Home National Politics Unhinged! Fresh Evidence in the Aftermath of Cochran’s Victory in Mississippi

Unhinged! Fresh Evidence in the Aftermath of Cochran’s Victory in Mississippi

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We often hear about the disconnect from reality on the right.

Paul Krugman keeps exclaiming about the way his peers as professional economists, who are on the right, continue to generate zombie ideas (disproved but never die) and refuse to recognize when they’ve been proven wrong– contrary to every value of intellectual integrity that Krugman holds dear.

Here at Blue Virginia, Lowell Feld tells us, again and again between parentheses in the morning news report, how bat**** crazy so much of what we see on the right (think E.W. Jackson) is.

And so on.

The picture keeps being presented, showing a disconnect from reality over there on the right. Unhinged in some really troubling way.

Now from Mississippi there comes further proof of the unhingedness of that spirit, and why it’s something America must reject.

I saw it last night on Rachel Maddow’s show, when she reported — in a piece called “Schism”– how the Tea Party world is responding to Cochran’s victory– particularly to the way he won by appealing to black Democratic voters to support him against McDaniels, a fiercely right-wing candidate who seems to appeal to the Klan and militia types.

A lot of right-wingers reject the outcome, and McDaniel himself refuses to concede defeat, questioning — for no good reason that I can see — the legitimacy of Cochran’s victory.

Now, I don’t like open primaries, but that’s the law in Mississippi. And politics is played to win however one can, for the most part, and anyone who follows the rules and wins the election has done what he’s supposed to do– by the ethics of political campaigns. Particularly if there is no lying involved, as it seems there was not in Cochran’s play for black voters.

Cochran won, fair and square.

And he had no need to lie because the black Democrats of Mississippi simply needed to see the truth: they had a strong and quite legitimate stake in preventing someone to come to power who seems to represent (albeit with some subtlety) the very force that inflicted generations of pain upon African Americans — in slavery, in Jim Crow, in the politics of segregation.

And one would think that a sane Tea Party might interpret the willingness of black people to vote for Cochran as a sign that maybe they are showing themselves to be something too ugly to win acceptance from America, taken as a whole. Maybe it would get these Tea Partiers to take a closer look in the mirror.

One might have learned that before from the Senate seats they lost in Missouri and Indiana– ripe for the GOP to win, but for the signs of bonkers extremism their Tea Party candidates expressed on the subject of abortion, and legitimate rape, and the woman’s body shutting down so it won’t be fertilized.

But no, the Tea Party is incapable of learning that, because that would require breaking into their absolutist world to see its downside, and being willing to bend a bit for the sake of having good things happen.

They don’t bend in the legislative process, they don’t even think compromise is something you are called upon to do to make democratic politics work.

So they have no insight into what’s broken in them — refuse to see it — and instead double down on their commitment to the politics of extremism and destruction, in which nothing good can happen (because government is bad, because only we know what the constitution says, because the right to bear arms is an absolute, because there’s no room for any other way of looking at the dilemma of abortion but their own, etc.

So the Tea Partiers are angry. They are denouncing the Republican Party and, as Rachel Maddow pointed out strongly, they are talking about the Republican Party as a “Them” and not a “We.”

Even with their fellow Republicans, there can be no compromise.

Too aligned with the Democrats?

In their denunciations of the Republicans, it keeps coming out that they see the Republicans as altogether too much like the Democrats, and too much working with them.

Unhinged!

Here we have a Republican opposition in Congress that has made the president’s failure its top priority from Day One, trying to keep him from accomplishing anything– not even CARING what kind of outcome would be best for the nation.

Here we have a Republican Party that has disgracefully usurped power through their unprecedented abuse of the filibuster, creating minority rule, contrary to the how the Constitution would have the Senate, and thwarting the will of the people in choosing THIS man to play the very necessary role of president.

Never in the history of the nation have we had an opposition that was so little in league with the other party and its president.

It’s easy to prove how remarkably little cooperation the Democrats have had from the Republicans. The evidence shows that this is the least productive Congress in memory. By a goodly  margin.

When I ran for Congress two years ago, I could denounce the incumbent as part of the do-nothing obstructionist Congress, failing to do the nation’s business at a time of challenge.

But, as it turned out, we hadn’t seen nothing yet: compared to the present Congress, that one was one of high achievement.

The Republicans in both Houses — and not just the Tea Party types —  have been so uncompromising and so uninterested in making our government work well that they’re setting records for obstructionism.

