Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bunning: a bit player in GOP assault on Obama

NOW THAT MANY of us (except Fox News) have had a little fun over Jim Bunning's meltdown that jammed up the government for a day or so, the more likely version of this mad tale is that he was not really acting alone. Instead, he was merely an unsightly spurt from the boil that forms the seething Republican enclave on Capitol Hill. In the nanosecond after Bunning's first claim to the national media-driven spotlight, it is fair to conclude that some of his partisan colleagues were satisfied that his Caligulan rant had served their cause well in further debasing the Obama Administration. Some even muttered as much. But when the returns came in that the Kentucky senator may have gone too far in holding up his entire party to further ridicule, the game was up. Given Bunning's loony track record on The Hill, no Republican could happily adopt him as the GOP's poster boy - even if they agreed that he got it right.

We are long past the stage of constructive dialogue in Congress, which seriously puts a halt to social progress in a system that most of us with even minimal historical awareness call a democracy and the other side sneers is socialism. The sickness runs incurably deep. Since the day that Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office - Barack Hussein Obama! - the Old South began its dramatic return to the podium with the vibrant assistance of the GOP's high priest, Rush Limbaugh, unapologetically aided and abetted by a television network whose deception begins with the kooky assurance that it is fair and balanced.

Why has the unanimous assault from the political right been so much more bitterly sustained beyond ordinary ideological disagreement? . The most entrenched element, less and less muted as time goes on, is racism. Losing to a Democrat, as has happened from time to time in presidential politics, is one thing. Losing to an African-American Democrat is unacceptably something else. Particularly for the political party that is not represented by a single black in Congress.

As Columnist Bob Cesca writes in the Huffington Post:
"...when you strip away all of the rage, all of the nonsensical loud noises and all of the contradictions, all that's left is race. The tea party is almost entirely about race, and there's no comparative group on the left that's similarly motivated by bigotry and racial hatred."
So-called mainstream Republicans have stood before angry crowds and stared diectly into the ugly racist placards with indifference. At the same time, Cesca notes that Limbaugh "can stoke racial animosity on his show by suggesting health-care reform is a civil rights bill - reparation - and no one seems to mind. The Tea Party is an extension of talk radio...of the Fox News Channel. It's an extension of the southern faction of the Republican Party - the faction that gave us the Southern Strategy, the Willie Horton ad, the White Hands ad , the racially divisive politics of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. It's an extension of the race-baiting and, often, of the outright racism evident in all of those conservative spheres."

In the grand scheme of things, Jim Bunning was no more than a bit player who enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame for the team. Unfortunately, there will be others.


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Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. Charles Rangel steps down from his chairmanship because of tax evasion. David Paterson announces he won't run for re-election because of multiple scandals including witness tampering. And Eric Massa resigns from Congress after details of sexual harassing an aide emerge.

And yet all liberals wants to talk about is this non-story involving Senator Jim Bunning. Is it racist to point out the absurdity of this situation?

Come on people, let's move past the selective outrage and namecalling and try to engage in substantive discourse.

Grumpy Abe said...

Sorry, but you didn't get it straight. Here's one liberal who won't defend Rangel, Patterson or Massa - nor anybody else who isn't straight and narrow. Still, you are talking about apples and oranges. Unlike Bunning - your version of a "non-story" - they didn't hold up unemployment benefits for tens of thousands of folks. For them, Bunning was the biggest story of the year. May I assume that you are free of the cares of waiting for such checks? Doesn't that define the gap between the haves and the have-nots in America today? And by the way, with the GOP's brick wall in Congress, who would you suggest that we begin with to engage in , eh, substantive discourse? I'm waiting......