The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan

Good morning Widdershins. Happy Friday.

Times are tough for the MAGA gear crowd. Did you know now you can get MAGA overalls? Who knew? I figure they might also start test marketing MAGA Opioids to take the edge off all this bad news. Of course the only way the Trumpkinites would hear about it is if Fox has to shut down in order to focus on their primary business – pimping sex for old men.

Over the past few days, I’ve been noticing how consistent the Trumquats are when it comes to things they care about passionately. Percentage feeling “proud” that Trump is Presidenting – 26%. Percentage wanting The Mooch to stay after his profane rant – 26%. Percentage who think the Sun orbits the Earth – 26%. Such consistency even puts a twinkle in the dead eyes of Baby Goebbels as he dreams of being a roadie on an American Apartheid tour.  (That guy is only 31-years old and unless he’s Benjamin Button he was taken to the cleaners in his deal with the Devil.)

Last night Dolt went to “wild, wooly, wonderful West Virginia”. That used to be the official tourism slogan. I know that because I did a 5th grade report on the state with an obligatory refrigerator box diorama complete with a papier mache map.

This week has been difficult for the Trumpkin menagerie. Just imagine their consternation last Friday when they got up and discovered they still had health care. Big Daddy Orange, McTurtle, and Paul “Fountainhead” Ryan weren’t able to keep their promise to the faithful MAGA-heads that “they have the right to die penniless due to health care bankruptcy.”

Just imagine the righteous Trumpkinesque anger over not keeping two womenzie-Senatorettes and a guy with brain cancer in line to vote for a simple thing like depriving 32-million people health care. Honestly, the shelf-life of bought politicians ain’t what it used to be.

To heap another insult on the orange loyalists, that cute little pocket-sized Pomade Pez dispenser, The Mooch, got the boot this week. How unfair! He is really the first person who spoke Oranganese in a manner the tried and true Trumpkins could understand – no words over four letters and always screeching like a howler monkey ordering peanuts from the cheap seats at a ballpark.

The Mooch was retired by that new Dolt “Chief-of-Staph”. General Kelly seems like a good choice to the Trumpkin hordes because he tried to outlaw the Mooselimbs. He was in charge of keeping us safe for a whole 27 minutes on that January Friday night way back when before those librul judicial buttinskies got their thobes in a wad.

When it comes to a pedigree, there’s not much wrong with General Kelly. Everyone talks about him like he is a half-priced golden doodle, but that kind of talk makes Trumpkins suspicious. If someone were that good, why in the hell would they work for a two-legged cantaloupe with liver spots?

The Trumquats all have a turd sideways about Gen. Kelly trying to take away Don Il Dumb’s tweeter machine. All the Trumquats agree it is the only way to reliably hear from their dear leader outside of the voices in their heads. If you asked the Trumquats how many people are on Don Il Dumb’s twitter list, they’d say it is between 20-30 Billion give or take a few Mooselimb Kenyans named Obama.

Speaking for myself, I want Gen. Kelly to leave the Mango Macaque alone when it comes to the tweeter machine. Let him tweet. First, it’s additional evidence for the competency hearing; and two, I sleep a little better thinking he might have opposable thumbs.

If that wasn’t enough, the Trumpkins then got all torqued up by the efforts to besmirch the hallowed name of Fox News reporters. It seems as though there was a little problem with a story about a murder in Washington, D.C. and Fox reported about it. It now appears they got some aspects of the story wrong. Like all of it.

That nice man Sean Spicer tried to help Fox with the story by editing it or spell checking it or something like that. He had them come over to the White House and sit with him because he’s always been so very helpful to reporters. Just like his suit coats, Spicey just wasn’t a good fit for his job. You know what they say, “If it don’t fit, that’s another SNL skit.”

Then yesterday the Trumquats had a “come to Mueller” moment when it was revealed he is throwing a grand jury party in D.C. and lots of Trumpies are going to be invited. The Trumquats shouldn’t get their catheters clogged over this because a grand jury is a natural progression in this Coen brothers movie, No Country for Old Sin.

