What Republican Speakers of the House hide behind those smiles

newt gingrich.JPGNewt Gingrich. Dennis Hastert. John Boehner. Paul Ryan.

What comes to mind while running through that list of individuals? They all seem to have been hiding something creepy behind their smiles.

The first two were scions of hypocrisy. Powerful men, for sure. Keen on forceful implementation of partisan ideology. Absolutely. 

But Gingrich carried on affairs outside of marriage, even serving a wife struggling with cancer a directive for divorce. Harsh, dude. And Gingrich invented the brand of divisive, winner-take-all, scorched earth politics that are tearing the country apart these days.

And that was carried on by yet another tough-guy conservative speaker named Dennis Hastert. But his smile was ultimately wiped off his face by scandal.

ct-dennis-hastert-lawsuit-met-20170222.jpgYet let’s recall that Dennis Hastert was Speaker of the House for a very long time. He hid his sordid past from the public while pretending to be the good-guy Coach beloved by community and country.

Yet even in that role, he was dismissive of political balance on all matters of domestic policy. He also happily trotted alongside warmongers like Bush and Cheney as they lied to the world and committed what amounted to war crimes through the torture and death of Iraqi citizens.

Then we learned that Hastert hid dark secrets about his own past, essentially bribing men that he had sexually abused as boys to keep quiet so that the lie of his legacy could be sustained. Is it any wonder he was forceful in his politics as well?

John-Boehner.jpgSuch is the dog-whistle world of conservative politics that the legacy of John Boehner was to preside over the highly prejudiced conservative resistance to America’s first black President, Barack Obama.

Boehner acted in league with the likes of the dog-whistle king Mitch McConnell, who swore that his only goal in life was to make Obama a one-term President. Thus Boehner failed the American people in his role as moderator of Republic, whose Constitution specifically guarantees equal rights and fair treatment for all, even the President.

Boehner further compromised the American people through cynical collusion with lobbyists to turn the Affordable Care Act into a bonanza for insurance companies and Big Pharma.

Yet even Boehner was deposed for incompetency by his own party, who didn’t like the idea that he even talked with President Obama, much less tried to work with him.

Paul-Ryan-Smile.jpgAnd that’s how the Republicans arrived at the likes of Paul Ryan, who didn’t even want the job as Speaker of the House.

Thus Ryan sorts into the bin as yet another hypocrite who insists that he hates government while forming his entire career and wealth around the advantages it has conferred to him. Along the way of course, Ryan has spouted trippy stuff about the merits of Ayn Rand and the blessings of free market economics, but in the end he has turned to be little more than a smarmy salesman for a brand of hateful politics that even he found distasteful. He has squirmed and writhed under the thumb of Donald Trump, but he has yet to stand up to the man. And now he’s quitting so he won’t have to.

At times Ryan has tried to act sort of human, but he kept making obviously stupid mistakes. These included a claim that he ran a marathon in three hours when he’s never even come close to that time in real life. Ryan’s excuse? He was somewhere in that range.

Which about explains the lack of effectiveness and honesty in all of Ryan’s political life. Multiple efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act and replace it have failed. When it came to reforming health care, Republicans proved to be an empty vessel devoid of substantial ideas of even reasonable change. Ryan is a poster boy for that political naivete.

Ryan smiling.pngNow he’s “retiring” as he puts it. But in truth, he’s actually quitting for a few years to avoid the bloodbath that is fast approaching for the conservative cabal installed by ignorance of people who consistently vote against their best interests.

That dire fact is being demonstrated in real time by the impact of trade wars being barked into existence by Donald Trump, whose tariffs are predicted to have dire economic effects on farmers here in the USA. Trump has promised that “we’ll make it up to you” but nothing the President says in that sort of context ever comes true.

There’s a simple reason for that. Trump doesn’t have the moral capacity to speak the truth. That’s not how he’s lived his life. And that’s not how he got elected in the first place. If Trump started telling the truth, he’d be impeached immediately. So instead, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has been assigned to tell the truth for Donald Trump, and the Big Orange One doesn’t like it one bit.

So there will be some shit hitting the fan very soon. And that’s why Paul Ryan has decided that he has to leave for the moment. He’s been outstripped by a master hypocrite and liar who exceeds even the orange complexion of former Speaker John Boehner.

