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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cuckoo, Virginia

Back from a few days in the rolling hills and farmland of central Virginia -- a trip into a smaller version of the "heartland," where a Republican governor-elect ending eight years of Democratic control of a statehouse is somehow considered a national trend.

And yes, there is a community named Cuckoo, Va., named for a clock. But from what I read and heard it might be a good home for the Republican National Committee as it continues to be pulled and tugged over a cliff.

First there was the mini-van, festooned with handmade bumper stickers that proclaimed "love my country but hate my liberal fascist government." Prodded by Rush and Glenn, it's understandable the fellow wearing his heart on his bumper didn't really understand fascism is generally an ideology of the right.

And while the folks who thought Dede Scozzafava was a flaming lefty may not seem to be any better versed at ideology, the sharp rightward yank they propose for the party of Lincoln would make them right at home in Cuckoo and vicinity.

The 10-point purity test they promote may be one of the best Christmas presents ever presented to Democrats. Let's leave aside the irony of the party that once scorned opponents for "litmus tests" on issues like abortion and taxes is now proposing one.

Rather, let's look at the issues and the language that calls health care and a clean environment part of a "socialist" agenda.

Many Republicans consider the proposal suicidal. Yet the ability of the sentient wing of the party to rein in the wing nut fringe has been notably lacking. Notes columnist Kathleen Parker, hardly a flaming lefty:
It's too bad that "elite" and "nuance" have become bad words in the Republican lexicon. Elites are viewed in Republican circles as "those people" who are out of touch with "real Americans." And "nuance," the definition of which suggests a sophisticated approach to understanding (as opposed to "Because I said so, case closed") has come to be viewed as a Frenchified word Republicans successfully hung on presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004. His flip-floppery on issues became associated with nuance, a.k.a. lack of decisiveness. Ergo, a lack of leadership skills.
That gets to the heart of it: "Real Americans," aka the Palinistas and Joe the Plumber, are upset that people with other thoughts might have something to say. Never mind that eight years of "because I said so, case closed" has led to the economic and military mess we are in today.

It will be interesting to see if the GOP "brain trust" has the nerve to stand up to the Palinistas. I have no deep and abiding affection for the Democratic Party: it is simply the only semi-sane choice in the current two-party system.

But if the GOP and its chairman doesn't develop some steel for its own spine, we will no longer have a two-party system. And what's left of the GOP can move to Cuckoo. It's beautiful country.

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