The Republican Party is so bankrupt of new ideas that they’ve taken to co-opting every criticism that was launched at the Bush administration for eight long years and lobbed them right back at Barack Obama. The Grand Old Party hasn’t even bothered to give it the good old college try by paraphrasing their stolen ideas or disguising them with little mustaches. Just find “Bush” and replace-all with “Obama” and you’ve got the party’s current talking points.
According to the right, the “corrupt” Obama administration is attempting a “power grab” that is “fundamentally transforming” the country and “dismantling the Constitution.” Corruption isn’t partisan, of course, and the new administration deserves as much scrutiny as its predecessor when it comes to presidential powers and constitutionality, but most disturbing and transparent is how the left’s claims that Bush’s presidency was illegitimate has been countered by a small but increasing—and increasingly vocal—fringe faction of the Republican party who claim that Obama isn’t an American citizen and therefore isn’t eligible to be president. After getting all the ratings mileage out of bashing Mexicans that he could, even CNN’s Lou Dobbs has taken his xenophobia to a new level of parody, giving the Birthers a mainstream platform—and credibility—they hadn’t enjoyed previously.
On his show earlier this week, FOX News loon Glenn Beck played a snippet of a speech in which Obama vowed to push Americans to make sacrifices for the greater good and take responsibility for things like climate change (specifically making the point that the U.S. cannot credibly demand developing nations to take steps toward more eco-friendly policies if we do not set an example), and then erupted into a predictably childish rant, the essence of which was basically “You’re not the boss of me! I do what I want!” He then, fittingly, introduced blogger Michelle Malkin. Malkin is promoting her new book, Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies, which details corruption that is ostensibly so potent and pervasive that it warranted a book being released six months into Obama’s first term, which is probably about as long as it took its coherence-challenged author to write it.
On the show, Malkin struggled to compose her ostensibly planned string of unintelligible buzz words and fear-mongering, warning of “shadow governments,” “the Chicago way,” “a civilian core,” and—my favorite—“a brigade of foot soldiers implanted in neighborhoods across the city who are at the beck and call of Team Obama, um, to, whether it’s shaking down banks, forming a housing entitlement mob, um, fostering voter fraud and, uh, census shenanigans.” Brigade! Foot soldiers! Implanted! Shaking down! Mob! Fraud! Shenanigans! At least she didn’t use the word “gang.” Later in the segment, without an ounce of irony, she chirped, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant!”
Beck, in an attempt to plug Malkin’s book, provided evidence to his previous claims that he’s not a real reporter by declaring that he doesn’t “read other people’s books when it comes to their political thoughts, et cetera, et cetera.” The state of the Republican Party, ladies and gentlemen.
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.