Indefensibly oppositional, contrary to the spirit of the system our Founders gave us.

That ugly truth is right before our eyes.

But the Tea Partiers apparently are upset because they believe just the opposite of the blatant truth. THey fail to see that what’s remarkable about the GOP is not the alignment with the Democrats they’re accusing the “RINOs” of being, but that even the Establishment Republicans are determined to make the politics between the parties into outright political warfare.

The Tea Partiers like those quoted by Maddow last night  perceive these obstructionist Republicans — who treat this president with a contempt never before seen in the treatment of a president by the opposition — as betrayers of principle because they are too compromising, too much in alignment with the Democrats.

This unhinged view leads to the unhinged interpretation of why the black Democrats went for Cochran. Cochran, as they see it, is a RINO making common cause with the enemy.

Of course, there’s a way that the moderately extreme Republicans ARE more like the Democrats: the so-called Establishment Republicans — remember, that includes Karl Rove, so we are not talking about good guys — are not interested in bringing the house down upon us all.

These Establishment Republicans want things to at least be functioning, because they want to take over and run the place to suit themselves.

They are the party of the unjust peace, while the Tea Partiers are the party of outright war. To this ugly spirit, any kind of peace is a betrayal of the ethic of the mandatory holy war.

The Spirit of War

These unhinged Tea Partiers. We see they are unhinged because they are denouncing the “RINO’s” these days, trying to get rid of every Republican that is ever willing to talk to a Democrat, who’s willing to give up when the battle has been lost (like on Obamacare), who is willing to make the necessary concession when outplayed and not drive the nation into default.

The unhingedness of the Tea Party — the great disconnect from reality — is also dark. It is the spirit of war. Conflict is all it will accept.

It moves things in the direction of death and destruction and an political order poisoned with enmity. It creates things like the American Civil War– this is that same spirit, come for a second time now to wield great (destructive) power in the American system.

Once again, it is doing great damage to the nation, and its prospects. The wounds of the Civil War are still not healed, and who knows what kind of damage this Republican Party will end up inflicting on the nation in this less bloody way of destroying.

We heard that same spirit — the one that drove the nation into Civil War — again last night in the angry non-concessions speech of righteous sore loser McDaniel. It’s a speech in the spirit of righteous anger, and a refusal to concede– despite the evident truth that the election had been fairly won by the rules.

The sore loser fails to honor a valuable tradition in the democracy. One accepts defeat, when it’s done by the rules.

Absolutists insist on war, because they do not recognize the value of anything to which they would have to submit. Including the traditions and norms that enable us to have a good functioning government and a state of peace and mutual respect in the nation as a whole.

But with this Tea Party group — who make such a big deal about how they are upholders of the one true Constitution — there’s no willingness to honor a value as higher than one’s own triumph in the peaceful democratic process of making our decisions.

“Traditions and norms be damned,” say these shut the government down and go over the default cliff. I just insist on what I want, and I will fight rather than accept less.

Bundy and his right-wing buddies– patriots for standing off the feds fully armed, the opposite of the spirit of the Constitution from how they posture.

It includes a big culture that is still fighting the Civil War, and that displays the Stars and Bars in an important expression of political identity.  I’ve thought for a long time about what people are saying when they display the Stars and Bars on their trucks and their houses. This is the heart of it, I think: “This is the team, the army that I am on.” And it is the army that fought to drive the nation to war over slavery, the army that served a cause, a spirit, that later created Jim Crow and the culture of segregation, with its regime of racial terror.

I believe we saw that same spirit on display from McDaniel’s righteous willingness to trample on a valuable and important part of the American tradition that calls for losers in elections to admit defeat in good grace. “I called to congratulate my opponent…”

(It was not a call I was glad to make, believing that my opponent Mr. Goodlatte stood for the victory of the lie over the truth. But I knew that was the American way, and I made it.)

That’s how democracy stays at peace. We accept defeat, and the legitimacy of what and who the people choose through an election conducted by the rules.

(Compare war-loving McDaniels here with the noble, order-honoring Al Gore, after the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore. Though Gore misplayed his hand in that Recount crisis, It is still true that Gore got seriously screwed by the system. McDaniel’s seems to think he’s been screwed, but I’ve heard nothing to indicate that McDaniel has any legitimate move but losing in good grace in the American Way.

Gore might somewhat legitimately have started a war of sorts, by denouncing the Supreme Court decision and refusing to accept that the election had been legitimately decided. Legitimately because, as we eventually saw more clearly, Bush v. Gore was but one of the early signs of how the spirit that’s taken over the right has degraded our democracy.

