I had an occasion to be on a long drive Monday and treated myself to many hours of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin (I say that with tongue firmly in cheek). I do this when I can to learn what the other side is thinking. And now I'm convinced: the other side is nuts! These guys--as well as Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and others--are uniformly trashing Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP frontrunner as if he was the devil incarnate. They not only call him a liberal, which is utterly absurd, they accuse him of making liberal policy. Oddly, I found myself (if only for a fleeting, non-partisan second) thinking..."Hmmmm, if these self-serving narrow-minded blathering boorish buffoons hate him so much, maybe I should like him? Maybe, just maybe, he's the right guy to bridge the gap between Red and Blue? To be the conduit of political peace between the parties? Nah. But it's a nice thought. Like I've said all along, McCain is certainly no moderate. It's just that, to the far-right wing of the Republican Party, he's not enough of a 'conservatic' (a cross between a conservative and a lunatic).
The biggest bloviator of them all is Levin, whose syndicated radio program unfortunately polutes the airwaves each night. This guy is so rabid and venomous, and his vitriol knows no bounds. He's a nasty, angry, mean-spirited blowhard who flings ad-hominem personal attacks with reckless abandon (see: "Mike Huckaphony, Gov. Jerkenegger, Dorothy Rabi-no-wits"). He even calls his own party "Re-pubic-ans." All because they've annointed McCain the frontrunner. Man, I'd love to spar one on one with this guy, as I know exposing his ignorant, racist rhetoric for the garbage that it is would be tantamount to stealing candy from a baby. It must be really nice to have a national radio program where you can, with impunity, scream and yell and call people names as you relentlessly lie about them and everything else for that matter (so if you're out there and listening, Levin, bring it on...).
So, what exactly is the consrvatics' overall beef with McCain? As Limbaugh put it, "he doesn't speak for us." Us? Just who exactly is us? To be sure, McCain is clearly speaking to a majority of Republicans, otherwise he wouldn't be kicking dust in former Gov's Mitt Romney's (MA) and Mike Huckabee's (AR) faces. Perhaps McCain's overall popularity is a wake-up call to right-wing fanatics like Hannity, Rush, Levin, Coulter, etc. A signal that the average conservative is fed up with the politics of hate and fear and devisiveness. To the conservatics, you are not a Republican unless you have a singular platform that conforms to every single belief of theirs. There is no "big tent" for these guys. There's only one-type of "acceptible" Republican. You must be a national security junkie. You must hate taxes. You must hate illegal aliens, and wish to ship all 12-million of them back home. You must hate campaign finance reform. You must hate big government. You must hate welfare, free education and socialized medicine. You must hate gays. You must hate abortion. You must hate atheists, agnositics and anyone who doesn't believe in Creationism. You must hate Democrats, and everything they stand for. You must hate, period. And if you hate, say, most of these things, that's not good enough for the conservatics. You must hate 'em all.
The conservatics claim that McCain "will destroy the Republican Party." Well, the very conservative columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan said recently that it was George Bush who's destroyed the party. She's 1000% right. And I believe if Republicans were smart they'd recognize that McCain is the guy to unify them in the future. He's got the moderate Repubs, the conservative Dems and the highly coveted independents. In that sense, he's almost as Reaganesque as Reagan. But the conservatics hate him so much because of his impressive record of reaching across the aisles to create compromise legislation (i.e McCain-Feingold, McCain-Lieberman). But isn't that what politicians are truly supposed to do? Wasn't that the vision of our Founding Fathers? Or, as Hannity and Limbaugh would like you to believe, did they have Rovian partisan hate politics in mind instead? I am no personal fan of McCain, but I do admire his tenacity, his resolve, his independence. He strikes me as the guy who puts country and beliefs before party. Call me crazy, but that's what they all should be doing.
The conservatics also decry McCain's flip-flopping on the Bush tax cuts, but completely give their boy Romney a pass on his abrupt and very politically-timed about-face on gay marriage and abortion. Go figure.
One of my best friends is a Republican. There, I said it. Cliche, but true. "Karl" and I have been close pals for 25 years now. I love the guy, except his politics. So I asked him about all this McCain Swiftboating last night. And sure enough, I could close my eyes and hear Hannity and Levin and Limbaugh coming through loud and clear. "He doesn't represent us," said Karl, dutifully repeating the Kool-aid drinkers' mantra. I asked, what about McCain's record on the war, terrorism, Bush Tax cuts, school vouchers, abortion, guns, gays, and God? Doesn't that make him pretty damned conservative? Well yeah, Karl conceded, but then he went right back to the "doesn't represent us" thing. I guess he won't let facts and logic spoil the fantasy.
Poor conservatics. There's a party goin' on and they weren't invited. And it makes them angry. Angry like the high school nerds who weren't invited to the party either. So they are violently unleashing their venom on McCain and everyone who supports him. After Super Duper Tuesday, this just might once and for all prove to be most of the GOP. And maybe the end of the conservatic movement as we know it.
On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Thank you.