Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Don’t blame all Republicans for the ‘freaks’

Express Staff Writer

Because "rightwing" politics sometimes is used interchangeably with the word Republican, all Republicans are wrongly held accountable for bizarre opportunists who'll graft themselves onto any movement that gets attention on 24-hour cable and TV talk shows.

Republicans and conservatives of stature, however, want no part of conduct that once was associated with people writing obscene words and drawing human genitalia on bathroom stalls.

Take Indiana's Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, a genuine statesman and brainy foreign affairs expert. He's among the handful of Washington's highly regarded figures who've given these new GOP firebrands a wide berth.

Conservative columnist David Brooks weighed in with his own lament on how Americans across the board—in sports, entertainment and, yes, politics—have elevated immodest and surly behavior into a cultural habit. Recalling how Americans uniformly regarded victory over the Japanese and the end of World War II with mature modesty, Brooks writes, "It's funny how the nation's mood was at its most humble and its actual achievements were at their most extraordinary."

Veteran Republican campaign strategists don't hesitate to cite peril for the party of protest mobs aligning themselves inferentially with Republicans and against President Obama.

One who doesn't mince words is Mark McKinnon, former adviser to Sen. John McCain, who said "rightwing nutballs" and "freaks" are filling gaps in the GOP's leadership ranks. He included those portraying President Obama as a Marxist, a Nazi, Hitler or an illegal alien. The fact that Republican politicians have shown up to energize these rallies, rather than denouncing slanders against Obama, tends to link Republicans as one of them.

Respected Republicans have been wounded most by Freedomworks, the organization founded by former House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey and onetime billionaire Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes. The organization takes credit for stirring up the nests of belligerents to turn out as mobs ranting and raving at Obama with profane placards and jeering insults and to strut their stuff wearing guns.

Further congealing the ugly GOP public image are the likes of Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, whose most notorious crackpot idea is to refuse to participate in the next Census because, she says, it could lead to the government's seizing people.

Superpatriots have been heard from, too. South Carolina's Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint has declared that "patriots in Washington are outnumbered."

What DeMint means is that he and those he condescendingly designates are true patriots, while the rest of Washington either doesn't care about their country or are subversives.

Obviously, Washington also harbors another breed—arrogant South Carolina politicians.

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