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By Mike Whitney
Surely, the events of the past week suggest that the G.O.P. has outlived its shelf-life and needs to be conveyed pell-mell to the nearest dumpster.
First, there was the Joe Wilson flap, where the indignant representative from South Carolina barked "You Lie" to President Barack Obama during his prepared remarks to Congress on health care. This is the very same Wilson who applauded all the bogus allegations about imaginary weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaida made in countless speeches by ex-president George W Bush. Now we are expected to believe that Joe is acting in "good conscience" in opposing minimal health care to a larger swath of uninsured Americans?
Typical of Bush-era Republicans, Wilson issued a groveling apology to the White House, and then--just hours later--made an about-face in an appearance on the Sean Hannity program. Wilson defended all the canards which Obama effectively disproved in Wednesday night's speech. Here's a clip from the FOX News transcript:
WILSON: And we had the Congressional Research Office. Just last month, in August, they did a study and indicated that there were no restrictions against providing or not enforceable restrictions for illegal aliens to fully participate in the programs.
HANNITY: All right. Here's the question because I read the bill, every page of it. And.
WILSON: I did, too.
HANNITY: And I — your interpretation, I agree with Congressional Research Office on immigration. I also believe that they've come up with a sneaky way to fund abortions, although they're denying it. Do you agree with me on abortions and on Medicare cuts?
WILSON: I do. Because — and when you read the bill, it really doesn't take long, because you can see that you have the health choice administration commissioner. And this commissioner will have czar-like powers and could do virtually anything they wanted to do, including abortion coverage."
Hmmmm? So immigrants will be able to get free health care because they are not explicitly restricted from the program? Now that's a bit of a stretch.
Wilson applies the same back-asswards logic to abortion--which is NOT provided for under the provisions of the bill--but will be allowed (Wilson speculates) because the program will have a "czar-like" commissioner who oversees operations.
Question: What large government program does NOT have a commissioner? Do they all have "czar-like" powers or just the ones that Wilson and his insurance-lobby friends oppose?
So, if Wilson believes so strongly that he's right, why did he apologize to Obama? Either he caved in to the pressure or he's being insincere? He's either a coward or a hypocrite. Which is it?
Regrettably, the ongoing Republican meltdown doesn't end with Wilson's outburst. It has since spread virus-like to the torrid escapades of California congressman Mike Duvall, the randy graybeard who was caught on tape boasting about his steamy encounters with industry lobbyists.
"She is so hot!", Duvall moaned as he recounted the story of his spanking sessions with shapely lobbyists in "eye-patch" underwear (whose only interest was to use the arthritic Yorba Linda dinosaur to nuzzle closer to the public trough) Duvall has since stepped down as congressman (while denying all wrongdoing) and has been stripped of his role on the House Ethics Committee, a stinging blow to the family values-espousing conservative.
So far, there's no proof that the powerful lobbies in Sacramento knew that sexual favors were being traded for votes.
The Los Angeles Times summed it up best saying, "Money is at least as powerful a motivator as sex. Someone frequently gets screwed as a result; all too often, it's the people of California."
So, Duvall will now join the long caravan of ex-Republican leaders whose wick-dipping shenanigans and duplicity brought their careers to a swift close.
How much longer will the public put up with this nonsense before the party is banned altogether and its leaders are released on a street in Falluja with a sidearm and a week's worth of C-rations?
Remember when people used to take the Republicans seriously?
Think back to Eisenhower or Goldwater or Reagan. Yes, even the waxy-coiffed "Gipper" was far superior to the present crop of clownshoes conservatives who fill-out the Republican congressional roster. Where do they get these guys? And, how does a legitimate political party deteriorate into a frat-boy rabble of clueless misfits and crackpots so fast?
The truth is, the Republicans are simply a party adrift, lacking both purpose and vision. The main problem is that it is extremely hard to rally support for a platform which includes just two planks; war and tax cuts. That's just not a winning message. That's why Republicans are always trying to attach themselves to anti-choice, pro-gun conservatives--to create the impression that they feel passionately about something besides killing and money. But it's a tough-sell, especially given Bush's record of doubling the national debt and initiating bloody conflicts from the southern coast of Somalia to the northern tip of Afghanistan--a 12 thousand arc of instability compliments of the GOP.
Republicans have also demonstrated their utter lack of sincerity about their signature moral issue, abortion. Does anyone remember George W. Bush--who controlled both houses of congress-- pushing legislation to make abortion illegal?
Of course not. It was all phony posturing. Just like the flap over Obama's fiscal stimulus is just phony posturing. The Republicans know what happens when businesses and consumers stop spending and the government doesn't take up the slack; stock markets crash, businesses can't roll over their debt, bank failures spike, and unemployment skyrockets. They weren't going to let that happen. The only choice was to pump money into the system via tax cuts, public works programs, state aid and extended unemployment insurance and wait for a rebound. George Bush would have done the same thing, in fact, he did. Bush initiated the first stimulus package, a fact that the Republican "deficit hawks" always fail to mention.
Without stimulus, a recession can turn into a Depression. Hard times can get even harder.
The Republicans have morphed into the party of "No" --not because of their strong convictions and commitment to principle--but because they think it will improve their chances in the mid-term elections. That's all there is to it. The only thing that matters is regaining power, and that means, making sure that Obama fails. Every shrieking protester at a Town Hall meeting is another triumph for the Republicans; another step-stone back to the White House. This is political opportunism at its worst---pushing the country towards anarchy for political advantage. The Republicans have become a party of thugs.
It would be better for everyone if they rolled up their tent and called it quits. Good riddance.
Until April 5, 2013 the 1984 American science fiction-horror film, directed by John Carpenter could be streamed or downloaded from a number of websites. They Live (Full movie) was in the playlist below created by Buddy Huggins.
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