At root, the Republican strategy for more than 30 years has been a full-on assault against reason, either to promote religious agendas or to undermine the obvious need for certain policies such as health care reform and addressing climate change. Today’s Republican Party has purged its thoughtful moderates, and what remains are the self-interested and the zealots they manipulate and use.
Enter Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: poster children for these two camps.
Romney is a Plutocrat. He and his deep-pocket backers have done very well by the sharp economic polarization wrought by 30 years of trickle-down policies, and they want more of the same. No mystery there. Gross moral failure, sure, but no surprise.
Ryan, on the other hand, is a True Believer in the policies that serve the Plutocrats, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. He’s that annoying guy at your high school who read Atlas Shrugged and concluded that acting like a selfish teenaged jerk wasn’t just a phase–it was a calling.
That’s the Tea Party in a nutshell: contemptuous of compassion, inclusiveness and even the vaguest suggestion of responsibility to the common good, and blithely able and willing to ignore mountains of inconsistencies of its positions with the state of the world.
“Government hands off my Medicare,” indeed.
You can’t be a Tea Party conservative and an informed critical thinker. The two conflict. So while religious evangelicals have waned somewhat in influence within the Republican Party, a new religion has arisen: the faith-based cult of selfishness.
This is the culmination of decades of investment by Plutocrats in promoting the idea that we should all be allowed to smash and grab what we can with impunity, under no obligation to lift a finger for anyone else unless we happen to feel like it. Right-wing fog machines like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the Cato Institute, funded by such fine and public-minded fellows as Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers, have now managed to make delusional and abhorrent policies rooted in greed and contempt for our fellow humans not only legitimate as policy options, but reflexive articles of faith for millions.
Because Republicans who have not joined this cult–but rather, continue to pay attention to actual facts about the economy, the nature of governance and the effectiveness of various policy approaches–have been purged from the Party, there is no one inside the Tabernacle of Mean Stupid to say that trying to sell this nonsense to a majority of American voters is a fools’ errand. So now, Romney clutches a high priest of this coldhearted faith to his breast, ignoring polling data showing how roundly unpopular the provisions of the Ryan budget are with most voters, and the fact that if he doesn’t carry Florida, he has virtually no way of winning the election.
Given the choice to get real, the GOP has doubled down, electing to paddle the waters of Denial upstream. And here come the rapids.
At publication, the Dragon was GOBSMACKED