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nellie On January - 10 - 2010

In this election year, one issue outweighs all others. No matter how many disagreements we might have with Democrats, nothing is more important than remembering that the GOP has devolved into a group of people who cannot even be trusted to remember who was president during 911. Forget the Party of No. These guys are the Party of Crazy.

The latest excursion into madman’s land came with Rudi Giulian—Mr. Nine Eleven himself—inexplicably chiming in with the chorus of “There were no domestic attacks on U.S. soil during the Bush Administration”—an incomprehensible concept birthed by Dana Perino and parroted by Mary Matilin and other GOP cheerleaders. What are we to make of this? An attack that brought down the World Trade Center towers and killed more than three thousand people suddenly vanishes from memory. It’s a sick meme that only the GOP could come up with. And apparently the virus is airborne—as demonstrated by George Stephanopolis’s failure to offer any protest against Giuliani’s un-recollection.

Per usual, the GOP strategy for winning back votes from the American people ignores quaint notions such as presenting something the public can believe in, benefit from, or get enthusiastic about, and instead relies on the one play in their playbook—throw stones at the other party. Large, fabricated, crazy stones.

Compared to forgetting 911 in 2010, the GOP record for 2009 seems like amateur hour. But it’s worth revisiting. Because this is the GOP record. This is how Republicans spent the year. And when the country votes in November, we need to remember exactly what the GOP is all about.

The first stone hurled by Republicans was a multifaceted gem of paranoia, racism, and nostalgia for the 1950s—that Barack Obama is not really American. Republicans even tried to call him a terrorist. Thank you, Sarah Palin, for that particular tidbit of crazy on the campaign trail. When a Vice Presidential candidate (still hard to wrap the brain cells around that) throws out such inflammatory untruths and encourages her audience to yell “Traitor!” and “Kill him!” at the competition—we know we’re seeing something truly special. Perhaps not as special as a former Vice President spending his every breath trying to convince actual terrorists that the sitting president can’t keep the U.S. safe… but special nonetheless.

The un-American meme was echoed by sitting members of congress. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina—who has made himself a paragon of obstruction during the 111th session—as early as February 27, 2009 called Obama the “world’s best salesman of socialism.” Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama raised the stakes by accusing—not by name, of course—17 House members of being socialists, letting us know that socialism had spread from the White House to the Capitol. Not to be outdone, Rep Paul Broun of Georgia warned the public to brace itself for the impending declaration of martial law by the president’s “socialist elite.”

Next up, an utterly insane attempt to move the president’s birthplace from Hawaii to Kenya. With their customary contempt for reality, fueled by eagerness to amp up the “un-American” meme, the GOP jumped on a truly batty bandwagon, dragged giddily across the American landscape by Orly Taitz and the Birthers.

Again, elected GOP leadership showed no reticence when it came to crazy talk. On February 22, 2009, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama weighed in on what he called Barack Obama’s “eligibility for office” by saying he had never seen proof the new president was actually born in Hawaii. On March 13, Rep. Bill Posey, a freshman Republican from Florida, introduced a bill to “amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate.” The “Birther Bill,” as it came to be called, had 12 GOP sponsors.

The Birther movement raged on for months, threatening to lampoon the GOP with one of the silliest controversies in political history. It’s bad enough that a lead anchor on a major news network dove into these wacky waters (Lou, we thought we knew ya, but you turned out to be twice as crazy as we thought), but congressmen and senators also rushed to splash around in the Birther swamp. Who put a stop to the madness? Bill O’Reilly. When Bill O’Reilly labels a right-wing conspiracy theory as “nuts,” even the GOP has to pay attention.

Except for Rep. Nathan Deal of Georgia, who last week, on January 7, 2010, wrote to President Obama asking him to prove his eligibility to hold the office of president. Die hard Birthers like Deal must certainly be kicking themselves for not picking Nigeria as the president’s birthplace instead of Kenya. What mileage they could have gotten out of the Undie Bomber.

Next up: The Summer of Craziness, when America got to know the Teabaggers. These unwitting corporate shills for the insurance industry were financed and sent to town hall meetings to shout down congressional representatives in districts where they did not live. They brought guns, carried signs showing the president as a bare-chested witch doctor with a bone through his nose, held up copies of the “U.S.S. Constitution,” misspelled everything, and generally made asses of themselves—a spectacle the mainstream media droolingly broadcast on a daily basis

Once again, the GOP siezed the opportunity to distort reality and proclaimed loudly that this cultish band of lunatics represented the voice of the American public (instead of the 80 percent of the country sitting at home, laughing at the Tea Party protests and hoping against hope that the Finance Committee would report out a bill with a public option). It wasn’t only the pundits and talking heads making this claim, but the Senators and House members bent on stopping health care reform. This was the “American public” these legislators saw themselves as representing.

