Thursday, February 7, 2008


It's official. Mitt Romney crunched the numbers and determined that he would need 80% of all remaining states to win the GOP nomination. He is speaking as I type this in front of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) during their annual conference and will soon announce his suspension of his presidential run. This virtually assures Sen. John McCain the nomination of the Republican Party (as if he would have been in danger had Romney stayed in).

I would like to sit here are type out all the nonsense that Romney is saying in an effort to kowtow to the fringe of the Republican Party, but it would go on forever. This group of people are so in love with their own radical doctrine that they don't even see its own contradictions when stacked up against the vitriol against radicalism on the other side of their fence. If one radicalism is evil, repugnant, and destructive then the mirror radicalism on the other side is equally so. That, in a nutshell, is the current state of the GOP. It's the reason why they hate John McCain and why the Democrats are going to win the 2008 election in a landslide.

If you need more proof of the radical sickness of the GOP and the CPAC base, look at their website and examine the rotating ad at the bottom of the front page. It's an ad for the Conservative Book Club featuring books by Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Laura Ingraham. Are these the voices of a proud and dignified Party? The Party of Lincoln? The Party of Teddy Roosevelt? Are these the people you want as the face of the Conservative movement?

Ann Coulter attacked wives of 9/11 victims, states her desire to have all Muslims killed or coverted to Christianity, called John Edwards a faggot, argued against women voting, and spewed anti-Semitic rhetoric among many other things.

Sean Hannity is less acerbic than Coulter, but equally sensational. He shouts down every guest that isn't on board with his vision of the world and deems to label people on the other end of the ideological spectrum as "Enemies of the State." He loud and obnoxious and dances around the truth in order to perpetuate a particular viewpoint. This is most troublesome because the forum for his brand of rhetoric is a news organization (Fox).

Bill O'Reilly needs no introduction. He is crass and vulgar, but can't see it. He reduces political discussion to shout downs and shut ups. He uses typical propaganda methods to rile up his audience in the "No Spin Zone" and while his trangressions against reason are too numerous to mention, he reportedly denied the existence of homeless veterans recently, only to be confronted at his studio by a group of homeless veterans who were shooed away by producers and shouted down by O'Reilly.

Laura Ingraham gave the introduction to Mitt Romney today at the CPAC conference and lit into John McCain with a rhetorical avalanche of hatred that mocked and discredited the work McCain has been doing recently on the stump. His pleas for civility among conservative radio talk show hosts was a favorite target of Ingraham's mockery. All you need to know about Ingraham, despite the many potential targets here, is that in the mid-1980's while writing for the Dartmouth Review she attended a campus meeting of the Gay and Lesbian organization and then used her powers as a "journalist" to out the people she saw there. Shame on her and the editors of the Review for letting that happen. She has later recanted on her acts, based largely on her gay brother's life with a partner faced with health issues. Recanting past injustices is fine, but it's an issue of character that can't be wallpapered over.

If the CPAC stands by the loudest mouthpieces of uncivil, hateful, acerbic, and combative rhetoric in our mass media as their public champions, why would any reasonable, civil, and compassionate person join their movement? There are plenty of good conservatives out there. Plenty of reasonable, fair, civil, decent, upstanding, intelligent, and flexible conservatives that lean to the Right, but not at the expense of the people. Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper in the same way that John Kerry is a flip-flopper. One is entitled to change their mind, but when running for higher office a long record of doing so will come back to haunt. Romney is no authentic conservative in the Coulter, Hannity, Rush Limbaugh mold. He has been moderate on plenty of issues over the years. He was a target of the conservatives for years. Now, in an effort to find his electoral niche, he's flopped on the conservative brand of politics favored by the pundits at the extreme right of the Party. He's taken the road of political expedience in remaking himself as the civil face of the uncivil barbarians at America's gate. It clearly didn't resonate.

In the end, McCain will be the GOP candidate and the lunatics on the fringe who have moved to the center of the Party's base will continue to deride him and derail him. Great for anyone who supports the Democratic Party and great for our immediate future as a people. Long term we need the real and reasonable conservatives to reclaim their Party from the trolls. America is much better when all angles of the ideological spectrum operate with mutual respect and decency.

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