Remember back in December when Dick Armey blamed the GOP's 2012 losses on a few candidates saying "stupid things"?
ARMEY: We had a least two candidates that should've won, that frankly lost because they said some stupid things on a subject that their party's leaders should've schooled them to stay away from in the first place.
Uh-huh. Just a couple of candidates, eh Dick?
...the trend of self-destructive, largely marginal Republicans seizing the spotlight has only continued in 2013.
In January, it was Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey trying to explain how Akin was “partly right” about rape and pregnancy, after all. In March, it was Alaska Rep. Don Young referring to immigrant farm laborers as “wetbacks” on a radio show. The first week in June saw Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant blaming the decline in American education on the advent of “both parents … working.”
Then there was E.W. Jackson, the recently minted Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia whose record of slashing comments about homosexuality and abortion has yielded a steady stream of headlines the past month.
The parade of face-plants only goes on. Last week, Iowa Rep. Steve King announced on Twitter that “illegal aliens have invaded my D.C. office,” while Arizona Rep. Trent Franks suggested — in a mangled comment he rapidly walked back — that relatively few pregnancies result from rape. (Franks’s misfire prompted the GOP Senate candidate in Massachusetts, Gabriel Gomez, to quip, “These kinds of comments only come from a moron,” and: “He proves that stupid has no specific affiliation.”)
Republicans have been getting away with saying "stupid things" for years. Take a look at the GOPers mentioned in this piece. Steve King has been in Congress for a decade -- same with Trent Franks. Don Young has been in office since the Nixon administration. And that short list leaves out some of the right's worst rhetorical offenders, like the retiring Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Paul Broun (R-GA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) -- and others.
So, these aren't inexperienced newbies committing "gaffes."
This keeps happening for four reasons. One, the rhetoric of the right-wing media complex is even more insane, so elected Republicans who spout nonsense rarely offend their constituents -- who are listening to Rush, Glenn and Sean. Two, the Republican Party doesn't censure or punish their own bomb throwers, because there's no backlash from their voters. Three, the mainstream media has become somewhat desensitized to Republicans saying crazy things. If a Democratic Congressman had claimed George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were Nazis about to unleash a Gestapo-like security force, there would have been a severe backlash. But when Paul Broun said it in 2008, there was a collective yawn.
And four, a lot of this rhetoric accurately reflects Republican Party platform positions. As long as the party vows to criminalize all abortions, they're going to have people explaining why--which is what got Akin in trouble.
Until the swamp of right-wing crazy on the radio is drained, and as long as the Republican Party doesn't publicly rebuke extremism instead of mainstreaming it, this trend of elected Republicans belching up insane soundbites won't go away anytime soon.
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