Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Republican Implosion of '09

"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times".

Thinking of the opening sentence of Charles Dickens' classic, A Tale of Two Cities,
a tip of the hat is in order for the old master. While the last seven months have been the worst of times, they have also been, in a very real and tangible way, the best of times as well. Of course I am speaking of the utter implosion of the party that at one time it its history was reverently referred to as "the party of Lincoln". Yesterday marked the one-hundred and forty-fourth anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's death. It is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to hypothesize that were he to come back to earth today, he would not only fail to recognize his party, he would be ashamed and embarrassed to have his good name associated with it.

What we have here is your classic good news/bad news scenario....

Good news: The GOP is going down in flames.

Bad news: They are determined to bring the rest of the country down with them.

It really is kind of funny when you think about it. This is dark comedy at it's finest. If it were a screenplay it would have been written by Paddy Chayefsky. Like the hunted felon who knows damned well that he is within minutes of having his cover blown, the Right Wing extremists who have dominated America's political dialogue for almost three decades, are resorting to desperation tactics of the most deplorable (and entertaining) kind.
And I'm lovin' every minute of it.

Here's their problem: They know that the insane, "trickle down", voodoo economics of the "Reagan Revolution" has been exposed for all time and eternity to be nothing better than a two-bit rip off - the economic equivalent of a Three Card Monty scam. In order for them to survive politically, it is essential that they do everything humanly possible to ensure that President Obama's effort to save the American economy - and, thus, the American people - is a complete, disastrous failure. So, what to do? That's easy! Divide, distort and distract! It's the good old, tried and true, Karl Rove theory of statecraft.


This was one of the most idiotic publicity stunts I think I've ever witnessed. This "grass roots movement" (which in reality was cooked up by the Republican National Committee and promoted by the FOX Noise Corporation) was a pathetic effort to stage a nationwide demonstration against the Obama administration's tax policies. The problem is, most of the fools they were able to sucker into taking part in this silly event are people whose taxes won't be raised one blessed cent! How many times do these knuckleheads have to be informed that the only people who are going to be paying more in taxes under the Obama plan are those who make in excess of $200,000 a year? Has any one of these jackasses figured out that they will be paying less to the federal government under this president than they paid under George W. Bush? What the hell is the matter with these people? Has this stupid "Tea Bag Protest" benefited anyone? You bet it has - the Lipton Company.

And then, just when you thought the situation couldn't possibly get any weirder, there was the governor of the state of Texas - Rick "Good Hair" Perry - telling a rally of screaming nincompoops that the Lone Star State had the constitutional right to secede from the union.

You just might want to rethink this one, pardner. Between you and me and the lamp post, there are a whole heck of a lot of people out there (who don't live in Texas) who believe that your state's secession would be a perfectly nifty idea. It's a movement of opinion that is growing by the hour. Let me explain something to you Governor Perry; yours is the state that gave us Molly Ivins, Bill Moyers, Kinky Freidman (not to mention the Texas Jew Boys), Jim Hightower and the Barras family of Port Arthur (my first cousins on my mother's side). We kindly thank you for that. But you're also the state that gave us George W. Bush, Phil Gramm, Tom Delay, Karl Rove - and you. My advice? Don't go there. Don't even think about going there. Believe me, Governor, many of us would be blissfully content to give that state back to Mexico. As someone much wiser than I once opined, "Be careful what you wish for."

Desperate times call for desperate measures - and if there is one thing that is patently obvious to anyone bothering to pay attention, it is that these assholes are very desperate indeed. Their only option at this late stage in the game is scaring the shit out of the American people. Some are calling Barack Obama "a Socialist" Others "a Fascist". They're even calling him "the most polarizing president in history". This at a time when his approval ratings are somewhere in the mid sixties. Listening to them chirping on and on, like little magpies on an acid binge, you would think that Bush's eight year reign of divisive, reactionary insanity never even happened. Yeah! That's the ticket! It was all just a bad dream. Go back to sleep.

In the midst of all of this nonsense is the spectacle of the main contenders for the GOP nomination in 2012: Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty - all of them governors - who are telling the press that they will be refusing the government's stimulus money. The reason for this is because they need to appease the small government base of their increasingly irrelevant party. Forget the fact that to refuse that money would consign their constituency to needless suffering and despair - Oh, just forget all of that stuff, you crybabies! The only things that matter to these despicable nitwits are their ambitions - Screw the people.

