Apparently, William Kristol was a little disappointed in the last Republican presidential debate (Special Editorial: Yikes). And while I usually agree with him about pretty much nothing, I had to comment on this:
The e-mails flooding into our inbox during the evening were less guarded. Early on, we received this missive from a bright young conservative: “I'm watching my first GOP debate...and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”
Hmm,... so why is that, do you think? Did you ever stop to wonder if you actually are crazy people? Frankly, that's what the Republican Party has become, an insane asylum controlled by the inmates.
Now, William Kristol has been right about almost nothing in recent decades. He was chief of staff to Vice-President Dan Quayle during the George H.W. Bush administration. (He was dubbed "Quayle's brain," but I'm really wondering if that was supposed to be a compliment or an insult.)
Later, he pushed hard for the Iraq War, and he was one of Sarah Palin's earliest fans. The former beauty queen just had him eating out of her hand. He's the founder and editor of the neoconservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, and for years, he's been a commentator on Fox "News."
So when even Kristol starts worrying that his party has become insane, you know things are pretty bad! But I want to address this "bright young conservative" he mentions:
Your party sounds like it's filled with crazy people because it is filled with crazy people. Crazy people have become the Republican base! If you are, indeed, "bright," maybe you should think about that a bit.
Plenty of Democrats aren't any real prize, to be sure, but at least the party isn't anti-science. There are woo merchants on the left, but for the most part, they have little power in the Democratic Party. By and large, Democrats are willing to accept reality, even when they don't particularly like it.
And Democrats don't try to destroy our country when they don't get everything their own way. They supported George W. Bush, especially after 9/11. They bent over backward being supportive, in fact. The biggest problem with Democrats is that they went along with far too much crazy stuff. But they didn't initiate it. Those things were all Republican policies.
Democrats made mistakes, but they didn't claim that tax cuts for the rich would pay for itself. They didn't claim that the Iraq War would pay for itself. All too many of them went along with these things, but these were Republican errors. And when they took charge themselves, they made sure to pay for what they wanted.
Democrats didn't invade two nations for no reason and with no exit strategy. But nevertheless, they've staunchly supported our troops. And note that it was a Democrat who finally got Osama bin Laden - and got him the way we should have gone after him in the first place!
Democrats created Social Security and Medicare and have protected them from Republican attacks ever since. Democrats haven't lied to the American people about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme. And Democrats didn't propose ending Medicare just weeks after pledging to America's senior citizens - before the election - that they could be trusted to defend it.
Let me show you an example of the difference between Republicans and Democrats, an example that clearly explains why your first GOP debate has you wondering about your own party's sanity:
The South, believe it or not, used to be a Democratic stronghold. Well, that was tradition, passed down from the Civil War era. But then, the Democrats passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act - signed into law by a Democrat from Texas, if you can imagine that - which outlawed state-sponsored racial segregation and discrimination. The Democrats knew that this would lose them the South,... but they did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do.
Republicans were just gleeful! They quickly developed their "Southern Strategy" of appealing to white racists, convincing all the old southern Dixiecrats to change party. Hey, it was a huge success! All those racists flocked to the GOP, making the South the most solidly Republican part of our nation, instead of the most solidly Democratic, as it had been.
And the GOP continued to appeal to racists, Christian fundamentalists, angry gun nuts - anyone at all who could be motivated by fear and hatred. Republican leaders were happy to use these people. After all, the end justifies the means, right? And they'd always kept the extremists on the fringe, giving them just enough to keep them happy, while the party went about helping the rich, its only real purpose.
But what happened? The tail started wagging the dog. Those extremists, those racists, those angry, frightened, bewildered lunatics became the GOP base. And they started flexing their muscles. They gave us George W. Bush. They made Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann media stars. And now there's not a Republican politician anywhere who'll really stand up to them.
You wonder why Republican leaders sound like crazy people? It's because people like you go along with it. It's because the sane Republicans - and there must still be a few of you out there somewhere - don't repudiate the party and vote Democratic (even when the Democrats have moved right, themselves).
There's a lot to criticize about the Democrats, but at least they tend to be sane. Barack Obama has been bending over backward trying to compromise with Republicans - much too far, to my mind - but insane people won't compromise under any circumstances.
The Democrats have been trying their best to fix the messes George W. Bush left us, but fixing our country would not help the Republicans politically, so they drag their feet, or even deliberately sabotage things. (Remember the debt ceiling debacle?) After all, what's more important, the good of our country or your own political ambition?
Of course, you've heard that Obama is a Kenyan, a Muslim, a socialist, haven't you? I'm sure you're not crazy enough to believe it, not if you really are "bright." But you went along with it, didn't you? After all, people who think that Obama is the Antichrist sure won't vote for him! And that's all that matters, right?
If winning is all you care about, I guess you're in the right party after all. But if you care about the truth, if you care about finding real solutions to real problems, if you care about ensuring that America becomes again that "shining light on a hill" (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan), what are you doing in the Republican Party?