Everyone knows that Capitol Hill is a hotbed of morally challenged, opportunistic leeches available to corporate interests at discount prices, but who knew the scum would float to the top so quickly? It’s only been seven months since Obama’s inauguration, and daily stories about some pinheaded wingnut embracing his or her venality already seems . . . routine.
The latest bigotrix, Kansas’ Lynn Jenkins, spent the weekend gnawing off her leg to escape the trap she set for herself:
Alas, The Ottawa (Kans.) Herald finds one reason to doubt Jenkins’s excuse. A month ago, the freshman lawmaker supported a resolution that included the very phrase "great white hope" in a historical context that made clear its origin.
In late July, the House of Representatives passed, by unanimous consent, a measure urging the president to pardon heavyweight champion boxer Jack Johnson, whose career brought him success in the ring and racist vitriol outside of it. Included in the resolution, which passed on July 29, was the following phrase:
"Whereas the victory by Jack Johnson over Tommy Burns prompted a search for a White boxer who could beat Jack Johnson, a recruitment effort that was dubbed the search for the ‘great white hope.’
Would you like a fire extinguisher for those pants, Ms. Jenkins?
And when there’s a lull in the legislative branch of fearmongering and hating, the religious nuts step up to fill the void, reaching stratospheric levels with the offensive rhetoric:
Chris Broughton, the man who brought an AR-15 rifle and a handgun to an Arizona Obama rally earlier this month, says he "concurs" with his fundamentalist pastor’s prayer for President Obama "to die and go to hell."
And in an interview with a local TV station, pastor Steven Anderson himself elaborated on his statement to TPMmuckraker that he would prefer Obama to die of natural causes so "he’s not some martyr."
"I don’t want him to be a martyr, we don’t need another holiday. I’d like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer," Anderson now says.
All this lunacy made me wonder – would we be seeing this devolution of political discourse if the country had actually gotten serious campaign finance reform passed? Would this cancer of arrogance and inbreeding, the blatant corruption and calls to violence we’re witnessing in the health care reform debate, have had a chance to metastasize if Congress weren’t more concerned with fundraising than they are with legislating? And how likely is it that the Supreme Court will reign in the corporatocracy when it rehears Citizens United v. FEC next week?
According to Krugman, not very likely:
But the Nixon era was a time in which leading figures in both parties were capable of speaking rationally about policy, and in which policy decisions weren’t as warped by corporate cash as they are now. America is a better country in many ways than it was 35 years ago, but our political system’s ability to deal with real problems has been degraded to such an extent that I sometimes wonder whether the country is still governable.
Oh, well. At least we can watch Tom DeLay on "Dancing With the Stars".