Riddle me this, Batman - When did America lose its ability to identify delusional, sociopathic, and outright bigoted politicians?
Over the years we’ve certainly had some colorful characters make a run for the White House. Take for example Jesse Jackson. This was the man that took up the helm after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, and made huge strides towards improving race relations. But, in January 1984, he made the infamous “Hymietown” reference, regarding Jews in New York City. This one off-the-cuff remark instantly took him out of the running. For good.
Then we had Gary Hart, leading Democratic candidate in the 1988 election. He announced the beginning of his presidential campaign on Monday, April 13. By that Friday, he was out – completely, over an affair.
Howard Dean, a promising ‘04 candidate, was immediately booted out of the limelight because of his over-the-top speech made in IA. Nothing off-color was said, but he sounded well, a bit maniacal. He instantly became the butt of every late-night joke in the country. He dropped out from the race a month later, having lost all credibility.
David Duke was run out on a rail in ‘88 when it was discovered he had been a Grand Wizard of the KKK – and rightfully so. Racial intolerance is anathema to the American voter – right?
So certainly, America has shown it’s intolerance of immoral, off-color, even over-enthusiastic candidates. So what the hell is going on? How did people like this become a viable option? Let’s take a look at the biggest basketweavers on the market:
Allen West. Of course the most recent blunder was the Debbie Wasserman-Schultz “act-like-a-lady” email. But if you dig a little deeper you’ll find a host of disturbing ideology. West was kicked out the army for unnecessary violence. He compares himself to an escaped slave. He has referred to women as “oral relief stations”, and has made public racial slurs against his Muslim colleagues. Most recently, he had “Citizen’s for National Security”, an anti-Muslim organization, speak on Capitol Hill about Muslim propaganda hidden in children’s textbooks, among other delusions.
Rick Perry of Texas has actually alluded to seceding from the union if Obama doesn’t quit his meddling. He seeks national security council from Andrew McCarthy, a man who claims that the “Modern Hard Left” and Muslim extremists are working together to destroy Western civilization.
And then of course, there is Michele Bachmann. Her main shortcomings? Ignorance and insantiy. On the ignorance side, she was unable to identify where the civil war started – twice. She claims the authors of our founding documents were fighting against slavery (hell, many of them OWNED slaves). And then getting NH confused with MA while speaking to New Hampshire conservatives. Apparently they don’t have top-notch education on her planet.
On the insanity side, the most hyped issue is her severe homophobia – the cornerstone of her agenda. Of course we’ve all heard about her husband’s re-education therapy for gays. It’s funny how the phrases “Re-education Center” and “Internment Camp” are almost interchangeable. She asserted that she was “attacked” in a bathroom by two angry lesbians, one of which was a 5’ tall ex-nun wanting to talk about theology. She fasts, she hears God telling her to do things, she hides in bushes to spy on people… It goes on and on and on.
So here’s my issue. We have had more than a few presidential candidates kicked to the curb due to anything from slurs to adultery to outright racism. 8 years ago anyone of these idiots would have been laughed off the podium, followed by weeks of late-night comedy. Those of us old enough remember Gary Hart like it was yesterday, and who could ever not take the time to make fun of Jackson’s “Hymietown” remark?
Yet here we are in 2011, with a GOP candidate list that could’ve been taken straight from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Am I the only one to see this? Bachmann, the craziest of the crazies is actually leading in polls. She is the butt of thousands of jokes. But how the hell has she managed to raise $4.2 million? Obviously she appeals to more than a few Americans.
We’ve always had crazy candidates trying to make their crazy marks on American history – that doesn’t surprise me. What I find alarming is that America seems to be the one gone bat-shit crazy. Americans are the ones buying this shit. When did bat-shit crazy public figures stop being late-night fodder, and become viable presidential candidates? Is this what our post-9/11 country looks like? If that’s the case, the terrorists really did win – we’re destroying ourselves. They were just the catalyst.