What should worry the Trumquats is that Mueller, like a big cat, is playing with his food. Great prosecutors and let there be no doubt, Mueller is a great prosecutor, like to mess with the minds of potential defendants and their attorneys. No one is talking about this on the teevee, but why would this grand jury information be conveniently leaked the day before Dolt goes on vacay? As they say, “Nothing so wonderfully focuses one’s mind as a hanging.”

Finally, the Trumpbots are most heartened by a Commander-in-Chief, who despite his disability of Vietnam disqualifying bone spurs (the bestest bone spurs the world has ever known), roughing it in a real dump like the White House. The Trumpbots naturally feel sorry for Don Il Dumb or anyone who has to live in a house without the mobility wheels provide.

Now that I’ve insulted everyone with this feeble attempt at satire, I want to leave you with a personal note. I’m taking a step back from contributing here. When I first started writing it was never meant to be in perpetuity. After well over 400 posts it is time to step back and give it a rest.

Thanks to everyone for their patience with my pedantic ways, thanks to MB with affording me this opportunity, and Fredster for all his support and technical expertise.

Good things are on the horizon.

Take care and what’s on your mind today?

 

Okay, okay, I know we have been stewing like ceviche in the citrusy juices of the imPOTUS Tangelo for 106 days now, but the allusion to 101 Dalmatians was just too good. If only the birthing of my new googling machine had cooperated, I could have used the title last week.  

The head fake to 101 Dalmatians does serve a purpose though. Taken individually, pups are adorable, even two or three at a time is manageable, but 101 all at once is a herd of pooping madness. It’s like the sophisticated engineering of a single locust, but multiply that evolutionary design by millions and suddenly we are breaking out the Old Testament for gardening tips.

My point is this – no matter if you are an American who sees the daily onslaught of issues as adorable Dalmatians or plagues of pestilence, something alarming is happening in the country.

As disconcerting as yesterday was, with one-sixth of the economy and perhaps 24 million gleefully sentenced to Republican indifference in order to provide the largest historical wealth transfer from the poorest to the richest, it isn’t yet benedictory.

Likewise, it doesn’t even worry me that the poor souls who voted for Dolt 45 are doggedly clinging to him like dung-beetles to an elephant with acute diarrhea.

And not even the extinction level event of me linking to something George Will writes causes my alarm bells to chirp.  Yesterday while describing one of the Trumpanzee’s many disabilities, Will wrote, “[T]he problem isn’t that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.”

What bothers me most was paraded in full view of the world on Tuesday. It is the reason we were denied the most qualified President in history. We were denied not because of hacking or Putin or Wikileaks or gerrymandering or voter suppression or not going to effing Wisconsin enough.  We were denied our rightful President because we have allowed aberrant behavior to be normalized. Not just normalizing Dolt 45’s behavior, but normalizing the wholesale disregard for shared values and expectations.

Notice in GOP Crazyland, Breitbart is larger than Fox in terms of creating a narrative…

That’s how we are punching the clock in our little piece of history. For the past thirty years there has been unparalleled asymmetric polarization. The Right has gotten more philosophically turgid while the Left has stayed philosophically consistent. When the intellectually lazy say, “Both sides do it,” tell them there are library ranges straining under the weight of sociological studies proving they are stupid and should be castrated to improve the gene pool. Both sides don’t do it. It is the Right that has gone off the page in any diagram of philosophical leaning.

To service and empower this time-reversing way-back machine, an epistemic closed loop has extinguished fact and replaced it with tribal truisms.  Tribal truism is a simple construct: Does whatever is said or heard help my tribe or hurt my tribe? If whatever is said hurts my tribe, I ignore it, deny it, or engage in “whataboutism”. I neutralize whatever hurts my tribe since it can’t be true.