The line of Republican Speakers has thus proven to exemplify the worst extremes in America politics. From forceful jerks to complicit liars, the Gingrich-Hastert-Boehner-Ryan lineage is a pitiful demonstration of the conflicted, hypocritical core of conservatism as an ideology. These men demonstrate the fact that the conservative doctrine is a cobbled-together mess of competing desires that constitute neither virtues or values. The Republican Party is a gathering of neocontrarians.

paul-ryan-smile (1).jpgIt’s all about getting the money and power and keeping it. Hence the activist conservative Supreme Court rulings that favor the “free speech” of hidden political contributions. That’s a thin veneer to cover the cause of political corruption.

Because if Republicans can’t win on the merits of their results, they must excel at getting rich people to pay their way into office. Coming off the Bush era, with 9/11 taking place under their watch, a war of choice in Iraq that cost trillions and an economy that crashed under Republican rule, the GOP doctrine was proven to be a grandiose lie.

But hypocrites and conservatives without conscience (to quote John Dean) excel in the realm of cognitive dissonance. Thus the GOP strategy has been to deny that any of that happened under Bush and Cheney. Or else they disclaim those two as unrepresentative of true conservatism. Which is nothing more than lying about the past. Revisionism. And poor excuses for massive fraud.

And that’s the only reason why Republicans are sad that Paul Ryan is leaving office. He put a friendlier face on their massive disgrace. His friendly altar-boy good lucks and his smiling mug serve as the Poster Child for Republican denial. That tradition incorporates conservative denial of science and evolution, climate change and education in general.  But Ryan’s smiling visage overcomes with a youngish-looking appeal for conservative dollars.

And that’s rather creepy. Because one must wonder, given the history of the sexually abusive proclivities of former Speaker Dennis Hastert, if there isn’t something a bit sketchier behind the Republican love for outgoing speaker Paul Ryan.

That smile looks mighty pained at times. Given the dire history of Republican Speakers and their propensity to avoid the truth at any cost, we can only assume that Paul Ryan must be hiding a little something behind that smile.

 

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CPAC, Republicans and aggressive stupidity in politics and religion

FlagWaiver

Aggressive stupidity is wearing us all out.

Another round of CPAC madness is nearly through in America. A parade of Republican zealots highlights the speaker list, with Grover Nordquist standing proudly at the front of the line proclaiming that any Republican who agrees to tax increases of any sort “are rat heads in a Coke bottle. They damage the brand for everyone.”

How is it that Nordquist fails to see himself as the rat in the bottleneck of Republican common sense?

And how interesting that another CPAC attendee, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana–himself a possible presidential candidate in 2016–once said of Republicans, “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party.”

Jindal has been castigated for that remark, of course. It is not in the nature of conservatives to admit they might be wrong or stupid about anything.

What wrong looks like

Even when proven desperately wrong by enaction of their own nation-devastating (America and Iraq, to name a couple) policies during the horrid debacle of the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney years, Republicans would not find any ground for confession that their whole ideology might just be aggressively stupid. Even when conservatives ruled all three wings of government, things didn’t go right. Bush racked up a trillion dollar bill for his wars of choice that America can’t pay off. We’re still borrowing to pay $2B a month to mess around in Afghanistan. So what do Republicans do? They point fingers at social insurance policies such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as the problem as if saving older people from destitution and medical disaster costs a nation more than war. 

Bad habits

Aggressive stupidity is a bad habit that can be fixed. But it’s hard, like shaking alcoholism or more accurately, a gambling addiction. Aggressive stupidity is a gambling addiction, to be precise. You are gambling that your brand of stubborn ideology, if backed by sufficient bets on the table, will win the day. Of course that’s been America’s global defense policy for decades. We now spend more on defense than the next 17 nations combined, and in many ways are less secure than ever. Yet here was Mitt Romney standing before the CPAC and insisting that Republicans put a powerful US military at the top of their agenda. “Do whatever you can to keep America strong, to keep America prosperous and free and the most powerful nation on earth.” Rah rah Mitt. That’s what got you where you are, buddy. A loser claiming you had all the right ideas. 

For perspective, that statement by Romney pretty much fulfills everything President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans about when he cited the evils of the military/industrial complex as our worst enemy. The idea that we cannot be free without killing everything in sight is ludicrous, expensive and costly to the American spirit.

Killing ourselves in the name of the Constitution

It was recently learned that more Americans have been killed in their own country by gun violence than in all the wars ever fought by the nation. Yet we are locked in a battle over Second Amendment rights that Republicans use as a blunderbuss to cow a bunch of ignorant, one-issue voters into thinking Democrats are going to take away their guns. And when reasonable gun control laws are proposed, such as required background checks, Republicans run for cover behind the blazing guns policies of the NRA, who could think of nothing better to do in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings than to stick a bunch of armed guards in every school in America, and force teachers to get gun training. And to arm the teachers.