But Gore acted like a man who understood the role he had to play in order to protect the American order. Gore respected the American value on the idea of the rule of law, which includes respecting the idea that when the Supreme Court has spoken on a law, we accept that and move on.

Same with elections. When the people have spoken, according to the rules, we accept the outcome and move on.

We battle in the arena, without shedding of blood, and then we accept the outcome and prepare for the next battle.

We move on.

This spirit pretends to be the true spirit of our democracy. But it is the very opposite. How else could we interpret the Tea Party’s refusal to accept that Obamacare got passed according to the rules, it was upheld by the Supreme Court according to the rules in a 5-4 decision– it’s the law.

And they want to keep repealing it, when it’s long been a done deal, or subverting it in every way they can? Does not submit to the respect for the democratic process. With a face of false righteousness, they make war by the positions they choose.

We fight to win. Accept defeat if necessary. Leave the victors to do their jobs, respecting their legitimacy, and then we move on to the next battle to become the winners in the next round.

But the Tea Partiers think this this, the American way, shows a lack of principle.

In their rigid insistence on dubious “principles,” they will not allow themselves to be represented by anyone who makes a few necessary compromises– like a Cochran.

How perverse. Those compromises are Cochran’s virtues as a Senator, not his great sin.

The Tea Partiers would have liked him to be more of a Ted Cruz, making trouble rather than trying to keep the trouble within limits.

The spirit we see in the wake of Cochran’s victory, from the right wing media and Tea Party places (shown by Maddow), sounding what sounds close to a declaration of war against the Republican Party (these Tea Partiers have seceded from the party, Maddow shows).

It’s the opposite of moral. The spirit of war cloaks itself in a kind of false righteousness, but there’s no real moral there, there. It’s a morality that is chiefly about what other people should do. It’s a morality that makes a virtue for them to get things their way..

Just what great value DOES McDaniel stand for, what value that stands up to scrutiny as anything positive for America? Yes, this nation has problems all right, but they are far from the ones that McDaniel and his followers think they are. McDaniel is glad to take sword in hand and get up on a high horse, but there is nothing really high about it, just the angry spirit of war.

This is a craziness that is aligned with the dark spirit of war. The dark spirit of sadistic domination. The dark spirit of the lie.

The Lie: The Very Opposite

The dark spirit that can lead people to see the world in a very different way than it is. There is indeed a very big problem with the Republicans, I say to the Tea Partiers, but it is the very opposite of the RINO problem you see it as.

What a display of brokenness of consciousness, to see things as the very opposite of what they are! Cochrane isn’t aligned with the Democrats– he was a reliable vote in the Republicans disgraceful, ugly theft of power in their use of the filibuster. The Spirit of War is in close alignment with the Spirit of the Lie.

There is something really gone awry in the consciousness that pervades the Tea Party world.

Unhinged.

The Tea Party’s virtual declaration of War against the establishment Republicans is a manifestation of a dark and destructive spirit, and their reaction to Cochran’s victory gives us a clear view of that ugly thing that’s arisen on the right.

Perhaps this is a teachable moment. Point to this and show the lack of respect for an important democratic tradition on which the peace of our land has rested pretty well for over two centuries== except for that time when a dark and ugly spirit drove politics out of the political process and onto the bloodiest of battlefields, from which the nation has still not healed.

It’s an opportunity to show the hypocrisy. The danger.

America needs to hear a lot more civics. I think it was a mistake to stop teaching children something about the ideals the nation has about how our power system is supposed to work.

America is all too blind these days to the destruction being wrought by this spirit upon our system of governance. It should not be possible for a nation of Americans to watch our system operating as it is now and think that was the least acceptable. And be able to see who was the source of the problem, with the process so public.

We need to show America that the ways the Republicans have been behaving — working to defeat the president, completely indifferent to what’s best for the nation — represents a serious attack on a political tradition that has done rather well by this nation over a couple pretty spectacular centuries.

Civics lesson last night in Mississippi.  

  • Did you know that the World Cup is now a way for Obama to “distract people?” Yep, that’s the “fair and balanced” network’s take on it.

    Also see the rabid Ann Coulter says…”Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.” I’m serious, she really wrote that, and she’s considered a leading conservative commentator. ‘Nuff said.

  • JHooe44

    Always enjoy your insight. Thank you for posting, and I look forward to reading more of your work!