Friday, February 19, 2010

Madness in the Insanitarium: Romney, Rubio, and CPAC

Well, the CPAC Insanitarium is in full swing in Washington, as it is this time every year, and the star of the first day, yesterday, was none other than Marco Rubio, the upstart right-wing darling who, now well out in front of Gov. Charlie Crist, is expected to be the Republican candidate in this year's Florida Senate race.

To rapturous applause, the Insanitarium boisterous in its unbridled enthusiasm, Rubio gave what the increasingly Republican-friendly Washington Post called "a keynote address about American exceptionalism and his own improbable journey" -- and it was full of the sort of hopped-up flag-waving and extremist Republican talking point-spewing we've come to expect from Rubio's ilk, which is to say, from the new mainstream of the GOP.

"It's sometimes easy to forget how special America really is," he said, up to his earlobes in banality, as if no other country is at all special, as if America is God's Land, which of course is what conservatives think it is. And he "enthralled the activists" with his take on national security:

We will do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. We will punish their allies like Iran. We will stand with our allies like Israel. We will target and we will destroy terrorist cells and the leaders of those cells. The ones that survive, we will capture them. We will get useful information from them. And then we will bring them to justice in front of a military tribunal in Guantanamo -- not a civilian courtroom in Manhattan.

This is basically reductio ad Cheneyesque absurdum nonsense. For what does it mean to do "whatever it takes"? What does it mean to "punish" Iran? There's so little substance behind such rhetoric, so common on the right. It's neoconservative bullying with a penchant for torture and brutality, but, however nonsensical, it is dangerous and destructive in the wrong hands, as we witnessed over the course of two detestable terms of George W. Bush.

And it is what passes for serious thought in the Insanitarium, which is, by definition, insane. Just consider, for example, that one of the day's other major speakers, Mitt Romney, still trying to outdo himself sucking up to conservatives, called Democrats "liberal neo-monarchists," a slur that makes utterly no sense and that means nothing outside of the warped partisan vocabulary of today's reality-averse, truth-denying conservatives.

On a more humorous note, though, let's not overlook Rubio's teleprompter fixation (shared by many of Obama's shot-in-the-dark critics):

The Tea Party's choice in the Florida Republican primary, Marco Rubio, began his address to a crowd of conservative conventioneers by taking a shot at President Obama for reading from a teleprompter. He did it while standing in front of two easily visible teleprompters.

It was unclear whether the devices were placed there for him or for other speakers at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference, or CPAC, at which he was a keynote speaker. A HuffPost reporter, however, watched his speech from the front row and Rubio could clearly be seen looking intently and repeatedly at the teleprompters.

Yes, it's all quite worrying, what goes on in the Insanitarium, but at least it has its share of shameless hypocrisy and unintentional comedy.

Because you need a good laugh now and then when you spend time watching these delusional inmates plot to fuck up the world by trying to remake it in their own distorted image.

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