Every political party has its strengths and weaknesses. The Democratic Party, for instance, is built on forward-looking issues focused on nurturing individuals, while at the same time being so contentious it occasionally eats its young.
The Independent Party pursues an agenda of broad fair-mindedness balanced by a total absence of rational organization. The Green Party develops ennobling principles for all Mankind, combined with a myopia that ignores known reality.
As for the Republican Party, it's recently hit a new level of paradox, a level never thought even able to exist, much like the once-accepted belief that if a human being held its breath until its head exploded it would no longer be able to function.
The Republican Party, on the one hand, pushes to protect everything that is important from the past in order to help build as strong a future as possible. On the other hand, it has become the Stupidest Party in the Entire World.
Now, to be clear, this doesn't mean every Republican in America is stupid. They're not. Indeed, many have interesting ideas in varied areas worth developing. It's just that, as a party, they have turned Mass Obedience into an art form.
The Republican Party has never been one that gave much credence to independent thinking. Free-thinking Hippies gave Republicans the heebie-jeebies during the Love Generation. Free-thinking college professors give Republicans the willies today. Free-thinking, period, gives Republicans the cold sweats at any time. So, walking in comforting lock-step is always something Republicans do well. The famous 11th Commandment of Republicans has always been, "Thou shalt not criticize another Republican." However, when blindly playing Follow the Leader, it generally helps having a leader worth following.
"Thou shalt not criticize another Republican" might make for a grand tea party, but it will ruin a political party. When someone is hitting themselves in the head with a baseball bat, we all learned from childhood that we should try to get him to stop. But Republicans today are not only not getting the person to stop, they're asking for their own baseball bat to try it themselves.
There's an inexplicable point to all this, but first it's important to understand the background:
In a recent Pew Research Poll, Americans favored the Iraq Pullout bill by a massive 59%-33%. (When George Bush won the 2004 Presidency by just 3%, he declared a mandate.) Yet Republicans voted almost to a person against it. Americans think the Iraq War is not going well by 67%-30%, but Republicans voted to increase that war with the President's "Surge."
Americans say there is solid evidence of global warming, by a gigantic 77%-16%. But the Republican Party supports the President questioning science.
Americans favor stem cell research by 56%-32% - but this remains the only veto by George Bush in his Presidency - and blindly Republicans sustained it.
On and on, the Republican Party is walking out of step with America and off the plank into the deep briny below. Pick any issue, it's a buyer's market.
Keep in mind that these documented facts don't live in an isolated vacuum. They show up where it counts (literally) - in the voting booth. No one should wonder why Democrats swept Congress. As recently as 2002, a Pew Poll showed Americans split 43%-43% in their party identification. Today, that number has opened a Grand Canyon-like divide, with 50% of Americans considering themselves Democrats and only 35% Republican.
And that, quite simply, is the inexplicable point.
The Republican Congress still robotically follows their leader into whatever sinkhole he takes them. It's as if they have become lemmings, content to follow George Bush as he waddles them off a cliff. It is utterly inexplicable to see professional politicians - who can read polls better than anyone - throwing their careers away.
Because that's exactly what they're doing.
In a mere 19 months, every member of the House of Representatives is up for re-election, and if Republicans insist on blindly, unthinkingly, hypnotically following a wildly unpopular President and his inner-circle, and supporting disastrously unpopular issues, as their walls of Styrofoam crumble, they will go down in flames worthy of a Wagnerian opera.
The Republican Party has ceased being a political party and has instead become a cult, unable to question authority (unless it's Bill Clinton), while sipping their spiked Kool-Aid, knowing full-well it could lead to their demise. Republican Way disciples can insist that all this isn't so. But that doesn't make it not so.
As the Deputy Chief to the Vice President gets convicted of lying; as the Attorney General teeters on resignation; as the President's chief advisor comes under investigation for misuse of the General Services Administration; as the crown jewel military hospital is revealed in disrepair, as the President's approval plummets to 30% - and as Americans say they are dissatisfied with the direction of the United States by 61%-28%...the Republican Party closes its eyes to reality and follows its leader, just because he's its leader.
Zoologists believe this to be the first time in recorded history that rats have refused to leave a sinking ship.
Republicans deny the science.