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Political Animal

Good Times

By Brian Morton | Posted 6/3/2009

I can't help but smile.

Sure, we're nowhere out of the weeds yet. Jobs are still hemorrhaging, gas prices have started sliding upward for the summer, North Korea is lighting matches next to their underground atomic bonfire project, the jury's still out on all the bailout money we've thrown at Wall Street, and the automakers and the entire state of California look like they're next at the payout window. But still, there remain things to laugh about.

For starters, there's the Manny, Moe, and Jack of fat, florid white politicians helming what's left of the Republican Party: Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and Newt Gingrich. The three of them are busy trying to drag America back into either the '90s (Gingrich), the '50s (Limbaugh), or the Dark Ages (Cheney), and none of them realize the long-lasting damage they are doing to the Republican Party. And you know what? Let them.

When President Obama named Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to the Supreme Court, you would think that we hadn't had more than 200 uninterrupted years of white men on the Supreme Court, to hear Limbaugh howl about it. The list of Republicans lining up to claim that Sotomayor, a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton, was an "affirmative action" pick, is getting longer than Michael Steele's efforts to be listed in

It didn't take long for Limbaugh to call Sotomayor a "reverse racist" (whatever the heck that's supposed to mean), Gingrich to tweet that she is a "Latina woman racist," or Washington pundit  and GOP water-carrier Fred Barnes to imply that she is "not the smartest." It never fails to amaze how the most privileged section of American society can get its undies in a bunch the second someone not of its number is tapped for a post of authority where he or she might have some influence over "the clique."

Black leaders in America are quite used to the mainstream media running up to them and asking them to "disavow" any idiotic statement made by another black leader; for a while, there was a cottage industry for this any time Louis Farrakhan opened his mouth. This, however, does not work in reverse. One of the closest people to an actual national leader the Republicans have right now is Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who this past weekend was the sole guest on CNN's State of the Union with John King.

When King asked McConnell if he'd repudiate the words of Gingrich and Limbaugh, McConnell answered, "Look. I've got a big job to do dealing with 40 Senate Republicans and trying to advance the nation's agenda, and better things to do than be the speech police over people who have their views about a very important appointment."

So while we're laughing, we might want to have a little sympathy for McConnell trying to ride herd on his shrinking caucus. Because if you think about it, if his conservative colleagues continue to smear a member of the fastest growing segment of the American populace, in a few years, he might have even fewer senators of whom to keep track.

Lastly, we can now be entertained by the squirming of the Fox News conservatives who got up in arms about the Department of Homeland Security report on violent right-wing domestic extremism. Despite years of eliminationist rhetoric on the right from the grass roots at gun shows to mainstream talk radio hosts like Michael Savage and authors like Ann Coulter, conservatives manufactured a few days of outrage that the government might actually put together a cold-eyed assessment of the chances that someone might take it all seriously. DHS also put out a report on left-wing extremism, but it's pretty obvious after the last few months that there is virtually no comparison between the two.

Look at the record: Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber, was not a liberal. Timothy McVeigh was not a liberal. Randall Terry was not a liberal. Richard Poplawski, who shot three police officers in Pittsburgh back in April, claiming Obama wants to take his guns? Probably not a liberal. Jim David Adkisson, who opened fire in a church in Tennessee last year after leaving behind a manifesto saying he wanted to kill "every Democrat in the Senate and House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book"--I'm guessing he didn't give money to public radio and subscribe to Mother Jones. And it's a safe bet that Scott Roeder, accused of killing Dr. George Tiller in church on Sunday, isn't a liberal either.

So watching the hypocrites on Fox try to wriggle away from the televised fainting fits they had barely a month ago now that right-wing domestic terrorism has once again reared its ugly head might be worth a few chuckles.

Let's be real here: Times are tough all over, and it's quite likely the grimmest might be yet to come. General Motors is bankrupt, nobody knows what's up with Pakistan's nukes, and let's not forget that Osama bin Laden is still somewhere out there waving George W. Bush's "Get Out of Jail Free" card.

But entertainment is entertainment, and you've gotta find it where you can. And if you can't laugh at the problems of the Right, who can you laugh at?

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