And while we're on the subject of irrelevance, is there anyone out there who seriously believes that the recent soap opera involving the ex-boyfriend of Sarah Palin's daughter has ruined her chances at a bid for the White House in 2012? Does anybody really think that no political party in their right mind would nominate such an imbecilic woman as their standard bearer? If it is your opinion that Governor Palin is a pathetic, stuck-in-the-tundra has-been whose best days are behind her, you're giving way-too-much credit to the standards of the Grand Old Party.

Just look at the intellectual afflictions of every one of their nominees going all the way back to 1980. Sarah Palin is made to order! We're talkin' Dan Quayle in drag here! Are you kidding me? They can't just nominate another white guy to run against President Obama three years from now. They have to choose a woman or a non-white man. The most qualified (barely) person among their ranks is Mitt Romney. The only problem is the fact that the reactionaries and religious bigots who control that party will never nominate a Mormon. Baring a miracle (or the unthinkable - Dear Lord, keep him safe) it will be Palin or Jindal (or Palin/Jindal) in 2012. Count on it.

And then there are the revisionists. They're out there in droves; the ones who are now in the process of making a futile and pathetic attempt to rewrite history by telling us (with faces as straight as a two-by-four, I swear!) that twenty-five years in the future will find historians remembering Bush as the greatest president in American history; sort of like the way Harry Truman, unpopular in his time, is remembered today. These are the people I really pity! It reminds me of the story of the farmer who one day came across a young boy digging through a huge pile of horse manure with his bare hands. When the puzzled man asked the boy what the hell he was doing, the poor kid replied, "There's just got to be a pony in here somewhere!"


They should etch those words in granite at the entrance of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Happy birthday in Heaven to Charles Spencer Chaplin - one of the bravest men who ever lived - who was born one-hundred and twenty years ago today in London, England.

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by....


At 8:20 AM, Anonymous sleight-of-hand said...

Tom, your posted image with the article says it all. Because we live within a country of imbeciles, morons, and the ignorantly uninformed, the rightwing fascists can manipulate the discourse as it suits their needs. As you're well aware, Hitler was able to do the very same thing in Germany during the 1930s.

Good work, and keep speaking the truth. You provide a needed service. I'm looking forward to the rest of the article.

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have trouble getting to your page, I think it is because my computer is from the last century.

Yes, the whole "Revisionist George W." Crowd is either scaring the daylights out of me or watching the episode of "Who shot JR?" on Dallas.

God, if only it were a dream.

I'm glad I am watching from CANADA and not in the fray, I'd be hospitalized for having contact with my GOP nuclear family. YUCK!

Guess I'll keep my "socialist" ideals and personage in the land where "We Stand On Guard for Thee!" means privacy commissioners and people like Maude Barlow, Stevie Cameron, Stephen Lewis, et al.


At 1:29 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Hi Tom,
You touched on some points here that really resonated with me. I really struggled to try and find out just what this damned teabag thing was all about. Complete and total nonsense that most of the people involved with had no clue about. I received an email from one of my southern red neck cousins (who I had not heard from for over three years) telling me where to send a tea bag in order to protest. When I wrote her to ask what was being protested she was absolutely clueless.

And as you pointed out, the vast majority of the people protesting tax increases are the ones whose taxes will not be affected. If they are really concerned, why the devil didn't they speak up when the Jugeared Jackass was in office?

Sadly, these people are feeling disenfranchised, lost, out of power and floating at sea without a rudder or a captain while the so called GOP leaders claw at one another to see who can come out on top. The scary thing is that there is a simmering desperation that can lead to senseless violence.

And as sleight-of-hand points out, it would be very easy for a Hitler type to come to power.

At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings and Salutations Tom,
thanks for the article. i truly enjoy hearing the ring of truth in your rants and the jaded, cynical, ironic cant that comes from realizing where our "society" has been headed during the last decade!!
Beware the die hard zealots of the GOP. After hardening themselves to the Repulican identity, there is a host of citizens that will follow the party in spite of logic, reason or any exposure to factual proofs. I'm sure it's taken years to numb the senses of many thinking citizens with the rhetoric of Republican dogma and the sharp edge of peer pressure making the facade of altered reality palatable.
Perhaps climate change or a break through in stem cell research will open the eyes of those still able to toss off the stigma of "being a Republican" and will see the error of their ways.
Please rant on, Tom. May many other voices join yours to make a difference today, for a better tomorrow. Mark T
P.S. joining your blog soonest!

