I recall several elections cycles ago a spirited debate about the flat tax. Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes, though using a droll communication style, injected the notion into the national conversation. There were supporters and detractors of the idea, but many in the nation were engaged in the dialogue.
Now the Republican Party talks about Dr. Seuss and in Wisconsin ‘the need’ for the national anthem. The lack of ability from a growing portion of the GOP to be topical or relevant is a national concern. I say this not as a slam on the opposition party, but rather because it is important in our nation to have two strong and policy-loaded political parties. While the GOP once could boast of such offerings, over the past years they run a deficit of proposals aimed for serious discourse.
Why is that? Before I offer an answer let me offer some more insight into what is the problem.
Today I posted the following on Facebook.
Sixty-three percent of American approve of President Biden’s job performance thus far, according to an Associated Press-NORC poll released Monday, up 2 percentage points from late March.
From Campbellsport, Wisconsin one of my readers added, after her conservative tribal comment, “Who did the survey?”
While I do not wish to make more than what it is worth of a less than sharp knife in the drawer I do believe there can be something gleaned from such comments. The first reaction of many Trump-type people is to reject evidence, facts, and too often just plain common-sense. Along with a continuing rejection of the norms of being nice, and recognizing the same.
While I have many political issues with the conservative views of Congresswoman Liz Cheney I absolutely gravitate to her stand about democracy and why not denigrating the results of free and fair elections in our country is vital. I look at the arc of history from Truman, Ike, Kennedy, Ford, Carter, Bush ’43’, and know there are honorable and worthy leaders to be found on both sides of the aisle. But the Trump crowd throws bile at everyone who does not show fealty to their cult leader. The rest of us know why it is important to recognize and value decency and intellect regardless of party affiliation.
The reason for such odd and deranged behavior from conservatives can be better understood, in part, from reading a newspaper column by Leonard Pitts. Fox News and the echo chamber from the start of the day, through conservative talk radio, and the talking heads on the conservative channel in the evening have created today’s political environment. That is the primary reason we have an abundance of misguided and uninformed Americans.
This moment has been long in coming. You can trace the devolution of the GOP back at least 25 years, to when Speaker Newt Gingrich mandated that his troops treat opponents like enemies and politics like war while an upstart cable news network called Fox began offering its audience a steady diet of utter cattle droppings.
Things have only gotten worse since then. In 2008, imbecility ran for vice president on the Republican ticket. In 2016, white supremacy was elected president on the Republican ticket. In 2021, Republicans scarf cattle droppings like buttered popcorn.
It was a secession from morality, an abdication of responsibility, a crime against democracy, but the party, thrilled by the jolt of energy derived from combat politics, imbecility, white supremacy and cattle droppings, ignored all that, along with the consequent signs of its own growing degeneracy: reflexive rage, lack of ideas, intellectual incontinence, gratuitous cruelty and descent into anti-factual realms where no conspiracy theory is too bizarre to be believed. These days, you must bend the knee to delusion to be a Republican in good standing.
And so it goes.