This Washington Post op-ed from Stuart Stevens, an author and Republican political consultant, is the mother of all mea culpas. (He’s plugging a book, so maybe some of this will seem a bit convenient and self-serving. Then again, the title of the book is It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump.)
In his op-ed, Stevens says many of the things we liberals have been saying for years. The GOP has become an anti-intellectual, anti-science, rabidly anti-government, barking-mad garbage barge full of xenophobes and benighted America Firsters.
And it only took a monumental crisis to make (some) people see all this more clearly:
The failures of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis can be traced directly to some of the toxic fantasies now dear to the Republican Party. Here are a few: Government is bad. Establishment experts are overrated or just plain wrong. Science is suspect. And we can go it alone, the world be damned.
Yup, he’s pretty much got the racist dipshit playbook down.
Long before Trump, the Republican Party adopted as a key article of faith that more government was bad. We worked overtime to squeeze it and shrink it, to drown it in the bathtub, as anti-tax activist Grover Norquist liked to say. But somewhere along the way, it became, “all government is bad.” Now we are in a crisis that can be solved only by massive government intervention. That’s awkward.
Yes, it is. It totally is.
Next, somehow, the party of idealistic Teddy Roosevelt, pragmatic Bob Dole and heroic John McCain became anti-intellectual, by which I mean, almost reflexively opposed to knowledge and expertise. We began to distrust the experts and put faith in, well, quackery. It was 2013 when former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said the Republican Party “must stop being the stupid party.” By 2016, the party had embraced as its nominee a reality-TV host who later suggested that perhaps the noise from windmills causes cancer.
Uh huh. Y’all did that. And we all saw it.
It’s heartening to see at least one Republican take responsibility for what the party — and by extension our country — has become. But I demand more satisfaction. Until Trump and Moscow Mitch are exiled to Mother Russia (Siberia should be an ideal spot for social distancing), I won’t be able to fully appreciate this quiet, lone voice shouting in what is still a wilderness of fucknuttery.
Republicans are learning a hard lesson now: Experts are good. Jesus will not swoop down and save us. In fact, science is our savior. The government is there for a reason. In retrospect, electing the dumbest motherfucker on the planet was probably a bad idea.
It’s a shitshow out there right now, but hopefully it’s an eye-opening one. The GOP agenda is a rancid failure. That’s never been more obvious — or more frightening.
Is Trump still chafing your arse-cheeks? Then Dear Fcking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump and its boffo sequels Dear Prsident A**clown: 101 More Rude Letters to Donald Trump and Dear F*cking Moron: 101 More Letters to Donald Trump by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing are the pick-me-up you need! Reviewers have called these books “hysterically funny,” “cathartic,” and “laugh-out-loud” comic relief. And they’re way, way cheaper than therapy.