At 7:30 AM, Anonymous sleight-of-hand said...

Ah, c'mon, Tom. Why'd you change the picture from what you originally published yesterday? Although this one's appropriate, and definitely speaks the truth -- because Bush and Company should be prosecuted for ordering acts of torture and other crimes against humanity, I believe the other one was more appropriate for this particular topic.

Don't tell me you had a barrage of hate-mail and succumbed to their wishes. You didn't, did you?

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


I swear there was no pressure! Honest!

Actually, I removed the original photo because it was slightly off-focus. Also I wanted to e-mail the piece to a number of people whom II know watch FOX Noise. It's an article they need to read. Had they seen THAT at the top of the page, they would have deleted it immediately (You know how FOX viewers can be). I am planning on writing a piece about FOX and friends (just about the stupidest thing on the tube today). I'll use it then.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Let Texas secede! Who needs them! Screw them! Who want's that pathetic sorry state to be part of our country? Let them go be a third world cesspool of a theocratic, free market corporatist fascist nation state. Go! And good riddance! And then let's deport all our conservatives there!

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

Tom, it's my perception that people are upset about spending incredibly large sums of money we don't have, and in ways to which they take exception. It really isn't about the taxes.

I'll tell you a short story about a refusal to take stimulus money here in my little state. There is a city here that was all excited about building their $20M waste water treatment facility, which they had ready to go and were going to build regardless. So they figured they would get some of the stimulus cash. From what I understand, because of certain provisions attached to the cash, it was actually going to cost them more than if they just paid for it themselves. Amazing, huh?

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Wilma Lamb said...

I would hate to see Texas go. I loved it when my husband was stationed at Ft Bliss except on November 22, 1963.
Just the other day I found a picture of the post flag at half-mast

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

"'s my perception that people are upset about spending incredibly large sums of money we don't have, and in ways to which they take exception. It really isn't about the taxes."Joel, I'm certain you're very correct. It's too bad these citizens are ignorant of the ways that Keynesian economic principles and theory apply. If they understood, they'd feel more comfortable with the methods this administration is taking on -- and may very well then be their biggest cheerleaders. But, as is so common these days, especially in our ever-fragmenting and diverse society, there are those who exacerbate the confusion and manipulate the uninformed and unintelligent. As much as the president has attempted to explain the multiplier effect that's the key to this process, it falls on deaf and, in most cases, ignorant ears.

As I've maintained before, I'm in agreement with the president's economic stimulus and recovery reform (although, I feel, the $787 billion is way too little), I'm very disappointed with his continued attempts to throw good money at bad via his continuation of Paulson's TARP. He should have nationalized those financial institutions that where hemorrhaging, set in-place an agenda for reform, and sold-off the untainted portions. His rationale that these institutions are too large to fail doesn't set well with me. If they're truly too large to fail -- they're too large to exist for the good of society.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...

As a former Canadian living now living on a mid-size island in south-west Pacific, I shouldn't give much of a crap about what goes on up in CrazyLand. Yet... I do.

We all know that this “grassroots” teabagging activity is classic astroturf through and through. But don't let that mask other levels of meaning and agenda!

What this can demonstrate is that far from being out of power and ineffective, the GOP is still capable of influencing millions and shifting thousands. Their forté in the past several decades has always been misinformation, only now they can also hide behind the very thin veil of legislative impotence. This also very conveniently enables them to claim that this flaming pile of shit is all Obama's to deal with.

Look what they were able to do:
corrupt the symbolism of one of the first major anti-corporate protests;
convince thousands and thousands of mid- to lower-class Americans to come out and protest what for the vast majority of them will be tax-neutral or even tax-negative;
convince these same thousands that teabagging in this day and age means to, well, staple chamomile to a hat and demand zero taxes.

These people have been played for suckas AGAIN!

Tom, you were a freaking civics teacher once upon a time – how many of the protesters could cogently describe what conditions brought about the original Tea Party?

How many of them have been affected by the actions of the multinationals and transnationals, yet wouldn't protest Wal-Mart's product sourcing from China or the blatant screwing of employees on healthcare, benefits and overtime?

How many of them understand even on a rudimentary level what the Federal Reserve is and how it operates?

