The Rino Hunt

It’s been curious, in the most delightful way possible, to watch the Republican party rise from the ashes of its last two defeats carried on wings of insular delusion into the ether of pure crazy.  This has been happening for some time, of course, but under the careful eye of Karl Rove and Tom DeLay, the crazies were quietly nurtured and publicly, at least, political capital and public advocacy were reserved for the more crucial tasks of enriching their behaviorally conventional business cronies.  They knew that they couldn’t loot the federal treasury if somebody took away the keys, and nobody hands keys like that to crazy people.  Thus, though John Roberts was relentlessly touted as an icon of the forced birth movement, he cares no more about the fetus than Dick Cheney does about gun safety, as his record on the Supreme Court has shown thus far.  Crazy people have their advantages as supporters; they’re loyal, gullible, and committed (no pun intended), but they do have a tendency to say and do crazy things that do tend to turn off the broader electorate, putting it mildly; it’s why our Lord and Savior invented rubber rooms and attics.

Then along came 2008.  The chickens had well and truly come home to roost for the Bush administration, with two lost wars and an imploding economy, and everyone with a pulse (not including the media, natch) knew that McCain was heading for defeat, and it was time to pull a rabbit out of the Republican top hat.  And the world got to meet the incomparable Sarah Palin.  Also.  Although she hadn’t the vaguest idea what the Bush doctrine was, could not name a newspaper or even magazine she’d read, and had an illegitimate grandbaby on the way, courtesy of her teenaged daughter, she was awful cute, and she believed so many crazy things, so fervently, that she energized a base that was rightfully losing heart, even as it had already lost its mind.

Suddenly, bitter, sullen, and lifeless McCain rallies became bitter, sullen, and maniacal rallies, which was widely seen as an improvement, especially since the attendance was better.  Every day became Crazy Pride Day, and crazies across America heretofore relegated to the shadows raucously and gloriously “came out,” leaping to the stage to elatedly sing “I Am What I Am,” albeit somewhat off-key.  As the more sane voters fled this unseemly spectacle in droves, Fox saw an opportunity, and hired Glenn Beck, the WaPoo eagerly signed up Bill Kristol, and soon crazy was the new normal, at least for Republicans.  Racial epithets and language that had languished unuttered for decades found their way back into the mainstream, Timothy McVeigh-like persecution fantasies became a staple on talk radio and Fox, and Republicans who had for eight years been cheering for torture, war, and religious persecution, were unaccountably beset by fears of fascism.  Were happy days here again?

Well, they seem to think so.  Since then, there simply isn’t anything far enough right for the right….Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich are now considered commies (or was it fascists?  Heaven knows they couldn’t tell you…).  Sarah Palin has roared back, unencumbered by either job nor her disintegrating Dogpatch family, to show us all what a Republican Revival (again, no pun intended..) should look like, and it certainly won’t include any uppity sane people.  Therein lies the political epithet of establishment-chosen Republicans like Charlie Crist  in Florida and Dede Scozzafava in upstate New York; tombstones reading N.C.E.  Not Crazy Enough.

Despite their bluster, Republicans know that because of their abysmal record and stratospheric negative ratings, 2010 will be nearly as difficult as 2006 and 2008, and therefore wisely chose for these races unusually mainstream candidates, with an eye to the general elections, preferring to use scarce resources to try to unseat what few Democrats there are who ever give them any trouble.  But the problem, as it will ever be for Republicans, is where is that “oomph” from the rabble that must be astroturfed into existence for each election?  Their already reality-averse and increasingly alienated base has gone, with alarming rapidity, from casual users of the crazy to absolute strung-out junkies on the stuff, lying in an alley in a puddle of urine and screaming “Hitler!” at the top of their lungs.  Keeping this group happy is their only choice, and it isn’t a pretty one.  Do they throw away safe seats because the Joan of Arc of the crazy movement, Sarah Palin, has declared war, and they only alienate the Holy Trinity of Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity at their considerable peril?  Or do they cast themselves as what the right belatedly recognizes as  Bushian sellouts who value lucre over the Lord, and risk being burned in effigy and tormented by “Fox Security,” yet hold onto needed seats?