For instance, Paul Ryan didn’t want to hear what the independent Congressional Budget Office had to say about the AHCA so he ignored it, called a vote before the CBO score, and for good measure, the Michelin Man doppelganger, Newt Gingrich, called for the abolishment of the CBO altogether. Protect the tribe!

Used to be the press enforced the rules by shaming offending politicians. Not anymore. There is no longer shame on the Right. When you get to the outer reaches of the philosophical spectrum, there is no longer the gravity of shame.

As DYB has so eloquently pointed out, access journalism has rendered the First Amendment a toothless lap dog. When I see Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman, Frick Halperin, Frack Heilemann, or “rock hard abs and Employment Whack-a-Mole” Andrew Sullivan, I’m reminded the only appreciable talent these people have is balancing both pen and paper in one hand while they are otherwise engaged on the business end of a journalistic glory hole.

Even birds are skeptical…

So what does all this have to do with Tuesday’s hearing with the almighty King of the Fibbies? Simple. Comey made a decision to violate DoJ procedure and write his misleading October 28th letter because there were no consequences. The bad consequences for him would have come from complying with the rules and not writing the letter.

The cost/benefit analysis was clear: He would be hounded unmercifully by the Fox/Breitbart/Drudge/Limbaugh/Hannity/PeeWeeHerman infotainment complex if he didn’t write the letter no matter if Hillary won or lost. There were only upsides to feeding the shameless nutjobs of the far, far Right. There were no concomitant upsides from adhering to the shared values and expectations.

Contrary to Comey’s statement, at no point in the criminal justice process, beyond basic fairness, is the reputation of the investigator of any consequence. Comey knew the Democrats would play according to the rules, but he knew the Republicans would not. In reality his contrived self-serving dilemma of “reveal versus conceal” should have been “violate and copulate” since he broke established procedure in order to f*ck the country in order to please himself.

Good government, efficacious policy, and the republic itself is under attack, we will be lucky if it is only 101 predations.

A case of the “bigly sads”…

If you’ve noticed, I’ve purposefully kept the links to a bare minimum today in order to emphasize one superb Vox article:  Donald Trump and the Rise of Tribal Epistemology by David Roberts. It is a few weeks old, but it is a wonderful synopsis of a very complicated web of problems. If you read nothing else today, take the time or bookmark it. It is truly exceptional.

One last thing – thanks to Fredster, DYB, and GAgal for covering during my technological convalescence. I appreciate them.

What are you thinking about today?

winona

As I sat down to write Wednesday morning’s post on Tuesday night, I realized by the time it published it would already be out of date. The dizzying speed with which Bannon and Trump are trashing our democracy is impossible to process and stay up to speed on. In just 10 days they’ve managed to create multiple constitutional criseses [sic]. Aside from the original sin of conflict of interest we don’t know the full extent of because Trump has not and will not release his tax returns (WikiLeaks says they plan to find them and release them… the irony of that can not be avoided, to paraphrase Angus King’s comment to steinJames Coffey at a Senate hearing after Comey said he does not comment on ongoing investigations when asked about FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in our elections). But since then Trump/Bannon’s multiple executive orders, that anathema he and other Republicans screamed at Obama about for 8 years, have created nothing but chaos in our system. The biggest one, of course, was the refugee executive order. Throwing people’s lives into chaos by refusing previously vetted refugees into the country, but also by refusing people with green cards into the country, they revealed – well, it’s hard to tell. Incompetence or malice? Perhaps a combination of the two. Bannon and another Trump aide Stephen Miller wrote the executive order and forced it to be signed without consulting with any other agency, or even Congressional Republicans. Though Congressional aides helped write it….without telling their bosses. That is a big deal. I wish I could see the expression on McTurtle’s face when he learned of his aides secrecy. It would be funny if the secrecy also wasn’t terrifying.Senate Luncheons

To add to the chaos, Border Patrol defied a judge’s ruling that people detained be allowed to see a lawyer. That is a very big deal as well. We now have the judicial branch being openly defied by the administration and part of its security force. Federal Marshalls would have to go in and force Border Patrol to follow court’s orders. Imagine how that would play out. Because I can’t.

