11/10/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Joe Wilson: Pan-Carolina Hollerin' Champeen

Look, I'm a hollerin', incipiently double-chinned white guy from the Carolinas. I come from a long line of hollerin', incipiently double-chinned white guys from the Carolinas. And I'm proud of my heritage. We, the wattle-shakers and troublemakers -- the grouchy-cracker vanguard -- we've been hollerin' stupid stuff for centuries. And hollerin' (that's an industry term, by the way) is just the amuse bouche: We're still proud of Preston Brooks, the mentally unstable junior Senator from South Carolina, who actually caned Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner within an inch of his tax-rate back in the 1850s. (Ol' Press claimed he was tired of Sumner making fun of an older colleague -- I'm assuming he meant Strom Thurmond.) And hey, remember the sixties? We sure got some good hollerin' in back then, though that wily turkey-buzzard LBJ hollered louder. We are renowned, after all, for our "hollerin" contests." We're the ones who heroically hollered for Freedom Fries and, back in the halcyon days of hollerin', slaves.

But that Joe Wilson, boy, he might've out-hollered us all. First, a note on the holler itself: Points for clarity, timbre and volume, not to mention something we hollerers call "the X factor," which is indefinable, but can be quantified as "willingness to interrupt a President in the middle of the most important address to Congress on domestic policy in forty years." It was a holler heard round the world, to coin a phrase, and certainly heard round the rostrum (the secret is twofold: 1) breathing from the diaphragm, and 2) being an inexplicably angry white man). And I'm hoping we hear it over and over again, to appreciate what it says about the hollerer, his illustrious party of fellow hollerers, and their role, going forward, in the governance of this great country of ours. With that holler, I suspect the Republican Party has finally achieved a substratum of disrepute formerly reserved for Timmy McVeigh apologists, dog molesters and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

And here's the fun part: We can help keep them there! I'm not talking about barking on our blogs or Tweeting the usual takedowns to our twenty most liberal friends. No, I'm talking about putting something in the water, y'all. Urban myths. Nasty rumors. Really vile stuff. I'm talking about *infecting* Republicanism (if a disease can, in fact, be itself infected -- gonna have to WebMD that). Because right now, GOPers are enjoying the benefits of Lost Cause mythology. If you'll recall, that's the mindset that gave us Birth of a Nation and the quaint Dixie tradition of lynchings. That's what romanticized the KKK in the twenties, and gave us oh-so-dainty phrases like "the War Between the States." It was a Civil freaking War, people. And so is this.

Remember how, not too long ago, Republicans got their hooks into the word "Democrat"? "Democrat" party. "Democrat" partisans. "Democrat" Hitler. Those clever Pubes (my new foreshortening of "Republican") somehow made the word "Democrat" sound like "paraquat," and imbued it with similar appeal. That's where we need to go, and soon. Not to get all Death Panel-y on you, but this is a mercy killing. The Republican Party is beyond non-functional; it's a festering appendix, drunk on its own pus, sickening an already-weakened polity. As a rump, it's inert and unsightly. As gadflies... well, gadflies usually have an intelligible message. Republicans are more like mosquitoes: mindless, blood-hungry targeting mechanisms lacking intellect and morality. The GOP is a flailing, headless demon, a Sick Crew of political suicide bombers. What do they stand for? The free market? Fine and dandy, but they can't seem to explain how it'd work on issues like health care. (And no one's asked them to: Tsk-tsk, MSM!) Moral hazard is still a cornerstone of Republicanism, but, as nihilists, they obviously lack the "moral" half of that concept. Their only discernible theme -- apart from all that champion hollerin' -- seems to be: "If you lived here, you'd be home by now," followed closely by "You can't get there -- or anywhere -- from here."

But we did live "there," in lily-white Republitown, not too long ago. It was an awful place, a quadruple-mortgaged McMansion built on rickety stilts of torture, fear and debt, and finally, it collapsed under its own weight. We already know Republicans can't govern--at least, not outside of the Northeast, where failsafe expectations for social security (small "s") keep them from hurting themselves and others. (Believe me, I pine for the comparatively functional Republicans of the '90s. Oh Bill Weld, where are you? Please come pick up your party: It's drinking corn liquor and embarrassing itself, and pretty soon, it's gonna shoot somebody.) Now we know they can't even wrap their wattles around the "loyal opposition" thing.

So while all that hollerin' is going on, on cable, on the radio, over chicken a la king at the John Birch Society, I suggest we commence a-whisperin'. Poison the well. Start a few of those Vince Foster or "secret Muslim"-style rumors -- hell, whatever you come up with, it's probably true. (Learned that from Lee Atwater, the ur-hollerer -- and also a master whisperer.) And do what you can to permanently expel this treacherous, demented, fermented faction from the political mainstream. Expose them for the fertilizer-hoarding, Left Behind-reciting, race-baiting, zero-sum-gamers that they are. Oh, and make sure you include a tang of Fifth Columnism in your hate-campaign, remembering, as I do, that not too long ago, you were called Traitor and Coward, simply for opposing a dopey war launched on dopey premises by now-discredited dopes--and paid for, let's not forget, with your traitorous tax dollars. So there we are: gossip and bile and scorched-earth, a march to the sea. That's my new Southern Strategy. Real mature stuff, I know, but hell, civility is for "Democrat" Presidents and actual statesmen. Me, I'm just a stumpy Southern boy with unlimited reserves of red-faced fury -- ineffable, ungovernable, implacable -- just like my foes across the political divide. And I'll stop hollerin' now.