by Jon Pine
Okay, okay, put away the pitchforks! Before you revoke my membership in the Left-Leaners Society, hear me out. Start by asking yourself some simple questions:
1. Who gets more face time in the mainstream media – Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, or Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Michael Steele?
2. Which three have been elected to speak for the Republican Party, and which three have appointed themselves to the same task?
3. Which of these six people are household names? And which three are so feared that politicians, policymakers and TV hosts all have made public apologies to them?
The point, of course, is that McConnell, Boehner and Steele have all the power, yet the party has been taken over by the other three jackanapes. In their clammy hands, reasoned debate has given way to Chicken Little pronouncements – everything from “Obama’s turning the country into a Socialist/Fascist state, complete with FEMA internment camps for those who don’t comply!” to “Healthcare reform is actually a secret plan to rub out your grandma!”
Initially, this lunacy circulated only within the confines of the tinfoil hat community. But sadly, Chicken Little virus has now infected the body politic, and is spreading throughout both chambers of Congress. Exclusively on the Republican sides of the aisles. Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe and Joe Wilson are among the most serious cases, but even once-revered lawmakers are falling ill.
Orly Taitz of California, part-time dentist, part-time lawyer and full-time gadfly, suggests that Barack Obama was actually born in Kenya. Next thing you know we’ve got a birther bill in the House (co-sponsored by Bill Posey, from my own district here in Indian River County, Florida).
Glenn Beck bloviates about too many “Czars” in the Obama administration, and next thing you know we’ve got H.R. 3226, the Czar Accountability and Reform (CZAR) Act of 2009.
Sarah Palin wildly claims that healthcare reform will include government “death panels” to decide the fate of the elderly, and lawmakers remove the end-of-life counseling benefit from their bills.
Crackpots speak, and Republicans in Congress act. How could the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower allow this to happen?
Well, they had some help from the mainstream media. When respected news outlets cover the half-baked blathering of the jackanapes, they come away feeling legitimized and emboldened to continue crafting their fiction. TV audiences, dumbed down over the years by the blending of news and entertainment, think what they’re seeing is “news,” and repeat it as such.
And just like that, we’ve got a Chicken Little epidemic on our hands.
While it is tempting to take delight in seeing the Republican Party hollowed out and reduced to just a shell, that is not in the best interest of the country. It is into this vacuum that the crackpot jackanapes have seeped.
Rather, what’s needed is a stronger Republican Party, rebuilt around reason, intellect and, yes, I’ll say it, good ideas. Right now they are the party of no ideas. So here are my ideas for you, Republicans, to rebuild the Grand Old Party:
1. Marginalize the jackanapes. No one elected them, so disregard what they say.
2. Chastise those in the party who knowingly repeat false claims, and urge them to apologize.
3. Chastise those in the media who also repeat false claims; or in the case of Fox News Channel, those who originate some of those false claims. Urge them to apologize.
4. Bring some bona fide ideas to the table. Stamping your feet and just saying “No!” is for three-year-olds.
5. When you criticize, attack the policy, not the person.
6. The attitudes of Americans are changing. Get over it. Move to the left, if even just a little, or prepare to be left behind.
Democrats want their adversaries to be intelligent, reasonable and mature. Really. It challenges us to be more intelligent, reasonable and mature in return. And that can only be good for America.
© 2009 Jon Pine