Which brings me to this: for many months now Democrats have been waiting and begging Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to save us from Trump. Throughout the insanity of the campaign Ryan and McConnell became almost sane. But in truth they were just sane compared to Trump and that’s not a fair comparison. In fact, Ryan and McConnell are fucking scum. We have been waiting for them and the Republican Party to come in and paul-ryansave us all from Trump. That didn’t happen during the election. The Republican Party never turned on Trump, no matter how awful he became. Even John McCain (when will be get used to the fact that the war hero died when McCain ran for President?) didn’t fully turn against him. McCain just refused to talk about him, which isn’t the same thing. So no, McCain and Lady Graham won’t save us either. The endless articles being written about how Trump will alienate Republicans enough that they will turn on him are as tiresome as the endless articles about what white men want. It’s nonsense. Nothing Trump does will ever make the Republican establishment turn on him and impeach him. Nothing. McConnell and Ryan are not biting their tongues. They are not cowards who just need a little bit of encouragement and courage. They are not spineless – they are soulless. They want everything Trump is doing. They might be annoyed at some of his methods. But they want what Trump wants. That’s the truth we have to face.trump-nixon

So where does that leave us? I honestly have no idea. I’m sorry for the downer post. I’m sure the comments that follow over the next couple of days will fill us with even more dread as Bannon/Trump continue their destruction of America and the world around us. I do fear, however, that Trump’s Presidency will not end peacefully. I don’t know how big the violence will be or who it will be directed against, but I think that is the only way this can end.

Please tell me that I’m wrong!

i-was-gonna-get-up

Good morning and welcome to what promises to be a most glorious week.  It will be the week for which we have waited eight years.  This will be the week where a woman will capture the nomination for President of the United States. Not just any woman — Hillary Rodham Clinton.  The former old boys’ club of Presidents is about to get a much-needed infusion of I.Q., emotional intelligence, backbone, resilience, and good common sense.  Folks, this is really happening.

MB is inundated in an avalanche of work and family business.  She will be around this week to celebrate with us and will return next week.  Choices

Let’s say you have a choice.  The choice – being the brunt of Donald Trump’s unyielding insults; or demonstrating, for the entire world to see, a complete and utter lack of personal integrity. Which would you choose?  This is the Faustian choice that faced Paul Ryan after his sanctimonious proclamation he “wasn’t yet ready to endorse” L’Orange Cantaloupe.

Given the self-dealing graft, adultery hypocrisy, and pedophilia of recent Republican Speakers, Ryan had few guideposts.  Given the recent role models, a continuation of non-existent integrity seasoned with a heaping helping of bankrupt morality seemed to be the special of the day.

Since Ryan wasn’t yet ready to endorse thirty days ago, we can only surmise Trump did something during the last thirty days that caused Ryan to take the plunge.  Was it Trump’s plan of making Kim Jong Un a BFF?  Or was it Trump’s commitment to education exemplified by Trump University?  Or was it Trump’s demeaning a federal judge of Latin descent?  Could it be insulting the only female Latina governor or his personal excitement over the 2008 housing crash or the way he called a female Senator Pocahontas?  All within the last thirty days.

And Ryan wasn’t flying blind.  There were other signs along the way:

Marco Rubio called him a “con man.” Mitt Romney called him “a phony, a fraud.” Cruz called him an “amoral pathological liar” and said if he is elected “this country could well plunge into the abyss.” Lindsey Graham said Trump would lead to “another 9/11.”David Brooks called him “epically unprepared to be president.” George Will said that “his running mate will be unqualified for high office because he or she will think Trump is qualified.” The house organ of conservatism, National Review, condemned him in florid terms. A Super PAC was created just to stop him.

