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Ellis Weiner

Ellis Weiner

Posted February 8, 2009 | 05:05 PM (EST)

Steele Crazy After All This Year


First they came for me, because I had made fun of Sarah Palin. And they said, "Well, yeah, she's a congenital liar who can't give a coherent answer to a simple question even with the aid of a TelePrompter and a ventriloquist--but she's not representative of the new era of Republican leadership."

And then I said, "Oh, yeah? Well, how about Michael Steele, the new GOP chairman, who believes that 'work' for the government isn't 'a job' (even though it rewards labor with wages, which are spent by the worker on food, clothing, shelter, and health, which payments go back out into the private economy and provide income for fooders, clothers, shelterers, and healthers), plus this clown Steele says that, while government contracts are temporary, private sector jobs (for some magical reason) aren't."

And they said, "Oh, yeah? Well who is more likely to pay taxes: a private business owner, or the government?"

And I said, "Oh, yeah? Well who is more likely to be in business a year from now: most new private business owners, or the government?"

And they said, "Shut up."

Then they came for me because I reminded them that this Michael Steele, who proves you don't have to be a rich white man to be an idiot Republican, said, "a job is something a business-owner creates, it's going to be long-term," but when told that private sector jobs have disappeared in the millions, replied "But they come back, though, George. That's the point. They've gone away before, but they come back!" (Exclamation point added.)

And they said, "What's wrong with coming back? Jesus is going to come back. And when he does he'll be a small business owner, a one-(Son of) Man entrepreneur employing himself as Messiah looking to grow his business and thrive the economy and flourish the righteous."

So I said, "Okay, but wait. That's when the private sector jobs are going to come back? With the Second Coming, as thoroughly described in a highly amusing manner here? What if he never comes? And even if he does, eventually, what if The American People can't wait that long?"

And they said, "He'll come. He has to come, and he'll bring those jobs back with him. This is a Judeo-Christian nation. The Founding Fathers were all Judeo-Christians and the Founding Mothers were all virgins before they were married. The American People will wait as long as the Republican Party tells them they have to."

Watch Steele's interview with George Stephanopoulos, from which one emerges as from a dream, with two questions:

1. What's with George's hair? Is he auditioning to be Treat Williams' stand-in? (You Want: Kurt Russell. You'll Take: Treat Williams. You Get: George Stephanopoulos.)

2. That's it? That's the wisdom of the new (and black!) leader of the GOP? Some yakkity-yak double-talk about "work" vs. "jobs," and a plea--as though this were 1993--to eliminate rules which "have hindered and frustrated the banking process"? When everyone, from Judeos to Christians, agrees that the banking process hasn't been hindered and frustrated enough, that it's been the lack of rules (or of their enforcement) that led us to the edge of this economic cliff?

And then I asked them, "Hey. Where does Michael Steele think the Interstate Highway System, the TVA, NASA, and the beloved sex education film Where The Girls Are: VD in Southeast Asia came from? Didn't the poor shmucks who built, engineered, key-gripped and associate-produced those projects have 'jobs'?"

And they said, "Shut up" again and left me alone. For now.

We are witnessing, not so much the collapse of the Republican Party, as its slide into insanity. Granted, some (like my wife) believe it's already collapsed. Now that the Democrats have stopped shooting themselves in their various feet, it's the Republicans' turn, and they're going after all pedal extremities with every available sidearm--as exemplified by the appointment of Steele, for whom a chair is still a chair, even when there's no one sitting there, but chair is not a house, and a house is not a home, and "work" is not "a job."

Collapse, or craziness? I have my personal opinion. For truly: What was the GOP's great accomplishment last week, about which they openly admitted they felt good? A show of "unity" enough to block the first stimulus package. That's what put a spring back in their step: obstructing a desperately-needed solution to a problem rooted in their political philosophy. "Yes, we helped cover your house with gasoline, and we paid private contractors to shoot flaming arrows at it, yes. But we don't believe in Socialism, so we got the gang together--which wasn't easy!--and had everyone stand in the street to keep the fire trucks away. Yay us! We feel good!"

There are now articles seriously discussing whether--or even why--Rush "America's Favorite Saloon Loudmouth" Limbaugh is the most influential Republican gracing us with his wisdom ("I hope Obama fails") here in Freedom's land. Meanwhile, back at the turkey ranch, "a majority (55%) of Republicans and a plurality (46%) of unaffiliated voters think the GOP should follow Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the future." (Cf., to your disbelief, here. )

What can that mean, apart from reading "all" newspapers, shoving $160,000 worth of couture into garbage bags, and looking to Joe The Plumber, whose name isn't Joe and who isn't a plumber, for advice? We don't know. We can't know. For all of our personal and political failings, we are still blessed with half a brain, ten percent of which we proudly use on a daily basis. We simply cannot conceive of what the world looks like to whomever is left still calling themselves a Republican.

Sadly, if hilariously, it may be that the usual modalities--psychoanalysis; pharmaceuticals; electro-convulsive therapy; imprisonment in the public stockade subject to shaming, shunning, and the throwing of vegetables--will prove to be of only partial efficacy. In the end, or by this Wednesday, the Republican Party may very well have become an out-and-out cult: self-fulfillingly isolated in its delusions; self-defeatingly exclusive in its narrow insistence on ideological purity; increasingly cut off from the most generous conceptions of reality; and swellingly fervid in its members' imagined threats and grandiose in their fantasy accomplishments. Don't believe me? Read their blogs.

Can we bear to witness such a metamorphosis? You bet. With popcorn. And when even Michael Steele is purged as not being krazee enough for the Sarah-Palinized party, and returns to government employment in the state of Maryland, we'll have just one piece of advice for him: "Dude--enough with the work. Get a job."

Cross-posted at What HE Said.