Now That’s Leadership

 Posted by on May 2, 2013 at 2:15 PM
May 022013
 

ToomeyRepublican Senator Pat Toomey makes a Kinsleyan gaff: Tells the truth about GOP obstructionism

Today’s GOP, split between its traditional Wall Street moneyed interests and its hyper-ideological Teabagger contingent, the reincarnation of its former discredited Bircher wing, has reached new levels of political dysfunction. (Its other faction, Christian fundamentalists, has been rather quiescent of late, most likely due to a paucity of pending national social legislation.)

It’s as if GOP icon Ronald Reagan had, after firing the air traffic controllers, replaced them with the inmates of Ken Keseys Cuckoo’s Nest and Christopher Lloyd’s Dream Team.

Politico captures the mood:

Less than two weeks ago, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy walked upstairs to Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Capitol office to discuss a sensitive issue: Why did Cantor schedule a vote before McCarthy had the chance to survey Republican support?

The meeting — described as “tense” by several people familiar with it — ended with McCarthy abruptly standing up and storming out of the room. Aides downplayed the exchange. But a week later, it turned out that McCarthy’s pique was merited: The health care-related bill was suddenly pulled from the floor in what was the most recent stumble for House Republicans.

The GOP leadership is dealing with an unprecedented level of frustration in running the House, according to conversations with more than a dozen aides and lawmakers in and around leadership. Leadership is talking past each other. The conference is split by warring factions. And influential outside groups are fighting them.

The chaos has led to a sense of stalemate for House Republicans, who have been in the majority since 2011.

Of course, if you listen to the Beltway Insiders, it’s all President Obama‘s fault for the resulting political gridlock. His failure to herd these crazy cats into an actual functioning body of legislators is proof positive of his “lack of leadership.” At Wednesday’s news conference, for instance, O was asked by ABC News’ Jonathan Karl whether he had lost his “juice” to get things done. O replied:

“But, Jonathon, you seem to suggest that somehow these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job. They’re elected — members of Congress are elected in order to do what’s right for their constituencies and for the American people.”

Not surprisingly, MODO disagrees:

“Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It’s called leadership.”

Excuse me if I think that is just plain stupid. Mitch McConnell promised from the very first day that Obama took office, the GOP’s first priority was to prevent the duly elected President of the United States from implementing any part of his agenda. Four and half years later, that dedication to obstructionism hasn’t changed a wit, as Senator Pat Toomey acknowledged when explaining the defeat of a greatly watered-down bipartisan gun safety bill that would require mandatory background checks on all gun purchasers:

“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so polarized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it.”

Some? Okay, maybe there are some vestigial traces of moderation among “some” members of the GOP.  But the promise of “scoring” by lobbying groups like the NRA and the various Koch Brothers funded organizations means that if individual GOPers even thought about compromising with Obama they’d have their asses primaried in a heartbeat.

The logical end point of this blind ideological obstructionism is that the Rethugs have rendered themselves incapable of taking yes for an answer. Take the Affordable Care Act. (Please.)  Though Obama thought nothing of pissing off his progressive base by refusing to pursue a public option, let alone a simple single payer expansion of Medicare, he instead adopted the Heritage Foundation‘s individual mandate construct that Mitt Romney implemented when he was governor of Massachusetts.  Notwithstanding that Senator Max Baucus, the chief architect of the Act, adopted the individual mandate as the core principle of “Obama Care”; and furthermore, made numerous changes demanded by the Rethugs, not a single one of them voted for the Act. How’s that for bipartianship delusion, Mr. President?

MODO concludes with her best advice on how to transcend GOP obstructionism on the issue of closing GITMO:

“The senior senator from Kentucky has been a leader in Keep-Terrorists-Offshore.  Maybe, if the president really wants to close Gitmo, he should have a drink with Mitch McConnell.  Really.”

Really?  Maybe Obama should order Marine One to deposit him on the track at the Kentucky Derby Saturday afternoon, walk down the steps dressed like a Southern waiter with a towel over one arm and a tray with a frosty mint julep on it, straight over to Mitch’s box seat, bow and say:

“For you, Massah McConnell.  Is there anything more I can do to pleasure ya’all?”

