An old buddy of mine used to say," The hardcore Republican vote is 5% the super-rich and 95% the super-stupid." I used to believe that, but I don’t believe that anymore. I believe it’s 5% the super-rich and 95% the super-evil. If you need a definition of super-evil, try here.
Please note that I am not talking about the deluded and the ignorant Republican voters. The deluded can be helped to see clearly and the ignorant can be educated. I am talking about the hardcore GOP base, the people who come to McCain/Palin events and turn them into rallies reminiscent of the ones at Nuremburg in the dark days before World War II.
One thing I’ve learned about the hardcore GOP base is that they love a good liar. They eventually turned against Richard Nixon because Nixon was a serial liar who got caught too many times. Nixon wasn’t even very good at it as his aides later attested. He oozed the insincerity of a Southern California user car dealer starring in a bad late-night TV ad.
The hardcore GOP base eventually turned their backs against both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. What’s the point of a serial liar whom no one believes except the hardcore GOP base? George W. Bush did not dare show his face at the 2008 GOP convention except on a TV screen. He was damaged goods…a persona non grata who McCain/Palin now run against even as they hope to perpetuate most of his failed policies.
The great and shining exception was of course, Ronald Reagan. With his actor’s training and his avuncular public persona, he could lie repeatedly with a look of total sincerity that neither Nixon nor the Bush’s could ever muster. That’s why Reagan is the gold standard for the hardcore GOP base. He was one of the greatest serial liars of the 20th century, something that even his most bitter opponants (including me) would attest to.
Which brings us to John McCain. McCain is a terrible liar. He tells so many whoppers that he can’t keep them all straight. He lacks Reagan’s carefully polished theatrical charm and often comes off as peevish and tempermental. Until he recruited Sarah Palin to be his tag team lying partner, he was viewed with suspicion by the hardcore GOP base. What good is a terrible liar when your party is at its lowest ebb in decades?
This at least partially explains McCain’s desperate Hail Sarah pass. Sarah Palin looked like the perfect serial liar: a mother of 5 from a small town in Alaska who had successfully ousted the Republican establishment to bring in her own passel of vindictive social climbers, bigoted religious fanatics and low life oil industry lobbyists.
Sarah Palin’s job was to put a young mother’s visage on pure evil and lie with a straight face. Being a woman, McCain’s handlers hoped voters would be seduced by the myth that females are naturally more moral and decent. But as a high school acquaintance can attest, she’s had years of practice at smiling social viciousness. Just check out the fear that she has instilled into Alaskans so that few are willing to speak out publically against her.
If the Barack Obama campaign is the audacity of hope, John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin is the audacity of hate.
It might work, but I have my doubts. She smiles alot in a disingenuous kind of way and has a breathy, but effective public speaking manner. She can lie convincingly in front of crowds, but is less effective in small one-on-one situations. Unlike Reagan who could deliver his lines anywhere, Palin appears scripted and robotic when she has to interact with people. In those situations she comes across as a second-rate understudy in an indifferently directed high school play. Maybe she’s a fast learner who will get better, but she doesn’t have a lot of time to learn on the job.
But even the best actor cannot overcome a bad script and that is where the Republicans are at a disadvantage. The lies of McCain/Palin are so outrageous and so over the top that even the corporate owned media has started to take offense. From the lie about Palin’s support of the "Bridge to Nowhere" to McCain claiming that Obama wanted comprehensive sex education for kindergarten kids, and all the ones in between, there truly has been a "blizzard of lies" as New York Times economist Paul Krugman calls it.
This won’t matter to the GOP hardcore base. In fact they will spread their love of McCain/Palin even more fervently.
The GOP hardcore base embrace bigots and liars like McCain/Palin because in the darkness of their own souls they hold those same values. As individuals they are too dishonest to get up and admit that in public. McCain/Palin gives them permission to feel good about their their own bigotry and small-mindedness. Armed with a permission slip from two major political candidates, they can give full throat to their own worst instincts. They are cowards and if they had any sense of decency they would feel a deep sense of shame and would come begging for our forgiveness.
Fortunately, the GOP hardcore base is still a minority in this country. If the serial lying of McCain/Palin proves to be ineffective at turning them into a majority, McCain/Palin will end up being tossed into the political dumpster like a tied-off plastic bag of used diapers.
And what does all of this say about the judgement and supposed honor of former Captain John Sidney McCain III USN? When he was commissioned as an officer, he took an Oath that states in part:
I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America; that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies…
How does baldface public lying square with "true faith and allegiance" to the United States of America or honest and faithful service to our country? McCain has dishonored the uniform that he once wore and the Oath that he once solemnly affirmed. Conduct unbecoming of an officer is a very serious offense so it’s a good thing for John McCain that he retired from active duty in 1981.
The hardcore Republican base likes to talk a lot about faith. Not faith in America’s highest ideals of course. Their faith is in a vengeful and savage god whom they hope will punish the rest of us with tortures that even the worst thugs at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib wouldn’t administer. In their heart of hearts they hate this nation.
Well some us of us have another kind of faith, faith that when our country is in danger, Americans will eventually rally to its defense.
We’ll see whose faith is the strongest.