Sunday, August 26, 2012

Abraham, Isaac and Mitt: The GOP Hurricane Heads Towards Shore

In February I wrote that the conservative wave would crash this year. I even upgraded the warning to a tsunami, and told people to get the hell off the beach. So it couldn't be any more appropriate for a hurricane to be arriving in Tampa just as the Republican Party is gathering for its national convention. It's even more appropriate for said hurricane to be named Isaac, after the biblical character whose father, Abraham, has to prove his fealty to the Almighty by killing his son. The GOP is all about fealty. And sacrifice. And going to the edge of the abyss before pulling back (remember that said Almighty stops Abraham just as he's about to plunge a dagger into a bound and compliant Isaac). The story of Abraham and Isaac is just too perfect for our times, but the GOP has forgotten its lesson.

Yes, folks, this is the modern day Republican Party. It's fractious, extreme, uncompromising and biblical. It relies on the fear of change while also proposing some of the most far-reaching and radical changes this country has ever seen. It wants to deny people their equal rights, bind women to their men, sacrifice the poor so that the rich can have their tax cuts and proclaim itself libertarian while telling you what you can do in the privacy of your home and bedroom. It has questioned the legitimacy of our sitting president and has demonized anyone who doesn't agree with its policies as un-American, anti-American, and foreign.

It's not enough to say that this isn't your father's Republican Party. This isn't even Abraham's Republican Party.

With a party platform that would deny marriage equality, outlaw abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and boil health care down to a policy that essentially says lose weight (hello keynote speaker!), the Republicans will gather under a far-right banner that Mitt Romney wouldn't have draped himself in 5 years ago. The father of the nation's health care law now has to run away from it faster than Usain Bolt because the rest of the party doesn't like the idea that until 4 years ago was a Republican talking point.

His running mate, Paul Ryan, is a poster child of the new right and the man who single-handedly turned the election from being about jobs and the economy, which is where Romney needed it to be, into a tutorial on why we need social programs like Medicare, Social Security and food stamps. The Republicans will remind anyone who listens that now is not the time to raise taxes on anyone, but they seem to believe that it's high time we cut those darned benefits that feed, educate and clothe children, and keep them under dry rooves (yes, I said rooves).

I truly hope that nobody gets hurt as a result of the storm heading towards Tampa. The problem is that many people will get hurt because of the Republican agenda. It's a perfect storm of greed, intolerance and uncompromising radicalism. Forget the beach; it's time to move to the high ground, and fast.

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