By Elizabeth Burke
Special to the Clyde Fitch Report
It seems that whenever the Republicans can’t get any crazier, they astound us (well, not me) by falling off the edge. Some conventional wisdom has it that they’re harming Democrats. In reality, are they actually doing more harm to themselves? Could the current blob of bloviators be backfiring on the Grand Old Party?
After Glenn Beck’s year of hysterical thinking and the coronation of Rush Limbaugh as unofficial captain of the listing Republican ship, could the party’s moderates be waking up and realizing who has hijacked their party?
They have a lot of reasons to do so, if they want to confront them directly.
Exhibit A: Barely a year after being crowned the GOP’s new queen (of spades, I would presume), Sarah Palin is now reportedly having trouble landing invitations to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidates. If Virginia won’t take her (where perhaps she’s not needed), if New Jersey won’t take her (where perhaps she could get out the base), is it far-fetched to imagine the GOP realizing what a poison pill she is? Her endorsement of the Conservative candidate in the NY-23 House race — stabbing the GOP standardbearer firmly in the back — may haunt her, too. On a personal note, meanwhile, I miss Palin and her crazy, made-for-reality-TV family. After all, they don’t need fake balloon rides to get our attention. (Then again, don’t miss Levi Johnston’s Playgirl pictorial next month!)
Exhibit B: Could Limbaugh’s barely disguised misogyny, race-charged rhetoric and volcanic spewing of hatred for all who fail to obey him finally be seen not just as tiresome but counterproductive to the GOP? I loved his outster from the group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams. Limbaugh called it anti-American, of course. So is making your maid buy your Oxycontin.
Exhibit C: Glenn Beck! Is it unimaginable that when Beck began comparing Obama’s call to volunteer as a Hollywood-Obama conspiracy to develop a Maoist state, centrist Republicans shook their head? Some probably vomited a little, too. Volunteer at your own risk, America! I suppose during the time of President Reagan’s call to help and President George H.W. Bush’s “thousand points of light,” Beck was mired in alcoholic hazes and missed those years. I’m glad his sobriety has worked out so well for him.
(Oh, and the conservative outrage when President Obama had the gall to ask kids to work hard and study! That almost put me over the edge! Indoctrination! Subversion! Keep yer mitts off my kids, Kenyan man!)
Exhibit D: Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who keeps spinning her special web of crazy. I mean, when teary-eyed Glenn Beck thinks you’re a fruit bat, could it be time to re-evaluate?
Exhibit E: The teabaggers! I love how these super-Americans have no idea what the term really means. There they are, screaming about Obama’s socialist agenda while accepting Medicare and VA benefits and threatening to commit some acts of heinousness should the government mess with them. Orly Taitz and her birthers, in addition to giving me hours of entertainment, are giving GOP members serious heartburn, since they have to nod and agree if they want their vote.
And finally, oozing out of his dark, dank bunker and back into the daylight, there’s Tricky Dicky Cheney and his nasty-spawn daughters. These people can’t stop their unrelenting, bizarre obsession with everything President Obama says and does. Witness Cheney’s latest directive that Obama stop “dithering” with Afghanistan, as if the former VP was unaware that it was the Bush Administration that deserted that country to send American troops to their deaths in the war that Cheney engineered in Iraq. Cheney’s sneering, snarling, sniveling accusation that Obama is “afraid to make a decision” is laughable. Hey, Dick, maybe if you spent two minutes thinking through your own decisions, thousands of Americans might not be dead. Let him go back to his bunker. His days murderous, lightning-fast decision-making are over.
So, is it too late for the moderates in the Party of Reagan? Undeclared GOP presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney — let’s include Eric Cantor, the House whip, while we’re at it — aren’t exactly clean, either. We all watched as they sealed their lips when the birthers’ movement grew to a race-baiting frenzy. (McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, for God’s sake!) We watched their silent approval as their constituents were spoon fed false information by conservative-funded hate groups that bussed them to town halls, instructing them to yell and scream and disrupt the healthcare debate we still need to be having.
“There is absolutely no interest, no reason Republicans should ever vote for this thing. They have gone from a party that got killed 11 months ago to a party that is rising today. And they are rising up on the turmoil of health care,” said Champlin. “So when they vote for a health care reform bill, whatever it is, they are giving comfort to the enemy who is down.”
“Long before the Republicans discovered that the House bill was a strategy to kill seniors and all that kind of stuff the plan was already unpopular,” he added, underscoring why Republicans shouldn’t attach themselves to the legislation.
With all the vitriolic language, talk of the “enemy,” threats of government killing seniors, death panels, Maoism, Fascism, Communism, gun-toting town hall attendees and, not coincidentally, a rise in death threats against the president — plus endless anti-government talk-show hosts and Republicans voting no on every issue brought to the House floor — whither the last few GOP moderates who want to win next year’s elections? I’m not sure. I know they’re scared of losing their conservative base, which is why slavishly they cater to them. The party as a whole may even do well in 2010. But, in the end, I believe this split down party lines will cost them elections. If there are any moderates left in the GOP, they need to speak out, stand up and come together or risk losing more House seats to Democrats who will quite rightly sit back and allow the most extreme right-wingers take the GOP party down. Personally, I don’t think moderates have the guts. Which means they’re not really moderates at all. They’re just meek.
Elizabeth Burke, a New York-based actor, has been involved in politics since her first campaign at age 16. Burke’s Law does not necessarily represent the views of The Clyde Fitch Report.