The Race Up Crazy Hill

Josh Marshall writes about the “declining marginal value of crazy“:

Several days ago, perennial presidential candidate Mike Huckabee charged that President Obama was ready to lead Israeli Jews “to the ovens.” A few days later, he said he might use not only the FBI but even the US military to prevent abortions. And around the same time, Ted Cruz called Obama the world’s biggest funder of Islamic terrorism. There was a day when cracks like these would have stopped the political world in its tracks, spurring transgressive glee from supporters and outrage from liberals and normal people. But this summer, they’ve struggled to break through. And the reason is obvious: Donald Trump has flooded the market with a new, purer brand of Crazy that has left the other candidates scrambling and basically unable to compete.

Every few days, when Trump says something really outrageous, the Villagers will use their op ed privileges to tsk tsk that Trump will now fade from political view. And then the next polls come out, and he’s still leading the GOP field.

The crazy shtick is working.

Ted Cruz is apparently doubling down on the crazy, frantically trying to ensure a spot in the GOP debates, I suspect. He has just made a video of himself cooking bacon by wrapping it around the barrel of a machine gun. Because, you know, nothing says “gravitas” and “presidential” like some stunt involving a machine gun and bacon. And you need to read Steve M’s post on this.

It appears that Cruz will make the cut for the first GOP debate, but Bobby Jindal probably will be out. Jindal has made a hail-mary pass, however. He had called for an investigation of Planned Parenthood because of the hoax videos accusing PP of selling aborted fetus parts for profit. However, he seems to have decided to not wait for the results and went ahead and cancelled PP’s Medicaid provider contract, thereby depriving thousands of women from reproductive health care. Note that other states investigating PP are finding that PP is not selling fetus parts or doing anything else illegal.

I believe the first debate is August 6, this Thursday.

Joan Walsh ties Trump support to the “psycho-sexual insecurity” combined with white supremacism that animates the far Right.

This is not merely a new way to shout “RINO.” It’s a call to make the GOP an explicitly racist party, devoted to the defense of whites. It’s no accident it’s taken off in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign launch/performance art, where he attacked illegal Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals.”

White nationalist Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute explained Trump’s appeal to Dave Weigel: “a) he is a tougher, superior man than ‘conservatives’ (which isn’t saying much), and b) he seems to grasp the demographic displacement of European-Americans on a visceral level. We see some hope there.”

Walsh also says the GOP “can’t wean itself from its reliance on overt and coded racial appeals to turn out its 90-percent-white voter base.”

The swaggering “common-sense” racism of Donald Trump is touching something deep in the conservative psyche.

Jeb Bush apparently thinks he can use Trump to beat Scott Walker and the 15 other uninspiring Republican contenders and win the GOP nomination. But the Trump faction is determined to tear apart the party to make its racism explicit rather than coded. All the money in the world isn’t going to let Bush chase this conflict away.

So, there it is. The dog whistles did their job, but now the dogs expect to be fed.


There is some good news. The push to defund Planned Parenthood failed in the Senate, 53-46. A few Republicans voted with the Dems; a few Dems voted with Republicans. I don’t have a complete list of names, though. From the Guardian:

“I just can’t see how we can ensure that all the patients can be absorbed by alternative healthcare providers,” said Maine Republican Susan Collins, who sponsored a compromise amendment with Mark Kirk of Illinois, which calls for more investigation of the practice first.

“The best way to reduce the number of abortions is to ensure that women have access to services they need to protect against unwanted pregnancy,” added Collins.

The point was echoed by independent Maine senator Angus King, who argued that it was counter-productive to defund contraceptive services if you were worried about abortion.

“The issue is not about abortion, it’s about fetal tissue and uses of fetal tissue and whether it should be allowed to be used for medical research, but that’s a debate we should have on that issue,” said King.

“This bill is like attacking Brazil after Pearl Harbor: it’s a vigorous response but it’s the wrong target.”

Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren went further still, arguing the bill was “just one more piece of a deliberate, methodical orchestrated rightwing attack on women’s rights”.

“Do have any idea what year it is?” she demanded of Republicans in the Senate chamber. “Did you fall down and bang your head and wake up and think it was the 1950s?”

You go, Liz Warren.

