As backdrop to the Republican presidential primaries a doltish brawl has been erupting among GOP factions. And it's not just the philanderers and extremists who've been dubbed the clowns; it's also the right-wing media who've gone plumb too far in 2011.
The Wall Street Journal tossed a pot of hot rhetorical tar onto Congressional leaders for their Tea Party resistance to passing the payroll tax holiday, while the Journal itself is also falling into a circular firing squad. David Frum, a former editorialist for the Journal and speechwriter for George W. Bush, has opined on FrumForum that it's time to downgrade the Journal's editorial page, enumerating its instances of false and flip-flop arguments.
And seven studies conducted at universities and foundations have shown that viewers of fellow news organization Fox News are least well informed on a variety of hot-button subjects. So -- a once-great newspaper falls into disrepute and millions of voters grow less informed on important matters, thanks to the rightward push of parent company News Corporation.
As Republican candidates and elected officials swallow the News Corp Kool-Aid, there is more circular firing going around. Former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) claimed to be disgusted by his former colleagues' conduct around the debt ceiling fiasco, and conservative columnist David Brooks penned "The Mother of All No-Brainers" about the Republican intransigence on the same matter. Former Senator Danforth (R-MO) was "embarrassed" by the Republican presidential primary debates, and a Greek chorus of Republicans came out against former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich running for president.
But topping the ship-is-burning-and-rats-are-leaping department came the Mike Lofgren essay, "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP operative who left the Cult." This lengthy and literate indictment stressed that political "rottenness" is by far the art of the Republicans. Their objective behind the use of the Senate filibuster, he states, has been the destruction of government effectiveness as a way to enhance the party which is "programmatically against government."
And in hating government, what could be more hated than regulations to address climate change? On this, Republican candidates take it as doctrine that climate change cannot come from a naturally occurring gas -- even if that gas would kill you in minutes if you tied a plastic bag around your head. It seems they're heeding conservative think tanks that host conferences on the dark theme that the crisis has been invented to crush capitalism and enact "red marxist socioeconomic doctrine." Better to believe that scientists who earn ordinary salaries are pumping up climate conspiracies for the money (in spite of several official exonerations on "Climategate"), while fossil fuel companies earning billions per quarter can't possibly be funding so-called skeptics opposing climate change consensus (they are). The fossil companies have therefore won unanimous Republican votes to keep up their subsidies, and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) crowed our nation can't compete with China in clean tech. American exceptionalism be damned if it means Republicans have to cross swords with their fossil fuel funders like Big Coal, which has kept House Speaker Boehner on intravenous drip.
In a refreshing win for reality, the Republican attack on the Environmental Protection Agency has drawn big resistance. A Journal editorial whipping fear about reduced electric reliability stemming from new EPA mercury rules drew angry letters from executives of major utilities blasting the Journal's assertions and defending the rules. David Brooks and others have shredded the Republican argument that regulations crush jobs. Manufacturers of appliances and light bulbs in line for higher efficiency regulations have squawked at Congress to be sure the regulations stay on track.
Frum frames the GOP as being mired with too many denialist dinosaurs and the party's reply even to public opinion seems to be "polls schmolls." In a Colorado College study, 71 percent of respondents from the Tea Party say that environmental regulations can coexist with a strong economy, and a League of Conservation Voters poll also revealed that 71 percent do support EPA regulations of carbon dioxide, including majority support among Republican voters.
At Halloween, the planet slid into the frightening fact of having seven billion human mouths to feed as food prices are hitting record highs and fresh water supplies are in decline. In response, Republicans in the U.S., where the earth's resources are devoured at unethical proportions, have responded by attacking Planned Parenthood. Thankfully on this we also see glimmers of pushback in ultra-conservative bastions such as Mississippi which trounced by a wide margin a personhood amendment like the one defeated twice on the ballot here in Colorado, and evangelical leader Richard Cizik has announced that family planning with birth control is morally laudable for protecting women, families and the unborn.
Those who are conservationist Republicans, independent, moderate, progressive, liberal and green should make it their cause to turn the tables in the next election on this clown car party which seems intent on stuffing the world into a cannon and shooting it into oblivion. The only ones belonging in the cannon are the clowns themselves.