The right has coasted gaily and effortlessly down the crazy road for so long that momentum alone has made stopping impossible, even when the cliff ahead looms, and since I’m not in the car, I’m enjoying the ride.

Palin/Bachmann 2012!  I’ll drink to that.


  1. skeptic says:

    Inertia. Sometimes, it’s a beautiful thing.

  2. nailheadtom says:

    Thus anyone that disagrees with the utopian/socialist agenda is not just stupid, but crazy as well. That would mean, in our burgeoning welfare state, that you hard-working, tax-paying, utopians should set up a massive federal program to assist these imbeciles, provide them with food, housing, education and mental treatment, and, of course, let these genetic defectives design and administer the programs themselves, ala ACORN. That is, if you truly possess the concern for your fellow man that you’re always referencing.

    • Pedinska says:

      If we can ever manage to free ourselves of the wars your frat boy got us into then we could pay for the above and universal health care in one fell swoop. It’d be worth every penny and the entire world would breathe easier.

      OTOH they’re not capable of running anything themselves. They definitively proved that between 2000-08.

  3. Pedinska says:

    The schism developing on the right in NY 23 is interesting to watch. The Conservative Party vs the GOP.
    It’s called blowback and apparently politics is no more immune from it than geopolitical interventions.

    While it’s tempting to soak in the balm of schadenfreude, there is a small part of me that is crying out, “Why not our side too???!” I think the time is more than ripe to rupture the hold of the two major parties.

    And surely we would be monumentally more creative at coming up with a name. ;-}

  4. The wages of sin. When I look at Republicans these days, that’s what I see. Newt Gingrich and Glenn Beck stumbling over one another in the dark, while the Coulters, Malkins and Bachmanns shriek and clap their hands (or is it shake their pompoms?) Commedia dell’arte is what it is, even though they keep trying to get it reviewed as a morality play. Meanwhile, the rest of Washington singles up to the bowline, and waits for some as yet to be identified hand to come and set them adrift forever from the rest of the country.

    You know, when you put up those photographs a while back, Hag, of the interior of that house you were remodeling, the resonance of the colors you’d chosen reminded me of pictures I’d seen of the restored atrium in a Pompeiian villa. A different palette, yes, but the same feeling of security mixed with caprice. Oddly enough, I was also reminded of the set designs in the HBO series Rome. Someone else who got it, that designer, the true meaning of domesticity. There was also a wonderful montage — I have no idea how they did it — of a group of horsemen riding along what I imagine was supposed to have been the Via Appia. Suddenly through a break in the trees, you can see the distant city, with the smoke from the cooking fires rising in the still air, and the morning sun full on it.

    The world used to be full of such vistas, even in really dark times, and if you travel to the right places, it is still. It’s people like you, Hag, who make those vistas for the rest of us. I’d hope that in your anger over our current follies, you’d pause a minute and remember that. Remember, too, that some of us still know what it’s worth.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Pause and remember, WT? I’m painting and puttering this week down here; staging a house for fire sale. Hastily applied stage makeup and slap a sign in front. Some jobs are creative, others just out of necessity; this unfortunately is the latter. The creative part is past. More interesting work up in Portland to come.

      • Yeah, I know — it was meant as a meditation, not a criticism. To put it another way, the world is too much with us. All of us. It’s why the creative stuff is so damned miraculous when you do stumble across it, and even more so when you meet the guy with a mouthful of nails, beset by idiot clients, absent-minded suppliers, and recalcitrant building inspectors, who still knows how to make a small part of the world more livable.

        I don’t blame you for being pissed. As you very well know, I smell doom around the corner myself. I was just trying, for once, to give credit where it’s due. More power to you, in short.

