How was Herbert Hoover re-nominated in 1932, when it was obvious he would get pounded?
The answer came during the Republican debate in Florida.
Hoover was just following orders.
When a generation of assumptions comes up against cold hard reality, it seems, there’s nothing believers can do but pretend reality does not exist, and proceed according to their assumptions. Thus despite trillions added to the debt, John McCain called the Republicans the party of "fiscal responsibility." Despite an enormous majority saying Iraq isn’t worth it, Mitt Romney insisted Hillary Clinton would be mad to run against the war.
It was like watching a debate in Bizarro World and the more it went on the crazier it got. Everyone was friendly toward one another, everyone was spouting the same jargon. It was like they were huddling around a common campfire with only ideology to keep them warm.
Every once in a (great) while Ron Paul would be invited by the moderators to toss some cold water on the party. Get rid of the Federal Reserve. Get out of Iraq. Stop spending on anything. But the fight had gone out of the rest of them. They didn’t have the stomach to answer the crazy any more. They had their own crazy to deal with. So they just ignored ol’ Ron Paul and went right back to their Fantasy Island.
It’s not just the candidates.
It’s the grassroots.
I live in Atlanta, surrounded by rabid Republicans. I drive around the suburbs sometimes. And I look at the bumper stickers.
I have yet to see a single bumper sticker for a 2008 Republican Presidential candidate, except for ol’ Ron Paul. No McCain stickers. No Romneys. No Huckabees. No Giulianis. Not even any stickers for ol’ Fred Thompson, who dropped out this week. And the Georgia primary is just 11 days away.
What I do find, still, are these little oval W ’04 stickers.
Fact is, if George W. Bush were not term-limited, if he were able under the Constitution to run again, he would easily win re-nomination. He’s become the political equivalent of a Confederate Battle Flag. He’s the true Lost Cause. Politically, Republicans are just waiting for the scene at the Appomattox Courthouse, and hoping they don’t have to give their swords to General Hillary "goddamn" Clinton. Maybe that nice young Obama fella. If we’re going to go down, let’s go all the way down. Time for something completely different.
Which brings me to the two boys above.
Travis Harmon and Jonathan Shockley, two Tennessee natives now based in Los Angeles, have become the Smothers Brothers of our time. After several relative failures, they hit upon the characters of Jackie & Dunlap, two drunk Republican good ol’ boys. Shockley threw some white in his beard, Travis pulled on a t-shirt several sizes too small, and they started putting up what they called Red State Update on the YouTube.
It’s a hit. A monster hit. Sort of like The Colbert Report, only funnier. If these two boys don’t have their own show (or at least a regular spot on someone else’s show) within six months I don’t know talent. And I know talent.
The point is, there’s really nothing anyone can do about the Republican Party any more but laugh at ’em. The whole shebang is just a national joke, a disgrace. The rats are deserting the sinking ship, but the band plays on, and a whole bunch of ’em are going down with the boat.