The Very Vulnerable Republican Party

Something is very wrong in America.  It’s an unmistakable feeling.  We have a news media that is completely incapable of asking politicians tough, pointed questions that demand sincere answers on a consistent basis.  Dishonest, defamatory rhetoric has infected the body politic like a debilitating cancer.  The national debt has hit ten trillion.  Illegal invasions of two Middle Eastern countries have brought nothing but pain, misery and hopelessness, not democracy, peace and prosperity, as promised.  We have an opposition party that refuses to hold the ruling party accountable for all its criminal activities.  And we have a ruling party so utterly corrupt, dangerous and hypocritical that the country’s international reputation has taken a huge nosedive.
The last eight years have been awful for the United States, thanks to the tragic election and re-election of George W. Bush’s Republican Party.  It’s taken a while but, on the plus side, the public is now overwhelmingly against their policies and chronic deceitfulness.  Had the media not simply been right-wing stenographers but actual journalists fact checking on a routine basis, perhaps this whole ongoing nightmare could’ve been avoided.  But that would be asking too much of this crowd.
If we’ve learned anything about bullies over the years, it’s this.  The more they demonize their opponents, the more vulnerable they tend to be.  The Republicans are an excellent case in point.
Take, for instance, the sad, ridiculous story of The Flag Pin.  Throughout his political career, Senator Barack Obama has alternated between wearing one and not wearing one.  (Yeah, that’s a huge news story.)  When he decided to not wear one, “because I didn’t want to be perceived as wearing my patriotism on my chest…”, Republicans pounced on him for not being patriotic enough to their liking, as if not wearing a decorative item on your clothing makes you a traitor in some way.  The fact that Senator John McCain doesn’t always wear one makes this a typically dumb argument.  (Who’s questioning his loyalty to America?) 
The worst hypocrite of the bunch is Representative Jack Kingston.  While appearing on Dan Abrams’ MSNBC program, he lamely criticized Obama for not wearing a pin even though, as the host helpfully pointed out (and any viewer could plainly see), Kingston himself wasn’t wearing one during the segment!  When he appeared on Real Time With Bill Maher to espouse the exact, same nonsense, once again there wasn’t a flag pin to be seen anywhere on his person.  To shut up these lunatics, Obama has been wearing the pin more often.  Personally, it was better when he didn’t wear one.  His initial reasoning made perfect sense.  Nevertheless, this is a typical Republican tactic.  Suggest something ridiculous about a Democrat that a compliant media will pounce on and report ad nauseum even though, upon closer inspection, it has no merit and no relevance to people’s lives while it simultaneously exposes the hypocritical tendencies of a truly desperate political party.  Do you think it’s an accident that Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin wore a huge flag pin the day Senator McCain introduced her as his running mate?  Republicans think empty symbolism is super important, more so than good governance.  Too bad they’re not consistent.  Palin delivered her Republican National Convention speech minus the pin.   
Speaking of Palin and McCain, could there be a more perfectly matched ticket?  Both have false maverick images.  Both have shady ethics.  Both get away with huge whoppers the mainstream media could care less about exposing.  Both oppose abortion.  Both are indifferent to gay rights.  Both whine when they get bad press which, in McCain’s case, is a rarity.  (The media are too in love with him to hold his feet to the fire on a regular basis.)  Both can be petty.  Both can be painfully ignorant.  Both enjoy mocking opponents for cheap laughs.  And both are vulnerable hypocrites.  As The Daily Show pointed out in a devastating taped piece recently, Senator McCain has flip flopped on so many issues he’s gone from being a “Maverick Reformer” to a “Reformed Maverick”.  In truth, as Paul Waldman and David Brock pointed out in their excellent book, Free Ride: John McCain And The Media, he was never really a reformer or a maverick to begin with.  Not that this is widely disseminated in the mainstream media.
Were it not for excellent bloggers like Bob Somerby, Glenn Greenwald, and the hardworking folks at Crooks & Liars and Media Matters For America, not to mention responsible news outlets like McClatchy, The Washington Post (who exposed the Walter Reed scandal) and The New York Times (who brought to light the warrentless wiretapping debacle), The Republicans would be getting away with a whole lot more than they already are, the Hurricane Katrina mess notwithstanding.  Is it any wonder why Vice President Dick Cheney was a notable no-show at the RNC?  Ditto Governor Schwarzenegger?  Notice how President Bush was far away from Minnesota when he delivered his brief remarks via satellite?  And didn’t you find it odd how often the word “change” was uttered by a vastly unpopular ruling party?  It works when Barack Obama says it, not so much for incompetent Republicans responsible for so many fuck-ups this decade.  Running your campaign as though you haven’t been ruining the country all this time is the very height of chutzpah.   
It doesn’t help matters that The Republican Party routinely criticizes the media for having a “liberal bias” any time honest reporting exposes their shortcomings.  Instead of standing firm with their reports and commentaries, our press corps routinely pussy out by backing down and dutifully reporting variations of the same phony complaint without shooting it down.  It’s disgraceful.  But The Republicans don’t run campaigns on issues that affect Americans, they run campaigns on personality and character, two qualities many of their members are sorely lacking.  Sadly, this dishonourable strategy has routinely been a successful one, thanks to a cowardly news media.
The good news is their fearmongering isn’t working anymore.  Otherwise, the overrated Rudy Guliani would be their presidential nominee, The Iraq Invasion would remain popular and they’d still be controlling Congress and The Senate (although, as Greenwald as repeatedly pointed out on his Salon blog, The Democrats haven’t changed a damn thing since winning both houses two years ago, unfortunately).  The bad news is because The Democrats refuse to attack The Republicans on their lawbreaking and emptyheaded, entirely predictable personal attacks, the latter is able to remain competitive in what will likely prove, again, to be a close finish. 
The truth is it shouldn’t be this close.  It should be a blow-out.  When you purposefully misrepresent your values and your positions without much consequence again and again and again, why should any eligible voter trust you?  Why should they even give you the time of day especially when you’re illegally spying on their phone calls and committing egregious acts in the name of their country?  Why should a party that heartily endorses torture, military invasions, hateful rhetoric, disturbed hunting practices, and rank dishonesty (not to mention outting an undercover CIA agent and illegally detaining peaceful protestors) be given another term to continue a series of policies that cause nothing but harm and worldwide resentment?
If you bother to do the research, you’ll learn that The Republican Party has so many problems you’ll wonder why the media don’t hammer these guys into submission and why The Democrats don’t fixate on them constantly.  Why are they so afraid of these vulnerable crooks?
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, September 7, 2008
7:55 p.m.
Published in: on September 7, 2008 at 7:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

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