Monday night, I knew exactly what I was going to write about: The third and final presidential debate on foreign policy, with Romney acting a fool and a typical blunderbuss (when, that is, he wasn’t telling the American public that, when it came to President Obama’s foreign policy, he wouldn’t change a thing). And then there were the post-debate Tweets from conservatives which demonstrated, without question, that right-wingers are in the grip of demonic possession. I stayed up late, waiting impatiently for their heads to start spinning around.
So, I started the article, stayed on task – and then I got distracted. I got distracted by Donald Trump’s much-heralded “October surprise” that would prove, he claimed, to be a game-changer for the election. It turned out to be a $5 million dollar bribe to President Obama – $5 mil to the charity of the President’s choice in return for the release of President Obama’s education and passport records. More race-baiting and ugly birther bullshit, and all for the release of records no one except Trump and Orly Taitz care about — and, of course, the opportunity for Fox & Friends to wax indignant over the President’s refusal to help those in need.
I got distracted by Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s beyond the pale claim that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” and his subsequent refusal to offer any apology for his remarkable, breathtaking insensitivity. I got distracted watching Romney’s camp offer a “oh, come on, you know we don’t believe that” non-rebuke of Mourdock’s “rape is a gift from God” comment, while the ads of Romney cozying up to Mourdock continue to run in Indiana. I got distracted mulling the conservatives’ long held position — at least when it came to President Obama and his past associations with Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright — that people are judged by the company they keep. And I got distracted wondering why that position has suddenly been reversed when it comes to Romney and the extremists and hate-mongers in the Republican Party.
I got distracted watching Fox pundits turn themselves inside out to somehow claim that the words “act of terror” that the President uttered the day after the Libya attack weren’t in any way a reference to a terrorist attack. And then I watched Fox pundits turn themselves outside in trying to take out of context President Obama’s “it’s not optimal” comment, a comment that was a direct response to Stewart’s query as to whether the Libya response was “optimal.” I was distracted when Jon Stewart reminded us of the conservatives’ Fox News-driven vendetta against the President from Day One, which Stewart referred to as “Barack-tose Intolerance.”
I got distracted watching Paul Ryan give a policy speech, in which he said that block-granting to the states aid to the poor is somehow in their best interests and that low income people should vote for Romney-Ryan just, well, just because — even though Ryan’s policies would reduce benefits and reduce the number of qualified applicants and increase income inequality and reduce or eliminate health care benefits.
I couldn’t focus on the President’s most stellar debate performance yet, because I got distracted with the ugly underbelly of conservative hatred: Wrong-headed talking points, right-wing lying points, misstatements, understatements, overstatements, ridiculous conspiracy theories, and plain old evil statements. Trying to stay sane and serious in the midst of all this conservative ridiculousness is like trying to herd cats.
As commentator T.J. Walker noted, conservatives “just squandered, frankly, more of their capital talking about b.s. stuff . . . . ” But although I agree with Walker in theory, in practice there’s endless capital for the mean-spiritedness that defines conservatives. The right is driven by a force far more powerful than a blogger’s desire to put words into print that might make a difference to someone; they’re driven by crazed, irrational, senseless, sociopathic fears and hatred that rational people can’t see, can’t fathom, and can’t analyze.
As John Lennon once said (and he died without ever knowing the teabaggers), “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives…. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends … and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”