Next up: the Joint Session of Congress on September 10, 2009, where GOP members rudely waved around blank sheets of paper during the president’s address, claiming them to be the proposed and ignored GOP health care legislation alternative. Ironically, this was probably the most honest moment of the year for the GOP. Certainly more honest than Joe Wilson’s rude and unprecedented outburst of “You lie!” when the president accurately described the Democratic health care proposal as excluding undocumented immigrants.

Taking a cue from Wilson’s unhinged outburst, Republicans spent the fall of 2009 accusing President Obama of things that were demonstrably untrue. And again, it wasn’t just the talk radio screamers making these false statements. GOP legislators—the same group of people up for re-election this November—pushed these fact-busting talking points over and over again. Here are are few examples:

  • The president never uses the word terror (Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, referring to a speech were Mr. Obama used the words “terror” or “terrorist” 27 times)
  • Trying terrorists in U.S. courts compromises our system (ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kit Bond, when Richard Reid and Ramzi Yousef are at this moment sitting in federal prinsons after behing tried in U.S. courts)
  • Obama took too long to speak after the Undie Bomber attack (Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, ignoring the fact that Bush took twice as long after Shoe Bomber attempt)
  • Taking time to decide the Afghanistan strategy put action on the ground in limbo and put our troops in danger (Sen. Jim DeMint echoing Dick Cheney’s “Obama’s Dithering & Waffling Endangers the Troops” meme. Not only was this assertion patently false, it was made even more reprehensible when the GOP filibustered as a block against the defense appropriations bill)
  • The Obama administration ignored Yemen, which led to the Undie Bomber (Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-MI, when for the previous two weeks, the administration had been carrying out air strikes against Al Qaeda in Yemen, after months of studying the situation there)
  • Mr Obama failed to reach out to republicans on health care (this unfathomable bit of psychosis from Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain)

The above list covers only the last two weeks of December.

There are a handful of commentators who reliably point out the GOP flights into fantasy. Rachel Maddow does the most rigorous job of debunking—or in Maddow’s case, excoriating—but Randi Rhodes, Jon Stewart, Keith Olbermann, Ron Reagan, and Jack Rice can be counted on to call out the GOP, not only for their distortions, but also for their hubris in the face of video, audio, and YouTube documentation of the facts. Print media also offers a few vigilant voices, including Media Matters, Think Progress, and a smattering of tough journalists in newspapers and magazines.

What is miising from this body of work, however, is a compilation of the distinct examples into an overall portrait of today’s Repubican Party—a craqy quilt of hysterial stone throwers who are dismissive of reality, distainful of the truth, and contemptuous of the welfare of the Ameircan people. It’s entertaining to point out the daily forays into the GOP’s delusional discourse, but it’s dangerous to minimize their implications

Governance is a serious business. It is a life and death business. It determines whether or not our children are sent off to die on foreign soil. It determines whether or not our friends and family can be admitted to a hospital for proper care. It determines whether our neighbors can remain in their homes, put food on the table, get jobs. Politics may be a game, but governance is not. And what elected Republican legislators have shown us this past year—indisputably—is that they have no interest in governing. And that is astonishing.

Personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, even Sarah Palin, are fun to watch but essentially unimportant as targets of progressive anger and energy. The same might be said of Rachel Maddow from the conservative’s point of view. We love what she does, but for the Teabaggers to spend what questionable political capital they have on tarnishing her image is a waste of their time. They more correctly put their focus on the president and congress. And that is exactly what progressives need to do.

We don’t even need to recall the Bush years in order to demonstrate the dangers of electing Republicans into office. We don’t need to recall the illegal war or the failing economy, the constitutional breeches, the stained reputation, the environmental degradation. One would think that after eight years of disrepute and failure, the GOP would be chomping at the bit to again prove itself worthy of the people’s trust and respect. But we can look to current behavior—that will no doubt escalate as the GOP becomes more desperate to win back seats in November—as evidence that Republicans deserve neither. Even without Bush, the current Republican Party gives voters plenty of reason to run, not walk, away from the GOP at the voting booth.

