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The Pilgrim's Regress

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One way to make sense of the species Republicanis Lupus and its consistently confounding behavior is to transpose upon its familiar aspect the classic costume of the iconic Old World Pilgrim (which can be accomplished by even the most Luddite-leaning computer operator utilizing basic Photo Shop software). Download pictures of your favorite Republican all-star (just so many to choose from!) and let's have some fun, shall we?

Begin by replacing the spanking Brooks Brothers suit with a sleeveless waistcoat and a roomy pair of Dutch "slops"; cut and paste a couple of buckled brogans over the shiny capped Oxfords and place a wide-brimmed silk hat upon the perfect golfer's coif.

And if you really want to be cute, finish it all off by superimposing a glowing red-hot poker in the trembling, white knuckled fist and huzzah! The stodgy, inane ranting of the common Republican politician makes absolute sense, as it is now issuing from the mouth of an antiquated, pinched-nostrilled, bed-warmer-burnishing prude. Do it with the crowd at the recent CPAC and it looks like the first Thanksgiving, except with less sex and fewer people of color.

Because with their maddening obstructionism and the accurate framing of their party as the purveyors of "No!" they are hereupon revealed in their priggish guise to be retrograde and obsolete, trying desperately to incite culture war in a culture that no longer requires their participation and painting the Obama administration's efforts at economic stabilization (along with every other Democratic policy proposal) as an example of diabolical sorcery. Or socialism. But why quibble? Heresy, is heresy.

Against the efficacious backdrop of Change and Hope, their destructive ideology is viewed in stark relief. While in Ye Olde Tymes infidelity and witchcraft would have respectively entitled the offenders to receive an embroidered "A" or an al fresco broasting, the modern day Republican seeks to maintain its power by doing away with thoughtful analysis altogether and instead putting its full (though waning) might behind cynical, lame attempts to imitate the Democratic party's success in energizing its diverse base. That, and allowing The Grand Inquisitor Brother Limbaugh (I'm mixing my historical tidbits but you get the picture) to articulate its Agenda Hysterical. Break out the thread and kindling. It's Bobby Jindal and Michele Bachman in '12!

The current version of Conservative Republicanism is not an ideology which stands for prosperity and freedom (as their arrogant, dead-end exponents would have the world believe) but for bureaucratic negligence, corporate corruption and socio-political division, characteristics which have come to define their erratic behavior. Denuded in defeat, they grasp at straws to cover their flaccid schemes; having lost their power, they have lost their way. They are Pilgrims who haven't progressed at all.