Send in the Clowns

For decades, the GOP has been courting racists, anti-women’s rights activists
, anti-gay bigots, and fundamentalist christian extremists, in an effort to become the majority party in the U.S. At this point, they may have succeeded, but at what cost?

As Dakinikat has said frequently, this isn’t the Republican Party of Eisenhower, Nixon, or even Reagan. Today’s GOP has become a job without a punch line. Anyone with any basic intelligence is laughing at the party’s presidential candidates! Even Karl Rove has been arguing that most of them are too far right to win a national election. From Fox News on August 15, 2011:

This is the guy who famously encouraged the christian right to believe the Bush administration would fight to enact their most extreme policies, while calling them “nuts” behind their backs.

But it just doesn’t work to invite crazy, intolerant people into your inner circle and then try to remain apart from them. An organization takes on the character of its members. In the years since Nixon’s won the presidency in 1968 with the Southern Strategy, the GOP has consciously chosen to welcome the most hateful, bigoted, and even demented people into the party power structure and now they are reaping what they sowed.

Today Rove lamented the “debate” that Donald Trump is supposedly organizing. (So far the only candidate who has confirmed he’ll attend is Newt Gingrich). Rove wants the RNC to discourage GOP candidates from attending the debate.

Veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove said Monday that the head of the Republican National Committee (RNC) should step in to “discourage” presidential candidates from attending the upcoming debate moderated by Donald Trump.

“Here’s a guy who is saying, ‘I’m going to endorse one of you,’ ” Rove said, criticizing the choice on “Fox & Friends.”

“More importantly, what the heck are the Republican candidates doing showing up at a debate [whose moderator] says, ‘I may run for president next year as an Independent’? I think the Republican National [Committee] chairman [Reince Priebus] should step in and say, ‘We strongly discourage every candidate from appearing in a debate moderated by somebody who’s gonna run for president,’ ” he said.

Trump, promoting his new book, released this week, confirmed earlier on the show that he is planning to endorse and that if the candidate he prefers does not win the GOP nomination, he might consider an Independent bid following the conclusion of his reality TV show, “The Apprentice.”

But’s it’s too late. If Karl Rove wants to get back in control of the Republican Party, he’ll have to start over from scratch. The party of Bush has already moved so far to the right that Bush now looks like a moderate, semi-reasonable guy.

Donald Trump as powerbroker? Today a new poll was released showing that New Hampshire voters would be less likely to vote for any candidate endorsed by Trump. Trump was on MSNBC this morning to talk about the poll.

Yesterday, I was rereading Chris Hedges terrific book about the christian right, American Fascists; and I came across this famous quote by Karl Popper:

“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them… We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

That seems very relevant not only to the GOP, but also to today’s Democratic Party, which is once again welcoming in misogynists, anti-choicers, supporters of torture and anti-constitutional uses of executive power. When you “tolerate the intolerant,” you head down a slippy slope toward a hateful and uncivilized society. It’s seems to me that we are already quite a way down that slippery slope. Send in the clowns indeed.


38 Comments on “Send in the Clowns”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Oh, BTW, Donald Trump is still very concerned about Obama’s birth certificate. This is the [clown]face of today’s GOP.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Yes, he is, but what surprised me was he wants Obama’s mother’s medical records!?! What is that about?
      Funny, but Trump then says he may run as an independent? So, was he trying to torpedo the others while ‘authenticating’ himself via their appearance on his REALITY TV DEBATE! 😯

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        @WV Bingo!

        Trump then says he may run as an independent? So, was he trying to torpedo the others while ‘authenticating’ himself via their appearance on his REALITY TV DEBATE

    • dakinikat says:

      Donald Trump is not a serious person. He’s a grifter. He inherits a real estate business from his father and runs it in to the ground. He’s gone bankrupt a number of times which means he can’t live up to the deals he’s negotiated. He makes money licensing his name and being a reality star. He also uses tons of state and local money to fund his enterprises. He’s a hack and a grifter who shouldn’t be given a serious public platform.

  2. ralphb says:

    This is what you get when the patients are in charge of the asylum, as in today’s GOP. I used to think the Democratic party needed to be destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up but these people are a lot worse. Both parties have to go.

    • dakinikat says:

      It is truly depressing.

      • ralphb says:

        It is depressing. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a party to support the values and policies of FDR Democrats. If they were faithful to that past success, we’d be doing a heck of a lot better as a country now and Obama would be cruising to a landslide second term.

  3. northwestrain says:

    Tolerating the intolerant cults is why women are slowly losing control of their own bodies.

    The extreme cults want to force their way — or death.

  4. grayslady says:

    One of your best, BB. Especially liked the observation on intolerance.

  5. quixote says:

    Hey! Karl Popper has been reading my book! 😆 (What? The man was a genius. Time travel would be a minor accomplishment for him.) Seriously, I go through that exact line of reasoning, and I haven’t read Popper. I’m off to the bookstore right now to stock up!

    • dakinikat says:

      I remember he created an uproar in Omaha when he suggested that we all be turned into a buffalo commons and that states like Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma should be completely depopulated because it was too expensive for the country to maintain infrastructure and basic services there.

    • Susan says:

      Popper sounds like as much of a nut as the people he’s trying to criminalize. Advocates for a particular social position need to advance their cause by persuasion, not by putting those who disagree with them in jail.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Karl Popper was a philosopher and scientist, hardly a nut. He was arguing that if a society allows its members to advocate discrimination against and attacks on out-groups that the society itself will be destroyed–it will no longer be civilized. In the history of our country rights have long been expanded for discriminated groups such as women, African Americans, and homosexuals. In many cases this happened by polite society simply marginalizing hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the John Birch Society, and American Nazis.

