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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lamestream political party

Sarah Palin may have been on to something when she coined the termed "lamestream." But she's pointing the derogatory term in the wrong direction. If you want to talk about out of touch, you need to start with her own cultish political party.

Evidence keeps mounting that the Republican Party has a death wish involving ideological purity. In recent days we see it at the national level with lock step opposition to a bill to reform the worst Wall Street excesses that brought down our economy.

On the state level, it's the effort to force moderate Republican Charlie Crist out of the Florida Senate primary. Closer to home, it's an effort to box in moderate Republican Charlie Baker on holding back the inevitable with opposition to transgender civil rights, wrapped up in the demeaning name of the bathroom bill.

And despite all the hysteric media gum flapping over the the GOP's supposed surge (I never said the media are blameless!) the numbers that really count in elections suggest Americans aren't buying what Palin and her pals are peddling.

We've seen how badly Scott Brown has tied his tongue in knots -- inventing dramatic job losses -- trying to justify his support of a Republican filibuster over financial reforms opposed by Wall Street.

And Baker has found himself in a similar mess as he tries to cater to the even smaller far right wing of Massachusetts conservatives who continue to insist government has a role in the bedroom but not the boardroom. Like the effort to halt gay rights -- and African-Americans before them -- the push to vilify transgenders is ultimately doomed to failure because human nature cannot be put into boxes to comfort the small-minded.

But by trying to avoid ceding anything to Democrat-turned independent-turned Tea Party chameleon Tim Cahill -- from human rights to climate change -- Baker exemplifies the lamestream Republican impulse.

The political suicide impulse is most vividly on display in Florida, where a Republican popular enough to be elected governor a few years ago is now being pushed out of a primary because he's not conservative enough and "can't win."

The fact that he could win a race against a Democrat isn't good enough for the lamestream warriors of the right. All I can do is I applaud their foolishness and hope Crist makes it a three-way race.

And despite polls claiming Barack Obama is in trouble two years before an election -- and triumphal Republican rhetoric -- people who vote with the checks are saying otherwise. After passage of health care reform, supposedly the Democrats' Armageddon, fundraising has surged and Republicans are left to insist they have "momentum."

But in what direction? Is it time to consider slightly adjusting the party symbol to say, a wooly mammoth?

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