Deja Vu All Over Again: Republicans at a Loss to Understand How Tea Baggers Got Belligerent

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Remember during the 2008 campaign, when Sarah Palin flicked her Bic under the gas-soaked rags wrapped around the clubs held by the mobs at her rallies but then claimed she had no idea how the fires started? The reaction from Republicans to the escalation of teabagger anger exhibited toward health care reform is eerily familiar.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the incidents “reprehensible” but said on NBC’s Meet the Press “let’s not let a few isolated incidents get in the way of the fact that millions of Americans are scared to death, and millions of Americans want no part of this growing size of government.”

Yes, let’s not let “isolated incidents” (is there any other kind?) keep us from directing our disgust where it belongs: on elected representatives who are trying to help American companies compete with companies from nations that do not tie one arm behind them by expecting them to provide health insurance; or who want to keep people from being vulnerable to the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country, medical bills; or who simply recognize that the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Commission on Taxation are right when their studies predict our government will go broke if the health care and insurance systems are not reformed. Because, you know, Democratic (and the few decent Republican) legislators are real the problem.

Or not.

Unfortunately, Boehner isn’t the only one minimizing the tea bagger belligerence Republicans have stirred up.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R – Virginia on ABC’s “This Week” [said] “There were 30,000 people here in Washington yesterday. And, yes, there were some very awful things said.”

Cantor appeared with House Democratic Caucus chairman John Larson, D-Connecticut, who said the incidents show “everybody ought to ratchet back just a little bit.”

But Cantor disagreed.

Cantor said “you know what it is time for? It’s time to listen to the American people, and that is the stunning thing about this.”

No the stunning thing is that Republicans have been yelling and screaming about socialism, tyranny, totalitarianism, illegitimate power, etc. and now they express surprise that the true concerns of their intellectually challenged followers appear to be racism and homophobia. Who’da thunk?

But don’t let that inconvenient fact cause you to dismiss tea bagger views. At least, not if you’re a Republican who needs to keep these folks mobilized for your own cynical ends. Rep. David Nunes (R-Calif.), I’m looking at you.

When was asked about the slurs hurled at Reps. Lewis and Frank, Nunes said, “Yeah, well I think that when you use totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy. I think, you know, there’s people that have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it. It’s not appropriate. And I think I would stop short of characterizing the 20,000 people protesting, that all of them were doing that –Of course. I think the left loves to play a couple of incidents here or there.”

To recap the Republican response to supporters spitting at and yelling the n-word and the f-word at elected officials: “It’s not that bad, it’s only a few of the 20,000/30,000/1.6 million members of the mob gathered, and it’s all Obama’s fault anyway.”

Separated at Birth: Florida Republican Party Chair Jim Greer and Springfield Chief of Police Clancy Wiggum

Wiggum and Greer: the resemblance is more than skin deep.
Wiggum and Greer: the resemblance is more than skin deep.

We noticed the resemblance between The Simpsons’ Mr. Burns and former Vice President Dick Cheney a long time ago. But it wasn’t until Jim Greer, the chair of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), started the interview circuit that we figured out where we’d seen him before. The porcine Mr. Greer used a ridiculous — and now largely disavowed by other Republicans — claim that the president is trying to indoctrinate school children into a socialist regime by urging them to study and stay in school as a way of deflecting criticism of his use of donor money here in Florida.

The porcine Mr. Greer reminds us of someone

In using the “I know I am but what about you” defense, Greer reminded us of Springfield’s chief of police, Clancy Wiggum, who never seems to be responsible for any of the town’s egregious law enforcement debacles. Wiggum once broadcast this warning, which was about as helpful as most of the things Jim Greer says: “This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a…car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless.”

Other gems from Wiggum:

  • Oh, sure. We’d all love some real friends, Marge. But what are the odds of that happening?
  • I hope this has taught you kids a lesson: kids never learn.
  • Can’t you people take the law into your own hands? I mean, we can’t be policing the entire city!

Greer’s tortured missives are as logically challenged as Wiggum’s. This is the actual first tenet of “GOP Principles” on the RPOF’s web site:

I Believe… The proper function of government is to do for the people those things that have to be done but cannot be done, or cannot be done as well, by individuals, and that the most effective government is government closest to the people.

The Wiggumisms continue in the same document:

I Believe… In equal right, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, age, sex or national origin.

After all, who needs more than one right anyway? I mean you can only use one at a time. But the best Republican/Wiggumian belief, in 2009, has to be this one:

I Believe… The free enterprise and the encouragement of individual initiative and incentive have given this nation an economic system second to none.

Case closed.