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
Leave a Comment

Please Login to comment
23 Comment threads
70 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
19 Comment authors
TanzaniteBlueescribacatSueInCaAdLibbitohistory Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
bito
Member

this comment moved to To for O/T , Sorry

Report this comment

escribacat
Member

bito, where is that thread? I tried to find it yesterday but couldn’t.

Report this comment

jan4insight
Guest

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!

Report this comment

escribacat
Member

What an excellent article, Nellie. Fantastic writing.

PS: I love that image too!

Report this comment

escribacat
Member

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.

Report this comment

KQµårk 死神
Member

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.

Report this comment

TanzaniteBlue
Guest
TanzaniteBlue

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

Report this comment

Khirad
Member

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

Report this comment

escribacat
Member

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

That one wasn’t scrubbed. 😆

Report this comment

Kalima
Admin

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.

Report this comment

escribacat
Member

Amen, Kalima. Another name for two-faced is phony. Can’t stand phony people!

Report this comment

SueInCa
Member

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.

Report this comment

AdLib
Admin

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!

Report this comment

PatsyT
Member

Mystery Solved ! Thanks Adlib.

Report this comment

Chernynkaya
Member

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

Report this comment

AdLib
Admin

You are now licensed to star!

Report this comment

Chernynkaya
Member

Uh oh, I told everyone not to tell you I still didn’t know how to star. Who squealed?!

Report this comment

Kalima
Admin

Wasn’t me. 🙁

Report this comment

Khirad
Member
Kalima
Admin

😆 I swear!

Report this comment

kesmarn
Admin
Chernynkaya
Member
bito
Member

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

Report this comment

Khirad
Member

Yeah, voting is pending for me too.

Report this comment

Chernynkaya
Member

I am shamelessly piggybacking on Nellie

Report this comment

SueInCa
Member

Great links C, I think Cohen is probably part of the Third Wave, Palin’s religious fanatics but will research. If so, it is going to be a part of Emerald and my series of articles we do here.

Report this comment

bito
Member

May I add these from the word cloud on Think Progress:
http://thinkprogress.org/tag/radical-right/

http://thinkprogress.org/tag/gingrich/

http://thinkprogress.org/tag/steele/#

http://thinkprogress.org/tag/fox-news/

If one goes to the word cloud the stories are endless but these only further support nellie’s point!

Report this comment

SueInCa
Member

Great links too, Bito

Report this comment

bito
Member

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/

Report this comment

Chernynkaya
Member

Here’s another similar site i like

http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

Report this comment

bito
Member

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?

Report this comment

SueInCa
Member

Don’t give up Bito

Report this comment

Chernynkaya
Member

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!

Report this comment

PatsyT
Member

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 !!

Report this comment

Khirad
Member

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.

Report this comment

Kalima
Admin

Wonderful article nellie and as everyone has stated, the graphics are superb.

Being an outsider, I often find that the process of governing in your country is at times very confusing. Nothing is simple, in fact everything takes so much time to be put to the vote, even longer to pass, especially now that the Repubs have decided that obstructionism is the only card that they have left in their deck.

I have learned more here in these short months than I managed to salvage in the two years at the “other” place, where voices of reason were extinguished like candles in a summer breeze and we were reduced to fighting trolls on a daily basis.

Just wanted to thank you and many other others here, for making important issues that much more clearer for me. I am eternally grateful and thank you again.

Cheers!

Report this comment

KQµårk 死神
Member

Kalima it’s your unique perspective that is greatly appreciated. We live in such a bubble in the US many here seem to forget how absurd our politics looks to others.

Report this comment

Kalima
Admin

Thanks K. Sometimes I’m afraid to open my mouth after being told so many times that I had no business commenting about a country I didn’t even live in. I know that it would never happen here but still, sometimes I will take my time as I tend to see some things very differently.

Report this comment

kesmarn
Admin

Beautifully said, Kalima. I agree wholeheartedly on the opportunities for learning and clarification here at the Planet, as opposed to “elsewhere.” No comparison.

Report this comment

Kalima
Admin

Thanks kesmarn. The best part is that it doesn’t hurt a bit.

Report this comment