The Republican Party, ever vigilant in it’s attempts to define itself as the Party of Failed Ideas–a mantle the Democrats are desperately vying for (see: Escalation of Afghanistan)–has release a so-called “purity test” by which it can judge whether candidates are willing to pay sufficient lip service to the frozen head of Ronald Reagan.
Much like the Father-Daughter “purity balls“–which is so funny on so many levels–that share their namesake, this new purity test reeks of the moral condescesnsion the Republican party has made its trademark. Let’s take a closer look at how the GOP Council of Virtue will examine the political hymens of future candidates.
The first thing that has to be said about this purity test is that it’s predictably incoherent, wildly oscillating between mutually exclusive policy positions almost by the word. It reads like the gin-fueled ramblings of a New York Post headline writer, a character who in all honesty would make a fine mascot for the intellectually-absent GOP.
Take, for instance, these two sets of requirements, which absolutely cannot exist in the same world.
“(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill”
But then there’s also this:
(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;
The childish vocabulary not withstanding — “supporting victory” actually means nothing, literally–those two sets of requirements simply can’t coexist. Endless wars and occupations cost a lot of money, something that is the opposite of “small government, small debt.” Not to mention that the national debt is the legacy to the Republican party. According to Michael Parenti, the national debt under Reagan went from $800 billion to $2.5 trillion, and under W. Bush it went from $5 trillion to $10 trillion.
Fact checking Republican propaganda is a fools errand, and I have no desire to point out how each resolution on this list is either internally inconsistent or based on lies. But to give credit where credit is due, I actually don’t think that this list, in theory, is a bad idea. One of the most destructive tendencies in Washington is for incumbents to take their seats for granted. All too often members of both parties vote for the interests of their corporate owners, not their constituents.
Incumbents don’t fear reprisal for their repulsive behavior, which is how you end up with Democrats like Sex Escort Max Baucus and Sober Joe Lieberman, both of whom consistently vote against the wishes of those they claim to represent. It is good for a party to have values and to hold its members accountable to those values. It just so happens that the GOP’s values belong scrawled on the wall of Arkham Asylum, complete with the terrifying laugh of the Joker echoing through the halls.
As but two modest suggestions for what the Democrats might want to have on a similar list, I offer the following:
1) We oppose escalating wars of choice which will result not only in the continuing death of Americans and citizens of the country we are occupying, but will also foster future anti-American sentiment
2) We oppose using private contractors to engage in activities traditionally reserved for the military without any kind of legal oversight whatsoever
The thing is–those aren’t really “Democratic” values. It feels like they should be, but they aren’t. Obama will shortly announce his plan to escalate the occupation of Afghanistan, which most congressional Democrats will undoubtedly support.
For further reading on issue 2), I can’t recommend this article by Jeremy Scahillstrongly enough. It’s a must read, front to back, and explains how Blackwater and other mercenary groups remain entrenched in the Obama administration’s handling of our continuing wars.
For all the correct talk of the GOP standing for nothing other than white nationalism, it is difficult to see what the Democrats stand for as well. That has never been more clear than now, as we push further in to a war without end and stumble towards a health care bill that PHrMA can’t get enough of.
The very idea of congressional purity is a joke–although it gets funnier if you add “balls” to the end of it.