Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Bizarro World of the Republican Party

At the risk of alienating fans of Superman, let me suggest that the character of Bizarro ranks very high among the stupider plot devices and antagonists ever dreamed up in DC Comics' long-running, flagship comic book series.

For those not up on their super-villain lore, Bizarro is from Bizarro world, where everything is backwards. Good is bad, right is wrong, et cetera.

Hokey as that may be, Bizarro World turns out to be a remarkably effective metaphor for understanding the modern day Republican Party. If you understand how Bizarro World works, you have at your disposal the secret decoder ring for understanding the statements and actions by the party and its officials.

Time and time again, we see that the best way to understand what the Republican Party's underlying motives are is to listen to how they attempt to frame their opponents. Time and time again, we see that the best way to predict what a prominent Republican figure is likely to do is to listen to the kinds of actions they rail against -- or in equivalent Bizarro World mechanics, to listen to the kinds of things they profess to support and then predict the opposite.

Want to know what the Republican environmental agenda is (was)? Look no further than the mere names of the "Healthy Forests Act" and the "Clear Skies Act," and assume the opposite.

Want to know what the Republican view of supporting your country is? Look no further than the people they call un-patriotic -- all the progressives fighting for health care, fighting for the survival of the middle class, or merely voicing their opposition to war -- and take the opposite.

Want to know what the Republicans' real agenda is in the "war on terror"? Look no further than their proclivity for slapping anyone who opposed that agenda with the "terrorist sympathizer" label, while their own policies did nothing for eight years but foster an environment in which terrorism spread.

It's Bizarro World on Earth. Thank god these people are no longer in charge of all three branches of government.

So, decoder ring in hand, it should come as no surprise whatsoever to see Governor Mark Sanford (R-Bizarro) outed this week in for having an affair with an Argentinean woman. After all, Republicans are the "Family Values" party, right?

Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, Mark "Turning over a new Page" Foley, David "Diapers" Vitter, and John "Campaign Staff" Ensign are, if nothing else, testament to the deep commitment to "Family Values" in today’s Republican party.

And yes, I know that Democrats are imperfect too, and some of them commit affairs. The difference is Democrats don't go around sanctimoniously preaching "Family Values" while simultaneously seeing how far and wide they can spread their naughty bits.

The Republican Party leadership is no doubt, at this very moment, scrambling to come up with a statement on the Sanford affair. Somewhere in between the predictably treacley statements of support for Sanford and his family in these difficult circumstances, and the predictably pro-forma condemnation for the affair itself, you can bet that there will be an implication that Sanford's affair represents nothing more serious than a failing by one individual. An implication that Sanford's actions should in no way tarnish the Republican Party's image or platform as a whole.

Which might wash if we didn't have to hear the same tired excuse over and over and over again. But we do. With almost clockwork regularity.

This is not an isolated point-failure of Republican "values." This is the inevitable outcome of thinking you can get away with being as greedy, selfish, lascivious, and downright bad as you want to be so long as you and your equally disgusting cohorts maintain a unified front of bald-faced lies. This is the predictable result of a cynical and systemic effort to fool all of the people all of the time.

Even P.T. Barnum knew better than to try that.


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