Tag Archives: tea party

The downgrade

So Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. long-term debt from AAA to AA+ (with a negative outlook). Ouch. Yeah, it’s a bit of a joke. After all, these are the jokers who declared Lehman Brothers AAA a month before they went bankrupt. They rated junk mortgage securities AAA, leading directly to the financial mess we’re in now. And we can argue till the cows come home about whether S&P oughta be in the business of downgrading our credit rating because our political system is so dysfunctional.

Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they did. They looked at the recently completed debt ceiling debate and determined that although we haven’t defaulted, and probably won’t in the near future, our idiocy is so complete that creditors should think twice or more about extending further credit.

Now, that would probably suit the TeaPublicans just fine. They seem to relish the idea of the United States becoming a backwater country where the majority of its citizens have little to no access to decent health care or education. And why wouldn’t they? Stupid, sick citizens are much easier to bully into submission. And the handful of others who know better? Just throw ‘em in jail, shoot ‘em if you have to. That’s what they do in places like Zimbabwe, Syria, Yemen and Iran. Never let a little inconvenient truth bother you.

And all of this could have been avoided. We’ve had so many chances. After Reagan put us on this wretched road to ruin, Americans wised up after a term of George Bush Sr. and elected Bill Clinton, at the time branded The Most Liberal Man On The Planet although he was a Blue Dog at best. Never mind, though, he was certainly far better than another four years of GHWB, or, god forbid, one of the other whackos who could have been on the Republican ticket. You know, people like Pat Buchanan and David Duke.

The GOP Noise Machine went into high gear of course, lying and stretching the truth at every possible moment to paint Clinton as Evil Incarnate. It worked to some extent, but it didn’t wholly work because Bill possesses one of those thing the Republicans like in their candidates: He’s Affable. You wanna have a beer with him. So what if he had sex with that woman? I mean — and here’s where the Right Wing Crap Machine worked wonders — look at that bitch he’s married to.

But after two terms and a deficit surplus, the Noise Machine had also done a job on the man who should have been Clinton’s successor, the truly more liberal Al Gore. And Gore was hampered by a tendency to appear rather wooden, plus, it appears that an awful lot of Democrats/liberals/progressives at that time had not caught on to the Republican Bullshit Machine strategy: Lie at every opportunity, and make the other guy out to be in league with the worst things you can think of. And if all else fails, ridicule from the lowest common denominator.

Thus, George W. Bush. Of course, the conservatives needed a little boost from the Supreme Court, but honest to god, it never should have been close enough to go there. The Noise Machine works very, very well, indeed. See Kerry, John – Swiftboating.

After eight years of up is down, black is white and Alice doesn’t live here anymore, it’s a wonder any of us could even walk. But walk we could and unbelievably enough of us had seen through the LSD haze to actually not give the presidency to another Republican. But the Noise Machine had a hand in who did select too. See Clinton, Hillary – Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

Again, we selected a very moderate, albeit black, Democrat who was again portrayed as The Most Liberal Man On The Planet despite no evidence to support that contention. But we, suckers that we are, thought we had a chance. My god, a black Democrat in the White House, majorities in the House and Senate — we’re saved!

Except we weren’t. The right started its anti-anything but them campaign with its most ugly component yet: Racism. Well, they actually tried that with Bill Clinton. Who do you think came up with “the nation’s first black president?” Problem of course, was that Clinton clearly isn’t black.

Barack Obama is, and racism is a ready-made weapon so easy to deny. “Tar baby!” “Oh, I’m sorry if anyone was offended. I didn’t mean that as a racist statement.” And, with our well trained stenography pool ready to bring every utterance to the national media, nobody but us crazies ever challenged the clear bullshit. So while the our so-called journalists bring on birthers to talk about whether or not Obama was born in the United States (doesn’t matter, idiots, his MOTHER was), nobody challenges the racism fueling charges that Obama is from Africa, that he’s Muslim, that he’s anything but a good ol’ boy. Seriously, do you honestly think that conversation would be going on if Obama’s father were named Olsen and he was born in Norway?

But the Machine had done well making sure a natural compromiser was elected president. That’s what community organizers do, yknow. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but when one side deviously plots to suppress the other side and uses good intentions to doom the process from the start, well, that’s another matter.

And then there was the Tea Party, rabidly taken up by my colleagues in the stenography as some kind of populist movement despite the clear evidence that it was and is funded by billionaires and political insiders. Follow the money, my friends. Follow the money.

And the politicians, never ones to take any kind of principled stand (with rare exceptions. See Sanders, Bernie – Socialist, Vermont), bent and twisted any which way the wind blew to make sure they stayed in office.  Then came 2010, and the intentionally ill-informed won big in those places where once more moderate conservatives might have flourished. And now, the stage was set.

A barely Democratic president, a Senate with a narrow Democratic majority, a House full of full-on crazies with little to no understanding of anything beyond Well, sheeit, I’m a US Congressman now! and a House constituency of the ignorant masses who don’t realize Medicare is a “socialist” program nor that their champions have every intention of destroying it.

Oh, and the completely out in the open No. 1 goal of the Republican party: Get rid of the black guy in the Oval Office in 2012 if not sooner.

So despite Standard & Poor’s culpability in the our economic morass, somebody there had the sense to realize that the United States was indeed on a slippery slope and it isn’t one to socialism. It’s sliding into what’s much closer to the corporate-run colonies of the British, Portugeuese, Dutch, Spanish and French empires. Seriously — they were all about profits and coopting some local group to give their corporate rulers some legitimacy. And the corporate rulers, of course, answered to the crown back home.

In America, though, we’re dispensing with the crown. The corporate rulers answer to no one.

And that’s very, very dangerous, something even Standard & Poor’s can’t ignore. The debt ceiling fight, then, was our last chance before someone outside started taking action. Obama must have known. That’s where the Grand Bargain came from. It was the only adult proposal made, one that in all likelihood would have satisfied S&P that we were seriously about fixing the economy. Of course, just lifting the fucking debt ceiling and focussing on a jobs plan probably would have worked too, but the TeaPublicans would have none of that and instead pushed for this showdown, a playground battle royale.

So Obama offered the Grand Bargain and the TeaPublicans, so enamored of their rich overlords that they cannot conceive of taxing them one penny more than they already are, poor over-taxed bastards, said no fucking way. And the pitiful “debate” that followed showed S&P, and every other sane person on the planet, that the lunatics indeed have taken over the U.S. government, and no one is safe.

The reasoning, which people who aren’t TeaPublicans actually note contains criticisms of both Republicans and Democrats, is far more damning to the GOP. Here’s the full report, go read it. You can be sure the TeaPublicans won’t. They were satisfied with the press release. But here’s the key passage. S&P says the recently completely debt ceiling deal is a step in the right direction, but is not sufficient to correct the slide. Previously assessments have given the United States the benefit of the doubt, S&P says, assuming that reason will overcome the pitchfork-bearing masses. No more:

Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.