Whatever it was, Paul Ryan, unassailable budget quack and proclaimed intellectual savior of the Republican Party opted to forego the Trumpian insults for door number two.  Door number two hiding an undeniable demonstration of Ryan’s utter lack of personal integrity.Trump is becoming more acceptable...

What is fascinating is that Ryan wasn’t alone on this journey of self-discovery.  He isn’t even unique.  He is the prototypical Republican.  Trump is fast becoming the huckleberry of Republicans or at least 70% of them.

Perhaps it wasn’t any particular position of Trump because no one is quite sure what position the mango-haired, barely house-trained human meerkat will take:

[W]hat you see may not be what you get.

This applies as well to Trump, about whose policies we still know next to nothing. What we do know is that Trump is a chameleon who changes his positions with the same conviction he takes to the wedding chapel. More hummingbird than flip-flopper, he flits from one position to another, rarely alighting anywhere for long. Oh, yes, I like this one! No, that one.

Is Trump’s flexibility owing to a low threshold for boredom? Or does he perhaps suffer severe attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder? Suffice it to say, if he were a Democrat, Republicans would be blitzing the airwaves with cartoonish ads featuring Trump’s head on a hummingbird, his nectar-straw Pinocchio-esque.

But Trump isn’t a Democrat.  He’s now the leader of the Republican Party and as such, he should be setting an agenda beyond Twitter insults.

As researchers at the financial firm Nomura pointed out in a note to investors last week, the “issues” section of Trump’s website lists only seven topics, and his plans total just 9,000 words. “In contrast,” the researchers wrote, “at roughly this point during the campaign in 2000, Governor George W. Bush published a 450-page book of speeches offering detailed policy proposals on everything from education to tax reform to the environment to trade and Social Security.”

RIP GOPThink about that for a moment:  The Republican Party has nominated someone who is intellectually inferior to Dubya — a President whose decision-making would have been enhanced by a Ouija board, a Magic 8 Ball, and malpractice by Cheney’s cardiologist.

In a policy dance of the seven veils, Ryan has insisted he will lay out a Republican Agenda this month.  And just like a June bride, he is blushing and bashful about the content.  Let me help by being the first to review the inevitable Ryan Agenda:  The tax cuts are bogus, regulatory overhaul will leave the “at risk” more vulnerable, repeal of Obamacare will increase the uninsured, and robbing women of the right to make their own health care decisions is a fever dream of old, crusty white guys.

It’s against this anorexic agenda that the press will have to gin up a race.  Our two-party system isn’t built to function around a one-sided race.  Coke has to have Pepsi and vice versa in order to compete and compare.  Coke versus sewer water isn’t the stuff of great marketing campaigns.

Journalists undoubtedly will be driven to the altar of false equivalency – the craven idol of journalistic laziness.  Through their equivalency contortions they will undoubtedly bolster Trump while tearing Hillary down.  They must maintain parity for their ratings and preemptively forestall any possible criticism since “working the ref” is always the last refuge of the team that sucks.What-Leadership-Traits-matter

We have already seen this theory at work.  How many times have you seen Hillary questioned about “honesty” or “trustworthiness”?  Ever wonder why? Pretty simple.  Women candidates always have a demonstrable advantage on honesty. Reporters attack Hillary on honesty to bring parity to the race since there’s no question who is the most qualified. Where has the “vast right wing conspiracy focused their thirty-year assault on Hillary? Where is Trump focusing his “crooked” attacks?  It is all an attempt to refocus attention away from the fact Hillary has been investigated more than Lucy, the Ethiopian skeletal relic, and repeatedly has been pronounced:  Squeaky clean.

So Ryan shouldn’t be sad.  He’s not alone.  He can’t be what he’s not.  As his spiritual guide Ayn Rand said, “There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist.

