Monday, September 12, 2011

If Only I had a Nuclear Arsenal...

...  I'd nuke every last ultra-conservative district.

After seeing the sorts of things that people had to say in the recent Republican debate, it is pretty well clear that if this is what conservatives really want out of the leader of the nation, then there is no place for them on this Earth.

Mitt Romney was leading the party for quite some time, and while I have my problems with him and his magic underpants, he is, in an odd way, more centrist than the liberal-by-affiliation-only Barack Obama.  Romney is willing to be anything and take on any sort of role in order to gain and hold onto the presidency.  If the populace swings conservative, he'll play conservative...  if he needs to be liberal, he'll be liberal.  If he's in a crowd which wants gay marriage, he's in support of it.  Another day, he'll be in a crowd which is anti-abortion, and he'll talk endlessly about the sacredness of any "potential life"...  while also remembering for another day that he's technically murdering thousands of "potential lives" every time he scratches his nose.  Well, simply put, he's the epitome of the phony politician.

For the Republican party, however, the lunatic fringe is at the steering wheel, and that means that the death knell for his campaign was sounded when he spoke something to the effect that suggests that Global Warming is not a hoax by corrupt scientists aiming to get rich on grants for green research.  In effect, this put the inimitable ditz, Michele Bachmann -- a woman, who, by all measures, makes Sarah Palin look like Enrico Fermi -- the Tea Party favorite by default.  Her stupidity is so beyond measure that it can be just as well designated a singularity from which no bright ideas can be emitted.  This woman exemplifies every way in which humanity can go wrong.  But the level of attention she got after winning the Iowa Straw Poll meant that even with all her missteps clearly put out in the open, the Tea Party drank it up.  It didn't matter that she has been shown to have such an unimaginably poor record with facts that even an utterance from her that 2+2=4 would be sufficient reason to doubt the validity of that statement.  Whatever else Michele Bachmann is, she is consistent and she tows the line.  The line full of inherent wrongness on all things, and latent bigotry that personify Tea Party extremism.  If only she could be a little less strident, and the liberal media would stop asking her those trick questions like "How do you intend to do [X]?"  But in the end, the party stuck with her because she was the best they could muster up.

Out of nowhere, then, comes Rick Perry.  The man is essentially W 2.0, except without any of the intellect of W 1.0.  Almost overnight, he has taken over and pushed Bachmann into a distant third, and Romney out to pasture.  The stranger thing is that he managed to sweep the field well before his first debate appearance.  What's sad is not just that someone who qualifies as such an egregious shame on humankind as Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann for that matter would lead the Tea Party polls, but why.

The reason why Bachmann was formerly at the top, and why Perry now is is ultimately in the way they deliver their message.  They have a mechanism of holding firm to simplified, non-ambiguous positions in the face of all reason.  Perry has a record of openly denying and ridiculing science, and determining that things which have no basis in fact can fix all of our problems.  He also has a record of anti-abortion laws that require attempting to guilt-trip women before a procedure can be carried out.  As bad as Bachmann's argument that CO2 is natural and therefore inherently harmless, Perry has argued global warming is non-existent because there's no danger to CO2.  He is like every creationist in the world with his dismissal of evolution as "just a theory."  He has driven the state to carry out more executions than any other governor in the nation...  more so, even than the second and third place states combined, and has granted clemency to only 31 death row prisoners, 28 of which were granted ONLY because the Supreme Court banned the execution of people under the age of 18...  and yes, he admits that much.

So why is he so appealing to the Tea Party hordes?  Because he takes all of that stupidity, all of that vileness, all of that anti-human attitude, and wraps it in a package of the proud Texas swagger.  To him, saying that he reluctantly granted clemency to 28 people simply because the Federal government didn't favor capital punishment upon children is not something you admit, but something worth boasting about.  To the average person with functioning brains, ideas like teaching children actual science, and not teaching them that slavery was a non-issue in the American Civil War, compassion, fairness, clemency, and a nuanced view on the value of life, and the nature of human sexuality is something we all consider to be quite reasonable.  To the Tea Party, it is not so much that they wouldn't believe in any of those things had they bothered to think about it, but that they refuse to think about it because it represents what they hate the most : Democrats...  and more importantly, Barack Obama.  It is literally at the point where the Republican Party is now being steered by a community where being intelligent, educated, and thoughtful is considered, without question, to be a bad thing.

The sad part is, that as far as politics in America is concerned, it's actually true.  The brain is actually a liability.  Stupidity is attractive, and it motivates with great power.  In essence, the dumber you are as a human being, the more brilliant you are as a politician.