(Booman Tribune) I love the writing here. But I don’t really think of it as a slow, almost imperceptible process. Certainly, you can trace the long, slow progress from Goldwater to Gohmert. But there have been sudden tectonic slips that have jolted the crazy forward.
I think one of the less appreciated legacies of the Bush administration is that they made Republican ideology incoherent. One moment the GOP was calling for the liquidation of the Department of Education and planning to let Medicare “wither on the vine,” and the next moment they were giving us No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D. One moment they were closing down the government because they wanted spending cuts, and the next moment the vice-president was telling us that Ronald Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter. One moment Bush was campaigning on a more humble foreign policy and the next moment, if you weren’t with us, you were against us. The Bush administration was awful from every perspective you might wish to view it, and that includes the movement conservative’s perspective.
But movement conservatives were nonetheless willing to go along with the Bush administration and defend it with the harshest, coarsest, most vituperative language and rhetoric. As they unlearned logical consistency, they also lost the ability to think clearly. Logic became a kind of threat.
So, that was the first real tectonic slip. The next came in late August and September of 2008 when, first, Sarah Palin was selected as John McCain’s running mate, and then the economy completely collapsed. It became almost immediately clear that Sarah Palin was a colossal moron who had absolutely no business on a presidential ticket. It also became clear that John McCain had no idea how to deal with the financial crisis, as he suspended his campaign, unsuccessfully tried to skip a presidential debate, and called for an emergency meeting at the White House where he had nothing to say.
This forced the conservative movement to defend both McCain and Palin is ways that no sentient human being should ever defend other human beings. I believe the experience caused permanent collective brain damage to the entire Republican community. Arguing that Sarah Palin should be a stroke away from the nuclear football will do that to a brain, and a political party.
The final straw, however, was the decision to oppose every single thing the president tried to do. They turned him into a monster when he was never a monster. He became the Kenyan socialist usurper. That was a decision that Mitch McConnell made before the president was even sworn into office. And the result was that the Republican Party started rejecting their own ideas and labeling them communist plots to destroy the country. At that point, with all the bad habits already ingrained, the party just lost control of its base.
They hadn’t governed according to their “principles,” and they had ramped up the fear of the Democrats to such a height that the base decided that they were facing some existential crisis.
Basically, the big steps were ideological inconsistency followed by epic failure which both required people to defend the indefensible which broke people’s logical brains and respect for the truth which then caused them to respond to manufactured fear with rebellion against their own puppet masters.
You will have to go read his post to learn what writing he loves. It is a pretty good metaphor he linked to, but I liked his step by step analysis of the decent of the Republican Party into madness.