And there you have it. If those tax cuts don’t expire, S&P says, the credit rating will likely slip to AA. Killing those tax cuts off might — might — “stabilize” the rating at AA+.

So what’s it all mean? Basically, we’re screwed. And the Republicans and Democrats are to blame. The Republicans for all their lying and bullshit and the Democrats for showing their bellies every time the GOP or Fox News yells “Boo!” And that dysfunction, which is what S&P is talking about, isn’t likely to change, because our politicians are too addicted to being in Washington to see what’s really going on in the world around them.

Instead, they’ll take what S&P says and make further cuts into “entitlement” programs, along with things like education, public safety, environmental regulation, banking regulation — basically anything that a civilized society needs to thrive — keeping only enough to maintain the military dictatorship the Teahadists so desperately yearn for.  Austerity times 1000. This is how Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq, and we really do have weapons of mass destruction.

I don’t pretend to know why the rich want it this way (even less why the lied-to masses work so hard to make it happen), but I do know this is how they want it. Follow the money. At the end you’ll find people like the Koch Brothers whose only goal, for some unfathomable reason, is to get richer.

I also know it will get better. But not, apparently, before it gets a whole lot worse.

Stuck in the middle

I noticed during my reading this morning that someone else — maybe Andrew Sullivan? — had beaten me to the punch on this one, but I’m gonna say it anyway.

The purpose of the debt debacle is to gather ammunition for an impeachment.

Frankly, I’m surprised the whackadoodle House hasn’t already done that. Guess they’re setting it all up just in case Obama wins a second term and they get their expected majority in the Senate. #seenthismoviebefore

It’s been clear since the Clinton presidency that Republicans, especially the wackier end of their spectrum — which is about all that’s left now — do not see any Democratic president as legitimate. Look at the crap they pull. Lying about Al Gore’s statement about the internet. Swiftboating John Kerry.

They’ve had a hard time with this president. The Kenya thing hasn’t gathered much traction. He’s not getting blow jobs in the Oval Office. What better to do than trash the economy completely and let him take the fall, right out the door.

Isn’t that what they said in the very beginning? That they wanted him to fail? Nothing about wanting the country to succeed, just wanting this particular president to fail.

That’s just the Republicans in Congress, of course. The rank and file have other ulterior motives, most of which are egged on and stirred by the Congresscritters and their bosses in the right-wing hit media. The rank and file, they’re just rabble, y’know, but rabble can serve a good purpose when you get ‘em all stirred up with lies and fearmongering. The not-even-below-the-surface racism is a sure-fire hit.

Add my beloved see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil colleagues to the mix and you have the most dysfunctional country in the world this side of Somalia. In the civilized world, the main response has been one big “WTF.”

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. There isn’t a debt crisis. That’s wholly manufactured by the right, spread by the media and bought lock, stock and barrel by Democrats. Making this Custer’s Last Stand is a little like having a huge argument over whether to pay the water bill while the house is burning down.

So while all this political posturing goes on, Americans are still out of work, have no insurance and are sinking in this morass of an economy launched on the downhill fast track by Ronald Reagan.

See, here’s the thing. Government revenues are down because the rich skate and because unemployment is high. Spending is up because we’re fighting three wars (at least) and unemployment is high.

The rabid see the common denominator there — unemployment — and thinks the answer is to cut social services. The rest of us see the common denominator and think, “We need to raise revenues and cut out these bullshit wars.”

Three percentage points. From 35 percent to 38 percent. That’s all letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich would do — raise the rate three points. And that’s not on all the rich’s income. That’s only on income above $250,000. That’s why it’s called “the top rate.” But the Republicans can’t let go of this “raising taxes” meme — because it works on the rabble, who will never hear that the United States has one of the lowest tax rates in the world.

They won’t hear it because they only listen to the echo chamber that echoes their own views uncritically. Easiest way in the world to control a significant number of voters.

Speaking of echo chambers, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so finely tuned. For days, it’s been harping on Obama — “where’s the plan,” say all the pundits, the presidential cabinets and the rabble that completely lacks any ability to think for itself because, apparently, that’s socialist. Never mind that it’s the job of Congress to come up with the plan.

When the House passed Boehner’s debt bill the other day, my inbox was full of press releases, by Twitter stream full of tweets — all talking about Obama’s supposed “lack of leadership.” I may actually agree on that one, but not for the same reasons. After all, what do they think all those meetings were?

As I’m writing this, the players announce they have a deal. It pretty much sucks, all the way around. Who’s surprised? Rock, meet hard place. It could be a whole lot worse though, and it could be a whole lot better. And, of course, the echo chambers are in full force. The Republicans are declaring victory except where they aren’t, and the progressives are declaring Obama a complete and utter failure worse than George W. Bush and possibly Herbert Hoover.

Just a little note on that and then I’ll get to my real point: The spending cuts don’t go into effect until 2013, the very same day the Bush tax cuts for the rich are set to expire. Let’s see what happens between now and then.

Now, my real point. Progressives, this is something we are just going to have to learn to live with: We will never, ever, ever get legislation we can approve of unconditionally. Ever. Never. Not. Gonna. Happen. Know why?

Ever heard of the bell curve? It looks like this. And in the case of society, the bell curve is constantly in motion. Moving forward. Progressing. Always. At times the people on the curve move backwards, or regress, but the line itself — forward.

So what you have is progressives out on the forward end of the curve. There aren’t very many. As you get closer to the center, there are more people on the line. Then once you pass over the very center, the numbers decline again until you get to the Tea Party, where, again, there are few.

So, you say, shouldn’t progressives and Tea Parties get their way about an equal percent of the time, seeing as how they are roughly in equal numbers?

Well, no. And here’s why:

Remember, the line is moving forward, into the unknown. Progressives are driving that forward move. The Tea Partiers are back there at the end of the line trying to at least hold it still and if possible pull it backwards. They get more of what they want all the time because of a) inertia and b) fear of the unknown, both products of the vast middle. But, because society does march ever onward, progress happens regardless. Just considerably slower than any of us want. It’s the evolution of humanity.

So, anyway, back to my original premise, that this whole mess is about impeachment or some other way to delegitimize the presidency of Barack Obama. It’s what they do. They hate Democrats, liberals, progressives, progress, change, open society, growth and especially people of color and queers. It’s who they are. Obama may not be much of a progressive, or even a liberal sometimes, but he’s a pragmatist about where we are. And here we are, stuck in the middle.

 

 

Indoctrination

My mother and father were from two very different protestant denominations, neither of which were particularly fond of any other denomination usurping their right to be the One True Way. The result: My mother and father stopped going to church, and, by extension, I never did.