Now that’s the kind of leadership the Village courtiers would really appreciate.

 

Wingers’ Disenfranchisement From Reality Continues

 Posted by on December 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Dec 062012
 

A Teabagger has serious regression issues when told that The Black Man in the White House was re-elected 

Anyone who thought that losing the election as badly as the Teabaggers did last month would provoke them to do some serious reality checking– hold it! Wait right there!

Putting the word “reality” in the same sentence with “Teabaggers”, in the sense that there could be an actual positive correlation between the two, would have the same effect of the Ghostbusters crossing the streams of their proton packs:

There’s something very important I forgot to tell you! Don’t cross the streams… It would be bad… Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.” – Dr. Egon Spengler, inventor of the nuclear accelerated proton pack.

The explosion thus far seems to have been limited to the Teabaggers’ heads, as evidenced by the latest PPP poll. PPP proved to be the most accurate of all the polling firms in the 2012 election, and this week they released their first post-election poll . Their lede reads:

Republicans not handling election results well

About as well as a teenager being told that her parents just cut off all her social media access.

Four results are of particular interest to anyone trying to understand the winger psyche. The first concerns the peculiar, conspiratorial architecture of their denial:

49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama.

Neat trick, that, since ACORN was forced out of business by the GOP in 2010, when they filed for bankruptcy and closed their doors. Perhaps watching the number one cable drama, The Walking Dead, has further confused their sensibilities. They seem to believe that ACORN is still wandering the countryside, registering their fellow zombies and turning them out at the polls, feasting on GOPer brains along the way.

 The second concerns secession:

Some GOP voters are so unhappy with the outcome that they no longer care to be a part of the United States. 25% of Republicans say they would like their state to secede from the union compared to 56% who want to stay and 19% who aren’t sure.

Which represents a mutation from a previous incarnation of the Teabaggers, the “America love it or leave it crowd.” Today it’s the “America hate it and leave us out of it” crowd. Hey, don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

The third concerns party identification:

One reason that such a high percentage of Republicans are holding what could be seen as extreme views is that their numbers are declining. Our final poll before the election, which hit the final outcome almost on the head, found 39% of voters identifying themselves as Democrats and 37% as Republicans. Since the election we’ve seen a 5 point increase in Democratic identification to 44%, and a 5 point decrease in Republican identification to 32%.

With the raw id of the wingers exposed for what it is, an authoritarian mindset with racist and misogynist overtones, it’s not surprising that a growing number of Republicans are disassociating themselves from the party. Now that the crazy uncle has escaped the attic and is screaming at everybody about what to do and how to do it, it remains to be seen if the saner members of the household will continue to let him get away with it.

The fourth concerns their relationship to the unreal:

 The 39% of Americans with an opinion about Bowles/Simpson is only slightly higher than the 25% with one about Panetta/Burns, a mythical Clinton Chief of Staff/former western Republican Senator combo we conceived of to test how many people would say they had an opinion even about something that doesn’t exist.

Perhaps the GOP should replace their elephant mascot with a glitter farting unicorn.

In related news, on a vote of 398 to one:

The House voted on Wednesday to strike the word “lunatic” from all federal laws and only one lawmaker voted against the measure: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).It was unclear initially why the Tea Party favorite opposed the change, and a Gohmert spokeswoman did not return a request for comment. The point of the bill, which cleared the Senate in May with no opposition, is to strike language from current law that contributes to the stigmatization of mental health conditions.

If the Teabaggers do succeed in taking over the GOP, the House might want to reconsider their vote, reserving the word “lunatic” for that special breed of politician that eschews reality for ideological fantasy and denial.

[Lead image found here.]

Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck, & The White Horse Prophecy

 Posted by on September 22, 2012 at 4:39 PM
Sep 222012
 

Mitt Romney’s attempt to satisfy the White Horse Prophecy is going up in flames

In 1835, Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, aka the Mormons, wrote in his collection of prophecies and insights titled Doctrines and Covenants:

“If ye are faithful, ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.”