But will we? Or will Americans once again ignore what is right in front of our eyes?

It is up to progressives and liberals to make this record clear—to talk about the gravity of governance and the serious nature of elected office. Legislators who spend their time devising ways to play to the cameras, dreaming up outrage and outrageous lies in a cynical attempt to distract us from the things that really matter—legislators like that should be tossed out of office. A party that operates in that way should be denied the privilege of governing.

This year, as the election drama unfolds, we must continue to put the puzzle pieces together so that the total picture is stark and irrefutable. A political party with such an aversion to reality, reason, and sanity cannot be trusted. And certainly should not be voted back into office.

93 Responses so far.

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  1. bitohistory says:

    this comment moved to To for O/T , Sorry

  2. jan4insight says:

    For a good little giggle supporting everything in Nellie’s article, here’s the closing segment from Monday’s Rachel M show ~

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#34815716

    and with that, nitey-night, all!

  3. escribacat says:

    What an excellent article, Nellie. Fantastic writing.

    PS: I love that image too!

  4. escribacat says:

    According to Arianna Huffington’s latest self-serving column, there is no longer a negligible difference between right and left. The blogosphere has somehow magically eliminated that “cobweb-covered lens.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/tucker-carlson-launches-t_b_417459.html

    I posted the simple comment, “I do not consider the Huffington Post a progressive site,” and it was scrubbed.

    • KQuark says:

      That’s because the way Aryanna and her lemmings look at it she is the only one right and everyone else is wrong.

      The whole there is no difference between the Republicans and Democrats meme just shows the depth of her personality disorder.

      All Aryanna has ever stood for is personal hatred. Hatred for Bill Clinton, hatred of Bush, hatred for Hillary Clinton, hatred for Geithner and now hatred for Obama. Of course this is all born out of her narcissistic personality disorder that no one is smarter than her.

    • TanzaniteBlue says:

      I saw your comment, e-cat. (I did notice that it was scrubbed.)

    • Khirad says:

      I’m waiting to see how my Drudgington Post comment does…

      • escribacat says:

        I assume you’re not “allbeings” who posted “Thank you for leading with such wit and wisdom.”

        That one wasn’t scrubbed. 😆

    • Kalima says:

      With a drop of sodium pentothal slipped into her champagne, we might get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Actually she’s doing a really fine job of exposing herself to the masses, don’t stop AH, it’s only a matter of time before the rest catch on to your game.

      It always makes me cringe how on tv you would think that butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth when she talks about the President but once she back in the safety of her nest, she spews such abominable rot it makes your toes curl up.

      What a bunch of spineless morons these people really are, and that goes for her friends too. I can’t stand two-faced people, they are the worst of the worst.

  5. SueInCa says:

    Great article Nellie, and one that is near and dear to my heart. I have been collecting these incidences and storing them under the headline, Palin, on my favorites. I always go back and clean up the favorites piece after I have digested the articles, with the exception of the Palin file. That name alone tells me all I want to know about the GOP and I am saving it for a rainy(LOL) day, election 2010 or 2012. I also have a certain email that I add tidbits to and will keep that for posterity………….but I agree the wimpy media is not going to confront these lies and btw Stephanopoulus is a pimp. I use that term for all of them with the exception of a few that I really think are honestly trying to get the right news out. Oh and Donald Trump too, I think he is a pimp of the worst kind LOL.

  6. AdLib says:

    I too just voted for Nellie’s fantastic post and the rating arrows kept circling but they do count your vote. When you refresh, you’ll find your vote has been added. Will revert to an earlier version until they fix this bug.

    But keep voting, it is being counted!

  7. Chernynkaya says:

    Thank you Nellie, Kes, Kalima, and even Khirad 😉 for teaching me the fine art of starring!

  8. bitohistory says:

    I would vote for this article, nellie but it seems to be to just go “please wait” forever. Rigged voting on the Planet? ❓

    • Khirad says:

      Yeah, voting is pending for me too.

    • nellie says:

      Thanks, bito. It’s the thought that counts!

      And you’re doing the real work, btw, going to gov tracks and looking at the legislative record. That’s the logical next step — something that needs to be done for every GOP candidate up for re-election this year.

      As for the voting — I’m skeptical. I’ve seen some really low ratings on really top notch articles on the site — I’m convinced it’s trolling by trolls. I always punch in a 10 to balance it out, but I think the rating system might be flawed.

