10/18/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Unexpected? Hardly

What's with the shocked headlines? Roiling stockmarkets a surprise? Come on! While Republicans eviscerated government and looted the treasury, created and and exploited fear while thoroughly trashing the language, we heard about it -- in detail -- from Kevin Phillips (Bad Money, American Dynasty) and Robert A.G. Monks (Corpocracy), Robert Kuttner (Everything for Sale) and Frank Partnoy (F.I.A.S.C.O.), Haynes Johnson (The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism), John Dean (Broken Government) and Susan Faludi (The Terror Dream), and from many, many others ... regularly ... over the last forty years. We didn't want to know? It was easier, more comfortable, not to. OK, semi-plausible deniability: the media let us down too; but they were just "telling (selling) us what we wanted to hear." Despite the rhetoric, we have not been abandoned by causality.

Let's stop being so nice about all this. The Republican Party is rotten from and to the core -- top to bottom bad apples (Jack Abramoff, Michael "Brownie" Brown, Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich, Duke Cunningham, Ralph Reed, Sarah Palin, Charles Keating, Dick Cheney, Bob Ney, Howard Phillips, Anne Gorsuch, Paul Wolfowitz, Rudy Giuliani, Monica Gooding, George Bush, George the Lesser, Phil Gramm, John Yoo, Joe McCarthy, Rick Santorum, Pat Buchanan, Tom DeLay, Spiro Agnew, Pat Robertson, The Federalist Society, The Heritage Foundation, The American Enterprise Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Rush Limbaugh, Ollie North, Ann Coulter, the deceit, the deficit, the disappointments, the depressions, the disasters, et cetera, et al, ad nauseum ... and now, alas, John and Cindy McCain). Hasn't always been this bad, but it is now. It's as if that other great shock -- Republicans lie -- is somehow "unexpected". Well ... no. Not hardly.

A quick tour of your favorite bookseller provides ample evidence. Thomas Frank puts it in horrific, excruciating detail in The Wrecking Crew . Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes gives us on-the-record proof of paranoid Republicans' deceits, lies, extremism and dishonesty (with frequent Democratic complicity) -- plus, of course, the genuine incompetence guaranteed to undercut our confidence in "government". While Jonathan Mahler's The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld reads like a thriller, its true terror lies in how close Republicans' utter contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution has come to fulfilling the nightmare of a "unitary presidency". To what end? Wholesale theft by the military-industrial-security-outsourcing-earmarking complex and defeat for the rising worldwide tide of genuine democracy.

Unfortunately, a quick tour of your local newsstand will be less informative, though several periodicals have been conscientious and responsible. And, used very discriminatingly, the internet has been a godsend.

It's past time to face it. The Republican would-be "emperor" has been naked from the moment Abraham Lincoln took his final breath. Ask Ida Tarbel or Lincoln Steffans a century ago what the formerly GOP had wrought. Or read this morning's report on the state of our globalized markets. Republicans break it and complain when Democrats try to repair the damage. Republicans beggar the public treasury, then complain about government spending.

It's one thing to be upset and concerned about what's been happening in the world's economy, specifically the United States, these past days. It's something else to pretend we didn't know, couldn't have known.

According to a recent survey (I have a mirror in my office), refusal to see evil is itself evil.

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