Okay, it's clear at last that most congressional Republicans are a rag-tag, loony tunes collection of scoundrels incapable of being truthful about almost anything. We may have suspected this was true before, but Paul Ryan's budget plan and Arizona Senator Jon Kyl's recent floor speech have strengthened perceptions of a Tea Party and far right legislative component off on a tangent that bodes ill for the democratic process.
Ryan's plan often characterized as being "bold" and "courageous" is a collection of unproven theories and overblown conclusions. It is distressing that even among the more or less solid mainstream media mavens these words are used repeatedly. I have long suspected that some pundits who should know better aren't just being fair and allowing both sides to have a say, but are protecting their access to newsmakers, even when those headliners are mostly just talking-point automatons. The group of pseudo intellects who appear on an endless string of talk shows and interviews provide the public with a staple of positions that bears only the faintest resemblance to sound policy and shows no sign of a willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue with 'the other side.'
Are we to believe Ryan's contentions that venture decades hence? Can we possibly rely on projections that claim his particular vision will create thousands of jobs and bring unemployment down to four percent? What assurance other than the sound of his voice makes such assertions in any way believable? After all our recent past would seem to indicate exactly the opposite as far as job creation and a stable economy are concerned.
But Republicans in Congress are prepared to go to the mat defending issues about which they are so poorly informed, their positions so intellectually weak. Marsha Blackburn (R. Tennessee) is a prime example of how members of our legislative bodies are trained to repeat their party's mantra whether or not it makes sense to people outside the charmed circle of believers. Sometimes it almost seems as if people like Blackburn keep making partisan points even when they aren't quite sure what they're talking about.
If, as they like to claim, many of these partisan hacks have heard 'the voice of the people' who spoke in November we are in for a bumpy ride. Like the children's game played around a table at birthday parties the quote that gets things started ends up in an unrecognizable muddle and everyone is amazed that a simple statement could become so twisted in the space of such a short time. The voters in November did not speak with one voice no matter how the right wing would like that to be the case. But Republicans are back on familiar ground as they seek to shape opinion to suit their political vision.
The thing is that if the rest of us pay attention we can actually change the direction of the debate and catch the 'conscience of the kingmakers.' Are political leaders like Jon Kyl so delusional they think they can spew hogwash on the floor of the Senate and no-one will notice or hold them accountable? Perhaps because they've gotten away with their absurd posturing for so long and attacked Democrats in general and the president so relentlessly from the moment he took office they have come to believe they can continue their duplicitous ways forever.
But wouldn't you know, people began to notice after all. Kyl pushed the envelope just a bit too far the other day and Stephen Colbert shattered the composure of what is sometimes referred to as the "august" chamber of Congress by pointing out just how ridiculous Kyl's remarks were and how especially absurd the explanation his staff offered in response to Colbert's questions. How could an experienced politician state on the Senate floor that 90% of Planned Parenthood's activity was devoted to providing abortion services, a complete fiction. Is he really that poorly informed or was he just trying to hammer home a partisan point regardless of whether it was true or not?
One can't be quite sure, but his staff's explanation for the inaccuracy was even more absurd. To assert that Kyl's remark about Planned Parenthood wasn't meant to be a "factual statement" made his position even more ridiculous but clarified or should have, for the rest of us that the right wing will say anything to make a point and proves that it shouldn't be trusted with the leadership of our country. Colbert's not-meant-to-be-factual statements provide hilarious rejoinders to Kyl's irrational disclaimer and advise his audience that you can say just about anything if you follow with the proviso that it is not meant to be taken as a factual statement.