Authoritarian Republicans have many problems, however, most noticeably they seem to lack both a sense of irony and a sense of shame. This is probably why the right-wing themed satire show “The ½ Hour News Hour” is about as funny and edgy as say, swallowing your own puke. Without irony or shame, or even a tacit understanding of them, a person or show cannot be funny.
Nor can they be credible.
And if you look into past GOP dealings you find many jaw-dropping instances. Like Newt Gingrich railing about moral values, fighting to impeach Bill Clinton, when he was having an affair at the exact same time. No sense of irony and absolutely no shame whatsoever.
A great example of that occurred last Sunday on “Meet The Press.” I was relaxing in my apartment, drinking some coffee and playing solitaire while I watched and listened to all the morning shows. I always believe a person has to take these shows with a grain of salt. Most of the interviewers are serviceable people, they are comfortable in their positions, they ask moderately tough questions from time to time, but, for the most part they don’t truly rock the boat. If they did, well, I guarantee you they wouldn’t have a cushy network post, that’s for sure. You are not going to see somebody like Greg Palast turned loose on some status quo bullshit artist politician. Not going to happen. But, the Timmy Russerts, Bob Schieffers and various Stephanopouli of the world are relatively adequate, so I watch with no great expectations and merely for my own information and entertainment.
The bulk of the news I know I’ll get from reading, reading and more reading.
So, I am fixated on my cards, coffee and listening to the introduction to Timmy’s show, when two names catch my ear. It seems that both Richard Perle and Tom DeLay were going to be representing the Republic Party on a panel with congressman Vice Admiral Joe Sestak and former Democratic Rep. Tom Andrews.
Richard Perle and Tom DeLay?
I about spit out my coffee. Think about this for a second. Here you have Richard Perle, one of the architects of the Iraq War, who had to resign his position a chairman of the Defense Policy board because of ethical reasons. His ethical problems? Perle is not just a warmonger and advocate of violence in the looniest of all situations, but he’s a war profiteer. This guy helps design and advocate policies which he then makes money from, yet, to him, this is no conflict of interest. The guy has given seminars on ways to profit from armed conflicts! Not only that, he’s been absolutely wrong on the Iraq War from the beginning. He has zero credibility, yet he is trotted out as a viable foreign policy voice on the issue.
Tom DeLay is a definite beauty. The disgraced former congressman from Texas is the poster child for corruption, but that isn’t necessarily what makes Tom so special. Tom’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. For example, Tom is virulently anti-choice on abortion, yet he supports a system of government in the Marianas Islands that creates sweatshops. These sweatshops advocate forced abortion on it’s young female workers. DeLay is also absolutely against frivolous lawsuits and has done everything possible throughout his career to protect business against any type of litigation. Yet, in 1988 when his father was badly injured in a freak accident at home, DeLay -and his family - sued the Midcap Bearing Corp. of San Antonio and Lovejoy Inc. of Illinois for the wrongful death of his father. Parallel to this family tragedy is the circumstances of his father’s death. Tom DeLay spewed fiery rhetoric during the Terri Schiavo case, advocating to keep the woman alive even though she was in a persistent vegetative state. He denounced her husband, Michael Schiavo, and emoted that the removal of her feeding tube was an “act of barbarism.” However in 1988, Tom DeLay never argued any of these points while he and his family agreed to not resuscitate his comatose father. Now I am not belittling the suffering of his family, this was certainly a difficult situation and definitely a private matter, but Tom DeLay always seems to believe that what is good for Tom DeLay isn’t good for the rest of the country. He doesn’t think about how he advocated a foolish war, helped send troops into conflict without body armor, with no oversight on anything and no exit strategy, while he brazenly questions the patriotism of anybody who rightly questions the Iraq War travesty. Not only has he been wrong about everything regarding the war, not only has he have a track record as a partisan hypocrite, but this guy is one of the most corrupt politicians of all-time who may very well end up in a jail cell.
So is Tom DeLay a credible voice on foreign policy?
Not even close.
Which makes me wonder why Tim Russert would have these type of people on his show in the first place. What makes him or his producers think these guys have any credibility at all? I guess that is the real question, one I’m not sure on. Maybe Timmy couldn’t get all the people he wanted on the panel so he just went with these guys. Certainly there are more credible and true conservative voices on the issue. Maybe, Russert is just one of those status quo guys who see nothing wrong with having these guys on? It’s tough to nail down a mistake like that, because we can never truly know what MTP’s whole decision making crew was actually thinking.
But, to me, the real interesting point goes back to authoritarian Republicans and their lack of irony and shame.
See, I am not a perfect person. I do not know anybody who is, and I am sure no such person exists. Yet, I will tell you this, knowing full well I have screwed up some things in my life, if I was asked to go on a show, after I had been disgraced the way these two clowns have been, I’m pretty sure I would not go on it. First, I would recognize the irony of asking somebody who has repeatedly been wrong about their predictions to somehow act as a credible expert on the very matters they have been wrong about. Next, I would be too ashamed to show my face in front of the whole world and pretend like I actually knew what I was talking about. And, if I had been indicted for something, or had to resign a post for ethical problems, I am sure this would only add to my already great embarrassment. Virtually anyone with any sense of shame or irony would understand this.
But not our boys, Tom and Rich.