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Friday, January 30, 2009

The Pasha of GOPerstan

Rush LimbaughYou can call it the Republican confederacy or Crazyland. I've been thinking of it as GOPerstan. The last Republican strongholds are mostly huddled together in the center of the nation. For the most part, they're far from the coasts, where people stubbornly insist on living in the real world. The coasts of America are godless places, where people believe in evolution, accept human-caused global warming, are pretty damned sure invading Iraq was a very expensive mistake -- in more ways than one -- and that the economic policies that brought us to the brink of an honest-to-goodness depression should probably be abandoned. With the exception of Alaska, America's coasts -- along with most of the rest of the nation -- are lost to the Satanic forces of liberalism. Woe be unto the realm.

This is what Crazyland or GOPerstan or the Republican confederacy looks like today, according to Gallup:

Gallup map
Click for fullsized map

The familiar red/blue breakdown of the states shows a whopping four red states out of fifty -- Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska -- as solidly Republican, with Nebraska leaning. Every other state is either blue, leaning blue, or a toss up. Those red spots on that map are the only places where voters who identify themselves as Republican are the majority.

"In all the other 41 states, including every one of the large population states, Democrats outnumber Republicans," wrote former Bushie David Frum yesterday. "In 29 states, including every Northeastern state and every Midwestern state save Indiana, Democrats outnumber Republicans by 10 points or more."

As a result, the Republicans in the House of Representatives -- all of whom face reelection every election cycle -- have been reduced to mostly representatives of the reddest of the red districts. The Republicans in the House are now mostly right wing zealots, representing GOPerstan. These are the people who believe that not only should abortion be illegal, but birth control as well. These are the nuts who think everyone should have a basement full of guns, to prepare for the day that the UN takes over America. These are the crazies who think Barack Obama is the antichrist. These are the farthest right of the right and, after having modern Republicanism widely rejected by the rest of the country, these are almost the only ones left representing the Republican party in the House of Representatives. This is the House delegation from GOPerstan and its scattered principalities.

Today, the Republican National Committee will elect its chair. Call it the King of Crazyland or the President of the Republican confederacy or the Pasha of GOPerstan. There are five candidates and it's a nailbiter. Current RNC chair Mike Duncan looks like he might come out the winner, but it's too close to call.

Right now, the de facto head of the GOP is Rush Limbaugh. No, really. That's how bad it's gotten for the party. Some emptyheaded talk radio blowhard is the guy with all the pull in the party, mostly because the party has been reduced largely to Limbaugh's listenership. When Limbaugh said he hoped Obama would fail, Rep. Phil Gingrey told him to step off.

“I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach,” Gingrey said. “I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders, they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell."

That turned out to be a bad idea. There's a power vacuum in GOPerstan and Limbaugh was the magnate who filled it. Before this particular story was over, Gingrey called into Rush's show to lick his boots.

"Rush, thank you so much. I thank you for the opportunity, of course this is not exactly the way to I wanted to come on..." he groveled. "Mainly, I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico... I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments... I regret those stupid comments." Oh Great Celestial Rush, who lights the sun and sets the stars in their courses, show mercy and forgive this insignificant worm for his impudence.

"[O]ur congressmen talk to and about Rush Limbaugh like Old Bolsheviks praising Comrade Stalin at their show trials," said Frum. "Rush is right! We see eye to eye with Rush! There is no truth outside Rush!"

But, if Rush is Mr. Popularity in GOPerstan, he's nobody in the US. His ratings are good only if compare them to other talk radio. But the truth is that when he's on, most people are listening to Hotel California on their local classic rock station. It's like when Bill O'Reilly brags about his ratings as a cable news talk show -- what that really means is that he's getting his butt handed to him by "The Ghost Whisperer." Big fish, small pond.

It strikes me that the Republican party, in their current position, are being forced to super-serve GOPerstan. Those remaining House members have to keep their constituents happy, but for the most part those constituents are lunatics. As the party gets smaller, the remaining party members get crazier. And, of course, this shrinks the party even more. In a very short period of time, the Republican party has gone from the party of the majority to the party of the fringe -- impotent and slowly going insane in its isolation.

Whoever the chair of the Republican party is tomorrow, they'll have to find a way to get the party away from nuts like Rush Limbaugh and his audience.

The way things are going, that's going to be a pretty good trick.



Anonymous said...

"Gingrey called into Rush's show to lick his boots."

Gingrey didn't lick Rush's boots, he grabbed his ankles for 'ol Rush. When he was done with that, he lanced the fatman's boil with his tongue. Good thing this was all on radio.

I hope this isn't one of those "family" blogs ;-)

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed to say I live in Utah. I routinely get screamed at and told how sorry I am going to be that I voted for Obama. People continue to use his middle name, say he is a Muslim, etc. ad nauseum, and are writing poems for the paper ridiculing "bleeding heart liberals." This is, afterall, Mormon Land, and there is nothing that is going to change their minds - even the fact that in this little town we have been warned to lock our doors and do neighborhood watches because someone is going into homes and stealing food (true story). The Bush Economic Miracle is right here in action and they still don't get it. Idaho and Wyoming are loaded with Mormons as well, and Alaska - well they've got that Palin thing going on (which is a religion in itself). I think all religion is wacked, but based on what I've observed here, I think Mormons take the prize. Anyone that believes in magic underwear is simply never going to look at the facts.

Wisco said...

1st Anonymous,

Family blog? Hell no.

2nd Anonymous,

Nate Silver of (who I really should've included in this post) has this to say about GOPerstan:

That's right: just five states, collectively containing about 2 percent of the American population, have statistically significant pluralities of adults identifying themselves as Republicans. These are the "Mormon Belt" states of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, plus Nebraska, plus Alaska. By contrast, 35 states are plurality Democratic, and 10 states are too close to call.

You're right. It looks like these last bastions of Republicanism are also the last bastions of weird space cult fundamentalism.