One has to assume, if one is to believe in the efficacy of Smith’s prophecy, that his fellow Saints were less than faithful; or alternatively, that their sense of entitlement was ill-conceived; or that Smith was just another BS artist. Because, a mere three years later, after a successful voter suppression effort by 200 non-Mormon settlers in Gallatin on August 6, 1838 that led to a wider, catastrophic war, he and his entire community were driven out of the state of Missouri, lock, stock and barrel.

His petition for redress to President Martin Van Buren in 1839 was refused for starkly political reasons. Four years after that, Smith is said to have uttered another prophecy that became known as the White Horse Prophecy (WHORP) . Bill McKeever over at Thom HartmOnenn.com describes it thusly:

Another of Smith’s predictions, the “White Horse Prophecy,” gets its name from the biblical book of Revelation. The prophecy has been given a dubious distinction since there is no evidence that Smith ever gave it in a public setting. Instead, its pedigree goes back to two Mormons, Edwin Rushton and Theodore Turley, who said they personally heard Joseph Smith give this prediction at Smith’s home on or about May 6, 1843. Smith allegedly gave numerous predictions in this prophecy, but the portion that is most repeated speaks of a day when the Constitution of the United States will “hang by a thread.” It will be “preserved and saved” by a White Horse, A.K.A. the Mormon Church.

Seven generations of Mormon leaders, while jettisoning various parts of the prophecy including the violent overthrow of the US government, have nonetheless, kept hope alive. McKeever again:

In 1963 [Evra Taft] Benson again mentioned this prophecy in a conference message: “The Prophet Joseph Smith said the time would come when the Constitution would hang as it were by a thread. Modern-day prophets for the last thirty years have been warning us that we have been rapidly moving in that direction. Fortunately, the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the part the elders of Israel would play in this crisis. Will there be some of us who won’t care about saving the Constitution, others who will be blinded by the craftiness of men, and some who will knowingly be working to destroy it? He that has ears to hear and eyes to see can discern by the Spirit and through the words of God’s mouthpiece that our liberties are being taken” (Conference Report, April 1963, p.113).

Shades of the Tea Party, who never tire of warning us that “our liberties are being taken.” One has to assume that was a major selling point on the part of the Romney campaign to gain the support of the Teabaggers, whether they believed in the overarching validity of the prophecy itself, they were certainly down with the ‘they’re stealing our liberties’ stuff. One Teabagger who does believe wholeheartedly in the WHORP is the Mormon Mad Man, Glenn Beck. As Dana Milbank wrote at Huffpo:

“In one of his first appearances on Fox News, Glenn Beck sent a coded message to the nation’s six million Mormons — or at least those Mormons who believe in what the Latter-day Saints call “the White Horse Prophecy.”

“We are at the place where the Constitution hangs in the balance,” Beck told Bill O’Reilly on November 14, 2008, just after President Obama‘s election. “I feel the Constitution is hanging in the balance right now, hanging by a thread unless the good Americans wake up.”

[…]

Was it just a coincidence in wording, or was Beck, a 1999 Mormon convert, speaking in coded language about the need to fulfill the Mormon prophecy? A conversation on Beck’s radio show ten days earlier would seem to rule out coincidence. Beck was interviewing Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, also a Mormon, when he said: “I heard Barack Obama talk about the Constitution and I thought, we are at the point or we are very near the point where our Constitution is hanging by a thread.”

“Well, let me tell you something,” Hatch responded. “I believe the Constitution is hanging by a thread.”

Days after Beck’s Fox show started in January 2009, he had Hatch on, and again prompted him: “I believe our Constitution hangs by a thread.”

Large numbers of Mormons watch Beck…

Earlier, during his 1999 run for the presidency, Orrin Hatch was quoted by The Salt Lake Tribune: “I’ve never seen it worse than this, where the Constitution literally is hanging by a thread” (“Did Hatch Allude To LDS Prophecy?” Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 11, 1999).” Mormons of a feather flock together.

Which brings us to the question: Does Mitt Romney, a bishop in the Mormon Church, consider himself the embodiment of Joseph Smith’s prophecy?

