Monday, June 11, 2007


Sometime before Republicans blocked passage of the Alberto Gonzales no-confidence resolution, Steve Benen of the Carpetbagger Report noted two planned Republican attempts at retaliation: First, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was saying he would bring a resolution to the floor condemning (though not by name) Senator Charles Schumer; in addition, Senator Tom Coburn offered an amendment essentially expressing no confidence in the Senate itself, accusing it of failing to curb "frivolous, excessive, or wasteful spending." In other words, the response to the no-confidence vote was "Gonzales sucks? No -- you Democrats suck!"

Steve said of the Republicans,

These guys are just embarrassing themselves.

But to their fellow wingnuts, they aren't embarrassing themselves. In fact, their choice of what seem to be two bizarre angles of attack make perfect sense if you're a wingnut -- or if, like me, you pay attention to the peculiar folkways of Wingnuttia.

Schumer was attacked? Of course. "Chuckie" Schumer (he's always "Chuckie" in Wingnuttia) is, on the right, possibly the most hated senator besides Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. (He's probably more hated than Harry Reid -- perhaps only because the right's preferred name for Reid, "Dingy Harry," isn't as satisfyingly infantile as "Chuckie").

And the "frivolous, excessive, or wasteful spending" amendment jibes perfectly with Republican dogma about why the GOP lost the '06 midterms -- it wasn't being the party of the Iraq War, Brownie, and resolutions to keep Terri Schiavo alive, it was failure to cut government programs to the bone. If you're a wingnut, you are absolutely required to believe that that was the only reason -- well, that and a couple of scandals (Mark Foley, Ted Haggard) -- that voters rejected Republicans across the country and drove Bush's approval ratings into the toilet.

The Senate Republicans aren't even trying to talk in a way that makes sense to anyone except wingnuts and Freepers and Limbaughnistas.

Remember the famous 1999 letter in which Paul Weyrich, frustrated by Republican losses in the '98 midterms and by the failure to turn Bill Clinton out of office, argued that conservatives should "drop out of this culture"? Well, the wingnuts have basically done that. They barely speak the same political language we do. They're just speaking to one another.

That's why Fred Thompson is surging in the GOP polls. As Peggy Noonan said a couple of weeks ago,

He is running a great campaign. It's just not a declared campaign.... It has been going on for months and is aimed at the major pleasure zones of the Republican brain. In a series of pointed columns, commentaries and podcasts, Mr. Thompson has been talking about things conservatives actually talk about.

It doesn't matter whether he's talking about things anyone else in America actually talks about -- for instance, how to get the hell out of Iraq. All that matters is that he's snarking off at Michael Moore and saying colleges teach too little military history because they're run by pinkos. Yeah, those are the key issues going into '08, aren't they?

Well, to wingnuts, they are. To wingnuts, the #1 issue is always: Liberalism -- how do we destroy it once and for all?

The problem is, once we have two major-party nominees, we'll be told that the Democrat is the blinkered partisan talking to narrow "special interests," while the Republican -- however wingnutty he is on the campaign trail -- will be declared the champion of "ordinary Americans." And if a Republican wins in '08, we'll have four more years of a president who's just the president of people who agree with him on virtually everything.

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