A reader writes:
Yes, the GOP of 2009 is the party of torture and fiscal recklessness. But as Joe Wilson's outburst last night made clear, it is every bit as much the party of the College Republicans.
Wilson's catcalling was only part of it. This is the party of Colson and Segretti, Atwater and Rove, Kristol and Norquist. It is the party of Joe Wilson and the odious Patrick McHenry, the latter a bad caricature of a South Park or Simpsons character. Just look at them, with the "What bill?" signs around their necks, waving the copies of their "bill" in the President's face as he patiently explained to them why they are so very full of shit.
Optics, not reality, is what matters. Everything can be massaged with a Mission Accopmlished banner, a sympathetic interview on Fox News, or a whisper campaign that your opponent is a faggot.
Juvenile, manipulative, impossibly smarmy, hateful - or at least more than willing to use the weapon of other people's hate - and, above all, relentlessly cynical. To these (mostly) men, politics is not the "art of the possible", not a means for peaceably grappling with the most difficult and complex issues of the day, or for attempting to improve the lives of people you will never meet. It is nothing but a game, one where the object is not just to win but to destroy your enemies with a weird mix of angry slander and junior high insults - and to have a good chuckle while admiring your handiwork.
It is an attitude that enables one to label a respected judge who worked with disadvantaged children a pedophile (as Rove's minions did in an Alabama Supreme Court race in 1994), or to put Sarah Palin on a presidential ticket.
Just as for the neocons it is always 1938, for the professional College Republicans in the House GOP, it is always the annual convention, with the hotly-contested race for treasurer or secretary between one guy from Michigan State and another from Clemson. Accusations of fraud abound, frat boys and bookworms alike go berserk as they see their chances of interning with the RNC slip away, and desperate calls are made to worshipped alumni with the hope that some measure of revenge can be exacted. Nerd libido harnessed to cynical rage.
Welcome to the House the College Republicans Built. For our benefit, President Obama is more than happy to let them live in it.
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty.)
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