How many of them would acknowledge that taxes are the price of admission to a modern civil society?

The equation of corporatehood with sainthood in American culture allows those who protect and serve the corporate interest to demonise anyone who dares challenge or even resist the existing power structure.

Trillions for the banks are okay, because those are the white-collar power players. Please disregard that they do not actually physically make anything; they simply use invisble magic to make money out of money.

Mere billions for automakers, however, reeks of socialism. Please disregard that they actually do make things, and employ blue-collar people who make things.

Somewhere along the way, America has forgotten about the 'enlightened' part of de Toqueville's 'enlightened self-interest' to the great detriment of us all.

At 6:37 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Good luck with your blog, exGlacies and thanks for the great posting a few minutes ago on "The Rant". I'm flattered that someone from so remote (and beautiful) a location would be reading me! Where in the South Pacific do you live?

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

Jeff’s Guard, I understand the basic economic theory, but if anything, I think our representatives are using it as justification for their spending on whatever will advance their agendas. I find it offensive that they have used the state of the economy as an excuse. And the whole TARP fiasco makes me sick. You are right about not allowing a financial institution to get to big to fail. I would prefer to let companies fail thereby creating opportunity for others; including automakers.

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous John said...

Joel, your NH waste treatment facility brings up an interesting point. Many of the techniques that have been utilized by the world bank essentially force other nations into accepting long term contracts that are very favorable to american & multi-national corporations are now being practiced domestically.

There is a push to privatize municipal resources such as water and transportation infrastructures in communities across the country. These plans are always presented as cost saving measures although a mature example like health-care presents a completely different image.

Tom's assessment of Governor Palin's presidential qualities are probably correct - although rejecting the stimulus money may be a good call. I have no in depth knowledge of stimulus money contracts - but I would not be surprised if there were strings attached to all of it - much like the stinking turds that are tied to world bank money.

As this all plays out, we may get to enjoy bonuses too...

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous John said...

JG, I have not yet read your link (but I will) still at this time I would like to point out that this bailout plan is not Obama's - he became the spokesman for the financial industry when his campaign was being bankrolled. The same people who took us into this mess are very much in control of concocting the bailout strategy.

This situation of the president being beholding to these guys is inescapable in the current American political landscape...

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous John said...

EG, Conflation is a foundation of logic as it is practiced in this country. To wit, 'it follows' is, 'it may not follow', follow?

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

"...I have not yet read your link (but I will) still at this time I would like to point out that this bailout plan is not Obama's..."John, you know I totally agree with you as to who's pulling the strings. You've read enough of my commentary on Tom's blog to realize that by now. Although, by virtue of the fact his name's on it, I'll still make claim that it's Obama's "plan". His is the visible face of this corporatist government, therefore he deserves all blame or criticism -- no matter who's actually calling the plays.

Peace and understanding...

Jefferson's Guardian

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Anna Van Z said...

Ex Glacies, do you have room for a few of us over there? I can bring a monster supply of sunscreen.
Laneman, just think: If Texas took SC with them, they could form the

Union of

Oh wait, I forgot - "union" is a dirty word in SC...Like pretty much everything else.
Did you know that playing poker anywhere in SC, even your home, is illegal? They actually had a police raid on some old guy's house last year, who was playing cards at the kitchen table with his friends. No, I'm not kidding - you just cannot make this stuff up.
Where was all the outrage about government fascism from the "freedom-loving" wingnuts? Why, nary a peep was heard! What a surprise.

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous FUCK YOU said...

Tom, you are a douche... Just cause you have a blog, doesn't make you smart... You and the rest of the Liberal media can eat shit.

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous John said...

Apparently FY represents the food industry. It is like a breath of fresh air to hear an insider speak of GMO's with such candor...

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

"FUCK YOU" has written as follows:

"Tom, you are a douche... Just cause you have a blog, doesn't make you smart... You and the rest of the Liberal media can eat shit."

Dear...umm...."FUCK YOU",

I really want to thank you pal - from the bottom of my heart - for so skillfully making for me my argument regarding the utter stupidity of the extreme right wing.

No, FUCK YOU, just because I have a blog doesn't make me smart. You wouldn't believe how many fools out there have one - and maybe I am one of them - who knows?

But I can assure you this: you have revealed more about yourself than you will ever know and (I have no doubt) will ever be able to understand.