With Ryan’s tepid, but servile and unctuous endorsement of Trump, he proved he was playing the fashionable non-conformist by holding out for thirty days before doing what we all knew he was going to do from the start.  There is no better way to leave your mark on the Republican Party than by surpassing a grifter, a hypocrite, and a pedophile in setting a new low for integrity-free cowardice as Speaker of the House.  Congratulations on your choice Mr. Ryan.

What’s on your mind?

 

 

Last week Speaker of the House Paul Ryan swaggered down from his stair master, as if Moses from Sinai, to deliver a sad eulogy of today’s politics.sad Paul Ryan

It seems as though no one took the time to needlepoint Ryan a homey admonition of, “If you dine with cannibals, eventually you are on the menu.”  Speaker Ryan has his jock in a wad about the unsavory character of today’s politics and actually said:

Our political discourse—both the kind we see on TV and the kind we experience among each other—did not use to be this bad and it does not have to be this way. 

To paraphrase the British writer, Samuel Johnson, who said, “When a man knows he is to be hanged…it concentrates his mind wonderfully,” Ryan’s mind has been concentrated by being on the cannibals’ menu and the ravenous cannibals of today’s new Republican Trumpism are at the door.

I just wonder where Ryan, our zombie-eyed granny tosser, has been during the last thirty years of Republican sleaze masquerading as political consulting.  There was Lee Atwater, the ruthless granddaddy of dirty politics, who, while explaining the heritage of the Reagan southern strategy, said:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “*igger, *igger, *igger.” By 1968 you can’t say “*igger”— that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

Or maybe it was Newt Gingrich and his Contract on with America whereby he mainstreamed the demonization of groups and individuals:

Attacking the welfare state while creating new middle-class entitlements is a nifty political move. Conservatives can take credit for the new benefits for their more prosperous constituents while cutting benefits for the stigmatized poor.

Or perhaps it is the tenesmus inducing, ham-headed, colon-dwelling Karl Rove who plumbed new depths of despicable behavior in order to lie us into a war while demonizing gay people and swift boating John Kerry and his three Purple Hearts.

Last guy didn't agree with me.Given that Paul Ryan has never held a real job outside Republican politics, if he doesn’t remember such luminaries, it would seem he is living in a bubble so impenetrable, it had to be beta-tested as David Vitters’ diaper.

That’s not all Ryan said.  Here’s a good part:

“We don’t resort to scaring you, we dare to inspire you. We don’t just oppose someone or something. We propose a clear and compelling alternative.…”

“In a confident America, we … don’t question each other’s motives.”

 “If someone has a bad idea, we don’t think they’re a bad person. We just think they have a bad idea. People with different ideas are not traitors.”

“We don’t lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold.” 

He actually said that.  With a straight face no less.  There wasn’t even an acknowledgement of Joe Wilson defiling the State of the Union by screaming, “You lie!” at the Muslim Afro-Kenyan so endangering the country.

Ryan offered not even a passing reference of voting to kill Obamacare almost sixty times.  No mention of scaring the elderly about Medicare and death panels.  No mention of climate denial.  No mention of scary brown immigrants.  No mention of ISIS moving in down the street.  No mention of marriage as an institution being obliterated.  No mention of obstruction and government closures.  Where in the hell has Paul Ryan been?  To which party does he ostensibly belong?

To talk about escaping from an echo chamber that provides the news for 84% of Republicans is a fantasy.  Just as it is a fantasy to believe the 11 million conservative activists are going to turn off their talk radio and go cold turkey from hearing their yowling leaders trumpet their hate for three hours each day.Comedian

To put the cherry on top of Ryan’s speech, he just rewrites history.  He paints a fabricated economic story, but given that 84% of his people are educated by the fantasies of the echo chamber, there is no chance of being called on the lie.  Here’s what Ryan said in talking about the tax cuts of saintly Ronaldus Maximus:

“All it took was someone willing to put policy on paper and promote it passionately. This is the basic concept behind the policy agenda that House Republicans are building right now.” 