Well, it would explain a number of things about the way he has managed his presidential campaign, beginning with the issue of how he has managed his presidential campaign. See, for example, Mitt Is On Fire, a collection of conservative wailings about what is arguably the worst GOP presidential campaign since…John McCain’s.

Additionally, it would explain his and Ann Romney‘s sense of entitlement, which Ann summed up in her best elitist manner: “It’s our turn.”

Then there’s his attitude towards withholding a more extensive release of his taxes that, in contravention to his own father’s example of releasing 12 years worth, would give American voters a better understanding of how he became so filthy rich.

And finally, it would explain his cavalier attitude to providing any meaningful details about his policy imperatives. As with his refusal to provide same with regard to his taxes, the overarching goal of saving the Constitution must take priority over such quotidian concerns.

Of course, all of these infirmities of the Romney campaign can be explained using CW political analysis. But, as every novelist or screenwriter knows (written a few  of the latter myself), understanding a protagonist’s formative beliefs provides insight into his character, and ultimately, his motivations and actions.

If I be permitted a prophecy of my own– Romney’s presidential bid will go down in flames. The only question remaining is how much damage he will do the the immediate, mid-range, and long term goals of the GOP. As conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham warned:

“If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down, start new, with new people. Because this is a gimme election, or at least it should be.”

We should be so lucky.

Romney’s Raiders (Update) (Update2)

 Posted by on January 15, 2012 at 2:58 PM
Jan 152012
 

 

The first commercial from Stephen Colbert‘s Super PAC debuted today. Titled Mitt the Ripper (voice narration by John Lithgow), it portrays the GOP front runner as a serial killer of companies targeted by his former private equity firm, Bain Capital.

From a black and white cartoon of a Jack the Ripper character holding a fistfull of dollars; to a ‘downsized’ body being dragged down a corridor of office cubicles; to a scene in which Willard’s infamous “Corporations are people, my friend” declaration is slowed down and repeated in a creepy voice modulation reminiscent of the sci-fi movie Predator (where the antagonist, a buff, dreadlocked, state of the art weaponry wielding alien hunter, processes and mimics human speech prior to ripping  out their skulls and spinal columns and holding them up as trophies); to another allusion to the corps are people meme where, instead of cute little babies in a hospital nursery, three corporate logos are nestled comfortably in their cribs; to the concluding scene  that has Willard feeding more corporate logos into one end of a wood chipper with dollar bills flying out other (shades of the movie Fargo), the ad concludes by asking viewers to vote for The Non-Romney.

Hats off to Colbert and the creative staff at Comedy Central for doing more than anyone to highlight the dangerous absurdity of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United that made Super PACS possible.

Meanwhile, Mitt the Candidate finds himself in something of a pickle, having to decide between running on his record as a one term governor of Massachusetts, or on his record as CEO of Bain Capital (the corporate raider arm of the more traditional venture capital operations of Bain and Company).

As governor, Mittens’ two most prominent ‘achievements’ were his institution of the country’s first mandated health insurance regime, anathema to the Teabaggers who comprise the most active constiuency of the GOP; and for his record of job creation, a pitiful 47th when compared to his fellow governors. No wonder that he has decided to stress his record as Bain Capital’s CEO instead.

But a closer inspection of his main claim to fame, that during his leadership the company had created 100,000 jobs, has proved suspect. This has forced his campaign to reduce that number to tens of thousands, and even more recently, to mere thousands.*** As has been pointed out by one of his former partners, Bain Capital isn’t in the business of job creation but rather wealth creation for its small cadre of investors. If more money can be extracted by slashing a company’s work force and reducing the benefits and wages of those who remain, that’s just that much more booty for the investors.

Then there is the additional wealth extracted by leveraging a company’s assets and replacing it with debt, a big chunk of which is used to pay off the investors at a tidy profit while the remainder is used to expand the business. Sometimes that works to the long term benefit of a company, other times it forces it into bankruptcy, long after Romney’s Raiders have pocketed their millions and moved on to fresher game.

They don’t call it vulture capitalism for nuttin’.

UPDATE: (12/15/12) Stephen was interviewed, in character, this morning on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopolus. Full clip here.