        • cocktailhag says:

          That reminds me… I have to call two absent-minded suppliers this week, lest my tile and windows not be ready for upcoming projects, and the recalcitrant (but considerably less busy these days) building inspectors are waiting for permit fees.
          I don’t mean to sound pissed; I really think I’m more bemused these days, watching the spectacle with curiosity rather than horror.

  5. Meremark says:

    Gingrich Strikes Back At Beck: His Agenda Is A ‘Very Destructive Model For The Republican Party’

    Newt Gingrich … endorsing Dede Scozzafava …
    “purists” — including Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Dick Armey, and Bill Kristol — are backing … candidate Doug Hoffman.

    Conservative bloggers are now going after Gingrich for lashing out at his critics, with the Other McCain writing, “I was disgusted just now to see Newt Gingrich’s appearance on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show tonight.” “Newt Gingrich disappointed national conservatives again tonight,” Gateway Pundit added.

    As the cauldron of propaganda poison bubbles with the fanatic wackos’ rightist toils and troubles — wing off batty, chute for newt — might normal Americans every one even dare hope the ingredients plopped in the acid bath now includes FUX News the Fail, and at least seven of its brain-sucking twit-lips such as Ugly Gretty and Becky and Unruly and Hilarity and, oh, Codger Ailing … and two second-round third-rate picks to be named later. At long last getting swigs of legendary Li’l Abner’s All-American kickapoo joy juice — punch of chad, exile of incumbent? Can’t every blogger with some salt be angling to get the Concessions deal for watching this?

    Even in the local semi-pro games the beer-and-jeer sales rakes in scads of cash. Today Liars Larson aired the biting sound of a Repub-In-Name-Only nutcase who is making noise about being a Primary Challenger against the Party’s ordained candidate to be flattened by Brian Baird in the arena across the Columbia Ditch a year from now. Lots of betting action on the side is making wager on the number of candidates dying the agonizing political death by Liars germ-foam kiss of endorsement, before the rest wake up and realize leper Liars is their problem not their salvation. My bet is Liars crippling kiss contaminates only three more losers before the other schmoos all say that he can take his mic and shove it.

    I expect the Goons Of Palin party soon takes itself seriously out of contention and into oblivion. Leaving the Democratic Party as the only political ‘organization’ (loosely speaking) still standing (remnant?) on the right wing of things; and the proverbially abhorred glaring vacuum on the left wing of things without a second for the ‘two-party system.’ Which could be where the Socialists come in … and about Godot-awful time they did.

    And, I expect that in the congregation of the unemployed there are some savvy political ones who recognize both that elected office pays better than the unemployment office, and that majorly many good citizens are glad to have a conscienced Socialist to vote for — stand up! — joining with Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders, against the constituted corruption of the has-been D’s and never-were R’s.

    • nailheadtom says:

      Might want to check the quality of the meth you’ve been ingesting.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Ah, Larson, a legend in his own mind, the Mouth of the Columbia, blasting in nursing home day rooms across the Northwest, greeted by drooly, palsied nodding. Baird is safe in the Couve.
      Let them all imagine their little revolutions.

    • Meremark says:

      Revelations appear in my worldview. I try to describe them vividly, as I see them. The one foresees those conservatives labeled ‘Republicans’ dropping off the edge of the world, off all radar, and leaving all (and only) those conservatives labeled ‘Democrats.’ Seen in that context, the empty hole where contrasting liberal consciousness belongs gets focused in relief. And, by the natural scheme of things, liberals find themselves filing in and filling the order. Life imitates Art, thus:

      [RNC Chairman Michael] Steele Agrees That GOP Should Cease To Exist (In New Jersey If Corzine Wins)

      “If Chris Christie doesn’t win under these circumstances in New Jersey, should the Republican Party just fold in that state?” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked ….
      “You’re absolutely right, Chuck,” Steele said.

      National Republican leaders don’t agree that endorsing Republican candidate DeDe Scozzafava is “the way to go.”

      In supporting Hoffman, Sarah Palin said her endorsement would be a message to party leaders of “no more politics as usual.”

      Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) said that “we cannot send more politicians to Washington who wear the Republican jersey on the campaign trail but then vote like Democrats in Congress.”

      Steele and former Speaker Newt Gingrich are increasingly standing alone in their support of the Republican candidate.

      Roll Call reports that on Tuesday, “former National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) spurned the leadership by endorsing Doug Hoffman’s third-party campaign in the New York special election, following the lead of Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.).”

      - –

      The second is — fresh today — foreseeing the demise of Liars. In this diagnosis: brain tumor. Already in process; (which is what transmits the emanations I receive, I think).
      I call ‘em like I see ‘em: Liars is outta here. It’s all over but his shouting.

  6. retzilian says:

    The situation among the Republican party right now reminds me of a similar situation in my life (albeit on a much smaller scale) and events in literature. Basically, what we are seeing is an implosion of this group and rat will turn on rat and dog on dog and when they find that their maniacal agenda of destroying another Democrat president fails utterly and completely, they will turn on each other like crazed hyenas. This is the lowest form of human instinct we’re dealing with, here. Driven by fear, rage, envy, greed – all the “deadlies” and worse – rejected by the masses – they will destroy each other eventually.

    So, sit back, keep your head down.

  7. Amanda Whittier says:

    Speaking of Dede Scozzafava, one of the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while has to be a video of a recent rally she held in front of her rival’s campaign office, during which the campaign workers step outside and blythly stand behind her with their campaign signs while she speaks. Do yourself a favor and Google it.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Boy, she’s a looker. Kind of a talking sofa. The teabaggers were unusually well-behaved, though. Maybe it’s too cold up there for shouting. Is that near your district? I suspect a boring, content-free election ahead, unless Hoffman wins the primary.

  8. Amanda Whittier says:

    It’s a shame she doesn’t turn around and show everyone her end tables.

  9. nailheadtom says:

    Geez, am I embarrassed. This site seemed, at first, to be perhaps one person’s leftist take on politics and the media. But then, to my surprise, I discovered that it was actually a parody of such a blog, where maybe one person with several voices (Phil Hendrie?) or a small cast like the Monty Python bozos come up with bizarre and off the wall statements written in a post-modern syntax and vocabulary. Or is this what the “Onion” writers do on their days off? Anyway, I was a little concerned to discover this cyber-playpen for straight-jacket models until I realized that it just had to be a joke. And I guess it’s on me! You guys are hilarious.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Ah, I knew there was a reason you read so loyally…. “The food is awful, and the portions are so small.” Actually, there are two other writers besides myself; RMP and Dirigo, and our takes on things are somewhat different, as a closer reader might notice. For you, though, you are always able to attach, however weakly, a whole bushel of negative stereotypes to us based on your Limbaugh-esque take on reality, although the dumbest one, Utopian, seems to be your very own.
      (Maybe I don’t read the Freepers enough….)
      At any rate, commenters write whatever they like in whatever style they prefer, and I have no difficulty grasping them. I’m glad you find it amusing; you seem to need more laughter in your life.

  10. retzilian says:

    I’ve been looking around today, catching up on some older articles about Levi Johnston and his interview with Vanity Fair, along with some other articles about Glenn Beck and Rush and I have come to some conclusions about what is really going on with the RINOs and Rs.

    I have no empirical evidence, but I suspect that the majority of Rs have no use for Palin, are as embarrassed by Glenn Beck as any other normal person, and don’t listen to Limbaugh.

    The media love Palin and Johnson. They love Beck, they love Limbaugh, they love talking about it, they love the distraction and the fake controversy; meanwhile, the truly stupid are emboldened by the fake “popularity” of the fringe lunatics who are getting all this press and then THEY say outrageous things that make headlines, etc. and the cycle continues.

    I don’t believe for a minute that the majority of Rs want Palin to run for anything. Her fellow politicians might, but not the constiuents. And nobody really thinks Beck is playing with a full deck.

