Diagnosing the GOP 

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Diagnosing the GOP

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has famously stated that the Republican Party has to stop being "the Stupid Party." I don't think "the Stupid Party" is going to change or be replaced by another more reality-based party any time soon, so we need to figure out what makes its members the way they are.

Some think that the election of any Democrat to the White House causes them to go berserk. During Bill Clinton's first term, the Republican Congress stupidly shut down the government — that's why the current Republican efforts to constantly hold the budget hostage are so scary. During Clinton's second term, the Republicans stupidly wasted 60 million tax dollars to find some excuse to impeach him.

However, even recent Republican administrations have had to put up with their own extremists whom they called the "Crazies." President George H.W. Bush and his defense secretary Colin Powell feared the war-loving neo-cons who wanted an invasion of Iraq. Those "Crazies" finally took control of our government under Bush-Cheney and gave us tax cuts for the rich, the Afghan and Iraq Wars, and a massive debt.

Bush-Cheney and "Bush's Brain" Karl Rove had to contend with another faction that even they called the "Crazies." The "Crazies" in this case were the religious fundamentalists that are such an important voting bloc for Republicans. This helps explain the relentless war against women's rights with countless anti-abortion laws being promoted around the nation where Republicans control the legislatures. Arkansas's new Republican legislature has over-ridden Gov. Mike Beebe's vetoes and passed the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the nation. Because they are clearly unconstitutional, they will be contested. That means that Arkansas's attorney general may have to waste thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend the indefensible.

Schizophrenia is one explanation for Republicans' bizarre behavior. They do appear to live in their own private universe, totally detached from the real world the rest of us inhabit. However, they all share the same universe created by their collective minds. One schizophrenic does not share the same visions as another. This is unfortunate since schizophrenia can often be medically treated. Nevertheless, I would love for a sample group from the Fox-Republican-TEA Party to be placed under such supervision. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Michele Bachmann were treated for schizophrenia and began to think rationally? Maybe we could then recommend it for the rest of them!

Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman toyed with the idea that Republican politicians and pundits may be zombies. After the colossal failures of trickle-down economics under Hoover, Reagan, and W. Bush, you would expect it to be dead. After the Great Depression and the Great Recession, you would think the bad ideas that caused them would be laid to rest. The voters in the Election of 2012 rejected returning to those eras. But, like zombies, the extreme right-wingers, the radical-reactionaries, have risen from the dead and are still promoting tax cuts for the rich, dismantling Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and cutting spending on everything except the military.

My own explanation for why the "Stupid Party" is the way it is has been documented in two studies. Joe Brewer of Cognitive Policy Works wrote an article titled "How will the 99% Deal with the 70 Million Psychopaths?" In it, he contends there is currently 1 percent of the world's population that can be clinically classified as having psychopathic tendencies. Dr. Martha Stout, who wrote "The Sociopath Next Door," contends that 4 percent is more likely — that would mean there are 280 million psychopaths on the planet!

The ranking members of the "Stupid Party" consist of followers of Leo Strauss, Ayn Rand, and billionaires' think tanks. Leo Strauss believed the right-wing could achieve and keep power by using the Big Lie, perpetual warfare and religion. Ayn Rand claimed in her novels that greed is good and government regulation is bad. Billionaires, like the Koch brothers, have created numerous think tanks, like the Heritage Foundation, to promote voter acceptance of the laissez-faire policies of the Gilded Age — an era of government handouts to Big Business with a hands-off policy.

Justice can be defined as having the ability to achieve what you want or need as long as no harm is done to others. Sociopaths are willing to do anything to get what they want or need regardless of who gets hurt. The concepts of right and wrong or doing what is best for all do not concern them. The major players in the "Stupid Party" are not Crazies, schizophrenics or zombies. They are sociopaths.

David Offut

El Dorado

From the web

In response to last week's Arkansas Reporter, "Body police," about a bill to ban certain body modification procedures:

This is the same sort of denouncement of culture/rights that brought upon the conviction of the West Memphis 3. "Oh look," there is someone who is different than me or who has different bodily practices, let's make sure they feel marginalized and let them know "they" are not welcome and/or make them criminals. If you say you stand for less government, then stand for less government, or at least be clear when you make such broad statements.


In response to an Arkansas Blog post about the gall of state Rep. David Meeks to tweet, "More inappropriate remarks by Rep. John Walker from the well. This is 2013," after Rep. John Walker, a 76-year-old black man from Hope who was a foot soldier in the Civil Rights movement, spoke about the history of race-based voter suppression during a debate on a voter ID bill:

Meeks reminds me of a 14-year old kid I once taught who scoffed at a concentration camp survivor because "that old man doesn't understand what it's like in the 'hood!" The survivor had just told them that it was almost impossible for them to understand the horrors and hardship of the holocaust.

Recalling the 14-year-old reminds me of Meeks. Similar problems. Self-centered and ignorant of history. Unwilling to listen to the wisdom and experience of his elders.

As I've noted before, the voter ID law is just another case of the Chicken Littles of this land forcing everyone to wear helmets because they think the sky is falling.


Submit letters to the Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is arktimes@arktimes.com. We also accept faxes at 375-3623. Please include name and hometown.


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