There has always been an innate nastiness to political rhetoric. From the muckrakers of the 1800s, to the McCarthyism of the 1950's. But never has it been so nasty, so distasteful and so divisive as it is today. It's also never be so normal. Normal to question the integrity of an entire party, Normal to ensure the failure of a President through legislative blocking, normal to project an image of a traitor onto a sitting president. And yet here we are, in 2012, being pummeled ceaselessly by political ads and rhetoric that not only lie, & obfuscate, but make it seem that the president himself isn't even an American citizen.
In the center of this is a party that uses every dirty trick in the book to ensure a sitting president is not only defeated in November, but derided as a complete failure. Not only do they wish to tarnish the image of a sitting president, but they even went so far as to attempt to destroy his signature achievement, one that they came up with in the first place, one that would help millions of Americans, and one that they offer no replacement for.
I am of course referring to the GOP, a party struggling to find itself after the eight dismal years of George W. Bush. Who have found themselves being cascaded further right by its fringe elements. So far in fact that the moderate conservatives have been leaving the party altogether.
Over the weekend former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, even went so far as endorse Barack Obama.
So as the fringe right continues to take control of the Republican party the attacks against the President, and the Democrats become even more nasty, and divisive. Now I do know that even Democrats can get nasty, I wont deny that, but I think in many instances the Democrats claims are usually backed up with facts, whereas many Republican ads are completely made up.
Take the Romney Welfare ad that charges Obama with taking the work out of Welfare. Essentially saying that people on Welfare will no longer need to train for a job but instead; "They just send you your welfare check." This line of attack has been completely made up.
Even though the ad has been fact checked again and again being shown to be completely dishonest, Romney is doubling down by charging that the Obama welfare waivers are just an effort to shore up the base.
Which is funny because the wealthiest among us are receiving tons of corporate welfare in the case of subsidies, tax breaks, and oh yeah, bailouts.
That's not even close to being the nastiest attacks.
Rep. Allen West, from Florida in a nod to McCarthy accused most of the Democratic party of being Communists. Former Gov. John Sununu insinuated that the President doesn't understand America and is somehow foreign. Reince Preibus has said that the President looks toward Europe for his policies. All of them regularly call Obama and his policies "Socialist" and make charges that he wants to make America into Europe. The insanity just doesn't stop.
There is also the various Nazi references to President Obama, as well as comparing him to Stalin.
Of course a side effect of all this blind hateful rhetoric being thrown around all the time is that we've become accustomed to hearing the word Socialist, Communist, European being tossed around by the candidates and even the leaders of the Republican party. We've become desensitized to these labels that are frankly not even used correctly. Ask most people and they don't even understand the word Socialism, or even the word Liberal anymore. Fact is that Nazi-ism and Communism are complete opposites in theory. Nazi-ism is a very nationalist right wing idea, that espouses racial purity, anti-homosexual attitudes, anti-worker, anti-abortion, pro corporation, statist, and anti-civil rights themes.
Even worse are the charges of the president not even being a citizen, Trumped up by of course, birther king Donald Trump. He gets help from birther queen Orly Taites, and even Mitt Romney who claims to have made a poor joke to his base during a speech in my home state of Michigan. This rhetoric works quite well, in a 2011 poll 1 in 4 Americans think that Obama wasn't even born in the U.S.
But is it really the leaders who have lurched the party so far to the right, or is it the base?
That's a difficult question to ask, but no one can deny the base is responsible for electing these leaders. I remember during the debates, how the crowd was cheering about executions of possibly innocent people in Texas. How about during the video of the gay soldier serving his country being booed just for being gay and wanting to be open about who he is. Even worse is the subject of the man without health insurance, and how we should just "let him die" which drew massive applause. Then there's the Hank William Jr's, the bloggers, hell even a couple of my old friends from Facebook believe in this terrible stuff.
The question I have here, is what came first? The leaders spouting this crap, or the base influencing the leaders? Maybe it's both, or maybe its the coding, the language and the deluge of false information in the media.
The guns, god, and gays agenda of the right wing, wrapping all of those things up with patriotism and charge those who wish to regulate guns, keep god out of the legislature, and allow gays to marry as un-American, socialist, commu-nazis is an example of how the worst of American culture can be allowed to wield so much power in our government.
I don't however believe that the majority of America is like this. In fact I can prove just how disgusted America is with all the nasty politics. The low approval numbers say it all. So maybe it's just a matter of time before the politicians start being civil again.
I think before that happens the Republican party may have to self-destruct. Maybe then it can regain its collective sanity and again become a party we can actually work with to solve the real problems facing our great nation.