Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Boiling off the Mainstream

I don't remember exactly what the date was, but several years ago, after Colin Powell was interviewed on TV, a number of prominent Republican politicians were quoted as derisively putting him down as a RINO, or "Republican in Name Only".  Since that time, other formerly mainstream republican politicians have basically just quit.  Left, gone home, gone fishin'.

Then, after the GOP won in 2010 on the strength of its rants about "jobs, jobs, jobs", it turns about they must have been just chanting Steve Jobs' name, because they damn sure didn't have anything to do with creating new ones, and instead got down on social issues, including women's health, contraceptives, abortion and anything else they could think of that didn't have anything to do with the economy.

Oh, and of course, opposing anything Obama was in favor of, including most of their favorite issues over the last few years.

Now, one of their favorite organizations, the Heartland Institute, is in the news for that insane billboard, showing the faces and names of famous mass murderers, linking them to global warming and asking readers if they, too, support global warming.

Well, now, it's backfiring.  Even their own staff don't like it!

A commenter on Maddow's site likens the process as "boiling off" the moderates.  The more moderates leave the party, the crazier it gets.  The crazier it gets, the fewer moderate, normal people will associate themselves with the party.  It won't take long before all the moderates are gone, and they begin working on the real conservatives, until even those are gone, and they're left with the hard core idiots.

I know, I was one of the first to leave.   It was in the middle of the Bush Administration.  I was, to my current shame, one of those who voted for Bush II - twice.  I was still enamored of their "trickle down" theories, and, while uncomfortable with the socially conservative wing, hadn't liked Clinton and didn't like Gore, either.  (I'm still not sure if I like Gore or not, but I've since warmed up to Clinton.  I now definitely like Hilary.  But that came later.)  What got to me was the continued mismanagement of the Iraq war and the distraction that was to the main show in Afghanistan.  Bush's lurch towards torture was another crack in the dike, and the Patriot Act widened it considerably.

In the end, it was the sudden, unexplained swerve into religious intolerance and sheer insanity that did it.

In the interim, my "conversion" to atheism has informed a much more tolerant, much more sympathetic and compassionate view towards my fellow man.

Which makes the intolerance of the right wing that much more insane to me.  How can any human just walk by someone in trouble and not want to help?  How can you tell someone who has been hit by the worst that life can deal that they're on their own?  That they should just die because you are too busy making your own life comfortable to bother?

I am not an unusual person.  I was raised in Texas, and still support gun rights and feel that people should, whenever possible, stand on their own and not ask for help.  After all, self sufficiency was part of the frontier spirit that made this country great.  But the right wing forgets that another part of that frontier spirit was the part that didn't let your neighbor down in a pinch.  The part that tolerated others' differences and didn't ask awkward questions about private matters or opinions.  The part that would not tolerate interference in one's bedroom, much less intrusion into one's procreative privacy.

In other words, the part that would never tolerate the socially conservative crap that Republicans want to saddle this country with in their misnamed "small government" dreck that really means big government.

It wouldn't have tolerated that dishonesty in labeling, either.

No, today's Republican Party is so busy pandering to the Corporatists and the religious Dominionist groups that it is rapidly leaving the mainstream behind.

Maybe this election will be the one to bring it home to them.  One can hope.

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