Paul Krugman has addressed this absurdity both here and here with, “Lopsided growth that delivers huge gains to a small elite while bypassing a majority of Americans didn’t start a few years ago. It started, in fact, during the Reagan years.”

Krugman continues, “The only way to parse this is to accept that Ryan is engaged in absurdist performance art. Either that or he thinks we’re all androids, and he’s trying to overload our logic circuits.”

For four decades now we have heard the justification of supply side economics being, “a rising tide raises all ships.”  That’s not true; it just raises the yachts of the one-percenters while the rest of us scramble for an ever decreasing number of life jackets.

Trump frown 2Yesterday, Trump brought the cannibals of the new Republicanism to Ryan’s backyard in Janesville, Wisconsin.  Ryan’s speech demonstrates he understands the cannibals’ hunger and it has concentrated his mind.  Too bad it is still filled with the same old dreck that put him on the menu in the first place.

Remarkably, there is a new study that bolsters something we have long known around these parts.  It explains the whetting of the cannibals’ appetites.  It is the natural evolution of the Tea Party mantra of, “I got mine, sorry about your luck.”

Resentful white people perceive themselves to be in a zero-sum clash for resources and opportunities with African-Americans and Latinos, and want candidates who will champion their interests rather than throw them overboard in pursuit of a broader electoral coalition.

Nothing Ryan said will come anywhere near satiating the appetites of the cannibals of the new Republican Trumpism.  So for Ryan and the Republican establishment, I say, “Dinner’s ready when you are.”

Have a great Wednesday and take the conversation in any direction you have a hankering to discuss.

Good Monday Widdershin friends.  MB is swamped with work this week and the following is my paltry attempt at a little synaptic stimulation.  MB returns next week.Elephant on the back

Remember the old joke – “If Barack Obama cured cancer, Republicans would complain about the unemployment rate of chemo-therapists.”  During the State of the Union, we saw that joke played out in real-time Kabuki Theater.

When the President called for a “moon shot” to cure cancer, Paul Ryan sat there in his best Derek Zoolander scowl and would not applaud.

Paul Ryan did not clap for curing cancer.  Paul Ryan did not clap for the troops.  Paul Ryan became “wallpaper,” his word not mine, only allowing himself, “to be respectful and not wince or grimace or do anything.  So I just kind of poker-faced the whole thing, just out of respect for the institution, the office.”

To review:  The Speaker of the House, third in line for the Presidency, a former candidate for Vice President, is so frightened of the Fringers in his own party that he presented himself to the nation as a Thorazine enthusiast coming down off a three-day Molly ride.  Just as a point of comparison, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, applauded Dubya 33 times during his final SOTU address.

Derek Zoolander or Paul Ryan in workout gear...

Derek Zoolander or Paul Ryan in workout gear…

This toxicity played out again this weekend with the effectuation of the Iranian nuclear deal and the swap of five Americans and seven Iranians.  Those successes follow the release of ten sailors after just 14 hours of Iranian detention compared to a 2007 incident where British sailors were held for two weeks.

Ahead of schedule, the nuclear deal secured the reduction to 6,000 enriching centrifuges from 19,000 and eliminated 9,700 kilograms of already enriched uranium.  The prisoner swap accomplished the release of the five Americans traded for Iranians who had violated the trade sanctions – not exactly high value targets.

So how did the Kabuki chorus respond?  The Republican candidates were begrudgingly pleased with the release of the Americans, but they sang in full-throated condemnation of the Iran nuclear deal, criticized the feckless Obama, and promised to “tear up the nuclear deal on day one” of their imaginary Presidencies.  Nary one of the candidates acknowledged any American success or optimism.