Keep 'em comin', pal!

Tom Degan

PS - I was just wondering: What kind of man (and you've got to be a man - women are so much smarter than that) would identify himself as "FUCK YOU"? Just curious.

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

John, It's kind of like the Mafia; you let us do you a favor and then you're ours forever. It works equally well for stimulus packages as it does for campaign financing.

At 5:05 AM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...

Hi Tom, thanks for the praise. I used to have a blog way back in 1999-2002, but once I ran out of ways to call Bush an asscrumb, there just didn't seem much reason to go on. Your blog, on the other hand, has been a must-read for a couple of years now.

The nom de plume "Ex Glacies" is Latin, of course, for "out of the ice," referring to my escape to the subtropical climate of The Shire.

Anna: what if Texas did actually secede? There would be a lot of pressure to sign on to international extradition treaties, or risk a status similar to Paraguay. I'm sure someone with a better grounding in international law could turn that into a real thought experiment.

Oh, and don't worry about sunscreen - we have heaps of that. But if you come down here, a caseload of peanut butter cups would be very nice...

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

So, John, do you figure that...umm..."Intercourse Thee", is a public relations representative with Monsanto? I believe you're not mistaken -- for whatever else could he be?

Tom, it used to be possible to ignore such deliberate attacks and move on. Unfortunately, the conservative message is all too often delivered by moronic and barbaric excuses for human beings, who are incapable of having an intelligent and friendly debate concerning the virtues and vices of each issue. It seems, today, in this divisive and poisonous climate of distrust and fear that most of them want the rest of us to accept and live in, ignoring them just doesn't work any longer. It's sort of like trying to ignore a bad rash, or worse, a venereal disease. Pretending it's not there doesn't make it go away. You took care of the situation, and took care of it well. Let's see whether..."Intercourse Thee"...returns and confirms what we already suspect.

Joel, I wasn't implying that you, personally, didn't understand Keynesian theory or the role it plays in Obama's stimulus plan. Far from it. But, it's my observation that most people don't. As I've mentioned on this blog on more than one occasion, I feel that basic economic theory ("Economics 101") should be required curriculum for all high school and college students. But, as we all know, it'll never come to pass. The whole idea behind today's inept education system isn't to prepare people for essential civic and political responsibility, but rather to gain just enough business and technical acumen to barely compete in an ever-dwindling job market. A strong understanding of history and economics by the masses would be a hindrance to the powers-to-be. Usually, a liberal arts education is a subversion to the corporatist mentality that rules. It makes their job harder.

Anna, I couldn't agree with you more. If Texas left the union, certainly the nation's GDP would fall by a significant sum. However, it's also fair to assume that the aggregate IQ of the country would increase at the same time. Maybe, if we can coax the Texans to follow through with their threat, they'll take their retarded little brother, Oklahoma, with them.

Also, Joel, one man's fat pig is another man's stimulus. It just depends upon what you're doing with the pig.

Lastly, sleight-of-hand, I have to agree with you. Tom should have left the original image as the header for his article. I think it drew, umm, "Intercourse Thee", like a moth's drawn to the light of a lamp. Unfortunately, it's the only light most of his kind ever see.

Peace and understanding to all...

Jefferson's Guardian

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Joel, I read the good professor's sentiments this morning and immediately thought of your concern.

You know, if it's really the pork in the stimulus package you're concerned about, the professor's snippet should put your mind at ease. But, realistically, if we want any sort of reform as to where the big money's going -- I mean the really big money -- we need to hammer away at -- hell, dynamite -- the bloated "defense" budget of this nation. Almost half of our government's annual budget goes toward satisfying this gigantic morass of inefficiency, redundancy and waste. It should be apparent to most, if not all, that this is exactly what President Eisenhower was referring to on the eve of leaving office when he warned the American people of the dangers of the military-industrial complex. This is it!

But, as is so common, and so prevalent, and so excruciatingly frustrating -- our memories...and sense of history...continue to let us down.

At 3:09 AM, Anonymous shaidrules said...

happy earth day tom to you and all of your loyal readers.even the guy who calls himself "fuck you" actually that guy has some serious problems

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Thank you for the kind words!

Yeah, I spent a little time analyzing "FUCK YOU"'s message. It was obviously written by a confused teenage boy. No grown, mature adult would express himself in such a manner or identify himself in such a self-demeaning way.


Tom Degan


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