*UPDATE2: (12/16/12) Via TalkingPointsMemo.com, a video mash-up of the devolution of Romney’s job creation claims.

In Need Of A Bigger Boat

 Posted by on December 2, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Dec 022011
 

Embarrassed Republican thought to be former Senator and UN Ambassador, John Danforth, commenting on the 2012 GOP presidential race

So it isn’t just us.

Via Think Progress:

DANFORTH:  “What have been the big applause lines in these debates? Well, a statement that the governor of Texas is responsible for killing 234 people on death row. Or that we favor torture. Or that we’re creating a fence on the Mexican border that electrocutes people when they try to cross it.  Or when people show up at the emergency room at hospitals and they’re not insured don’t treat them. And that, I mean these are the big applause lines, people just hoop and holler when they hear all that.[...]“

“It doesn’t have anything to do with the republican party that I was a part of. This is just totally different. And all of these people who are saying this, y’know, and claiming that, y’know, they’re for all this stuff, they also sort of ostentatiously say, ‘Oh, we’re very religious people. We really, we’re just very pious, Christian people.  They were for torture, and electrocution of the people on along the border and all of that. That doesn’t have anything to do with, is contrary to the Christianity that I understand.”

Reacting to a profile of Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) last Sunday in The NY Times, Danforth added:

If Dick Lugar…having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”

Look out below!

Having chummed the Teabagger waters with so much bloody offal, the Grand Obstructionist Party is now reeling in their catch. In the immortal words of Amity Island’s police chief Martin Brody (Roy Schieder):

We’re going to need a bigger boat!

Twilight Zone Candidates

 Posted by on October 27, 2011 at 4:56 PM
Oct 272011
 

Watching the likes of  Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich these days, I feel like I’ve been ‘ported to The Twilight Zone. 

In the classic intro to the original Rod Serling series,  the shattering window pane is the Overton Window of radical right wing craziness, pushed off the edge of the political continuum by the Teabaggers and their Birchian ancestors . The ticking stopwatch is the countdown to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. August 27, 2012, a mere ten months away.

Consider the following episodes, available for direct streaming into your consciousness from the wingnut dimension of The Zone , with your favorite GOPer candidates in the starring roles.

1. Michelle Bachmann

“Little Girl Lost” (1962) A little girl crawls through an interdimensional doorway that has appeared in her room.

Opening narration:

Missing: one frightened little girl. Name: Bettina Miller. Description: six years of age, average height and build, light brown hair, quite pretty. Last seen being tucked into bed by her mother a few hours ago. Last heard–aye, there’s the rub, as Hamlet put it. For Bettina Miller can be heard quite clearly, despite the rather curious fact that she can’t be seen at all. Present location? Let’s say for the moment–in the Twilight Zone.

The good news is that at the end of the episode, Bettina (played by a young Michelle Bachmann in her debut role as a media celebrity) is rescued with the help of a physicist friend who knows how to connect the dots between dimensional wormholes. A half century later, we find out that the Bachmann character really returned missing the rational part of her brain.

GOPers desperately reaching into an alternative reality for a viable presidential candidate

2. Rick Perry

“Walking Distance” (1959) While visiting his boyhood hometown, a middle-aged executive (Gig Young) finds himself in the past.

Putatively, the favorite episode of producer J.J Abrams (Lost, Star Trek).  Rick Perry dreams of returning to the glory days of antebellum Texas when people were free to write “Niggerhead” anywhere they wanted.

3. Mitt Romney

“The Four of Us Are Dying” (1960) A con man changes his face to make it look like anyone he chooses.

Not much to add there. A man for all seasons and constituencies, Flipper’s shape-shifting abilities on the issues are legendary.

4. Herman Cain

“Hocus Pocus and Frisby” (1962)  A teller of tall tales ( Andy Devine) meets a group of aliens.

Herman as Frisby owns a pizza joint…

…in a small town, and the townsfolk know him well for the tall tales he spins of his experiences, from his heroism in war to his inventions to his advice to presidents and captains of industry, all of which he fabricates. His friends gather in the store to hear him spin his stories, which they find very entertaining, and he often accompanies himself on his harmonica.