23 thoughts on “The Race Up Crazy Hill

  1. The race up crazy hill seems like a parallel but smaller development compared to your illustration of the Conservative Industrial Complex a couple posts down. While these amusing GOP clowns are mugging and doing spit takes, the serious oligarchy takeover shit is massing billions quietly to install their people down the line from White House to the state and local level through the infrastructure you recently described. The clown car of crazy is just a warmup act. Plus it gives Reince and his party offices something to do while the grown-ups run things. The GOP is a Potemkin village now.

    • zoomar — The Conservative Industrial Complex has been working like a charm for several years now, but I’m beginning to think it peaked during the Bush II years. Since Citizens’ United the Republican Party lost control to the oligarchs, but now the oligarchs are losing control to the crazy. For all their power the oligarchs still need their own front men in office, and if 2012 taught us anything, it’s that money doesn’t guarantee results (see Karl Rove, American Crossroads, 2012 elections). The CIC still has a lot of power to swing state elections and affect state legislation (such as through ALEC), but I think it’s possible Dems will re-take the Senate, and I believe they will keep the White House. And if we can keep pushing the Dems leftward, the CIC will be weaker still.

      Philosophical Taoism says that all things carry within them the seeds of their own destruction. The CIC has had a good run and it may be around for a few more years, but I think it will implode *eventually*.

  2. Gulag…saw your comment over at Steve M’s post..The one about the “Presto” instant bacon delivery system. LMAO!
    I was thinking about Cruz’s bacon cooking stunt and wondered if Cruz realised how foolish and wasteful his little stunt was from an economic standpoint.Redneck economics? I don’t know exactly how much a round of .223 caliber cost, but 50 cents a round is a sound estimate. And in order to heat up the barrel on an M16 to generate enough heat to even partially cook a single strip of bacon it would take no less than 40 to 50 rounds.. So it doesn’t seem economically prudent to spend a minimum of $25.00 to cook a single strip of bacon on the barrel of an M16.
    I guess the logic is that they are recapturing energy because they are going to blow that kind of money shooting their M16 anyway..and cooking the bacon on the barrel is just a plus for energy reclamation. But by that logic why don’t they stuff a whole pound of bacon in the crack of their ass and have it ready to eat at no additional expense. Win- win!
    It might be a little uncomfortable to prepare the bacon in that manner, but the savings could make it worth it.

  3. Huckabee is a disgrace to all ministers, whether active or not. That he can LIE so grossly for political purposes goes against all precepts of spirituality, Christian or not. If there is a heaven and hell, I fully expect him to be turned away from heaven and welcomed in hell.

  4. Sometimes a few of the pieces of the puzzle display the shapes that let them fit together, and often it confirms what we had suspected all along.

    The latest illustration started with the controversy over the confederate battle flag. One of my friends in the Tea Party decided to post some incontrovertible proof that the flag was “heritage, not hate.” He did this by reposting an article from a blog. The reasoning of the argument rested on three points, each meant to be a finger poked in the eye of any liberal who read it. I can share more about the article if anyone is interested, but, let’s just say that the three points of the argument were tangential at best. To me the article most clearly displayed the fact that the author had no idea what he was talking about, and my friend knew even less. To reach his state of ignorance he had very likely, never read any serious work on the history of the Civil War, or selected his reading list solely to reinforce his ability to see history and the world as he wanted it to be. This raises the obvious question, “If this is your ‘heritage,’ why haven’t you taken the trouble to learn anything about it?” For example, if the South and the Civil War are part of your personal history, and you claim to be so passionate about your heritage, why haven’t you at least perused the various Articles of Secession? In this particular case the answer is obvious. The “heritage” you treasure so much is simply an invention, and an invention that allows you to escape some very disturbing facts and questions. That is why you cling to it so tightly and so passionately.

    My friend’s quest was to find some defense for the illusion. So, when some clown wrote a blog article that fit the bill, it was just the ticket. He was too lazy and biased to read any history, and all he really needed was some short pablum written by someone who could sound as if they had read some history, and had the language skills to slap together a blog post. It didn’t matter that it was nonsense. It would in effect produce a stalemate. My friend could go on believing in his invented heritage and connecting with like minded people and people like me would decide to be silent, because, sometimes there really is no gain in arguing.

