Todd Akin, Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri, more or less stands by the medieval view of female sexuality that’s caused him so much negative press this week. So does Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa), a well-regarded but consistently crazy member of the Tea Party Caucus. But the boldness of these offensive, sexist, but commonly-held views aren’t what make the Akin/King incident stand out. Rather, the episode is remarkable only as the most recent in a long range of aggressive, extremist views put forwards by mainstream Republican politicians. Here’s a refresher course in just how far right the Republican “center” has pivoted in the last four years. Next time someone tells you that Candidate Akin is an outlier, not representative of the rest of the Party, please refer them to this summary of just how hateful and extreme the Republican Party has become.
And please, vote a Democratic ballot this fall. The only way Republicans will ever return to the center — or at least closer to center, where the Party’s previously won — is if they’re dealt so severe a loss that Republican leadership takes note, and repudiates the last our years of radicalization. Don’t take my word for it. Ask a growing number of players convinced that the GOP platform would be unrecognizable, even to conservative hero Ronald Reagan. For now, your parade of horribles:
Citations for the curious —
- Mitt Romney: here, Romney is just following the Supreme Court’s radical, Republican-led reinvention of the First Amendment.
- Paul Ryan: in addition to Gingrich’s slam, Catholic leaders have said that Ryan’s budget fails a “basic moral test” by gutting the safety net, and failing to account for the lower- and middle-classes. His plan has been rejected as too extreme by members of his own party; the plan went down to bipartisan defeat in the Senate.
- Sarah Palin: there’s just too much.
- Newt Gingrich: his nutty white paper is just one among many recidivist, crazy, borderline-racist ideas.
- John Boehner: brinksmanship over the self-imposed debt ceiling debacle tanked his approval ratings, and Mitch McConnell’s (who we considered including, but left out as duplicative of Boehner). But more importantly, the crisis triggered the US’ first-ever downgrade, wrecked the recovery, cost $1.3 billion, and has been called an act of “economic sabotage.” What did Republicans get from it? Nothing (unless the sabotage was purposeful). Boehner has already reneged on his part of the compromise that ended the crisis.
- Eric Cantor: the representative stalled out this legislative session, and spins environmental de-regulation as “job creation.” This is the extent of his “leadership.”
- Bobby Jindal: his education plan faces widespread criticism, legal action, and will lead to taxpayer-funded education along fundamentalist Christian, creationist lines. Let’s not forget his belief in “exorcism.”
- Michele Bachmann: like Sarah Palin, there’s just so much, but her neo-McCarthyist bent really takes the cake.
- Donald Trump: reckless birther.
- John McCain: our claim here is not that McCain himself is a radical hack. But his supporters’ reaction to his concession grimly presaged the current state of the Party.
- Sharron Angle: she almost unseated Harry Reid (D-NV), but crumbled among growing concerns about her belief in the value of armed revolution, among a host of other crazy positions.
- Jan Brewer: invented claims of headless Mexican immigrants to stoke the fires of racist sentiment and convince voters that all Mexicans are violent warlords (presumably). She’s since tried to deny status to immigrants granted clemency by Obama’s executive order, and yelled at the President, because that’s a thing you should do, obviously.
- Glenn Beck: start here.
- Rush Limbaugh: racist hack whose disparaging remarks about women are only the most recent in a long string of crimes against decency.
- Erick Erickson: the influential leader of RedState blog, the right’s poorly-trafficked answer to the Daily Kos, is now a CNN pundit for some reason, and gleefully invents crazy claims about Supreme Court justices. He’s also a leading purveyor of anti-Obama conspiracy theories.
We could go on. This post left out (among others) Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania congressman, and Rick Perry, current governor of Texas, both former frontrunners for the Republican nomination. Perry famously can’t keep straight which federal departments he’d end wholesale, believes that states can nullify federal laws (a question that the Civil War answered in the negative), and called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.” Rich Santorum would ban pornography, views gay marriage on the same level as incest, questions whether you should have the right to consensual sex in your own home, and rejects the separation of church and state, a critical First Amendment concept.
Extremism in the Republican ranks is a feature, not a bug. Send them all home.