Wondering where today's crazy GOP clown-show started?
|"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross" --Sinclair Lewis|
Former White House Chief of Staff: Sarah Palin Marked the Moment the GOP Went Off the Rails
By Janet Allon
Wondering where the insanity that is today's GOP started? Look no further than nonsense-spewer Sarah Palin. This is the view espoused by WIlliam M. Daley, former White House Chief of Staff under President Obama from 2011-2012 in Monday's Washington Post.
He makes a pretty good case, first for the fact that the party has descended into utter chaos. "When The Post’s front page declares: 'Republicans are on the verge of ceasing to function as a national party,' it’s time to ask: How did this come to pass?" he opens. How did we get to the side-to-side clown shows of the GOP presidential contest, and the total breakdown of a functioning party in Congress?
The turning point came in 2008, when the party put then Alaska-Governor Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency, despite her utter lack of competency. That is when the party effectively embraced the lack of competence and experience as a virtue. From that flows Ben Carson and Donald Trump as frontrunners for the nomination and a variety of other ills. Daley writes:
Palin’s blatant lack of competence and preparedness needs no belaboring. What’s critical is that substantive, serious Republican leaders either wouldn’t or couldn’t declare, before or after the election: “This is not what our party stands for. We can and must do better.”Fox snapped up Palin. All bombast, no reason, no compromise ever became both the party's and the network's daily bread. And let's not forget that it was one of the "party's more thoughtful and substantive veterans," a.k.a. John McCain, who ushered in the new era of substanceless sizzle, writes Daley.
By the campaign’s end, GOP operatives were shielding Palin from even the simplest questions. (She had flunked “what newspapers do you read?”). Barack Obama cruised to victory.
Once McCain put Palin on the ticket, Republican “grown-ups,” who presumably knew better, had to bite their tongues. But after the election, when they were free to speak their minds, they either remained quiet or abetted the dumbing-down of the party. They stood by as Donald Trump and others noisily pushed claims that Obama was born in Kenya. And they gladly rode the tea party tiger to sweeping victories in 2010 and 2014.
Now that tiger is devouring the GOP establishment. Party elders had hoped new presidential debate rules would give them greater control. But they are watching helplessly as Trump leads the pack and House Republicans engage in fratricide.
It’s hard to feel much sympathy. The Republican establishment’s 2008 embrace of Palin set an irresponsibly low bar. Coincidence or not, a batch of nonsense-spewing, hard-right candidates quickly followed, often to disastrous effect.