To make up for the lack of religious education, they sent me to every Vacation Bible School known to man. Every summer. Fortunately, I guess, they were all scheduled for different weeks. I spent my summer singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” (a song that adults seemed not to remember), making macaroni crosses and hearing bible stories about the Lamb.

This was a good thing, because VBS lacked the hellfire and brimstone of the Sunday church meeting, and I had very little bullshit to wade through and step out of as an adult. Apparentely that’s not so much the case anymore.

There was the “Kids on Fire School of Ministry,” subject of the 2006 film “Jesus Camp,” where kids learned to “take back America for Christ.” The camp shut down after the film’s controversy got to it, but I have no doubts that many such camps still exist. There, kids learn to walk up to strangers and offer to share with them the “good news” of the gospel, and then mutter “fucking A-rabs” as they turn away if their uninvited subjects are dark and refuse.

And then there’s things like the Tampa 912 Project. 912? Glenn Beck, anyone? What’s it all about? Here — let Jeff Lukens, the conservative writer who organizes the thing, tell you:

We want to impart to our children what our nation is about, and what they may or may not be told.

Just guess what that means. For one thing, they’ll teach kids about the “gold standard” by giving them hard candies to use at a store. But a “banker” will exchange their candies for paper money, which becomes less and less valuable over the course of the week. Here’s more:

Another example: Starting in an austere room where they are made to sit quietly, symbolizing Europe, the children will pass through an obstacle course to arrive at a brightly decorated party room (the New World).

Red-white-and-blue confetti will be thrown. But afterward the kids will have to clean up the confetti, learning that with freedom comes responsibility.

Still another example: Children will blow bubbles from a single container of soapy solution, and then pop each other’s bubbles with squirt guns in an arrangement that mimics socialism. They are to count how many bubbles they pop. Then they will work with individual bottles of solution and pop their own bubbles.

“What they will find out is that you can do a lot more with individual freedom,” Lukens said.

Sound like fun? I’m sure they’ll include some special lessons that include revisionist history from Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. Here’s Digby:

These people are raising their kids to be insufferable, proselytizing Ayn Rand adolescents or black-clad teen-age loners who love Death Metal and hate their parents.

Hey, sign me up. Sounds a lot like those parents in rural Pennsylvania or New Jersey or somewhere who named their son “Adolf Hitler” and said it had nothing to do with Naziism or anything like that. They gave their daughter the middle name “Aryan Nation” too, but I suppose that had nothing to do with white supremacism either.

There’s one word for this kind of crap: Indoctrination. Kinda funny, doncha think, that’s same word these right-wing lunatics use for public education. Or Beck’s “FEMA camps.”

Gimme that old time Vacation Bible School. At least that’s survivable.

 

Still fighting the Civil War

Here’s something completely unexpected: A new poll says that a majority of Tea Parties and Republicans (aka TeaPublicans) admire the leaders of the Confederacy more that the leaders of the Union, and a majority of the same group does not believe that slavery prompted those same leader to secede in 1861.

Never mind that the secession documents of those state say plainly that their obsession with holding fellow human beings in perpetual slavery, controlling every part of their lives they could possibly control — and their fear that the federal government would outlaw the reason for their wealth — was the reason.

That, my friend, is what “states’ rights” is all about — the seeds of the dog whistle, code for the one of most despicable economic strategies in the history of mankind.

And doesn’t it just look like the TeaPublicans of today want to get right back as close as they can to that day? It’s behind their attacks on unions — “Wages are too high!” they say, voting against any attempt to raise the minimum wage.

And what of that minimum wage? It may be good for the high school student trying to make some extra bucks, but do TeaPublicans really think anyone can live on that wage? Say you get a job, and you’re paid $8.25 an hour — that a buck higher than the minimum. Know what that comes to per week? $330. Before taxes. Not including any health insurance, any savings, retirement.

No, my friends, the TeaPublicans would love to get back to paying slave wages — they’ll give you a ramshackle shed for you and all your extended family, whatever scraps of food they don’t eat themselves and beat the living shit out of you if you complain. Or take your wife and children and ship them off to some other overlord. Or both.

What better plan to enrich themselves. There’s hardly any labor cost at all.

But here’s the really bad news about that poll, released this morning by CNN. Barely a majority of all Americans believe that slavery was at the heart of the secession. I imagine that’s caused by a deteriorating education system (again, thanks to those TeaPublicans) and the loud mouths of the lying Right.

Another scary prospect: Independents are evenly split on that question. But here’s something funny: While a majority of TeaPublicans don’t understand that “states’ rights” = slavery, a plurality of Southerners do.

The good news: A majority of every group except Southerners (a plurality leads there) are Union-sympathizers. At least we have that going for us.

The Civil War is very real for me, both the one that started 150 years ago today and the one we’re fighting now. I grew up in a Southern state that was a divided as the rest of the union — in fact, my state initially voted not to secede, but after a little blackmail from slaveholders who blocked the way to the major trade route, its legislators reversed the vote. Legislators in the part of the state I’m from didn’t change their votes.

In the fields behind my childhood home is a line of bunkers built by soldiers trying to hold the line. Archaeologists have dug up bullets and buttons in those fields. An electrician wiring a 1785 house in the 1960s found full uniforms hidden in the walls. After the town librarian died and family friends bought his antebellum home, they found an unexploded  Civil War mortal shell in the attic. There’s an old, old rumor that two deserters were shot and buried in the fields my father owns. Another rumor says there was a tunnel escape route from the 1785 house into those fields.

Interestingly, today is the anniversary of another Civil War event — a group of Union African American soldiers surrendered at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and the Confederates killed them all.

Today I fight the good fight with the rest of you, trying to undo the damage done by centuries of slavery and prevent a slide back toward those dark days. I find it ironic that the party positions were once reversed, the Republican Party the party of Lincoln and the Democrats the party of a Reconstruction that made things worse than they should have been.

Republican leaders like to claim Lincoln, but he’d be disgusted by their antics. Democrats made a shift too, to being champions of labor and the people, but now even they seem to have forgotten what made them strong.

Our infrastructure is crumbling, our education system makes a laughingstock of us, our health care system is a disgrace, the economy is in shambles, jobs are nonexistent, and the Right’s media saturation constantly bombards the country with lies. Meanwhile, in Congress, no one will do the right thing, or even consider what that might be, in the struggle to keep the lobbyists’ money flowing.

I’d love to be proud of my country, but I’m not. I’m embarrassed by it. And I don’t think I’m alone.

A Rude comparison

The Rude Pundit is the very apt pseudonym of one Lee Papa, a professor of drama studies and writer of some fine bloggery. He’s funny, and very, very rude. Way more rude than I am.

Like all of us, RP’s been watching Egypt this week. And he made a connection that I wish I’d made — and maybe would’ve if my real life job didn’t involve living and breathing Egypt for the last two and half weeks.

