“She blinded me with science.”
-Thomas Dolby, 1982
As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has often remarked, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) isn’t good at his job. Dozens of new Tea Party acolytes from November 2010 do make the G.O.P. House of Representatives’ raucus Republican Big Top an unruly menagerie to try and ring-master. I imagine Boehner still uneasily wonders when Majority Leader Eric Cantor will pull out the steely caucus knives for a weepy “Et tu, Brutus” coup. For all the Washington hate, the science deniers have taken root and are running for reelection. Don’t call it “evolution,” you might offend their “religious liberty.”
Remember the “armchair gynecology” of Senate wannabe Rep. Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin (R-Mo.)? It appears the G.O.P.’s banishment plank-walking left Akin hanging on to the wormy board by just enough fingernails to be reluctantly hauled back aboard the Good Ship Lincoln. Sadly, Akin was not alone in extremist lunacy.
Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun is the latest House Science Committee freshman who seems to have disavowed the science he learned in medical school for vote-grubbing at the extreme Right. I fondly remembered Athens, Ga., most notably the home of the University of Georgia, and wondered what possessed voters there to pick Broun. He is running again, this time unopposed, for reelection.
The Athens I remember, an hour’s drive or so out of Atlanta, was a fun place to live. A university town, where conservative churches somehow coexisted with college watering holes complete with old school busses to ferry thirsty students seeking copious adult refreshments. The late Atlanta Journal-Constitution humorist Louis Grizzard chided the town’s sole French restaurant, Martel’s, for serving steak tartare, a raw steak appetizer he felt better suited to the university’s football team.
So how did a college town’s precarious balance between a nightlife which spawned seminal new wave rock bands such as The B-52s and Pylon, and frowning fundamentalists upset so far to the Right to elect the Mad Dr. Broun? I miss the fun, eclectic “Allen’s Bar” Athens with diminutive quarter drafts. When the Navy BRAC-abandoned the former Normal School campus in Normaltown and sadly moved the Navy Supply Corps School to Newport, R.I. to save money, it appears they took more than just the only oasis in which to buy beer in Clarke County on Sundays. I miss the “old” Athens.
Aside of the more “off the deep end” science deniers Akin and Broun, let’s remember that in this obstructionist G.O.P.-led House, it’s also the body which somehow named Rep. Michele “Fact-Free Diet” Bachmann (R-Minn.) to the House Committee on Intelligence. I thought Republicans were opposed to quotas for the disadvantaged. Perhaps “affirmative action” for the incurably insane doesn’t count. Sadly, these three are not alone.
The Associated Press reported this week that the Smithsonian loaned the Wizard of Oz’ Dorothy’s red slippers for a holiday at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. I’m waiting for House Grand Inquisitor Rep. Darrell “Pretentious Talking Car Alarm” Issa (R-Calif.) to haul the “America’s Attic” curators before the mast for a flogging. In Republicans’ en masse abandonment of science, they might well have been counting on Dorothy’s clicked heels to win reelection for the borderline insane Tea Party freshmen.