    • cocktailhag says:

      When that Playgirl spread comes out, you can bet CHNN will get the pictures posted, and some commentary up on the subject. I hope Sarah’s still on her book tour, with ol’ Levi running around, literally waving his wienie distracting the crowds. Bummer for Caribou Barbie, but lots of fun for me… She doesn’t even need Tina Fey anymore.
      I think the right was really kept in check by simply approving of everything Bush did, and especially if it was violent or repressive, it still went over with the crazy crowd. Now, they’re unbound, and the competition for attention has made them, dare I say, peak too early. After the Hitler comparisons, what’s left? 2010 elections are a year away. They’ll have to get pretty creative, and I do think that that will damage Republicans overall. Thus, Foxenstein turns on its creators.
      It couldn’t have happened to nicer guys.

      • dirigo says:

        Harlan Harrington, CHNN’s nearly permanent, yet crack Rome correspondent, flagged the main desk this afternoon to point out that National Public Radio today finally got around to doing something kinda big on Silvio Berlusconi.

        Seems NPR is working on the “Italian women finally wake up to Silvio’s insults” slant, well after Harlan and the CHNN team dug out all the gory details about the randy prime minister (supported by many surreptitious, night goggle-equipped flyovers of the P.M.’s Sardinia retreat in the CHNN flying boat), abreast, if not well ahead of, most major international news outlets.

        Oh well, (yawn!) here’s NPR:

        And the link to the film by Lorella Zanardo, referred to in the main piece …

        • Meremark says:

          I can’t believe I watched the whooooole thing, Zanardo’s film. I liked it.

          Before you think what you’re thinking, I think, let me say the rapid ‘flashcard’ subtitles kept my attention from jiggling … if not my eyes. ‘Astigmatism’ maybe it’s called, whereas in some scenes, bottomline, there was no stigma nor embarrassment displayed nonetheless overall, of each or both.

          What I liked was, well, the intellectual points. The Italians have a word for it — abundanza!

          I plan to play it for my roommate, when she sits still and stops bouncing up and down.

  11. nailheadtom says:

    Under a section called “Partisan Knowledge Gap,” we find Republicans were more knowledgeable by a double-digit factor on four issues. Although the Glenn Beck question is naturally easier for Republicans, the other three issues are basic political knowledge— what “cap-and-trade” means, who’s in control of the House, and who the new Supreme Court Justice is (a question that should perhaps be easier for Democrats). Republicans also led Democrats on identifying the unemployment rate, Fed chairman, Dow level, Max Baucus’ position. Republicans correctly answered an Iran/Israel question and an Afghanistan question more often than Dems. Republicans and Democrats were even on identifying the “public option” as a health-care plan.

    But take heart, Democrats: You lead Republicans by five points on a whopping one question.

  12. nailheadtom says:

    The Queen really hits the nail on the head with this one:

    Which brings us right back to the question of whether the government or the free market provides better services at better prices. There are roughly 1 million examples of the free market doing a better job and the government doing a worse job. In fact, there is only one essential service the government does better: Keeping Dennis Kucinich off the streets.

    So, naturally, liberals aren’t sure. In Democratic circles, the jury’s still out on free market economics. It’s not settled science like global warming or Darwinian evolution. But in the meantime, they’d like to spend trillions of dollars to remake our entire health care system on a European socialist model.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Naturally, that dyspeptic transvestite had no examples, but thanks for playing. Try Enron, Halliburton, AIG, Lehman Bros, United Health, HCA, Pfizer, Blackwater, and any number of sleazeball outfits that have no reason to exist except to fleece people and waste money. You may be hearkening back to some imaginary time in the past, but nothing could be less true now. We know about government waste because, except when Republicans are in power, government can’t operate in the kind secrecy corporations consider their birthright.
      This is surely one of the dumbest of all righty superstitions, given the evidence, and it relies completely on ignoring reality.

  13. Skeptic says:

    Speaking of frat boys, here’s another POV on Scozzafava.