So the Rude Pundit was watching the (now celebratory) Egyptian uprising on CNN when he noticed that every single random protester interviewed by the news network’s reporters was incredibly articulate and thoughtful in their comments on Mubarak and democracy. In English, which, one can presume, is not their first language. And then he thought about recent American “protests,” the Tea Party rallies and teabag fests, and how not a single one of the “average” people interviewed there made a goddamned lick of sense. In English, which, one can presume, is the native language of the teabaggers.

Whereas an Egyptian in Tahrir Square generally says things about how Mubarak has demonstrably repressed the masses of citizens, a teabagger makes sputtering, guttural noises that amount to “Blurgh. Obama. Blurgh,” which has about as much of a basis in reality as it does in English syntax and grammar. It’s a fascinating phenomenon, one that should probably be studied by linguists, sociologists, and stand-up comedians.

Oh yeah. “Blurgh. Obama. Blurgh.” Ain’t that just so right?

Now, I had gotten as far as thinking, “Man, these Egyptians sure speak terrific English,” and I was really annoyed by the Republican/Tea Party mantra of “Obama fucked this up,” “Muslim Brotherhood! Ack!” and some crazy shit about a Caliphate, but I hadn’t gotten around to a comparison.

Oh, and then there’s all the crap about how come Obama didn’t pressure Iran into going democratic back when the Green Revolution was going on. Well, duh, morons. Iran isn’t our friend. Neither the Ayatollah nor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gives a shit if we think they should treat their people better. But that’s another post. This one is about how fucking stupid Americans really are.

Indeed, one of the things the events in Egypt have shown Americans is what a serious effort to overthrow a government looks like. It’s enormous, it’s sustained, and it’s angry. If one calls one’s movement a “tea party,” even if it’s named after the night a bunch of drunken thugs in costume hired by greedy merchants vandalized British ships, then one shouldn’t be surprised if one’s movement behaves like a bunch of little girls pouring water into tiny cups for their stuffed bears.

RP shares a couple of photographs of Egyptian anti-government protesters and Tea Bagger anti-government … somethings. Big diff.

But since reading Rude’s post, all I can do is be embarassed for these lesser humans, the ones who think they’re being oppressed by a government that doesn’t lock them up and torture them (that’s reserved for … well, Egyptians, and other people with darker skin tones).

In Egypt, they have been revolting against a government that has stripped away their rights, with the arrest and random torture of citizens, with a three-decade state of emergency in existence, with corruption wrecking the standard of life for the populace. The Egyptians have been intense and unrelenting, sacrificing their time, their bodies, their jobs, and, in some cases, their lives in order to guarantee democracy in their country, doing so with comparatively little violence. In the United States, a few cranks didn’t like the way an election went. And they wandered aimlessly for a little while, listening to their incoherent speakers, fondling their guns that most of them will never really use, but, oh, they can fantasize, and then they went home until it was time to vote again, probably stopping at the Taco Bell drive-thru on the way to watch Beck on the Tivo.

Now, which method worked? So, dear, pseudo-active teabaggers, put up or shut up. But mostly, shut up. And enjoy the sight of an actual revolution instead of your fake one. Watch history being made instead of pretending that you are part of anything other than a minor blip on a dim radar.

Sadly, Rude’s words won’t penetrate the thick skulls of a backwards, unevolved people, in the extremely off-chance that what he wrote actually passes in front of their eyes and they can get past where he says he was watching the uprising on CNN.

But for you, my fine friends, it’s worth reading.

Do something

This is who America put in charge of the House Oversight Committee:

Darrell Issa, a man who used his power to prevent the ranking Democrat on the committee from using his opening statement to charge that Issa prevented the summoning of a witness from JPMorgan Chase to explain the bank’s role in alleged foreclosure fraud.

This is who Kentuckians, already saddled with a man who likes like a turtle and declared that his main goal for the next two years is to stop Barack Obama from being re-elected, chose to join Mitch McConnell in the Senate:

Rand Paul, a man who declared on CNN he wanted to end all foreign aid. ALL foreign aid. No exceptions. Of course, he also isn’t sure he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

New Mexico. That’s a state that skipped jumping the shark and went all the way to batshit insane. The new governor, Susana Martinez, picked Harrison Schmidt, to head up the state’s environmental concerns. Schmitt, in case the name sounds familiar, is a former astronaut and U.S. senator, who went on conspiracy freak Alex Jones’ radio show to claim that “the environmental movement” is just a bunch of commies scaring people by misusing science.

But then, New Mexico is right next door to Arizona, which is following up its “show your papers” law by banning ethnic studies in public schools and targeting the 14th Amendment because it declares that if you’re born in the United States, you’re a citizen. Can’t have that. The children of illegal immigrants might send secret messages to their mothers from the womb, forcing them to risk life and limb to illegally cross the border so they can be born here and eventually run for president.

By the way, the aforementioned Paul and the diaper-wearing pig senator from Louisiana, David Vitter, are introducing legislation to amend that birthright citizenship thing right out of the Constitution. Which I think means that Alberto Gonzales would never have gotten to be a judge or attorney general of the United States.

Michele Bachmann.

Rep. Paul Broun, M.D., R-Georgia, can tweet. “Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism.” Obviously, the Queen has not taught him how to abbreviate appropriately. But Broun wouldn’t know a socialist if one bit him, not unlike the others of his ilk. If Obama were a socialist, Tim Geithner would not get a White House tour, let alone be Treasury Secretary. Broun also didn’t want to sit with any Democrats during the State of the Union and listen to while Obama “spews his venom.” Right after the 2008 election, he declared that Obama was gonna establish a “Gestapo-like” security force to impose a “Marxist dictatorship.” He’s also said he’s afraid Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Obama would unleash a pandemic disease or use a natural disaster to declare martial law. Last year, he told Republicans in Georgia that Obama has what he needs to declare himself a dictator: “a national police force, gun control and control over the press.” I guess that’s not too weird for a guy who still calls the Civil War “The Great War of Yankee Aggression.” The man is seriously deranged. And a doctor. I wouldn’t see him for a hangnail.

Rush Limbaugh did a little racist mocking of the Chinese president last week. That’s OK though, because he’s Rush Limbaugh. Apparently California State Sen. Leeland Yee didn’t get the memo. He demanded that Limbaugh apologize. Limbaugh, of course, ranted about Yee, who promptly received faxed death threats from someone who said that Limbaugh would “kick your chink ass and expose you for the fool you are.” The San Francisco Chronicle:

The anonymous faxes, laced with racial epithets and misspellings, were addressed to “JoBama Rectum Sniffing Moron LEELAND LEE” and call Yee a “fish head,” according to a copy provided by Yee’s office.

The faxes include a drawing of a U.S. flag-adorned pickup truck towing a noose that is looped around what appears to be a caricature head of President Barack Obama. The document says: “Without exceptions, Marxists are enemies of the United States Constitution! Death to all Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!”

