Now that Ohio Gov. John Kasich has announced that he may run in 2016, the already crowded Republican field is becoming a showpiece of the intellectually and morally bankrupt. Remember last December, when Fox News’ Mara Liasson fawned over 2016’s potential bounty?
It is really amazing and this is a huge, huge field, and it’s a substantial field. It’s not… it’s a lot of Senators, a lot of Governors. These are real serious people. This is not, you know, talk show hosts running for president.
Today, that dream has largely become a nightmare. Yet Julian Zelizer writes in an op-ed at CNN that, “The multiplicity of voices will allow the party to showcase a wider range of ideas and to foster a more robust debate about the direction of the party.”
Wait a second. Stop right there. A wider range of ideas? Since when has the GOP – in this young century at least – showcased a wider range of ideas, let alone debated about the direction of the party? These first 15 years of the 21st century have been a rapid and steady slide into extremism, the pace of which, if anything, has only increased. There is no debate about direction.
And even for the establishment it seems to be a case of, “how much extremism can we get away with?”
On the other hand, Zelizer is certainly correct about the “corrosive effect” of money – he calls it “private” money but it’s really corporate – has on American politics. After all, the Kochs have already announced that they will buy the 2016 election. Corporations don’t have to be all that secretive about it anymore, now that they’re people according to the Supreme Court.
Zelizer also says that, “Hypercompetitive, unfiltered primaries also result in a dilution of media attention for any single candidate, including competitors to the leading candidates.” I don’t think this is much of a problem, at least not from our perspective.
The Republican hopefuls are virtual clones of one another. While Bernie Sanders may pull Hillary a little – or a lot – leftward, the competing voices on the right each try to outdo the other in strident extremism. But they’re all extreme to begin with, so it is merely a matter of degree.
As in 2012, and as Zelizer notes, these extremist views will inevitably attract the attention of the mainstream media, and it will hurt the GOP brand. The GOP calls his betrayal, and said the mainstream media gave the election to the Democrats, but the media didn’t report half of what these nutcases were saying, or it would have been far worse.
It’s not the media’s fault the GOP has jumped collectively into the clown car. After all, they are the ones saying it. The media is only reporting it – sort of. The Hill has recently identified “Six Dangerous Issues” for 2016. We are guaranteed to see Republican candidates stumble over each and every one of them.
Extremist rhetoric is already front and center as the candidates step up and one after the other, embarrass themselves on national news shows. Scott Walker, when he’s not uttering gibberish, thinks being a tourist makes him an expert on foreign affairs. Ben Carson thinks prison makes people gay.
Jeb Bush can’t decide if invading Iraq was a good idea, and Marco Rubio can’t even answer the question the same way twice in a single minute of time – on Fox News yet. If a Republican bombs on Fox News – and he is not the first to do so – the Republican Party has problems.
Ruben Navarrette wrote back in March that Jeb Bush needs to “speak truth to GOP voters” but Jeb can’t decide what the truth is. Heck, he doesn’t even know he’s not a Latino.
Things look bad, and they are going to get worse. Republicans can search high and low for a Hillary Clinton Achilles heel, but as long as she has them for opponents, she has no Achilles heel. The GOP does not have what it takes – in any of their gazillion candidates – to defeat Hillary Clinton.
Sure, it’s Hillary, but don’t downplay the value of sanity. It’s a rare commodity on the right, and absolute buzz-kill for the Republican base. And because of this, it doesn’t matter how many or how few candidates the Republicans put up in 2016.
In the end, Republican hopes will come down to a nutty white male who sounds like all the other nutty white males, a guy who hates blacks, hates Latinos, hates Native Americans, hates women, hates gays, hates Muslims, hates workers and labor unions, hates atheists and secularists, hates environmentalists and scientists and intellectuals, hates the freakin’ Pope – and, well…even post-birth human beings in general.
In fact, the only “people” Republican candidates like are white conservative Christians – and corporations.
That’s a small tent, kids. A tent dedicated to choosing from among a collection of deplorably similar lickspittle chickenhawks who couldn’t find their anuses with both hands.
That’s what the mainstream media ought to be talking about. But sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, they’ll avoid that one.
Unfortunately for the Republican Party, the voters won’t.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.