The Washington Post has had enough of trying to stretch the truth when it comes to Republicans, in an effort to avoid the “liberal bias” label that conservative media loves to throw around like the scarlet letter.
Their editorial board blew up on the Republican party for pushing what they called “fear mongering and raw xenophobia” into mainstream American thought during the Republican presidential debates.
The irony of it is that Republicans caused themselves to be the victims of this trend. After President Obama was elected, the idea of a black president stirred up all the gross filth that settled to the bottom of the barrel over the past couple decades. This target-rich environment of stupid voters was a goldmine for Republicans and conservative media. The tragedy came when Republicans found themselves unable to un-stupid their party. Now they are unable to read any book except the bible, and God help you if you are not a white Christian male.
It’s easy to see how the Washington Post’s editorial board has had enough of this. They let loose with a blistering takedown of the Republican party, which follows:
THE REPUBLICAN Party, once small government’s champion, is now the party that breeds presidential contenders who would monitor schools and mosques, shut down parts of the Internet and exclude certain immigrants for no reason beyond the faith they profess. In the GOP debate Tuesday, those ideas — along with can-you-top-this rhetorical barrages aimed at illegal immigrants and Syrian refugees — received a generally polite reception, with constitutional, legal and practical questions contemptuously dismissed as “political correctness.”
True, the extremism that now passes for mainstream Republican thought, robbed of its shock value by the unfiltered ravings of Donald Trump, was punctured from time to time with expressions of dismay, incredulity and doubt.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) skewered Mr. Trump’s plans for the United States to ban all Muslim immigrants or murder the families of terrorists, and Mr. Paul, along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, rightly dismissed Mr. Trump’s blithe suggestion that he could somehow censor the Internet in parts of the world where jihadist sentiment runs deep.
By and large, though, these ludicrous proposals went unremarked on by the Republican contestants, for whom bigotry, hatred and magical thinking are the new normal.
The GOP’s ideological sands are shifting with whiplash-inducing speed. Just a week after House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) denounced Mr. Trump’s callto bar entry to any Muslim immigrant, Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) both said they could “understand” the impulse behind the patently un-American idea, although each politely disagreed. As for Mr. Trump’s four other main rivals, who flanked him on the stage in Las Vegas, none bothered even to address what surely counts as one of the most incendiary proposals ever made by a candidate seeking a major party’s presidential nomination.
It could be that the candidates quail at contending with the question of banning Muslims because polls suggest that about 60 percent of GOP primary voters like the idea. (A roughly equal proportion of all Americans don’t.) However, lunacy has always had a constituency in this country — plenty of people think the moon landing was a hoax and that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were an inside job. A litmus test for presidential candidates is whether they have the spine to speak truth to the fringe. By that standard, most of the current crop of Republican hopefuls fail.
The candidates were no more courageous on the question of admitting Syrian refugees victimized by a dictatorial regime and the Islamic State’s death cult. Despite the fact that neither the San Bernardino, Calif., assailants nor any of the known Paris attackers appears to have been Syrian — most in Paris were French nationals — virtually all the GOP contestants jockeyed to vilify Syrian refugees, with Mr. Trump raising the fact-free specter of “tens of thousands of [refugees] having cellphones with ISIS [Islamic State] flags on them.”
Fear-mongering and raw xenophobia were once the hallmarks of fringe candidates. Today the fringe candidates have stormed center stage, brandishing their zeal and hyperbole and, disturbingly, dragging the mainstream along with them.
Of course, now the Washington Post will forever be a “liberal news source” to our friends on the Right. But, when you think about it, how can any news source not be? When your entire party platform is based on creative fiction, willful lies, hate and panic-inducing rhetoric, reality will contradict it at every turn.
Hopefully, more mainstream media develops something of a backbone and decides to stand up to right-wing lies, so we can one day have a more informed electorate.
Featured image via Flickr
Christian is from a small town, surrounded by other small towns, in Pennsylvania. He nearly slipped into the conservative K-hole after high school, but was redeemed by Liberal politics and 8 years of Bush. After spending far too long working for corporate America, he has settled back into life as an unapologetic progressive and general caller-out of conservative fallacy and nonsense.