The GOP debate in South Carolina two weeks ago was something of a watershed moment in American politics. It really was like watching a debate between Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Reynolds and Michael Savage -- with the LGF commenters as the audience, cheering most boisterously for the most extreme warmongering, pro-torture and pro-lawless-detention sentiments. It is one thing to encounter that level of extremism in the right-wing blogosphere or on talk radio. But to see that embraced so openly and so eagerly by virtually all of the GOP presidential candidates is rather staggering, and self-evidently meaningful.Every time I think the Republican Party has gone so far over the line that no sane American could do anything but recoil in horror, they get applause from their hard core base followed by becoming more extreme. I used to find nothing but disgust for Pat Buchanan and his public positions, but in the last few years he has frequently begun to sound very much like one of the sane ones - and the rest of the Republicans reject him for it.
In that debate, John McCain stood out as a bizarre exception, as the soft principled moderate, all because he opposes torture (even though he negotiated and voted for The Military Commissions Act). And McCain's anti-torture position actually offends a substantial portion of what has become the GOP base. Are there other Western countries where leading presidential candidates have run expressly on a platform of torturing people and putting them into beyond-the-reach-of-the-law detention camps with no charges of any kind?
It has reached a point where I think the Republican Party should be declared a criminal organization, and everyone who belongs to it should be required to go before a Truth and Reconciliation Board where they confess to their crimes in exchange for immunity from prosecution. If they don't, then try them under the RICO laws.
The Republicans in Congress are not innocent of the crimes committed by Tom DeLay and Dennis Haster. They elected those people as their leaders because they were criminals and because they would cover-up criminal actions by people like Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Mark Foley, John Doolittle, Rick Renzi, Jerry Lewis, and others. Sure William Jefferson of New Orleans appears to be a criminal on the Democratic side of the isle, but he hasn't been elected to the leadership because of it.
I really worry about the Republican Party. It has gone off the rails and has left the world of democracies. It has become a real danger to the oldest Republic on Earth.