Thursday, December 08, 2011

Tough Talk vs. Reality

Republicans have liked bluster and tough talk for a long time. Then-President Ronald Reagan’s borrowed quip, “Make my day,” is still reverberating through GOP halls of power. When Reagan’s aides were caught selling arms to Iran -- and Ollie North was lying through his teeth to Congress -- it didn’t matter much, because they loved it so much when Reagan called out, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

When the Berlin Wall later crumbled, rather than see the myriad of factors that had rotted the far-flung Soviet empire from within, Reagan's most moonstruck devotees preferred believing the Gipper's magic words -- his tough-talk to commies -- had actually done the job.  

More recently, former-Vice President Dick Cheney made tough-talk-loving Republicans swoon with his verbal brickbats thrown toward enemies, foreign and domestic. His fans could have cared less whether what Cheney said made much sense, because they loved his growling tone.

Now it seems today's Republicans want to nominate the person who will break bad, verbally, on President Barack Obama in the debates next fall ... even if it's Newt Gingrich! Perhaps they've been reveling in Rush Limbaugh's blowhard style of bashing Obama so much, they now want a similar blowhard as a candidate. 

So, even if Mitt Romney gives them a much better chance of actually winning the keys to the White House, they don't care. In other words, some good number of Republicans have lost touch with reality.  

However, if you go back a few decades, Republican conservatives stood on the idea that they were about hard-edged reality. In those old days, they saw liberal Democrats as being dreamers about what ought to be, wishful thinkers yearning for utopia.

Republicans today point the finger of blame at government over-regulation of Wall Street and the energy industry for the recession. Spin is one thing, but how crazy is all that?

How deep into the denial of reality does one have to be to say Obama deserves no credit for finishing off Osama bin Laden? But we are hearing just such crazy-talk from conservatives.

Now, even though it’s total bunk to say that so-called “job-creators” need tax breaks, that huge corporations need tax breaks, Republicans go on promoting those bogus ideas as if they are founded in reality.

Now some Republicans don’t even believe in science, when there are votes in pretending that evolution didn’t happen/isn’t happening. When there are votes in ignoring scientists who warn of the dangers of continuing to exacerbate climate change/global warming, to hell with reality.

Virginia currently has a hard charging attorney general who seems to be fantasizing that talking tough to wimpy scientists -- accusing them of falsifying their findings -- will scare them into changing their minds, so as to make science serve his political agenda.

Eventually, we'll all see how realistic that plan to become governor of Virginia turns out to be.  

-- Words and art (from 1986) by F.T. Rea.

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