My point is neither about the bad manners of Republicans, nor is it about the politics of being mindless oppositional automatons.  My point is that the anti-establishment Fringe virus has overtaken the host.  If Republican Party leaders and candidates are so frightened of a de minimus segment of their base, how can that party ever be capable of governing? Sick Repubs

Anger, fear, and conspiracy have replaced any notion of governing principles.  The genesis of this wayward languor is found in the symbiotic relationship between the party and conservative media.  Simply put, there is no delineation between the pabulum spewed by Fox and talk radio and the party’s rightward sprinting ideology.  If their ideology was coextensive with their disbelief in science, they should be falling off the edge of the planet right about now.

This summer I ran across the article, “They Don’t Give a Damn about Governing – Conservative Media’s Influence on the Republican Party.”  It was written by Jackie Calmes, a New York Times reporter, while she was a Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  It is a masterful explanation of the parasitism of conservative media as it digests the Republican Party.

The article is no light read – it’s about 17,000 words, but it is the most comprehensive explanation I’ve read about this historic devolution of the Republican Party.  The article is chocked-full of quotes and analysis by the endangered species of moderate Republicans.

The following is a sample of the insightfulness:

Searching for a Republican governing philosophy is not for the faint hearted...

Searching for a Republican governing philosophy is not for the faint hearted…

From a prominent, but anonymous Republican:  “It’s so easy these days to go out there and become an Internet conservative celebrity by saying some things, and who cares if it’s true or makes any sense.  It’s a new frontier: How far to the right can you get?  And there’s no incentive to ever really bother with reality or to compromise.  There’s no money, ratings or clicks in everyone going along to get along.”

A Republican Congressional staffer said, “Now it seems that so many people are going for the niche, for the red meat, and there are all these outlets where you can do that.  It’s playing to the base, but the base doesn’t live in reality.  And that’s the problem:  It’s taken the party in a really self-destructive direction.”  The aide continues, “When you’re setting down a marker and you know that your ask is unaccomplishable, that it’s not a goal that’s achievable, then it’s just about ratings and money.”

If anyone should ask, that is what this election is about:  Who is the best person to save this country from a governing agenda conjured by the fever dreams of talk radio and Fox.

This is an open thread.

It’s the weekend Widdershins.  We’ve made it through another week and what a week it was!  It is as if the world, all 5,000 years of it according to the ticket stub from the Noah’s Ark Theme Park and Dinosaur Rental, has turned on its head.

The Speaker of the House is no longer orange and “orange you glad.”  Under relevant experience, new Speaker Paul Ryan listed having driven the Oscar Meyer “Wienermobile”.  While a Republican inside a wiener is usually the opposite of what’s normal in Washington, Ryan’s experience will come in handy when taking the Tea Party troglodytes on field trips.

There was a crazy governor’s race in Kentucky where the winner won by pledging to make a half million poor people losers by taking away their health insurance.  In perfect Kafkaesque logic, it was as if the voters had prosthetic legs and had grown tired of walking.  To cure the problem, they decided to throw their prostheses into a wood chipper, but forgot to first take them off.

Jeb! Bush had a trying week.  First, he lost his exclamation point somewhere on the downhill slide from 8% to 4%.  Next, he changed his slogan to something with the word “Fix” in it and most pundits thought “fix” was perfect since that is where the campaign finds itself.  Finally, Jeb!’s daddy has a new book coming out that explains his deep regret at not having broken the rule of “no child left behind” on family camping trips.

The week ended on a much more optimistic note.  The Democratic Forum last night was a successful, civil, and sophisticated policy discussion.  While all three candidates were light years ahead of the Republican version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Hillary’s star beamed.  Her line that stuck with me was this:  I want to be President for the struggling, striving, and successful.

So in honor of Hillary’s eventual ascendancy, let’s have some music for the struggling, the striving, and the successful.

Chat will be back next week after her Georgia Dawgs dine on some Kentucky Wildcats this weekend.  As always, take the conversation in any direction you might like.

Struggling Man from The Walking Dead

 

Striving

 

 

Successful

 

 

 


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Blog Archive

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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

Right-click the pic for more info

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph