The 2011 Republican debate in New Hampshire was a car wreck where all seemed to crawl out with vitals intact. Nevertheless, it was a freak show where opinions once held as anathema to normal politics were casually given voice by the Tea Party GOP candidates. Here are the top 13 ways of how this night was a Monster's Ball in the worst sense of the American political tradition.
1. Ayn Rand inspired wet dream. The Tea Party GOP wants to make her dystopian vision of unregulated free markets and a further maldistribution of wealth upward into America's salvation. In total (and despite three decades of evidence to the contrary), the Great Recession will be cured by less regulation and not more, where the State gives more resources to those with the most with the hope that they will somehow "trickle down" to the rest of us. Please don't pee on my head and tell me that it is raining.
And oh yeah, if Ron Paul is to be taken seriously, don't be a person who is sick and in need of emergency health care because you will need to wait for the free market and charity hospitals to develop a fix for what ails as you lay dying on the floor.
2. The American Theocracy is real. God. Family. 23 adopted kids. God. Family. Faith. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. According to the 2012 Republican candidates one must be a person of "faith," i.e. a Judeo-Christian of some stripe, in order to be a "moral" person.
Insert finger into throat and induce vomiting.
Question: if God supposedly wants all of the 2012 Tea Party GOP candidates to win, what will happen when they lose? Moreover, which God was correct in its whisperings in the 2012 Republican candidate's individual ears? Which of these "Gods" was lying? How would we know? Will there be a holy war over this issue? Will fatwas be issued by the losing candidates?
3. The Constitution wept once when the Tea Party GOP candidates--a group who supposedly worship America's founding document as a fetish or totem that should be judged by the magical, divinely inspired intent of the "founders"--gave lip service to the notion of repealing birthright citizenship in order to solve America's immigration problems.
4. The Constitution wept a second time when the Tea Party GOP candidates repeated the spurious and willful lie that America was founded as a quasi theocracy, where Jefferson's "thick wall" between church and state was intended only to protect the former from the latter. The establishment clause apparently does not apply, as America was founded as a Christian republic. Perhaps, the Right-wing Tea Party GOP Glenn Beck crowd is reading too much of that pseudo-historian David Barton's nonsense histories?
5. The Constitution wept a third time when the Tea Party GOP candidates led by Herman Cain supported the argument that there ought to be a loyalty oath to the Constitution that is exclusive to Muslim Americans. Never mind that the Constitution prohibits such tests of religious faith as qualifiers for holding public office. Not content to let Herman Cain grab the theocratic zealot vote, Newt Gingrich doubled down on stupid by connecting American Muslims to Nazis and Communist infiltrators. Uncle Joe McCarthy would indeed be proud.
6. The government is bad. The government is always the problem and never the solution. As America witnessed in the death of a great American city during Hurricane Katrina, all of our contemporary problems at the nadir of empire can be cured by rolling back citizens' expectations of the State that it should act in the interest of the Common Good. In fact, the State's failure should be expected as citizens should never have any sense that the government will act in the collective interest, or for the protection of the weakest and most vulnerable.
7. The truth suffered quite a few black eyes at the hands of the 2012 Republican Presidential Nominees. If you listen to their mouth utterances, the American people overwhelmingly hate Obama's efforts to reform the health care system (in fact the public is quite split). The American people are also very concerned with the budget deficit more than they are with job creation. The bailout of the Auto Industry will lose money and further destroy the U.S. economy. And finally, if Michele Bachmann is to be believed, it is only the liberals and the democrats who pass big spending bills upon getting into office. These are all lies. Apparently for Conservatives, reality is making the real world bend to your ideological priors.
8. America is not an exceptional country. There are some candidates who want the U.S. to model their Social Security system after Chile...a country with one of the worst distributions of income in the world. Question: I thought that the Tea Party GOP never looked to other countries for solutions to American problems? Is there a Latin or South American kleptocracy clause to the Constitution that I overlooked? Is this an auxiliary to the Monroe Doctrine?
9. Clarity and transparency were made sick by the debate's dancing around the issue of gay marriage. So, is it the states or the federal government who gets to decide if same sex marriage should be legal? And if we have a Constitutional amendment in "defense of marriage" does that not trump all of the States' Rights talk on the issue as offered during by the 2012 Tea Party Republican field? What of that inconvenient part of the Constitution called the Equal Protection Clause?
10. Civility towards the President of the United States of America in the body of Barack Obama is truly dead. During the Bush administration there was all this screaming by the Republican Party about the need to respect the Office of the President. With President Obama as President this rule has apparently been jettisoned. According to the 2012 Tea Party GOP first class, Obama is a traitor, a failure, and an incompetent who wants to destroy the United States. He is somehow accomplishing this from within...Obama's killing of Osama Bin Laden conveniently aside. In sum, President Obama is some type of Manchurian candidate who is cuckolded by nefarious foreign powers--and probably his Kenyan father's voodoo African ghost who controls him from beyond the grave.
11. Unions violate the rights of the American people. They are antithetical to freedom of association as protected by the Constitution. The reality that most Americans are no longer unionized, that wages have been flat for at least 30 years in part because of this fact, and that those countries with strong unions have a higher standard of living (and their citizens more happy), is an inconvenient aside. Just remember: unions are taking your freedoms away you loyal patriotic Red State Americans!
12. The shadow of Sarah Palin is indeed long: one must never say the name of she who must not be mentioned lest you be smited. Most importantly, you must kiss the Mama Grizzly's ring and tell all who would listen that she is more qualified, and in fact would have been a better President than that failed, elitist, high-foreheaded, intellectual, rapscallion, uppity black constitutional attorney Harvard/University of Chicago guy by the name of Barack Obama.
13. Just like the legendary Ol' Dirty Bastard, Mr. Herman "shucky ducky Soul Train" Cain is for the children! Wu-Tang forever!