One evening, as he is alone at closing time, creatures from another planet, disguised as humans, abduct him to their spaceship. They want Frisby to add to their collection of specimens from other planets. The aliens accept his exaggerated tales at face value… Frisby admits to them that he is simply a shameless liar, but the aliens have no concept of lying, and ask him to just sit quietly and wait for departure…. After two or three aliens are rendered senseless by [his] harmonica, the remaining ones permit Frisby to escape. Running back to the general store, he finds all his friends waiting to throw him a surprise birthday party. When he tries to tell them what happened, they enjoy a laugh at what they of course take to be another of Frisby’s tall tales.

Some people, not to mention aliens, will believe anything you tell them

5. Rick Santorum

“Static” (1961)  A man’s old radio plays programs from the past that only he can hear.

Rick Santorum, truly a frothy man out of time. If he could only substitute the Old Testament’s Leviticus for today’s penal codes, we wouldn’t have to worry about the whole gay thing.

Ed Lindsay…is dismayed over the mindless and worthless programs and commercials emanating from the television set…He retrieves from the basement the old radio which, in his younger and happier days, he enjoyed as a source of relaxation and entertainment. Installing it in his joyless room, he is astonished to hear the radio transmit 1930s/40s music and programs…He tries to tell the others about the miraculous broadcasts, but they only hear static. What’s more, when he tries to contact the radio station…he discovers the station went off the air (and out of business) 13 years before…

6. Ron Paul

“On Thursday We Leave for Home”   (1963)  The leader of a group of spaceship crash survivors tries to maintain his control over his people when they are finally rescued after many years.

One has to wonder what the man who many consider to be the founding father of the original pre-Koch Brothers Tea Party must feel knowing that the movement he birthed is unceremoniously making him one of the Left Behind.

Thirty years before…an expedition to the hellish Desert planet V9-Gamma was stranded, and the people had no choice but to begin their own small settlement there…When a rescue mission from Earth finally arrives, Benteen is at first as jubilant as the others, but then he begins to raise objections to leaving the asteroid behind and tries to persuade the others to stay... As the ship prepares for takeoff, Benteen pretends his people are still there. Then, remembering the beauty of Earth, he realizes that he wants to go home. He rushes out screaming for the ship to come back, but it is too late. He is now stranded on V9-Gamma for the rest of his life, completely alone in the barren, lifeless deserts.

7. Newt Gingrich

“The Last Night of a Jockey” (1963)  A jockey banned from horse racing for fixing races gets his wish of becoming a “big man” by a man claiming to be his ego.

Dumped as Speaker of the House over ethical issues by his own party…

All he ever wanted was to be respected. He argues with his alter-ego, trying to justify his life and his actions, but the alter-ego knows better. Grady is offered the chance to change his life with one final wish. Grady says his greatest wish is to be big. After Grady wakes from his nap he finds his wish has been granted…He’s “big”.

…A telephone call from the racing commission informs Grady that he has been given another chance – he has been reinstated and can jockey again. We hear the alter-ego laughing mockingly. Why? Because now it’s too late: unbeknownst to Grady, he has grown even larger — he is now not only too tall to ride a horse, but barely fits in his own apartment! Grady screams “I’m too big! I can’t ride!” Devastated, the now-giant Grady wrecks his room and pleads with the alter-ego, “Please! Please! Please make me small, please! I’ll never ask for anything again. Please make me small!”

The alter-ego replies, “You are small, Mr. Grady. You see, every time you won an honest race, that’s when you were a giant. But right now, they just don’t come any smaller.”

When you have the likes of Pat Robertson, the embodiment of Uber Political-Religious Fundamentalism; Karl Rove , the evil genius behind two Bush presidencies; Mississippi’s redneck governor and former GOP Chairman Haley Barbour and former FL governor Jeb Bush warning the current crop of GOP presidential pretenders that they are tacking way too far to the right, you know you have crossed over into The Republican Twilight Zone.

It’s like being called “ugly” by the alien in the movie Predator.

New Teabagger GOP mascot, Predator, after eliminating his elephantine predecessor

Finally, Jon Stewart interprets the reaction of the GOP establishment to its own presidential candidates:

“If you tell people what we honestly believe, an electoral majority of those people will freak the fuck out!”

