Just when I think I’ve seen it all, the GOP does something else that defies logic and reason.
1. Earlier this month GOP Rep. Allen West said “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.” Last week West doubled-down on his claim, saying that “There is a very thin line between communism, progressivism, Marxism, Socialism. It’s about nationalizing production, it’s about creating and expanding the welfare state, it’s about this idea of social and economic justice… it is also about the creation of a secular state.” For those who take our national tradition of separation of church and state seriously, read his last phrase very carefully.
2. Jesse Kelly, the GOP nominee running for Gabby Giffords’ House seat in Arizona, had this to say when a voter asked him if he thought healthcare was a privilege and not a right: “Absolutely, absolutely. I believe that all things we have are. But they’re privileges you earn.” Apparently, Mr. Kelly feels that when people are denied health care for preexisting conditions (like my oldest son) or who have reached the dollar-limit set (often without notice) by their insurance companies, such people simply haven’t earned the “privilege” of health care insurance.
3. Not to be left out in the national quest for stupidity, the Republican-controlled House got in on the act. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) want to cut $78 billion from safety net programs like prevention and public health, food stamps, and foreclosure prevention. Why? To prevent cuts in defense spending, thereby adhering to one of the most sacred of GOP tenets: Thou Shalt Not Cut Defense Spending!
4. Remember the Family Research Council that sponsors the Value Voters Summit every fall? You know, the conference that no serious Republican candidate for president dare miss? Well, its president Tony Perkins says that the birther issue is not dead, that it is a legitimate issue and that “we’ve done great harm to foundation of our government by marginalizing and attacking anyone who brings up a legitimate issue.” Never mind the sheer ludicrousness of the notion since said conspiracy would require the deliberate cooperation not only of Obama’s family, but also of the hospital where he was born, the government agency in Hawaii responsible for recording the birth certificates and keeping them secure, and the Republican governor of Hawaii. Once more my own observation is justified: Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
5. Mitt Romney says he supports extending the interest rate cut on student loans. So does Mitch McConnell. Problem is, it looks like the Republicans won’t go for it. Why? Because in order to pay for it, Harry Reid wants to close a tax loophole – even if said loophole is called the “John Edwards Loophole” because he used it to game the system to avoid paying payroll taxes. So even if a tax law unfairly benefits certain businesses (which is what the original Boston Tea Party was all about), Republican Dogma is clear: Thou Shalt Not Raise Taxes No Matter What!
6. In fact, according to Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), because of federal student loans, “America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism.” Never mind that getting rid of the private-lender middleman not only saved students beaucoup bucks, but also saved the American taxpayers $68B over the next decade. Hm, let me see, who should we look out for? The students? The American taxpayers? Or the private lenders, the middlemen who would “administer” the 100% taxpayer-funded loans and whose only real involvement was to tack on up to 18% interest onto the loans and pocket the profit. The really sad part is that while one could work his way through college in years past, such is almost impossible today at any four-year university. Student loans are crucial to higher education, despite what Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) seems to believe. The same reference shows how the Paul Ryan budget would slash Pell Grants and make things much harder for college students.
I could go on with rants about Romney claiming that progressive taxation increases poverty (despite all historical evidence to the contrary), the Chamber of Commerce’s war on OSHA, and GOP Sen. Dean Heller’s efforts to protect the ability of oil speculators to drive up oil prices, but it’s probably best if I leave off with a link to an article concerning the only Republican that really had the Obama camp worried about this election – John Huntsman, who paints a sad and alarming picture of today’s Grand Old Party by echoing Obama’s proclamation that Reagan couldn’t win in today’s GOP. He also noted that after he was disinvited from a Florida fundraiser (for calling for the formation of a third party), “This is what they do in China on party matters, they punish you, if you talk off script,” and that when it comes to foreign policy, “I don’t know what world these people are living in.” Perhaps most telling is the following from the last reference above:
Huntsman jokingly blamed his failed candidacy in part on his wife, Mary Kaye, who told him she’d leave him if he abandoned his principles.
“She said if you pandered, if you sign any of those damn pledges, I’ll leave you,” Huntsman recounted.
“So I had to say I believe in science – and people on stage look at you quizzically as though you’re was an oddball,” Huntsman said, explaining why he was “toast” in Iowa.
One cannot help but think of a particular quote attributed (rightly or wrongly) to Sinclair Lewis:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”