HEY, YOU'VE GOT TO HIDE YOUR HATE AWAY
Happy Apocalypse Year, everyone.
I see that Frank Bruni is distressed at what the Iowa caucuses are doing to our otherwise marvelous system of governance, and to one fine, upstanding political party in particular:
AS the hour of actual caucusing drew closer, Ron Paul's campaign trumpeted his endorsement by a pastor who, as it happens, has spoken of executing homosexuals. Rick Perry pledged to devote predator drones and thousands of troops to the protection of the Mexican border, making the mission to keep every last illegal immigrant from crossing sound as urgent as rooting out terrorists in Pakistan.
And Rick Santorum, bringing his "Faith, Family and Freedom" tour to this eastern Iowa town on Thursday, promised never to be cowed by all those craven secularists who believe that a stable, healthy household needn't be headed by a God-fearing mom and dad.
None of these three men is likely to win the Republican nomination. But before they exit stage right -- stage far right, that is -- they and a few of their similarly quixotic, similarly strident competitors will do no small measure of damage to the Republican Party and no great favors to the country as a whole. What happens in Iowa doesn't stay in Iowa: it befouls Republicans' image nationally, becomes a millstone around the eventual nominee's neck and legitimizes debate about some matters that shouldn't be debatable.
Later, Bruni brings in a commentator to second what he's saying:
Michael Medved ... wrote in The Daily Beast last week that a strong showing by [Ron] Paul in the caucuses and beyond would be "disastrous to Republican prospects," validating the impression that "today's Republicans have become a wild and crazy bunch, harboring oddball, irresponsible notions that place them far outside the American mainstream and make them untrustworthy when it comes to the serious business of governance."
Oh, my God! Heaven forfend anyone should come to that conclusion!
What's the problem here? Today's Republicans have become a wild and crazy bunch. They do harbor oddball, irresponsible notions that place them far outside the American mainstream and make them untrustworthy when it comes to the serious business of governance. I know that Michael Medved frets about this because he's afraid the con is going to be exposed. (He shouldn't worry, needless to say, because the inevitable Romney victory, in the primary campaign and possibly even in Iowa, will help conceal the insanity for another election cycle.) But what's Bruni's worry?
Bruni seems to be treating the actual lunacy and hatred in the GOP -- hatred very much aimed in his direction because he's a gay man -- as if the party is his own family and he wants to keep the horrible secret of abuse in his household from becoming public knowledge. It's as if public knowledge of the abuse would make it real to him; if he can help paper it over, he can remain in denial that it's a serious problem that needs to be dealt with.
Frank, stop pretending every moment of viciousness in the GOP is an anomaly. Stop pretending that what you're fretting about is the exception and not the rule. This is who Republicans are. It's bad for the country if we don't acknowledge that.