Lila Rose, the female version of James O’Keefe, went after a more sophisticated target than O’Keefe. She tried to punk Planned Parenthood, which, being 100 years old and knowing a thing or two about assholes, especially since O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart have been so obvious about the tactic, didn’t fall for it. Instead, they notified the Justice Department after several of their offices were visited by men who were very pushy about wanting to set up health care for the underaged girls who were part of their sex trafficking rings.

John Boehner. He’s giving the keynote address at an insurance industry conference’s “lobbying day.”

We won’t be getting filibuster reform. Harry Reid and McConnell came up with a devil’s brew that keeps anything like that from happening. Instead, Harry promised that the Democrats would let the Republicans add a couple of amendments to bills and Mitch promised the Republicans wouldn’t filibuster as much. Oh, and it takes 67 votes to change the rules of the Senate.

Republicans lie. Democrats are just stupid.

And while they’re at it, Republicans are trying to eliminate the OPTIONAL public finance of presidential elections, because for some reason they think that will decrease the deficit. I have a better idea. Eliminate the private finance of presidential elections — in fact, of ALL elections. Let media provide some free ad space — a limited amount — hold some debates. Provide some funding for mailings. NO ROBO-CALLS. Think about it. And try to make it happen, although neither side wants any restrictions on the amount of bullshit they can put out in an election. Too bad, I say.

And Tea Partiers, your next president thinks that the launch of a shiny, 23-inch diameter, 184-pound ball with four antennae attached in 1957 caused the collapse in 1991 of the Soviet Union. Ah, hell. You probably do too. But I always thought it was Saint Ronnie. TPers, your next president needs to stick with one story.

And for the record, here’s what did it in a nutshell:

  • Gorbachev opened the political system
  • Gorbachev trashed the 5-year plan economic system
  • The Cold War ended.
  • Eastern Europe started dropping its communists.

All of those things started years earlier, of course — but the bottom line was that the Soviet system was too rigid and dogmatic. Its rigidity and dogmatism, which ultimately killed it, also kept it standing long after the Union had breathed its last. Kinda like those jeans you say are so filthy they can stand on their own.

And finally, WTF? I mean, really. The half-term governor of Alaska, and the Tea Party’s next president, went on and on about Obama’s “Winning the Future” theme, making snide little WTF comments … like some high school sophomore or left wing blogger who likes to mispronounce Boehner. Not presidential, folks. Not at all.

I tell you all this just because I see it. I can’t get away from it, and I think you should see it too, and not just gloss over it. Drink it in. Remember it. Tell your parents, aunts and uncles. Your grandparents. Your children. Your boss, your dentist. Anybody. Everybody. You don’t even have to deliver the news with much editorial comment, unless you’re like me and can’t resist the snark. But the problem should be obvious.

We’re fucked. Unless we do something about it.

Vote — or else

The new line from some Republicans on this election is that a GOP victory is not a validation for Republicans (which it isn’t) but a repudiation of Democrats (which it is). But they’ve got one thing wrong. Jeb “Hey  I wanna be president too” Bush says its cuz the Dems went too far — that they “overreached.”

But he’s wrong. They didn’t go far enough. And a bunch of you thought it was wise to punish them for not going far enough, so you’re staying home. And, as GW Bush was foisted upon us by Nader voters, the next two years of noxious Republicanism will be the fault of the non-voters.

But not completely.  Not even close. There’s plenty of blame to go around. You non-voters can rest easy that you’re not solely responsible for the hearings and impeachment proceedings and the tax cuts for the rich and all that we’re getting, thanks to the Republicans getting more votes than the Democrats. But you do win the honor of being the worst of the bunch.

Let’s take a quick look at who else shoulders the blame.

There’s the non-voters favorite target … I mean, excuse for not voting, President Barack Obama. He gets tarred for insisting on playing nice with a political party that initially vowed to make sure his administration failed and has now declared its principle purpose to make sure he’s a one-term president.

Right up there with the president are the spineless Democrats who fled the administration like rats from a sinking ship when the GOP noise machines started up. They could have fought back, countered the lies and obfuscations the Republicans spew out with amazing regularity. But they didn’t. They just gave up.

Then there’s the other Democrats – the blue dog variety that was never with the president in the first place. They didn’t have to flee because they we already hiding under the skirts of Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who, as the only moderate Republicans left in the country, get the blame for thinking that the rest of GOP cares anything about them just because they put an “R” by their names.

Which brings us to the rest of the Republicans — complete tools of corporate America, which pays them for making sure the rich get richer and everybody else goes to hell.

Republican voters are next — political neanderthals who lack the foresight of a grasshopper, voting for the corporations because they simply can’t be bothered to learn the truth and learn what the think is the truth from lying gasbags who make more money in an hour than they’ll see in a decade.

Yeah, I’m talking about the right wing media — Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the radio Republicans and Fox News, the GOP’s PR group.

But the one group that should get almost as much blame as the non-voters — my own beloved colleagues, who have decided that balanced coverage means picking one from column A and one from column B and letting them have their say before going onto the next topic, again with one from Column A and one from Column B.

It’s a stupid way go do journalism, as if there are only ever two sides to any issue. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When you have two options from which to choose, you don’t have a choice. You have a dilemma. And yet over and over my precious colleagues give you but two options, even if one of those options is completely insane.

But worse that giving you but two options is their maddening refusal to offer any contest or explanation for the two sides they present, leaving us with the equally maddening prospect of figuring out just what the spin actually means, if anything.

My colleagues have shirked their responsibility to not only give you the news of the day but to give you the context and background you need to make a responsible decision. And worse still is that they’ve absolutely refused to do the work you need them to do — to dig into what the spinmeisters are saying the dredge up the truth.

In other words, dear colleagues, you really need to be calling bullshit.

When a candidate lies, call her on it. When he uses faulty logic, call him on it. This means you’ll actually have to prepare before your interviews instead of sitting around sipping bourbon with the interviewees, but I’m sure it’s not that hard. I do it every day. I just don’t get the high profile interviews and the tv time to show how important I am that I got this senator on the show. Or how I couldn’t get that senator and so had to settle for a couple of assholes who call themselves “strategists” but are really just experts at bullshit. Those guys my colleagues let get by with saying any old thing cuz they’re part of the analysis “team.”

So, because of the analysts, my colleagues, the right wing noise machine, TeaPublican voters, the Republicans in Congress, the last two moderate Republicans in the world, the blue dogs, the supposedly liberal Democrats in Congress, the president and the idiot progressives who think they’re so important that they’ll stay away from the polls to “show them,” we’re in for a very rocky two years before the next election.

If you thought Bush was bad, just you wait. If we’re lucky, the Senate won’t fall to the crazy along with the House. And hopefully we’ll find a cure in time for 2012, or else our worst nightmares will be sweet lullabies compared to the fascist right wing utopia we’ll be living under.