    So, expand the model of the battle flag controversy to say, everything else. This is where the value of crazy comes in, a particular class of crazy because of where it comes from. If a person pushing a rusty shopping cart down main street were yelling the same things as the prospective presidential candidates, people would pass by quickly, avoiding eye contact, even if somewhere in the dark recesses of their minds those fevered ravings made a bit of sense. But, put that same person in an expensive suit in front of TV cameras, with obscene amounts of cash at hand, and the ravings become wisdom, or a call to arms. There is the tragic synergy of a circular logic. If someone reinforces my prejudices and removes my nagging doubts, I want to believe that they are intelligent and insightful. The more they reinforce my illusion, the more intelligent they become. It forms a positive feedback loop, and the craziness grows until the saturation point of crazy, at which point there may be a singularity. There are several gates to the event horizon, and a watchman for each gate. The watchmen have entered the clown car. I wonder which gate will be chosen.

    Okay, I’m feeling a little better.

  5. While the crazies and the billionaires backing them, and Chump – who’s backing himself – duke it out for “The King of Crazy Hill,” our DC MSM Villagers wear their rose-colored glasses and assure themselves and their audiences that both parties have extremes.

    “Sure, Donald Trump is saying inappropriate and racist things. But, the Democrats have a real live actual Socialist running. Oh my!
    So, you see, BOTH parties have extremists running.”

    If (when?) conservative finally gain total power, and turn this country into a well-armed 3rd World “Christian” Theocratic Fascist Plutocracy/Oligarchy, the tombstone should read as follows:

    “Here was once a mighty nation:
    The United States of America.
    Its demise was caused by
    Conservatism, greed, bigotry
    And a cowardly, compliant,
    And complicit ‘Fourth Estate.'”

  6. I should probably look at Red State to see what they are saying over there, but I just hate to. T-rump is so laughable i don’t even need the sound turned on for him, and the rest are so pitiful and dishonest that I feel like I am standing 6 inches from the line of shooting ducks at the county fair and using tennis racket to knock them over whenever they drift into earshot. Here in NC, our state supreme court has allowed the taxpayers’ money to go to private schools with NO oversight or standards this week. Meanwhile, the public schools still have no budget for next year.

  7. “declining marginal value of crazy“:

    That really sums it up, so much crazy the poor little media just can’t keep up, meanwhile FAUX rakes in the campaign commercial cash, what a fucking sham. I just saw a headline on about why so many people in “this Oklahoma county” don’t believe in climate change. Once you click on the story you learn that 30% of residents in some flyover county in Oklahoma don’t believe in climate change. I thought wow why isn’t the story “why do so many residents in this county believe in climate change”, isn’t that the story? I liked Trumps comment that we can never have another black president cause Obama fucked up so bad. I guess the 43 previous white dudes never fucked anything up, racist much?

  8. Paper Conservators often use the term inherent vice. Maybe they’re Taoists at heart!

  9. Uncle Dad, I’ve always thought that the easiest way to get the money out of politics and truth back into the news might be through the FCC rather than Congress, SCOTUS or constitutional amendment. Not an attorney, but my understanding is that the FCC totally has the right to regulate how licensed broadcasters serve the public interest. The SCOTUS would have to overturn their own landmark decision to take that right away. Since the Administration makes FCC appointments, a Democrat in office with the right priorities could affect a lot of change over 4-8 years.

  10. “This bill is like attacking Brazil after Pearl Harbor: it’s a vigorous response but it’s the wrong target.”

    Like George Bush invading Iraq.

  11. I’ve been watching the Borgia’s on Netflix. I’m amazed by the similarity of the Papal politics in the 15th century and the GOP internal politics in the 21st century. Aside from simony being replaced by Citizens United not much has changed.

  12. Swami: Machiavelli was an admirer and retainer of the Borgias after all. The major difference from today’s GOP that I see is that amid the cynical scheming, the Humanists of that era managed to lay the foundation for the Enlightenment as opposed to dismantling it as the GOP is doing now. The Borgia’s et al salvaged what was left of the great pagan Latin prose and they left some nice art behind too. The GOP cracks a lot of eggs, but unlike the Borgia’s, produce no omelette.

  13. “I’m amazed by the similarity of the Papal politics in the 15th century and the GOP internal politics in the 21st century”

    Swami then it couldn’t be FAUX news, chain emails and rightwing radio what trashed the GOP after-all?