      • kesmarn says:

        nellie, I’ve wondered if some people are confused by the voting system. Are there people who--if they’re the first to read the article and like it--click on the first star, thinking that others will provide the later clicks up to ten? I know that’s sort of convoluted, but I guess I’m just saying that people might not know how to give a ten star rating… or something…

        I’ll quit babbling now… 😳

        • nellie says:

          I don’t know. Maybe….???

          I just know that some of the best articles I’ve seen here are sitting there w a 5-star rating. I suspect trollishness.

          • Khirad says:

            I know, right? Me, I only vote 10 stars on the most excellent articles. Others, I don’t want to vote lower even if I like them alot. I just sort of use it for those that someone clearly spent hours on as a gesture of extra appreciation.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Um, er-- I don’t think I know how to vote. Still. Do I color in all the stars? Why isn’t that a ten? What if I only accidentally hit six stars? Can I go back? PS,don’t let Adlib see this-- he explained it to me once before. Or is this all written down somewhere you can direct me to?

            • nellie says:

              And be careful, because once you vote, it’s set in ether stone!

            • kesmarn says:

              Hi Cher! Well if it’s confession time, I should say I’m not totally sure I’ve been doing it right. If I really like the article,
              I click on the 10th star, thinking (mistakenly? I hope not) that I am giving it 10 stars. Uuurrrkk! What if that’s been wrong all along???

              If I’m unsure how I feel, I usually just don’t vote at all.

              Maybe we can get a definitive pronouncement on the proper way to vote.

              PS. Don’t worry, I’m sure AdLib will never see any of this. 😉

            • Kalima says:

              kesmarn, I copy. Over and out.

              Nudge, nudge! Wink! Wink! 😆

            • kesmarn says:

              Kalima…..

              …..blink….blink…

            • Kalima says:

              I’ll tiptoe in later with my night lamp when you have all gone to sleep. I’ll be the delete fairy for tonight. I’m whispering, blink twice if you can hear me.

              Still whispering, sorry nellie, here’s big stick to sort me out with. I’m ready anytime.

            • kesmarn says:

              Thanks, Kalima!

              Whew…I’d better whisper that!…we almost woke him up…!

              We can delete all these posts by morning and he’ll never know…!! Teeheehee.

            • AdLib says:

              Huh? Did someone say something? Guess not…zzzzzzzzz….

            • Kalima says:

              Hi kesmarn. You can vote as many stars as you want to give, it is still counted as a vote. You can also vote for comments you like with a thumbs up or down above the reply button at the bottom of each comment.

              AdLib will NEVER find out, my lips are sealed! :)

            • Kalima says:

              Put you cursor on the stars and move it slowly to the right. 10 twinkling star will appear, just click and nellie has your 10 star vote.

              I won’t say a peep to AdLib. :)

            • Khirad says:

              Scroll along the stars and you’ll see them fill in red left and right. Stop at the star you want and click it. Try to give yourself two stars and someone else like me a four or something to test this.

            • kesmarn says:

              😆

          • kesmarn says:

            That’s a possibility. You have to wonder why they don’t simply post an opposing opinion, though…

            I find that good old-fashioned confusion is responsible for an amazing number of dizzy consequences in this life, but maybe I’m just being my usual gullible self!

            • nellie says:

              I’m willing to believe that.

              I just think this site gets lurked more than we think. And someone who might be too shy — or ill equipped — to post an opposing view might not be above posting a low rating.

              But, I’m all for looking on the bright side and believing in people. So I’ll try to temper my cynicism on the subject. :-)

              (When I see a really good piece of writing w a low rating, I get a little defensive on behalf of the author!)

            • nellie says:

              I know! It’s the drawback of having an embarrassment of riches. We should give this some thought….

            • kesmarn says:

              I feel the same way, nellie.

              I also feel bad when a bunch of people write really thoughtful pieces all at the same time and some wonderful stuff gets buried quickly. I don’t think there’s much that can be done about it, but I do feel for someone who’s put great effort into an article and--poof--it’s gone within a day.

  9. Chernynkaya says:

    I am shamelessly piggybacking on Nellie

  10. bitohistory says:

    I went to the site: http://www.govtrack.us/ the other day I did a search on Sen.Demint and his bill count. During the entire time, including when he was in the House. Two of his proposed bills have made it into law. TWO! 2! and to read some of the ones he did propose made me just shake my head in wonder.
    I need to go back to that site and check on some other of these “clowns”…er..sorry, elected people.

