Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When Lincoln Day has no meaning for the new GOP

AS I MENTIONED earlier, I will not be attending the Summit County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner Saturday night at Quaker Station. Big deal, right?

Let me explain: First of all, as you may have guessed, I am not a Republican. Secondly, I wouldn't want to be keeping company with Chairman Alex Arshinkoff's special guest, Mike Huckabee, who will be signing his book(s), playing guardian angel with all of his well wishers and promising to lead a failing nation away from President Obama's road to perdition.
An evangelical preacher, Huckabee has been spending some time rounding up hundreds of like-minded preachers in an apparent effort to run the table in the 2012 Iowa presidential caucuses just as he did in 2008. In Iowa, the former GOP has become a subsidary of the right-wing pulpitistas who are educating people on how to be "Biblically informed" in politics.

Huckabee has left no doubt that he wants to Christianize the nation as he sees fit, and so Akron area Republicans will get a strong sense of his purifying anti-Obama, anti-gay and various other assaults on secular abominations targeted by the social conservatives.

There has been some feeling, I'm sure, that my anti-Arshinkoff pique is soley the reaction to being unceremoniously ejected from his big wingding last summer. Wrong. As a nosy reporter over the years, I've been thrown out of much better places. But the incident at the party's fundraiser fueled my stronger disdain for what little is left of the GOP as a whole. As such, Arshinkoff is merely a local apparatchik for a deranged national party whose marketing message has become the property of Tea Party favorites like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and an army of freshmen senators and representatives in Congress. Don't think so? Ask John Boehner.

In a relatively short time on Capitol Hill and among legislators and governors' offices across America, they have strutted around with weighty chips on their shoulders since the November election. Insisting that their thoughts have been sculpted by "the people who have spoken", they have taken enormous liberty with realities, from huffily condemning environmental concerns about global warming to downgrading the needs of the elderly and the poor. (Goodbye food stamps?)

They have become the new hucksters of the Midway, seeking novel ways to challenge voters on Election Day. In Ohio, where there has been no evidence of serious voter fraud, the GOP is intent on creating new hurdles for voters to prevent, um, serious voter fraud. They have set out to eliminate unions once and for all under the cover of restricting collective bargaining while at the same time denying the public unions the right to strike. By the most rational labor relations gambit, that is still a non sequitur.

They have bashed gays with Falwell-style license ("Love the sinner, but hate the sin" - Huh!) and disagreed with military sources who say ridding the ranks of Don't Ask Don't Tell is not causing any problems. Same sex marriages? Stem cell research? Forget it - this from a party who wants get the government off our backs.

While we're at it, how about their mind control efforts as they rework our text books and darkly monitor what they consider offensive in museums. The evangelical governor of Maine orders the removal of a mural at the state's Department of Labor as being too "pro-labor". (You can't make up such insanity.) In Wisconsin, the Republican Party has demanded to see the e-mails of a distinguished University of Wisconsin history professor who has been critical of the governor. It is purely a fishing expedition.

National Public Radio? It's too liberal - and good luck on explaining that spin. Sarah Palin, the wintry wind from the north, has slammed the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, describing the two agencies as "trivialities". She obviously has no sense of the darkness and dense culture of the Middle Ages. A real case may be made that we are not talking about liberal broadcasting here, which would be hard to prove anyway. Instead, there are religious broadcasters waiting in the wings for spots on the radio spectrum that will be vacated when some NPR stations go out of business..

In their long pursuit of an abortion-free land, these culture warriors otherwise acting as politicians also want to put Planned Parenthood out of business (with plenty of help from the Catholic and Southern Baptist hierarchies).

Sometimes the new arrivals stumble over their own far-fetched ideas. In Ohio, Gov. Kasich wants to privatize liquor sales to please his crony investors even though booze is the only profitable business run by the state. In his haste to serve his own contributors, he has been ready to privatize everything except Lake Erie. But only because the state only owns a slim part of it.

All of the above is at the heart of my scorn of the Republican Party. Arshinkoff's antics merely helped me file it under damaged goods.

It's ironic that the Lincoln Day Dinner may be held on the week end when a Gingrich 2 may be upon us - a government shutdown. And who will be hurt the most by it?

I've decided that instead of giving a $50 dinner fee to the GOP on Saturday, I'll send the money to where reality exists 24 hours a day - the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank's Harvest for Hunger. It will do a lot more good for humanity, don't you think?

Harold MacMillan, the former British prime minister, once grunted to an aide as he was uncomfortably obliged to move into a crowd of voters during a campaign.

"Beastly things," he said. "Elections."

That's where we are today, people.

UPDATE; Arshinkoff has reached farthest to the right for the Ohio congressman who will introduce Huckabee: Urbana area Republican Jim Jordan, former OSU assistant wrestling coach who has won several awards from right-wing groups , including Pro-life Legislator of the Year from the United Conservatives of Ohio. He is now chairman of the Republican Study Committee in Washington, a conservative outfit with no peer. He has joined four other congressmen in sponsoring a bill whose provisions include capping food stamps for all recipients and even denying them to a family if one of its members is on strike. Among his other positions, needless to mention, are limits to sex education, opposition to gay marriage and support of the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Whew! Way to go, Alex, who happily describes Jordan in a press release as a "fast rising conservative star"!


Anonymous said...

Why is it that none of these people look at Alex's transgressions including a police report filed against him by a young man? Where there is smoke there is fire and Alex's history is scolding.

JLM said...

These people never look at Big Al's trangressions because they are hypocrites. Recall the 2005 Lincoln Day Dinner where Ken Mehlman was the featured speaker? You remember Ken Mehlman? He managed Bush's 2004 presidential campaign and directed Ken Blackwell to make sure the Issue 1 gay marriage ban was on the ballot. The same Ken Mehlman who last August came out as gay.

JLM said...

By the way, Abe, I'd have been proud to have been ejected from a Big Al wingding.