The Huffington Post reports that Lindsay Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina, faced some angry “tea bag” “patriots” in a town hall meeting on Tuesday for agreeing to work with Democratic Senator John Kerry on a climate change panel. The HuffPo link above includes a video showing the Senator facing his heckling rednecks constituents as he tries to justify siding with the enemy sanity.
The video is not that interesting in and of itself – town hall “meetings” produced more spectacular and better organized abuse this summer as astroturf outrage was manifested against improving the healthcare system. However, the incident is intresting for what it represents – the ultra-right beginning to turn against the mainstream elements of the Republican Party.
Leadership abhors a vaccuum, and the Republicans, still in complete disarray since the election, have allowed Glenn and Rush to effectively take the party helm, and they’ve responded straight from the Republican playbook – right down to race-baiting, religion-stoking, and conspiracy theories. The critical difference is that when the Republican Party does it, it does it ultimately to deliver the vote, which means keeping things somewhat moderated in order to capture a little bit of the independent vote. Glenn and Rush have no such responsibility, and no such restrictions – they need only keep the ratings up and the sponsors happy. This is dangerously limiting to public discourse and in the end dangerous to the Republican Party, happy as it is to try to harness the “grassroot” rage to fill the coffers in this off-election year.
Episodes like this one, which will become more and more frequent, especially if Obama begins to (finally) deliver on some of his platform, show that the whacko “patriots” are no more loyal to the GOP than they are to the USA or the Constitution, bleatings to the contrary aside.
If it wasn’t for the fact that the American public will pay the price of political deadlock as the Party of Pussies attempt to outpolitic the Party of No, it would be hysterical to watch the flames kindle around the Republican Party, because this is exactly the kind of thing that can tear them apart, petards and all.