And we’ll have this year’s non-voters to thank for making sure that when we stepped on that slippery slope, it was to the right that we slipped. Because the only thing worse than voting against your interests is not voting at all.

Thanks. Hope we all enjoy the worsening unemployment, pollution, wars, economic crisis, deficits, debts, foreclosures, catastrophic illnesses and complete lack of response to disaster that Republicans desperately want for us all.

I know I’ve spent my life dreaming I could be just like Bob Cratchit while my Republican overlords destroy not only the United States but the rest of the planet as well.

Meanwhile, rest assured that they’ll be getting theirs, along with their very rich friends.

But not you and me, and not even the deluded Republican voters who form their base.

Of course, we could just all get off our sorry asses and carry them down to the polling places and cast our ballots for sanity.

We can only hope, but that won’t get us very far. Voting will.

So, Wisconsin — do you really want Ron Johnson, a multi-millionaire who wants to eliminate Pell grants, would not allow abortions for any reason, and thinks that climate change is “crazy” to represent you in the Senate? Go vote Russ Feingold and prove the pollsters wrong.

California — come on. Carly Fiorina drove HP into the ground. Do you really think she’ll help your state? And Meg Whitman — who changes her positions depending on who’s asking — do you really think she can get you out of the cesspool the no-taxes crowd has put you in? Vote Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown.

Alaska — Joe Miller is a corrupt tool for Sarah Palin, the quitter. He lies, he cheats. Even Lisa Murkowski is a better bet. But vote, Murkowski or better yet Scott McAdams.

Nevada — really? Half of you want Sharron Angle, a Christian Reconstructionist who is fighting Sharia law in towns that don’t exist so she can save the country for her version of biblical law? That’s insane. Harry Reid is an ass, and I sure hope there’s a challenge for him as Democratic leader, but don’t let the lunatic into the Senate. Vote Reid.

North Carolina — Sure, Heath Shuler is a blue dog, but he’s far more progressive than Jeff Miller. Vote Shuler.

Minnesota — don’t embarrass yourselves with Michelle Bachmann for another term in the House. Vote Tarryl Clark.

Get the picture? There’s a huge difference between Democrats and Republicans, even more than in 2008 and certainly more than in 2000.

Vote. Don’t sit home and be part of the problem. Just vote.

The wrong enemy

I know, the Obama administration has given us plenty to be angry about. And we’re right to point it out, loudly and often. But seriously, my friends, we need to take a break from it right now. There’s an election coming up, and we’re targeting the wrong enemy.

Of course, that’s what we idealists do. We liberal, progressive idealists. We know what we want, and we want it now. And if you don’t give it to us, well, fuck you. We just don’t have time to waste on petty politics and game-playing.

Take don’t ask don’t tell, for example. Good god, the president could sign an executive order, but he won’t. He says only Congress has the authority to change the law, never mind that Constitutional scholars, which he’s supposed to be, says he can do it.

I don’t agree, though, with those who bitch about the Justice Department’s legal maneuverings to support the policy. We raise holy hell when Republicans refuse to enforce laws. We shouldn’t expect Democrats to do that, even though it’s an odious law that should never have been put on the books.

The health care reform bill wasn’t even a shadow of what it should have been. Obama’s still backing Bush-era civil liberties transgressions. Wall Street reform? Please. The “state secrets” bullshit? It’s ok for the president to order an assassination? Of an American citizen no less? I could go on and on and on and on, and many have.

And what do our leaders tell us when we do? Quit whining. That was Joe Biden on Monday. At a fundraiser, the vice president urged Democrats to

remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives. This president has done an incredible job. He’s kept his promises.

Well, sort of. But still, where do you think we’d be if McCain had won the election? Worse than we are now, certainly, and very likely worse than we were on January 19, 2009.

Obama, speaking to college journalists on a conference call, wasn’t nearly as rude as Biden, and, in fact, made a lot of sense.

You can’t sit it out. You can’t suddenly just check in once every 10 years or so, on an exciting presidential election, and then not pay attention during big midterm elections where we’ve got a real big choice between Democrats and Republicans

We really do have a big choice, and there’s a world of difference between the parties this go-round. Obama and the Democrats, despite their incalcitrance, are not the enemy. The enemy is people like Mike Huckabee, explaining here why insurance companies shouldn’t be forced to cover “pre-existing conditions.”

It sounds so good, and it’s such a warm message to say we’re not gonna deny anyone from a pre-existing condition. Look, I think that sounds terrific, but I want to ask you something from a common sense perspective. Suppose we applied that principle [to] our property insurance. And you can call your insurance agent and say, “I’d like to buy some insurance for my house.” He’d say, “Tell me about your house.” “Well sir, it burned down yesterday, but I’d like to insure it today.” And he’ll say “I’m sorry, but we can’t insure it after it’s already burned.” Well, no preexisting conditions.

The enemy is Christine O’Donnell.

You know what, evolution is a myth.

The enemy is Oklahoma State Rep. Lewis Moore, defending his support of a law banning courts from using Sharia law in their decisions.

Are we not at war with this ideology? Are we not at war with them? Then why would we give in to this?

The enemy is Sen. Jim Demented, who has crowned himself king and vowed to block every piece of legislation he doesn’t like.

“The Executive Committee of the Senate Steering Committee has asked the Steering Committee staff to hold all bills that have not been hotlined by close of business Tuesday,” his chief of staff said in an e-mail, referring to the conservative advisory committee that DeMint chairs.

“If there are any bills you would like cleared before we go out, please get them to the Steering Committee staff along with a CBO score, if applicable, by close of business on Tuesday.”

The enemy is Ron Johnson, teabag senator wannabe who could well defeat the most progressive senator in the Senate, Russ Feingold, in Wisconsin. Johnson opposes child abuse legislation.

I think it is extremely important to consider the economic havor and the other victims [the Wisconsin Child Victims Act] would likely create. [...] I believe it is a valid question to ask whether the employer of a perpetrator should also be severely damaged, or possibly destroyed, in our legitimate desire for justice. [...] It would also send a chilling signal to avoid this civic minded activity in the future. [...] I have no doubt trial lawyers would benefit, I’m not so sure the actual victims would.

The enemy is Sharron Angle.

I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.

The enemy is John Boehner.

Studies show that children best flourish when one mom and one dad are there to raise them.

The enemy is Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the racist, conserverati media.

They’re 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?

The enemy is Sen. Charles Grassley.

You have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma.

The enemy is Rep. Steve King, who can’t seem to open his mouth without saying something insane, like calling Joe McCarty “a hero for America.”

The enemy is Rep. Michelle Bachmann.

Literally, if we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.

The enemy is Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, who has spent the last six months running an anonymous blog viciously attacking the openly gay president of the University of Michigan student body, and Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who hasn’t fired the motherfucker.
The enemy is Newt Gingrich, who will do or say anything to get elected president.

