Friday, September 11, 2009

Teabaggery Isn't Just About South Carolina Republicans


Today Politico asked two very related questions: What's the matter with South Carolina? and How is it that the GOP allows its most extremist cranks to dominate the health care national debate? And it isn't just Joe Wilson fitting so smoothly into both stories that makes them related. Sure, Wilson's possibly drug-fueled, possibly premeditated, outburst has "Republicans worried that their party is becoming known less for the power of its ideals and more for the pettiness of its vitriol." But the image of Republicans as a bunch of dangerous kooks and unsavory whackjobs and sex perverts goes way beyond the problems of South Carolina's Republican Party.
Here’s Orly Taitz, insisting that the commander in chief was born in Kenya. There’s a flock of town hall protesters, waving photos of the president in a Hitler mustache. Former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin warns darkly that Obama is planning “death panels” for senior citizens. Georgia Rep. Paul Broun equates the president’s plans with “Nazi” policies. Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt-- last heard calling John Murtha a “coward”-- tells a birther: “I agree with you, but the courts don’t.”

And then, in the midst of all the catcalls, hand-held signs and “I’m not listening” BlackBerrying, Wilson interrupts Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress by shouting, “You lie!”

...Republican leaders were quick to distance themselves from Wilson’s outburst. John McCain said Wilson should apologize, and he did-- although he also insisted that he was right about Obama’s lack of candor.

Brian Jones, a former communications director for the Republican National Committee, finds it frustrating when lawmakers like Wilson hijack the party’s public persona.

“You have a little bit of tyranny of the minority with these people,” he says. “It may raise their profile, it may make them more attractive in their district-- but does it really help the image of the party in the midst of an important debate? I think no. Obviously, there are some who will be cheering this, but I think the cake is baked with them in terms of how they feel about Obama and health care.”

But Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the Republicans’ campaign arm in the Senate, suggests that it’s not fair to tar the GOP with its fringier elements-- and that the criticism won’t last anyway.

“I think that it’s a free country,” he says. “Anybody can say what they want, they can identify themselves as a Democrat, independent, a Republican, a socialist or whatever they want to call themselves. That doesn’t mean they were representative of a political party or the mainstream of a political party.”

All that and not even a mention of Michele Bachmann, Jim DeMint, Lord Boustany, Virginia Foxx, Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, David Diapers Vitter, Mark Foley, Tom Coburn, Patrick McHenry, Larry Craig, Rush Limbaugh, or California's latest Republican Party dynamic duo, Mike Duvall and Jeff Miller.

As for South Carolina, it's following old secessionist patterns that go back before Abraham Lincoln's time and has not just "emerged as a beachhead for the president's most aggressive conservative critics, a secure launching point for some of the harshest attacks on the administration’s policy initiatives," but as a place where the worst fringe elements in contemporary American politics are perfectly comfortable spouting their racism and anti-American poison in public, more often than not to the cheers of their fellow kooks. Almost every top Republican leader in the state is a sexually repressed deviant whose frustrations and self-loathing seem to be expressed in extremist politics.

But Republicans are striking back and claiming that sexually related mental illness isn't strictly a GOP dilemma. An Ohio Republican Party activist points an accusatory finger at Blue Dog Zack Space. He even wound up on the Republican Party TV network. GOP sociopath David Daubenmire, a religionist fanatic who's been sleeping in front of Zack Space's office for a week, claims he represents "hundreds and thousands of Joe Six Pack men and women" and refuses to take up Space's offer to spend some time with him "back in some smoke-filled room." Now, DWT hasn't had anything much nice to say about the corporately-oriented Space, but local Republican Party operatives seem to be barking up the wrong tree when they make allusions to Space slamming right-wing loons with sexual innuendoes.

After my prominent appearance at a teabagger rally in Alhambra, I've been placed on the mailing list of dozens of crazy right-wing mailing lists. Mostly I just forward everything to Secret Service and FBI agents but now and then I read some of the crackpot rantings. Here's one I saw yesterday after Space's office commented on the kook-- previously best know for burning copies of the Koran in public-- sleeping on the sidewalk and whining that the congressman knows the etymology of the word "teabagger":
"Coach doesn't comprehend reality.  The rain or fatigue must be getting to Mr. Daubenmire.  There was a town hall meeting yesterday five blocks from where he is setting up camp featuring Secretary of Energy Tom Vilsack, Senator Brown and Congressman Space.  It had been publicized for days by all offices.  If it was "secretive," then more than 300 people found out the secret, including a number of Mr. Daubenmire's teabagger colleagues who were there and talked to the Congressman."
Local small business owner Darin Hill took offense to Space's remarks.
"The unmitigated gall of Mr. Space's comments is shameful," says Darin Hill, owner of Hillsway Ag and Turf in Gratiot, Ohio.  "Those words are disrespectful, condescending, and more than that, they're dishonest.  Mr. Space is completely misrepresenting the event.  The meeting with Secretary Vilsack was not billed as a town hall.  It was explicitly addressing the concerns of farmers and our district's agricultural industry.  If Representative Space hosted a true town hall, a lot more than 300 people would have shown up."
Although Space's office claims that they announced the event beforehand, the event wasn't promoted as a town hall nor was it widely known that the Congressman would be in attendance at the event.  But Mr. Hill is more concerned about the insult.
"I don't feel comfortable with my Congressman using sexually perverse terms like teabagging.  He shouldn't be talking that way to constituents," continues Hill.  "If Zack Space needs a history lesson on taxation without representation and the Boston Tea Party, I'd be happy to enlighten him.  There's nothing perverse about an American citizen questioning his government."
Darin Hill has no affiliation with Daubenmire or Fairfield Christian Academy, but he plans to be at Daubenmire's rally on the Zanesville courthouse steps on Thursday at 6 PM.

And like flies to cowshit Michael Steele and Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine showed up as well. I mean, how can anyone expect to have a serious discussion of the ins and outs of teabagging without Steele and DeWine in the peanut gallery? Do you think showing teabaggers this video would help at all?

No? How about this one? It's more up their emotional alley, don't you think?

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At 6:21 AM, Blogger lawguy said...

always nice to see the old home town featured. space is a sad excuse for a democrat. so what do you do.


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