That is aggressive stupidity. One feels no shame in calling out stupidity in such circumstances. There is no risk of insult when the stupidity is so glaring in so many cases. Republicans are not stupid people, although even the wealthiest were targets of the incisive wit of one Mark Twain, who warned us, “All is takes is ignorance and confidence, and success is sure.” The humorist knew that aggressive stupidity really can win the day.

Elections versus selections

And when Republicans lose as they did in the 2016 selection (it wasn’t an election, but a selection of Obama against aggressive Republican stupidity) the party can think of nothing other to do than find a way to cheat the system. So Republican governors are gerrymandering ways to stifle Democratic voters any way they can.

The conservative party is shrinking like a set of testicles in a cold wind. Their policies appeal mostly to rich white voters, who are aging, as well as the ignorantly disenfranchised brand of gun-toters and a huge block of fearfully religious bigots who can’t seem to understand that their own Bible contradicts everything their party stands for.

Coming out to common sense

God Bless Republican Senator Rob Portman, who came out in favor of same-sex marriage once he learned that his own son is gay. “I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years,” he told CNN. “That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay.”

The Bible is wrong about homosexuality, just as it is wrong about slavery and hundreds of other former laws of religion that no one ever follows. Yet biblical literalists foment their brand of aggressive stupidity toward gay people with tired old contentions that homosexuality is a sin against God, and that being gay is a choice, a lifestyle, and to one all should be opposed. The Republican Party has embraced this brand of aggressive stupidity for years because it wins them votes, gains them power and makes them feel all righteous and true.

Until one of their own finds out they have a gay child. Even the Heart of Darkness Dick Cheney admitted that he loves his daughter and can’t persecute gays any longer as a result.

Not so cool

As for Portman’s position, Republicans were aggressively cool to his very personal admission that his life has changed for the better in accepting his son for who he really is. Politics trumps all other notions of sanity, you see. As quoted in a New York Times story, “A spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, who is also from Ohio, said Friday that while Mr. Boehner “respects” Mr. Portman’s position, “the speaker continues to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

That’s a form of aggressive stupidity, Mr. Boehner. Because if we took a certain pronunciation of your name quite literally, we would be forced to believe that you are actually a turgidly erect member of Congress that has no conscience. Well what do you know. It turns out that some forms of aggressive stupidity do prove true in practice. Two can play the game Republicans like to play.

Pope Francis the contradictor

We’re even forced to consider the aggressive stupidity of the new Catholic Pope Francis I, who embraces the poor but opposes birth control. That so-called “position” makes no sense if you spend a moment considering how overpopulation vexes the entire world.

But what do you expect from a religious brand that demands its priests to be celibate, then denies their policies have any consequence when a scourge of child sex abuse infests the church. Birth control dictates are ignored by more than 90% of its members, some polls report, yet the church and its patriarchal brand of aggressive stupidity keeps on rolling with a pope that stands by the position that spending sperm in a condom is a bad thing.

Some history…

Well, has the Catholic Church ever been wrong before? They almost killed Galileo for sticking up for the scientific perspective on matters universal. Then there were the Crusades, and the Inquisition, and for a while there, an insistence that the theory of evolution is wrong.

Aggressive stupidity runs through the most powerful organizations on earth. It is the hallmark of psychopathy, the aggressive will to dominate and coerce and kill in order to have your way, and have it now.

I’ve got mine and I hate yours

It’s the “I’ve got mine and I hate yours” brand of politics that is gutting America. Yet here is the CPAC closing comment. “The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away fro conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two elections,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry, who when asked couldn’t seem to remember what programs he’d like to cut if he were president, “That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012.”

The all-time king of aggressive stupidity, however is Rick Santorum. The man combines both dunderheaded conservative politics and a conservative catholicism that forces him to spew hate while pointing fingers at Americans who don’t think his way. He had this to say about why Republicans are failing so miserably at convincing Americans their way is the right way, “Face it, the left can always promise more stuff, and make is sound like they care more, because they make it easier for Americans by providing stuff for them, through government programs, paid by by somebody else’s money.”

Jesus loves you Rick. But he would tell you that you’re an insane hypocrite. Just like the rest of the aggressively stupid people who run your party and elections by running lies and manipulations up the flagpoles of country and God.