It’s pretty strange in GOP land these days. In no particular order, here is a list of the odd, the strange, and the downright weird “stuff” that’s been happening:
- Putative front-runner Mitt Romney is so scared of the right-wing of the Republican Party that he can’t run on his single most significant accomplishment as governor of Massachusetts: Health care reform. Romney denies that the Massachusetts law resembles the federal Affordable Care Act (it does), asserts that it was “a state solution for a state problem,” slamming what he calls “a one-size-fits all plan across the nation,” and then pledges, if elected president, to sign an executive order allowing the states to waive compliance with the federal law. This fools no one, but it is the charade Romney is forced to play.
- Republicans accuse Democrats of demagoguery in describing Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis) budget proposal as ending Medicare as we know it and replacing it with a voucher system, which is what the Ryan plan would do. Two points: First, why is describing something accurately “demagoguery?” Second, this accusation is incredible coming from the folks who gave us “death panels” during the debate over national health care reform.
- If that’s not effrontery enough, how about this? Some Republicans claim the Ryan-proposed voucher system is just like the Affordable Care Act championed by President Obama. It’s not, but the assertion is astounding coming from a political party that sees “Obamacare” as the death of freedom.
- Rick Santorum: Why does a politician who lost his last race by 18 percentage points think he can be elected president?
- Rudy Giuliani: Why does a politician who spent $50 million in the 2008 primaries to secure one delegate think he can do better this time around?
- Then there is the Republican Party as a whole, which has surrendered its policy-making role to Grover Norquist, who nobody elected to anything. Norquist is head of Americans for Tax Reform, a misnamed organization that is not interested in reforming the tax system, but which is opposed instead to any and all taxes for any and all purposes. He has forced all but 13 of 288 Republican legislators in Congress to sign a pledge not to raise taxes. This effectively hamstrings the Republican Party, eliminating any chance of members of Congress reaching an agreement to reduce the deficit. Why would a lawmaker pledge never to raise taxes? Who can predict what will happen? For example, the United States might be attacked, like at Pearl Harbor, and have to go to war to defend itself. Revenue might be needed to finance this war. Wait: That happened on September 11, 2001! The United States was attacked, soon launching two wars (at least one of which was misguided) while simultaneously cutting taxes, thereby turning the surplus George Bush inherited from Bill Clinton into today’s huge deficit.
Just think: This discussion of the odd and peculiar in GOP land never mentioned Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. There’s always next time.