09/15/2007 07:18 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Wanted: Zizzy New Term

A friend writes about how he sometimes gets "discouraged" when he contemplates the endless mendacity and bad faith of Republicans. Yeah, I know--Duh.

But he has a point. Time after time after time, they're wrong, they lie, they spout the purest propaganda. Time after time, their mendacity (or brute stupidity) is revealed. And time after t., the faithful come back for more.

One heard this in its starkest form on the old Al Franken show on Air America. Franken featured, as a regular guest, some guy with whom he'd gone to high school (and maybe earlier grades, too) . This guy was now a self-professed, proud Dittohead. "You liberals," he'd say, parroting the revered Rush Limbaugh. "You--" (fill in blank w/ crass, inaccurate generalization--"won't be happy until everyone is poor/want to tax everyone except the terrorists/want government money to clone Hitler"/etc.).

Franken would then play a clip of Limbaugh making some blustery, confident, completely wrong or untrue remark, and then play another clip, or read from a primary source, thoroughly disproving what Limbaugh had said. The friend (I forget his name) would pause, and then say, "Well, okay, yeah, Rush got that wrong. But..."

This happened on a weekly, if not a daily, basis. Franken, who was never anything other than genial and warm toward this boyhood pal, even compiled montages or audio medleys of him saying, "Yeah, okay, but--" and "All right, that's wrong, but--" and "Yeah, Rush really blew that one. Still--" and he, and we, all had a jolly good laugh at it.

During the entire year in which I listened avidly to the show, not once did this person ever say, "You know...there's a pattern here. Gee, maybe Rush has been deliberately falisfying things on purpose! Maybe I shouldn't believe him or listen to him!"

How much intelligence and honesty does it take to perceive and admit the simple fact that, just because the terrorists are bad, doesn't mean that Bush is good? How much more evidence do you need to realize that Bush and Cheney (and Rumsfeld, and Addington, and Rice, and Gonzales, and etc.) are lying swine now because they have always been lying swine?

God forbid a right-winger should detach himself (or herself) from the delicious, nutritious teats of (one) right-wing ideology and (the other) self-righteous certainty, from which they derive sustenance, and think for themselves. God for-fucking-bid one of them should look up for one single second and think, "Uh-oh. I've been duped."

Heaven-for-goddamn-fend one of these fans of Rush, Sean, Ann, Bill-O, and the Ebola-like ravings of the wingnut blogs should think, for a single clear moment, "You know, I'm always angry after I listen to these people. I always get energized and enflamed with hate for liberals. And it feels good! But so many of the 'facts' I'vebeen basing my pure, revivifying hatred on are subsequently proven wrong! Myriad books have been and are being published limning a damning portrait of systematic falsehood and manipulation by the Republican Party, Fox News, and their sundry political and ideological colleagues. Have I been...lied to?"

So we need a term, such as the witty and accurate "Bush Derangement Syndrome" (applied to people who fall into a foaming, hydrophobic fit at the very fact of George Bush's existence, yes, people like you. And like me.), for such continually and stubbornly blind suckers. These are people who have, by now, seven years of Bush administration mendacity, corruption, and ineptitude behind them, and still they refuse to admit the truth.

What should we call that?

(Cross-posted, along with so much more!, at