Nobody likes me; everybody hates me.
I think I’ll go out and eat some worms.
That little childhood ditty rings in my ears as I read about how Republicans are fighting the apocalyptic battle they have set up this fall’s elections to be; through whining, cheating, and dirty tricks, and doing other disgusting things that may or may not include munching on slippery garden invertebrates. Scott Walker is just one example among so many I could write a post stretching to Greenwaldian magnitude about it. Like all Republicans, Walker responds to criticism not by mitigation or even by reflexive self-defense, but by doubling down and then doing something even less popular, just to show everyone who’s boss. His brief, disastrous tenure has not only failed to “repair” Wisconsin’s budget, but has unleashed a fearsome divide in the state, and saturated it with deceptive advertising from his corporate masters in a never-ending battle between good governance and a bunch of crackpot right-wing pipe dreams.
As though it weren’t enough to demonize public employees and shut down public access to the capital, losing two senate seats in the process, he then proudly announced that any money Wisconsin received from the bank settlement would go not to homeowners as intended, but simply be dumped into the maw of his own budget deficits. When faced with recall petitions of nearly twice the required number, he made the laughable claim that he would need weeks, if not months, to “verify” them, mischievously gaming the system to milk his backers for more secret contributions to fight to keep his job. The fact that nearly all his closest aides have been arrested, discredited, or offered plea bargains mattered not a whit to the Badger State weasel, but fortunately a judge saw it differently and ordered him to proceed with the recall forthwith.
Not to be outdone in the worm-eating contest, Virginia Republicans passed a bill requiring women who seek to obtain an abortion to undergo a vaginal ultrasound, whether they like it or not, then contemplate their harlotry for ten days before undergoing the LEGAL procedure. In response to not unexpected criticism, one of them sneered that the little sluts were obviously getting things shoved up there anyway, so they have no right to complain. Opposition to abortion, though, barely qualifies anymore in the anti-sex jihad unleashed by the right; now it’s birth control they’re after, led by a bunch of scandal-plagued asexuals who claim to speak for Catholics. Rather than soft-pedaling an absurd fatwa their adherents have long ignored, these old men in frocks and funny hats upped the ante by telling married Catholics that they, too should use abstinence unless they want to poop out babies every nine months until maternal death or poverty, whichever comes first.
Once that can of worms was opened, the real feeding frenzy began. Santorum’s billionaire puppet master, Foster Friess, declared that aspirin was the best form of birth control, to be used “between the knees,” a comment so assertively offensive that when that ol’ cocktailhag Andrea Mitchell heard it, she nearly suffered a facelift collapse. Although both he and Santorum were forced to lie a bit to get out of what they both called, with deliberate obtuseness, “a joke,” Santorum quickly turned the whole affair into a Palinesque attack on the Liberal Media. For priggish panty-sniffers like Rick and the knuckle-draggers who love him, a good offense is always the best defense.
Belligerence for its own sake has become the one thing that ties together the increasingly fractious right; it’s no longer important who wins, as long as the right oxes are being gored and fake outrage is kept at a fever pitch. Nixon liked to say that it would have been “easy to do the popular thing,” but he’d done the opposite because, well, just because. Karl Rove, who cut his political teeth working on Nixon’s infamous 1972 reelection, employed this strategy on every issue from tax cuts to wars; pissing off liberals was always more important than anything so chickenhearted and vacillating as, say, not running the country into the ground. Dick Cheney famously sneered that any President who left office with high approval ratings could be judged a failure, which is certainly the one measure by which he could be called a great success.
Republicans aren’t much at governing, but boy howdy do they like to be hated, and to eat worms.