I want to repeal the New Deal.

The enemy is Rand Paul, talking about how courts are so “jammed” with people suing because, you know, things just happen.

Yeah, those things just get so jammed — everybody playing the blame game. I mean, sometimes mines just collapse, you know? Nobody’s fault. I think it’s called gravity.

The enemy is Glen Urquhart, tapped to fill Mike Castle’s state house seat in Delaware when he lost to Christine O’Donnell in the GOP Senate primary.

Do you know, where does this phrase separation of Church and State come from? Does anybody know? … Actually, that’s exactly, it was not in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. He was reassuring that the federal government wouldn’t trample on their religion. The exact phrase “separation of Church and State” came out of Adolph Hitler’s mouth, that’s where it comes from. Next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State ask them why they’re Nazis.

Need I say more? I can, you know. And by the way, Urquhart is flat out wrong about Jefferson. Here’s the quote, in case some lunatic teabagger someday asks why you’re a Nazi.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

Clearly, my friends, the Obama administration and the Democrats, particularly those cowardly Blue Dogs who so fear losing an election that they act exactly like Republicans, have given us much to decry.

But now is not the time. We can do that again on November 3. Now, we must stop at least some of these ignorant and/or willfully wicked people from touching the reins of power. And there’s only one way to do that.

Vote.

Rough times ahead; hang on for your lives

I jumped the gun Tuesday night in Fugitive Info, telling you that the Palinista candidate in New Hampshire’s Republican Senate primary lost. In fact, Kelly Ayotte squeaked out a narrow victory over an equally out-of-touch Republican who lacked a tap from Queen Sarah’s glittering scepter.

In the Granite State, of course, it really didn’t matter except for bragging rights and the chance for my colleagues to tout the Women Power revolution in the GOP. That in itself is a bit of a travesty, although, I’m sad to say, there are some women I once thought of as liberal who cast their ballots on the basis of gender, claiming that women taking some power in the Republican Party is a good thing.

To them I say this: No, it’s not. Not if the women we’re talking about harbor the same dangerous delusions and problematic policy positions as the men. And they do, although, I must admit, some of them are worse.

No, I’m afraid, changing the gender of the lunatic who have taken over the asylum is not an improvement.

Those of you who think otherwise, well, go ahead and cast a vote for womanhood. And let me know how it works out when it comes down to voting for legislation you care about.

Another sad truth about Tuesday’s primaries is that the crazies won big. From an evolution-denying, anti-masturbation gadfly in Delaware, to a racist lunatic who wants to house the poor in prisons and supports a ban on abortions with no exceptions to an intelligent former state attorney general who somewhere along the line forgot how to use her brain.

Similar nuts have already won Republican primaries in Colorado, Alaska and Nevada, and I’m only talking about Senate and gubernatorial races here. The House? Well, I fully expect it to be taken over by the crazies.

The Senate, though, maybe not. Some of those races are unbelievably close — Sharron “The football team can’t wear black jerseys because that’s the devil’s color” Angle may well defeat Harry Reid. I have no love for Reid, but damn. Sharron Angle is not sane. Joe Miller in Alaska probably will win Lisa Murkowski’s Senate seat, because Scott McAdams just doesn’t have the name recognition. And besides, it’s Alaska.

>And Christine O’Donnell in Delaware — wow, now there’s a fruitcake. O’Donnell is a lightweight who has failed to win office seven or eight times before and thinks that masturbation is evil. O’Donnell is vying for Joe Biden’s former seat. O’Donnell used to be a regular on Bill Maher’s old “Politically Incorrect” show (ABC cancelled the show in 2002 after Maher agreed with guest Dinesh D’Souza that the 9/11 hijackers were not cowards — against the American party line, y’know). The perky Christine, at the time, represented a pro-abstinence group called Saviours Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT). And abstinence, she argues, includes refraining from masturbation, which she sees as adultery.

But Christine couldn’t win an election for dogcatcher until she hooked up with the angry Tea Partiers, which works perfectly for her since she, too, has no ideas. But then, she is a professional politician who doesn’t pay back her campaign debts.

And then there’s Carl Paladino, who’ll be facing Andrew Cuomo for governor of New York. Paladino likely won his election on the strength of his anti-Islam campaign. “There’s no constitutional argument (against the ground zero mosque) because it’s not freedom of religion,” he says. Well, moron, what is it? “Ideology,” he says. He’ll use eminent domain to stop the Islamic community center from being built because he “heard reports” that the imam in charge is anti-American, and George W. Bush made a mistake by sending him out to talk about improving U.S.-Muslim relations.

Paladino also suffers from e-mail forwarding disease. He’ll forward anything. Before President Obama’s inauguration, he sent around an video that purported to be the rehearsal for the swearing in. It featured African tribesmen dancing. He’s also sent out porn — including bestiality — a picture of the president and the first lady as a pimp and a ‘ho and this beautiful fake inspirational image.

And what was his spokesman’s response?

Carl Paladino has forwarded close friends hundreds of email messages he received. Many of these emails he received were off color, some were politically incorrect, few represented his own opinion, and almost none of them were worth remembering.

And Palladino himself, who wouldn’t say which ones “represented his own opinion” and which ones didn’t, blamed “the Democrats” for the controversy.

And it’s not just e-mails. When Palladino opens his mouth, watch out. He seems to have a serious problem with blacks in the Buffalo education system, complaining that Superintendent James Williams got his job because of his race and that the teachers’ union president is too close to black female school board members, whom he called “the parasitc Black Sisterhood.” He stand by his comments.

Then there’s his bastard child and my personal favorite — his plan to house the poor in prisons where they’ll learn how to get jobs and “hygiene.” Oh, and prison guards will be retrained to be counselors.

That’s where we are, friends. The Republican Party is now officially the party of the crazy. But it’s hardly surprising — the whackos have been working that angle for years, decades even. And now here we are.

But here’s the thing — whenever a society nears a monumental change, there’s a sharp and sure split. Extreme partisanship becomes the norm as conservatives, recognizing that change is coming, fight harder to prevent it, to pull it back, and progressives, who know that progress cannot be stopped, push harder to make it happen faster.

This intense push and pull makes for unsettling times, and, lord, we sure have ‘em now. If the crazies pull out a lot of victories in November, we’re not going to care much for what follows. On the other hand, those among us who just can’t accept that there really is a difference between Democrats and Republicans, miniscule as it may be, will find out first hand just what that difference is. If that’s the case, then 2012 may finally bring the change we’ve been looking for as the American pendulum swings as hard to the left as it has to the right this year.

And then, later on, it’ll settle to a new center, one that’s a little more sane than the one my colleagues think of as moderate.

Or Americans will close their eyes to the insanity the right has wrought. If that’s the case, we’re really doomed.