  14. It’s interesting the Guardian quote starts with Susan Collins who, after her cosponsored amendment failed, voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

  15. While we’re on the subject of crazy, two men in a neighboring country were arrested for stockpiling weapons, including various home made bombs and such. It seems that they were preparing for the “Jade Helm 15” takeover. This is small potatoes. The standout was a fellow who purchased a surplus school bus and buried it in his back yard as super secret, underground storage for his arsenal. I don’t think anyone has topped that one yet, even after almost twenty years, but, I haven’t been keeping up with current events, and there are a lot of innovative thinkers out there. Since elections have become an endless event, the volume has to be bumped as the big day approaches. In the red states of the south, the incumbents can’t give up the GOTV gold that something like “Jade Helm 15” represents. So, if asked, they stare at the ground ominously and say, “I ain’t sayin’ yes, and I ain’t sayin’ no.” They’ve embraced the crazy for a long time, but, now they’re swimming in it. It’s nice to think that some day, cooler heads will prevail, but, even the cool heads have an dangerous glint in their eye.

    It will be interesting to see how events unfold in Hattiesburg. At this point, I assume that the two men who were questioned, might not be the perpetrators. The alternative is unthinkable, even for Mississippi, that they were the ones who fired on our men, but the authorities decided that they were, “just good old boys, never meanin’ no harm.” Say, that reminds me of something.

  16. OT: I just got an email from Cathy McMorris Rodgers. She’s my illustrious representative. For some reason we can’t get rid of her. I have heard her talk before and she just toes the party line. You will recognize her, she’s always standing behind Boehner when he talks and she gave the Repug’s response to one of the State of the Union speeches. Anyway, she is coming to Walla Walla tomorrow for a townhall meeting. I may or may not go but if there are any questions y’all would like me to ask her, just let me know.

  17. Granny, I sure envy you, living in Washington, despite Cathy McMorris Rodgers and the Cascadia Subduction Zone, but that’s another story!

    I’ve got Thom Tillis and Patrick McHenry, so if you throw in the CSZ, we just about come out even.

    I wrote to McHenry about the AUMF in Iraq and received a snippy, hostile response, which made it clear, he wasn’t interested in hearing my views, let alone representing them. If your representative even pretends to listen, you’re ahead of us in the game.

    Given the present political climate and the demographics of rural NC, it seems unlikely that we’ll get rid of either of them in my lifetime. What burns me as much as anything is that congress critters spend so much time raising a war chest and seeking photo ops, and so little time doing their job. Although, I have to admit, the job that Thom and Patrick would do, is probably best left undone.

    “What a revoltin’ development THIS is.”

  18. In a different kind of crazy, I read Almost Every Major Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Challenging or Defeating Clinton and Republicans. Here’s Why and made a donation to Sanders’ campaign. I don’t particularly believe everything in that article, and even though he’s in his 70s I think the time is becoming ripe for him/his ideas, and he only needs a push to develop a groundswell of support, particularly in traditionally liberal bastions like CA or the east coast, places that should be easy pickin’s.

    I view my action as trying to get the ball rolling. I’m intrigued at how ideas that were once fringe become normal, like a black guy as president, or gay marriage legal across the country. The time had to be right, where a few people could change the whole situation.

  19. Goatherd: Walla Walla is on the opposite side of the state from the Cascadia Subduction Zone so when something happens there, it may not affect us much. I’m 10 miles from Oregon and 100 miles from Idaho. In a lot of ways, it is a conservative area (reason for Cathy) but there are liberals, progressives here if you look hard enough. We have 3 colleges, 2 hospitals, lots of trees, some that were brought here from the Ohio Valley in the late 1800s and lots of wineries. Oh, did I mention water. Creeks and rivers. Walla Walla is an Indian name meaning many waters. We are experiencing a drought right now though. And this summer has been very hot. But the winters are mild. So come on out, WW is wanting to grow and attract more people. And we need more people like you.
    I am familiar with N.C. and their way of thinking. I have relatives there and I spent 3 months once in Asheville on a nursing job. Beautiful country!!
    Moonbat: Being 76 myself, I am beginning to realize that is just about the time that wisdom comes if one is lucky. And Bernie looks pretty healthy and I do agree the time is ripe for his ideas.

  20. Trump is a GOOD thing.

    Yes, he is.

    By dispensing with the code words the GOP has used for decades to promote the business-bigot alliance known as the Southern Strategy (you know, the words used to conceal bigotry under the cloak of pretended fiscal prudence?), he not only became the darling of the GOP base, he forces the other candidates to follow suit, which means they’re going to have a very hard time pivoting back towards something more appealing to general election voters.

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