    If any one would like to track a bill or read the summery, book mark this site. A very good reference source:
    http://www.govtrack.us/

  11. bitohistory says:

    Can you take one more kudos, nellie. What an astoundingly great post, and to read that you made the graphic!!! This will be emailed to Rachel. (never get an answer from the show, but I keep asking for her or staff to join.)

    Now, how do you really feel?

  12. Chernynkaya says:

    Nellie, I just want you to know that I bookmarked this post and have become more motivated to go back to “the dark side” and use your excellent summary to battle those who are stupid enough to believe there is no difference between the two parties. Thanks!

    • nellie says:

      Thanks, Cher. That’s a very appreciated compliment. It’s kind of what I had in mind when I wrote it. Something to put the GOP in perspective.

      I’m working on a follow up describing the accomplishments of the Obama administration and the Democratic congress this year. It’s so important to keep the difference between Dems and Repubs crystal clear.

      • jan4insight says:

        Nellie, you might be interested in this article about Obama’s record-breaking congressional accomplishments ~

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122436116

        (just don’t read the comments; it’s regular troll-fest. Same for the reposting of that article in HP)

        • nellie says:

          Thank you!

          I thought we were probably breaking some records. This is very helpful. It’s good to see NPR reporting on work like this. CQ is an excellent resource.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          I saw that too and bookmarked it. But the response from the Left is “Those aren’t the things we care about.” and “The important issues were watered down.” Oh, don’t mind me-- I’ve just had it from them today!

      • Chernynkaya says:

        I just came from there. I made about 15 comments. I am a wreck. Those people make me every bit as angry as the Reptilians do. But I will keep on truckin’. Tomorrow.

        • jan4insight says:

          Good job, Cher. I do the same thing, quite regularly. I consider it part of my duty -- also to support those genuine liberals & progs who argue reasonably and stand with our President despite merited criticism.

          I also spend 5-10 minutes each night at the PanditKitchen page of the LOL sites, flagging the horrid captions put there by the right wingers. After that, HP looks almost cordial when I get back!

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Thanks Jan. Do you see a change in the posters as I do over the year?

            • jan4insight says:

              The biggest change I see on HP is with the great many anti-Obama articles published (and the misleading headliens and so forth) -- there have always been trolls in the threads. Another thing that keeps me coming back to HP is the friends & fans I have on that site, many of whom are here. I think it’s as important to support each other as it is to combat the trolls.

              On PunditKitchen, it’s definitely gotten worse -- it’s no fun anymore; I go there out of duty and then go vote on the LOL cats to wash the taste out of my mouth!

        • nellie says:

          Rock on, Cher! I have become a hit and run poster on HP. I post and leave. Go back the next day — never look at responses to what I said the day before — post and leave.

          Sometimes I answer comments that are outrageous, but for the most part, I don’t engage any more. It just makes me angry.

          And needlessly so. Most people in the world are not like the people who comment at HP. But I know the comments get read by the media, so it’s worth setting the record straight — or posting a good answer to a talking point.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Thanks Nellie. I do the same now, plus I fan all the sensible posters. It’s so odd that I used to be able to stay there for hours! Something has happened to me and what it is, I think, is that I used to feel more people were reasonable-- I felt among friends. That site has really changed. But I have 651 fans so they can’t all be crazy-- LOL!

  13. PatsyT says:

    Nellie.

    I can not stop thinking about Ignatz the mouse from Krazy Kat throwing bricks!

    Is that where they get their strategy ??

    http://www.ignatzmouse.net/us/mouse-intro.html

    Excellent Info and very well put together.

    Major Kudos on the film poster graphic !!

  14. Khirad says:

    What more is there to add? Seriously, you laid it out all bare, chiseled in stone, as it were. Which they would most like throw at you. Paper? better as a projectile after folding up in the back of class. Yup, that’s who these miscreants are. Only they never grew up, and the behavior’s so not cute anymore when you’re going on 70.

    The only thing in the whole piece I must have missed was the U.S.S. Constitution. First of all, I doubt most of ’em could tell you what USSR stood for anymore than they can’t tell it apart from modern Russia -- take it away Katy Abram -- seriously, google her and they still love her, judging by the top hits. Why is it that still surprises me they go crazy for dumb-as-doornail women (and men, too)? In any case, behold, the USS Constitution. My lord these are some historical flunkies.


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