The Art of the Gaffe
What is it with Pennsylvania Republicans? In 2012, it was Speaker of the General Assembly Mike Turzai, bragging to anyone with a cellphone camera that voter ID was really about disenfranchising black voters instead of trying to solve the legitimate problem of voter fraud. While black people across the country knew that already, the gaffe – usually defined as saying something impolitic but true – caused the Commonwealth to lose in court, twice, and cost Mitt Romney what little chance he had of winning Pennsylvania.
It also was used to confirm the idea that the national trend of ALEC-inspired and even written legislation were designed to disenfranchise voters of color. It was a terrible mistake, one that will haunt the GOP for a generation as Black turnout continues to rise and Hispanic turnout reaches an all-time high. Moreover, the media, never one to let good art go to waste, played the clip incessantly. And writers especially have been using Turzai’s gaffe like a brick baseball bat to beat the ever-living shit out of the Republicans nationally.
You know where I stand on this: Republicans are voting no because they hate the president. One of my regular commenters disagrees slightly, and I’ve gotten some blowback on Twitter and Facebook and even around the Thanksgiving Day table. So imagine my surprise when Pat Toomey (R-PA), author of the most recently-failed background check bill, said in a recent interview with a western suburban Philadelphia daily newspaper that Republicans voted against background checks because they wanted the president of the United States to lose.
Now you can wonder why they want him to lose. You can ask yourself whether or not this is how politics is always played. You can put your head in the sand and pretend that this isn’t lily-white Republicans sticking it to the uppity negro who has the temerity to think he’s president. But I will tell you now what I’ve been telling everyone for the last five years. The GOP is acting against the interest of their constituents, the interest of their states, the interest of their regions, the interest of their nation, all because Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, twice elected by massive margins and personally hyper-popular, is black.
What price they’re going to pay for that is open to debate. I think I’m right on this, just like I thought I was right about what they were doing. I think the Republicans are going to lose big in 2014.
The GOP is collapsing under the weight of its own bullshit. Rational nonpolitical Americans are realizing that the Tea Party-run GOP has nothing but the interest of the top one percent of the country at heart. That this oligarchy in the making hates more than it loves. That they are doing this out of a combination of greed and rage and fear and ignorance. That the result of backing the play of any Republican is catastrophic electoral loss. That the GOP is going the way of the Whigs.
Look, the reason people act in politically-smart ways is not because they love the other guy. It is because it is politically smart, and it covers their own ass.
What the GOP is doing with this aggressive obstructionist push is uncovering their ass. Now we just have to kick it. We need money. We need an effort. We need energy. We need everyone who is outraged about the conduct of the Republican Party to vote in 2013 against Chris Christie. To vote in 2014 against the governors of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida. To vote, in 2016, against whatever slaphappy clown is foolish enough to run against Hillary Clinton.
The reality is that we have entered a de facto state of Civil War. We didn’t start it. We didn’t take it seriously, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re in it. For too long, Democrats tried to be reasonable. Part of that is the fault of Barack Obama. We have to stop being reasonable and start going to the mattresses. There are no moderate Republicans. Every Republican must face the exact same consequences as the psycho neo-Confederates. The GOP candidate for the Senate in Massachusetts came out today and stated he would have voted for gun background checks. I don’t believe him. Do you?
We find ourselves in a unique situation. Never before in the modern history of this country has a party so brazenly attacked the office of the presidency, undermined the credibility of a nation, and used every lowdown dirty trick to block the progress so many Americans strongly desire. The result of this obstruction, of this resistance, of this aggression by the Republican Party, must show up in the voting booth.
If it does not, they will never change what they are doing. Eventually, they will win back the Senate. Eventually, they will expand in the House. Eventually, they will take over the White House. Look to Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as your examples of what a country controlled by reactionary, psychotic Republicans would look like. We wouldn’t go back to the 1950s; we would go back to 1850. That’s how bad it is is, I shit you not.
For those of you not from Pennsylvania, let me explain that Pat Toomey was such a right-wing lunatic that he was unelectable in Pennsylvania. He is one of those early hyper-conservative raving maniacs who used to primary Arlen Specter for fun and profit. He was literally unelectable statewide. He made Rick Santorum look like a moderate, reasonable guy.
The fact that Toomey is a Senator is shocking. The fact that he is speaking out is not. Whatever else Pat Toomey is, he is an actual politician, and he sees the writing on the wall. He sees the consequences coming for the Republican Party even in Pennsyltucky. The fact that he is positioning himself as a moderate, though even just thinking those words gives me chills, is extraordinarily telling.
J. Christian Watts
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