Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Akin To Be
It's rare that I crib a substantial portion of someone else's piece, but the one by Sally Kohn currently running over at Salon nails the reality of the modern GOP and its effect on the overall politics of our country just about flawlessly.
"I suppose kudos is owed to the Tea Party and its far right forbearers for achieving this shift while simultaneously distracting the public by labeling President Obama’s milquetoast moderate policies as evidence of wanton socialism. The right wing sure knows how to infiltrate and infect the political mainstream while pointing fingers elsewhere. But for crying out loud, what the hell is happening to our country? We now have a party with elected leaders who think child labor laws are unconstitutional (Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah), who would repeal the Civil Rights Act (Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky), who think climate change is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” (Republican Senator James Inhofe). The rightward tilt of the Republican Party has been so swift and so extreme that, today, not only do both Bushes and Ronald Reagan look too liberal, but frankly so do John McCain and Mitt Romney (which is why Mitt Romney pandered to the extreme conservative base by picking Paul Ryan as his running mate).
Sadly, in an era where 'Dancing with the Stars' gets more attention than political debates (let alone reporting), Republicans can effectively disguise their dark intentions with distractions — whether irresponsible saber rattling with Iran or trivial commentary about Paul Ryan’s good looks. But the right-wing ideologues are getting sloppy and boastful — overconfident in their overreach. We all know that Republican efforts to restrict voting rights have nothing to do with addressing the infinitesimal instances of alleged voter fraud and everything to do with suppressing Democratic voting blocs and manipulating elections. But now Republicans like Mike Turzai, the Republican leader of the Pennsylvania statehouse, can openly brag about his party’s 'voter ID' law helping win the state for Mitt Romney. And Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus can shout about how letting everyone in Ohio vote early 'waters down the voting privileges of our military men and women' who were previously the only ones allowed to vote early. Priebus didn’t back down from this statement, he doubled down. It says a lot about the Republican mindset (did voting rights for black people and women 'water down' the votes of white men?) but also speaks volumes about what is now acceptable discourse in the GOP. What was once whispered is now hollered. It should make all of us want to scream.
The increasingly extremist Republican Party wants to make economic inequality worse and consolidate money and power in the hands of the elite (most of whom are wealthy, white men) while rolling back liberties for women, gay people and people of color. The increasingly extremist Republican Party believes that public programs which care for the poor and elderly, prevent corporations from polluting our air and water, and ensure equal opportunity in education are 'shackling' big business — regardless of how much they help ordinary Americans. The increasingly extremist Republican Party doesn’t believe in the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change, but upwards of two-thirds of Republicans do believe that President Obama was not born in the United States. Not only is the modern Republican Party fairly unconcerned with poor people and women and gay folks, but the modern Republican Party is unconcerned with basic facts. It is a purely ideological agenda, rationalized by whatever means necessary, including false “medicine” about women’s bodies and the atrocities of rape."