We do have a choice here, as a people. We’re still a democracy, for now. Vote. And keep putting the truth out there about what these TeaPublicans really are all about.

Dearly beloved

Saturday’s “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial, featuring a deluded Glenn Beck cheerleading his equally deluded if devoted followers, wasn’t really a rally, not like you and I understand rallies to be. It wasn’t political, Beck insisted — calling on his followers not to bring signs so as to avoid the racist bullshit his folks generally bring with them to such events.

So, no, not a rally. What it was was a wedding, the glorious union of the Tea Party and the Religious Right. Kinda like one of those Moonie weddings from way back.

Dave Neiwert at Crooks and Liars tipped me off to this realization.

Previously, most of the Tea Party debate focused on secular matters — taxes, health care, immigration. As Digby points out, the religious elements were always present as an undercurrent, but they had been mostly suppressed as the movement initially attempted to sell itself as a “spontaneous” and secular response to Obama’s policies. Now, they’re out in the open.

That is a deeply disturbing development, and one that will bear heavily on the direction this metastasizing madness takes.

Worse than the wedding itself was the reception the night before at the Kennedy Center.

Dubbed “America’s Divine Destiny,” Beck used the event, according to AlterNet’s Peter Montgomery, “to portray himself as an instrument of God prepared to lead America out of its spiritual darkness.”

Beck, who seems to view himself in increasingly messianic terms, says he is helping to launch another religious “Great Awakening” that will shape American history and promised attendees that on Saturday they would be “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Beck has plenty of company among those who saw Barack Obama’s election as a sign that politics is failing America, and that a religious revival is the only real hope for its future. In fact, it’s become practically routine at Religious Right events for leaders to announce that history would view their event as the spark of a new awakening. But none of them have had an audience near the size that Beck does.

Divine Destiny was a three-hour mix of gospel music and patriotic songs from an “all-star” choir of local singers and dancers, inspirational exhortations for people and churches to do good work in their communities, and speeches by Religious Right figures about America’s need to repent for the nation’s sins and turn back to God.

Beck, who says he had no idea Saturday was the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream speech,” said it was “divine providence” that his wedding ceremony would happen that day. I rather think it was more Beckian manipulation, but that’s just me.

He also said he would be “fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” only to be disputed the very next day by Sarah Palin who said we shouldn’t be transforming the United States of America. Guess they should have compared notes.

But despite the happy nuptials on Saturday, there are a few problems in paradise. Some of the Religious Right are a little squeamish about Beck, a converted Mormon. Here’s Russell Moore, writing for the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow:

A Mormon television star stands in front of the Lincoln Memorial and calls American Christians to revival. He assembles some evangelical celebrities to give testimonies, and then preaches a God and country revivalism that leaves the evangelicals cheering that they’ve heard the gospel, right there in the nation’s capital. The news media pronounces him the new leader of America’s Christian conservative movement, and a flock of America’s Christian conservatives have no problem with that. If you’d told me that ten years ago, I would have assumed it was from the pages of an evangelical apocalyptic novel about the end-times. But it’s not. It’s from this week’s headlines. And it is a scandal.

We used to sing that old gospel song, “I will cling to an old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.” The scandalous scene at the Lincoln Memorial indicates that many of us want to exchange it in too soon. To Jesus, Satan offered power and glory. To us, all he needs offer is celebrity and attention.

Mormonism and Mammonism are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They offer another Lord Jesus than the One offered in the Scriptures and Christian tradition, and another way to approach him. An embrace of these tragic new vehicles for the old Gnostic heresy is unloving to our Mormon friends and secularist neighbors, and to the rest of the watching world. Any “revival” that is possible without the Lord Jesus Christ is a “revival” of a different kind of spirit than the Spirit of Christ (1 Jn. 4:1-3).

Whew. He all but calls Beck the Anti-Christ there. But maybe it’ll work out for the Beckster. The AFA is mainly a bunch of elderly Americans swindled by Don Wildmon and his family into giving them a bunch of their money in return for being recruited to watch the devil’s box (television) and count the number of awful things that happen on the screen.

On the other hand, wonder how many of those 87,000 folks at the Lincoln Memorial even know that Beck is a Mormon? He sure doesn’t look like Mitt Romney.

So the families don’t really get along. A little like a Hatfield marrying a McCoy maybe, for those of you who remember hearing about that legendary Appalachian feud.

And … some of the more “mainstream” Republicans, if it can be said there are any left, aren’t that fond of him either. Former Bush II press secretary Ari Fleischer, while admitting he likes Beck’s “small government point of view,” wrote on his Facebook page that Beck is “a little weird and a little creepy” and “too zany and apocryphal for my taste,” adding that “he acts like he’s the second coming.”

Them’s fightin’ words for Beck fans. But for non-Beck fans, it’s right on target.

Paul Rosenberg, at Open Left, delves into the history of the Know-Nothing Party, which at one time was neck-and-neck with the nascent Republicans to replace the Whigs, who were rapidly fragmenting into an anti-Andrew Johnson, anti-Democrat party with nothing to offer.

The Republicans won, and the Know-Nothings disappeared. Until now.

Historically, the Know-Nothings represent a road not taken in American politics (fortunately). As Catholic influence grew in the Democratic Party, the nativist sentiment purveyed by the Know-Nothigs was attractive enough that for a while they battled with the Republicans to see who would replace the Whigs. But they really had nothing in the way of a positive platform. This weekend, reflecting on the increasingly obvious incoherence of the Beckopalooza, I was struck by the thought that what we are seeing now is the return of the Know-Nothings. Over the past 30-40 years the Republicans have shed virtually everything that they originally stood for, and have turned most of the rest ihto a caricature. What’s more, the policies they have stood by have utterly failed — though of course, Versailles will never admit as much.

And so it makes perfect sense that they are now a party totally lacking in any coherent body of ideas. Slogans, fine. Arguments, not so much. Sarah (no interviews) Palin is their perfect embodiment. Glenn (endless hallucinatory monologues) Beck is even better. The emergence of an alter-ego, the Tea Party, is a logical outgrowth of this underlying incoherence as well. And thus it’s no accident that the GOP now appears to have much more in common with the Know-Nothings who lost out in the 1850s than it has in common with the Republicans who emerged triumphant.

Is it any wonder that incoherence runs so deep in the GOP today? They are indeed reinventing themselves — as their yahoo loser rivals from the 1850s.

Sounds fine, but the Republicans have two things that the Know-Nothings lacked — a finely tuned propaganda machine and an electorate that has forgotten how to reason.

The Religious Right forgot how to reason a long time ago, making it the perfect partner for the Tea Party. And Jerry Falwell may be gone, but there’s a whole new crop of religious zanies who know how to organized. With the added clout of the TeaPublicans’ media monstrosities, we’re in for a helluva ride before they finally figure out that they’re both in the backside of their horse costume.