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The Scorpion's Dilemma

Thursday, 8 November 2012


If James Carville has made his pundit career from four simple words, then someone in the Republican Party could extend their public life by tattooing these precious words on their metaphorical forehead: Adapt Or Die.

The easy joke, of course, is that they need to adopt the mantra EVOLVE Or Die, but Clint Eastwood praised the vital nature of adaptation in Heartbreak Ridge, and Republicans love them some Clint Eastwood*, so if “adapt” offends them less than “evolve,” it still does the trick.

* -- Republicans hated Clint before they loved him, of course. Before he insulted an invisible sitting President, he was giving one helluva halftime pep talk that the right translated as a pro-Obama ad.

Political candidates should reward those of us who actually want to do more with our vote than look for the little letters inside the parentheses. As a “moderate left” citizen, I sincerely hope Republicans can learn to evolve. I believe to my core that our country needs (at least) two viable and thriving parties, and I believe the most important progress we make as a country has always been when people with differing philosophies and ideals manage to sit at a table and hammer out compromises.

Unfortunately, we’ve had very little of that with our last two Presidents. Bush finagled the right to enact warfare without specific permissions and bull rushed more than a few laws past a vulnerable Democrat Party afraid of looking mealy-mouthed after 9/11. Obama, stymied by a long line of Republicans, their bodies covering the railroad tracks, chose to circumvent laws and etiquette to get things done. The only reason Obama hasn’t been tried for his crimes is because no rational person can blame him for playing dirty pool against the political equivalent of Jackie Gleason.

On election night, I Tweeted that Obama’s first note of appreciation should go to the Tea Party, without whom he could never have been won. Everyone recognizes the Rain-On-Parade power of Ross Perot and Ralph Nader in past elections, but the Tea Party and its far-right cousins have been every bit as destructive in these last two elections?

Like a pack of coyotes, the Tea Party marked their territory and threatens to eat anything that dares cross their line without kowtowing to their strict standards. The Republican Party has become a victim of bullying, but because they despise the word “victim,” and because they’ve downplayed rape and bullying as excuses for abortion and "retards" (thank you, Ann Coulter), they can’t see it. The Tea Party has given the rest of that group a huge Golden Shower, and yet Republicans just can’t figure out why we think they smell funny.

It's no coincidence that Protestant churches are bleeding record numbers. These churches are too often full of the same uncompromising hypocritical rhetoric and vanilla demographics that plague the entire Republican Party.

I’m trying to make this amusing because if I don’t joke, I get really angry. I’m sick of feeling like I have no choice in the ballot box. Everytime someone pops up to give me hope that someone on the Right is capable of respecting Political Moderation -- John McCain in 2000, Mitt Romney as governor, Chris Christie at the moment -- the far right assimilates them.

If the first round of post-election reaction from Republicans is any indication, they don’t want to adapt or evolve. They want to make excuses. They want to blame external supernatural forces. Basically, they want to engage in the kind of bitchy irrational whining that they usually claim is ruining the country.

They don’t want to adapt; they expect the country to adapt to them. They don’t want to evolve; they want to hop in Doc Brown’s Delorean and go back in time so they can share a latte and bagel at the Baptist Church where all the Founding Fathers got baptized.

Even if they wanted to adapt and evolve, I’m not sure they’re capable.

Rachel Maddow can sometimes be overbearing, but her words about the pile of insanity piled upon us by the right is brilliant and perfectly explains why they must adapt before I can seriously consider them in positions of meaningful leadership (click to watch the video):
Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing! And Benghazi was an attack ON us, it was not a scandal BY us. And nobody is taking away anyone's guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as Communism
... if the Republican party, and the conservative movement, and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum sealed, door locked, spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived, as a nation, of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real problems.
Amen, Rachel. Let's hope the Republican Party is an elephant, not a scorpion.

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