 

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Teabaggers Prepare For Alien Invasion

 Posted by on August 20, 2011 at 2:22 PM
Aug 202011
 

Aliens tipped off by climate change begin their hostile takeover of earth

With both houses of Congress and the President away on summer vacation, it’s been a slow news week. Unless of course you count the number of gaffs that regularly proceed from the lips of various GOP presidential candidates as they try to out-crazy each other for the wingnut vote in the primaries.

To better appreciate the challenge before such intellectual heavyweights as Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry, let’s take a peek under the hood of the Teabagger psyche. What better place to study them than in  their (un)natural habitat, the alternate universe reality known as Fux News.  Consider, for instance,  the following article from yesterday’s Think Progress titled:

Fox Viewers Overwhelmingly Think We Should Prepare For Alien Invasion Before Fighting Climate Change

A new (supposedly) NASA-funded study postulating that aliens may attack humans over climate change had all the ingredients for a perfect Fox faux controversy — it bolstered their anti-science narrative, painted their opponents as clownish radicals, and highlighted wasteful government spending on a supposedly liberal casue. [sic] Fox reported the “news from NASA” several times…today, presenting it as official “taxpayer funded research.” A chyron on Fox and Friends read: “NASA: Global warming may provoke an [alien] attack.”

God, do I love the Fux News chyron team, a wholly under appreciated facet of the Murdoch/Ailes Rethuglican propaganda machine. But I digress.

But as Business Insider pointed out, they’re “wrong” — “That report was not funded by NASA. It was written by an independent group of scientists and bloggers. One of those happens to work at NASA.” NASA distanced itself from the report as well, calling reports linking the agency to it “not true.” Host Megyn Kelly finally corrected the record this afternoon, saying, “I was making that up.”

Oh, Megyn. How could you? Don’t you realize how many of your viewers take everything you say as gospel?

But before she did, she was so bemused by the study that she directed her viewers to complete a poll on her website which asked how we should respond to the study: “Immediately increase efforts to curb greenhouse gases,” “Develop weapons to kill the Aliens FIRST,” or “Gently suggest scientists research how to create job.”

Not surprisingly, most suggested they research something else. But more than six times as many respondents (19 percent to 3 percent) said we should focus on building weapons to kill aliens before curbing greenhouse gases.

Which is another way of saying that at least 22% of Lady Megyn’s viewers are cuckoo for coco puffs.

Fux News reports what you “decide”

Think Progress continues:

The poll is of course not scientific, but you can hardly blame the viewers who did respond, considering Fox’s constant misinformation about climate change. For instance, as she presented the poll, Kelly said of curbing climate change, “just in case, right?” — as in, “just in case” the science is right. She did not make a similar qualifier for alien invasion. Numerous studies consistently show that Fox viewers are among the most misinformed of news viewers, while at least one study has shown that — perversely — watching Fox actually makes people less informed than they were to begin with.

In a noble attempt to obfuscate the fact that Megyn was caught in the act of lying,  her fellow Fux propagandist intones:

“Trust me folks, this story is hard to understand,” Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson said of theNASA study.”

Helping its audience “understand” the Bizzaro World projected daily by its hosts is, of course, what Fux News does daily. Dictatorships like Communist China, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union had to rely on less sophisticated “re-education camps” to gain their subjects “trust.”   But thanks to the creation of Rupert Murdoch’s 24/7 media empire, such primitive methods of manufacturing consent are no longer necessary. Doesn’t matter whether a lie is big or small, repetition is the cognitive key that allows one wholly fictionalized narrative to replace a real one.

But let’s go back to that 22% for a minute. In his book Conservatives Without Conscience, former Nixon White House counsel and Watergate conspirator John Dean quotes Robert Altemeyer, a Canadian researcher who has studied authoritarianism for the last thirty years, as follows:

“Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you say or do will change their minds. They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result … they are not going to let up and they are not going to go away.”

A better description of Fux News’ core Teabagger audience would be hard to find. Though this  interpretation of the classic Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man” is a good start.