        We are now seeing a reversal of that long tradition of expansion of rights, because political parties are afraid of the hate groups that they have allowed to gain power within their organizations. The media has helped this process by ceasing to do its job as defined in the Constitution and simply reporting both true and false information in the same way–making no effort to determine what is actually true.

        This isn’t about freedom of expression. This is about people who want the power to control other people’s lives to the point of killing them–as in allowing pregnant women to die and encouraging gay bashing.

        I want to live in a civilized society; perhaps you don’t. But recognize that allowing bigots to advocate for the persecution of specific groups would be a complete reversal of the longstanding traditions of our country, as spelled out in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.

      • Susan says:

        Civilized society? Who gets to determine who gets locked up for their beliefs? Will it be you and I who are locked up because we argue in favor of reproductive rights? Did you even read Dak’s comment yesterday that she expects to end up in Gitmo because of her beliefs?It’s horrible for her to go to prison for what she believes but it’s okay to send other Americans who don’t agree with you?

        Honestly, read the First Amendment before you have the nerve to suggest to me that I don’t want to live in a civilized society. I want to live in a free society. You, clearly, are very comfortable with being sent to prison for advocating for peaceful social change when the other party is in power. Don’t even try to wave the flag in my face when you’re advocating criminalizing speech.

        No, thanks. I’d rather live in a country where I can stand up to people like Rick Santorum without fear of being sent to prison for what I believe. Fascism just isn’t my thing.

      • quixote says:

        Susan, aren’t you reacting to the concept of “Crap, this might get me!” rather than thinking the point through?

        Tolerating everything except intolerance means that anyone can express any opinion they want. Take something odious, such as eugenics. If you want to discuss that, no problem. So long as it does not curtail any expression that allows everyone else the same right.

        So neither you nor Dak would ever be in danger in that system. Nobody decides “who gets to speak.” Everyone does, so long as they’re not trying to shut someone else up.

        However, if they are trying to shut someone up, then they’re the ones who are stopped from taking over the conversation.

        One example that comes to mind recently was the picture of Hillary Clinton and another woman in the situation room at the White House looking at the Bin Laden assassination video. The women were edited out in a version of the video by a very orthodox Jewish sect. Editing reality to erase an entire gender is intolerance of the sort that cannot be tolerated. Nobody is stopping them from having their beliefs. But nobody can allow them to suppress realities to suit their purposes.

        If that’s allowed, then a logical impossibility necessarily follows. If one party can be intolerant, and others respect that, then what’s to stop someone else, such as me, from deciding I can’t tolerate men in pictures? Pretty soon, you have pictures of nothing but grass.

        Or, to be a bit more realistic, if some pastor in Florida can burn Korans, and others in Pakistan can burn Bibles, and so on, you could get to the point where nobody would tolerate anything at all.

        That is the opposite of freedom, but tolerating everything except intolerance gives everyone the widest latitude compatible with the same rights for everyone else.

    • Susan says:

      quixote, I’m not suggesting that anyone tolerate intolerance. I’m infamous in my small bit of the world for vociferously challenging intolerant speech or actions. What you and Popper and bostonboomer are suggesting is the criminalization of intolerant beliefs that lead to intolerant speech. With the exception of speech that encourages violence, I cannot see any justification for that in a free country.

      I think that it is you who is not thinking this through, resulting in you promoting fascism. Freedom is sometimes painful but I prefer it to living in an autoritarian society where the government can lock me up for disagreeing with TPTB.

  6. dakinikat says:

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is holding back some information on Republican Newt Gingrich that could detract from his presidential campaign, according to a report published Monday.

    “One of these days we’ll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich,” Pelosi told Talking Points Memo. “When the time is right. … I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”

    Gingrich, who served as Speaker of the House, worked with Pelosi in Congress from 1987 to 1999. Pelosi also served on the ethics committee that investigated Gingrich for tax cheating and campaign finance violations in the late ’90s.

    Gingrich reacted to Pelosi’s comments by thanking her for an “early Christmas gift.”

    He also said Pelosi would be violating House rules and abusing the ethics process if she disclosed anything from the ethics investigation.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/197173-pelosi-plans-to-reveal-information-about-gingrich-when-the-time-is-right

    • ralphb says:

      He thinks he’s safe because others aren’t as nasty and unethical as himself. Heh, I think Pelosi will let it all slip, accidentally of course.

      • bostonboomer says:

        If Gingrich had nothing to hide, he could authorize them to release all the info from the investigation. LOL

  7. peggysue22 says:

    Really good piece, BB. I happened to catch The Donald this morning. What a contentious fool. This is such an ego fest. No wonder Trump and Gingrich get along so well–ego maniacs, arm-in-arm, patting one another on the shoulder for their grand publicity party. The very fact that we’re even talking Gingrich astounds me. And the GOP envisioning the Eye of the Newt as a credible POTUS is a clear indication of how bankrupt the Republicans really are.

    The quote from Hedge’s book is an important one, a keen reminder that we should drop the PC nonsense of ‘accepting’ or tolerating every single point of view, regardless of how toxic it is or making endless uses for the perpetrators. Whether Dems or Repugs, the sexism, the racism, the pointing of fingers or blaming the most vulnerable for the greed of others, should be rejected out of hand. Using religion as a shield from criticism is unacceptable.

    God must be weeping.

  8. Fannie says:

    Yea, the thought of the dems welcoming misogynists, anti-choicers, etc, etc…………..don’t forget the sex discrimnation in the health insurance plans………like the catholics denying women birth control under the affordable care act.

  9. ralphb says:

    Gingrich didn’t even file a full slate of electors for his New Hampshire campaign so, even if he wins. he can’t get all the delegates. He has now failed to qualify for the Missouri ballot, so his name won’t be present.

    The GOP front runner is running a scam campaign. I just love it. 🙂 Talk about a clown car full.