support or Endorse Him” caucus, made up of Republican lawmakers who profess horror that their party nominated for president a racist, misogynistic demagogue but will nonetheless cast their vote for him on November 8 because Hillary Clinton is somehow worse.
It has become fashionable to declare the Republican Party dead or at least in a deep coma with little hope of recovery. The civil war now between Trumpism, as represented by the white ethno-nationalists behind Trump’s campaign, and the #NeverTrump crowd that includes the reformicons and the “intellectual” wing of the GOP, is at its roots a battle between two packs of hyenas over which one gets to pick the corpse’s bones clean.
Chaffetz’s actions this week, though, brought to mind another metaphor. The GOP is a zombie party, shambling across the countryside, spreading terror and devouring any living creature it comes across. There is no hope of reversing the condition. But unlike in, say, “The Walking Dead” or a George Romero movie, you can’t kill it forever by planting an ax in its head.
And unfortunately, because the GOP zombie cannot be killed, we are going to be stuck working our lives around it for the indefinite future.
Normally a major American political party functions as a coalition of disparate interests, all united under one banner for the purpose of achieving power and advancing interests. This has been true even in the Republican Party despite its growing ever more conservative over the years and driving its last liberal members out.
[T]he party has broken apart into warring factions. The Trumpist wing has access to and control over much of the party’s valuable voter data. Some of the true believers in conservatism as a political philosophy are talking about breaking away with independent candidate Evan McMullin and forming a new, true conservative party. Neo-conservatives like Bill Kristol have not yet figured out what to do.
The problem, as Chaffetz’s announcements this week show, is that despite all the divisions in the GOP, despite it being at this point not much more than a bunch of mailing lists and a scream reflex every time it hears the name “Clinton,” the party is still going to hold a significant amount of power in American politics. 
And what is it telling the voters it will use all that power for? Non-stop investigations of the Clinton administration. Refusing to vote on a new Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia. Probably some Obamacare repeal votes and new efforts at suppressing the vote for minorities that overwhelmingly support Democrats.
What the GOP will not be doing is anything resembling governing. Like the zombie herds that are forever chasing humans across the landscape of “The Walking Dead,” it will amble along in a brainless rage, mindlessly attacking and attempting to devour any living creature that crosses its path. It will have no purpose beyond that. Any member of the party who has not become fully zombified will find himself chased down, bitten, and reborn as a sentient corpse, wandering the land looking for a member of the Clinton administration to subpoena.

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