The good news is that people seem to be waking up just a bit to what's being done to them.
The bad news is that it really is just a bit that they're waking up.
The good news is that the Republican Party is showing some serious signs of preparing for self-immolation.
Such is the state of America at the end of empire.
This week, one of the reddest districts in the country voted to send a Democrat to Congress. There was a special election to fill the seat, after the highly moralistic married Republican who had been holding it previously got busted sending out hunky topless pictures of himself as he trolled for a little babe action on Craigslist. What a shock to find that those who lecture us incessantly about our sexual morality turn out to be, er, somewhat hypocritical about it all, eh? If you ask me, it's one of the few iron laws of political science. You can bet the house that any politician who makes it his or her business to speak and legislate on your sexuality is, in fact, secretly one of the most twisted vines in the jungle. Count on it.
But they sure didn't want to. Talk about your proverbial rock and a hard place. Your Scylla and Charybdis. These guys are really in a bad way. And, remarkably, because of their own ideological inanity, they are poised to lose a presidential election in 2012 to a guy who by then will have presided over four years of vast unemployment, high gasoline prices, endless wars and unpopular legislation. I mean, think about it. Just how ugly do you have to be to pull off that feat? And all this after having won a crushing victory over Democrats just six months ago.
The problem for Republicans, of course, is Republicans. The problem is that they take their rhetoric and their ideology sorta seriously. Well, that's fine, but sooner or later one would expect Americans to cease hoisting themselves up for their regular voluntary piñata beating. Yes, even in America, where there seems to be almost no imaginable limitation to the depths of political stupidity, you'd think the laws of political physics would ultimately kick in, and, if nothing else, naked self-interest would be enough to shut down the national rape factory that is today's GOP.
For a while there, I was wondering if we hadn't somehow shot through the wormhole into some alternative universe where gravity was inverted or something. As it turns out, what it was instead was that inane voters were more than happy to vote against "wasteful spending", provided that term referred to welfare for negroes and foreign aid for, well, foreigners. Once you start talking about their own gubmint bennies, well then that's a whole "nuther story, brother.
Which brings us from the laws of physics to the laws of mathematics. Even the magic of religion is not enough to turn lead into gold, try as one desperately might. If you insist on spending even more for "defense' than we already do, and if you insist on cutting tax revenues even more than we already have, and if you agree that defaulting on the interest owed from previous borrowing would be a very bad idea, you then come up headlong against a very stiff and well constructed wall otherwise known as basic math. Even by slashing social spending mercilessly, you still cannot remotely balance the budget given the above sacred cow assumptions as your starting point. Indeed, since the Ryan plan calls for slashing taxes even more than they already have been these last thirty years, what Republicans never tell you is that -- according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analysis -- it will actually produce the precise opposite effect to that which is being claimed in order to sell it. It will actually increase debt, not lower it. That's right. When all is said and done, and the smoke clears, seniors will be far sicker and far deader, in exchange for which the national debt will have only grown fatter. Such a deal.
But the thing for the GOP today is that they have become so rabid that they cannot divorce themselves from their own litmus tests and fairytales, and they are now eating themselves up from within, like the rapacious cancer they in fact truly are. What can you possibly say, this side of Lewis Carroll or Salvador Dali, about a party in which the likes of Newt Gingrich is drummed out for being insufficiently regressive, and just plain lacking in an adequate degree of meanness?
Gingrich, a veritable cartoon of what it means to be a regressive today, pushed the self-destruct button on his own presidential election campaign when he called the Ryan plan "too radical". It's not like the guy all of a sudden found morality or something, notwithstanding (actually, despite) his newly-adopted Catholicism he is placing at the center of his campaign. Gingrich is absolutely capable of being, saying or doing anything in the endless quest to salve his boundless personal insecurities by grabbing the White House. So, rest assured that he didn't make those remarks because he recently got clobbered by the honesty stick or anything like that. What he did was to make a political calculation that killing Medicare was an electoral loser, at least in a general election. He didn't need New York's 26th district to tell him that, though ironically he might not have gotten mugged so violently by his own school of pirana if he had waited to make the same remarks today, rather than a week ago.
Might. Quite likely, though, it still wouldn't matter. There's a certain powerful suicidal tendency to regressive politics today (which -- by the way -- suits me just fine). They are, of course, completely divorced from logic, empirical evidence, and, therefore, reality, and completely wedded to dogmatic faith in their magical incantations. That's why you have to support the Ryan plan to have a prayer at the Republican nomination, even though it actually increases deficits, not lowers them. Math no longer matters. Objective analysis is for socialists. Truth is for pissing on when urinals are otherwise unavailable.
Which brings us to an interesting little field test of just how insane America truly is that is likely to play out over the next several years. The nature of this experiment can be boiled down to one more or less simple proposition and one more or less simple question. The former is that it is increasingly clear that no even remotely sane (or, more accurately, honest) person can hope to win the Republican nomination for president. Increasingly, this logic also applies to other races down the ticket, so that even a far-right senator like Bob Bennett can get primaried out of existence for lack of ideological purity. This is why we're seeing the astonishingly hilarious sight of human prostitution machines like Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty constantly trying on extremely ill-fitting gladiator costumes, and asking us to forget everything about their histories, in a truly pathetic effort to placate the tea party voters of the GOP, who (especially in early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina) will be picking the Republican nominee. Get used to it. This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. This is the sort of electorate for whom believing that Barack Obama was actually born in America makes you suspiciously Marxist.
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