Thursday, May 18, 2006

Republicans, Wile E. Coyote and Peter Pan

I thought up a phrase not too long ago that I originally thought served to best exemplify the attitude of your average Republican politician and MSM talking head concerning Iraq, the NSA, and other scandals:

"It's not our fault for doing it; it's your fault for pointing it out."

It's this mentality that has driven the chief point of criticism of the Iraq occupation--namely, the mere fact that we on the left point out that the mission is not in fact accomplished is precisely what is preventing the mission from being accomplished. Ben Ferguson has taken this to extremes, as I pointed out in a recent diary--his outlandish claim is that the fact that we said that our troops were too few and insufficiently equipped is precisely what made them--apparently by some sort of voodoo-style sympathetic magic--too few and ill-equipped.

The Republicans--and that includes Jane Harman--have said the same thing about NSA spying. Their illegal spying isn't the problem--the leaks are the problem. Same with the CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. Same with the Abu Ghraib photos.

That phrase above seemed really bulky to me, though. I wanted something catchy, but for a long time, nothing would come. And then it happened. I came up with something.

The inspiration came to write this because something really set me over the edge: a diary at Redstate calling Murtha a murderer for publicizing the massacre of children at Haditha on Nov. 19. Apparently, according to tbone, the hit job against children by our troops isn't what will lead to increased anger against U.S. troops, it's the fact that Murtha talked about it--apparently because if Murtha hadn't decried it, the relatives of these dead children--and the tens of thousands Iraqi children who shared the same gruesome fate at the hands of our indiscriminate war machine--apparently wouldn't have known or cared, and everything would have been hunky dory in Iraq. After all, if a child is executed and no traitorous reporters or politicians talk about it, does the murder still have adverse effects?

So how best to summarize this mentality? It was, in fact, a comment by Sagra on my Ben Ferguson post that provided a moment of clarity:

The Republicans are the party of Wile E. Coyote.

I'm sure you all have seen Bugs Bunny cartoons. You see Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner across the desert, and run off a cliff or something and suddenly find himself in mid-air. He'll keep running--the sprinting equivalent of air guitar--until he all of a sudden realizes that he's in mid-air, and then he looks down. And right after he looks down and gets that scared look on his face, he falls.

Well, the Republican mentality is simply this: see no evil, hear no evil, and there will be no evil. The Republican mentality is that if only Wile E. Coyote hadn't looked down--if nobody had pointed out to him that there was no more dry land--he could have sprinted on air all the way until he caught that Roadrunner. If all of the traitorous, Coyote-hating, Roadrunner-loving vegan peaceniks hadn't made the coyote look down by telling him he had just run off a cliff, the law of gravity wouldn't have applied. And when you see the 10-foot-deep coyote-shaped crater hundreds of feet below, you can thank the pessimistic anti-coyote defeatists for that--because if it weren't for them, the coyote would be having savory roadrunner steak right now.

Biscobosco came up with an analogy just as brilliant:

The Republicans are the party of Peter Pan.

In the world of Peter Pan, the mere belief in something has the power to make it real. If you say that you believe in fairies often enough, well, a fairy will show up sooner or later. And if you publicly disavow a belief in fairies, well, you'll kill them. If you're a Republican, it apparently works the same way both with body armor and executing children.

You see, if we all say that we have enough troops and they're adequately armored, well, that's exactly what will happen. It must be true, after all, since nobody is saying otherwise. But the moment that we--the pessimistic fringe left--go out of our way to say, "hey! the troops have no body armor!", well, at that point, all the body armor the troops used to have goes the way of the fairy: invisible and non-existent--at least to our faithless infidel, non-believing eyes.

Similarly, if one never makes mention of killing children in cold blood, well, it never happened. It's kind of like the converse of the fairy principle. If you refuse to believe in something bad, it won't exist. But the moment some military-hating fanatic--even if he did serve in the Marines for 30 years--points out the existence of evil, well, all bets are off.

What's the main point behind all this snark? Well, the main point is simply that Republicans--and their supporters--are no longer even dealing in the real world. Their mentality is more akin to a child entranced in a cartoon fantasyland, focused exclusively, and with increasing intensity, on the vain hope that a fantasy held tightly enough will magically become a reality. Have you ever wondered how it's possible for so many people to willfully blind themselves rom the obviousness of the truth? How Ben Ferguson can say with a straight face that the bsence of body armor is a fault of the negativity of our words? How so many people can put a "support our troops" ribbon--though at this point faded just as much by exposure to truth as by exposure to the sun--and consider their obligations and their sacrifices to the war effort fulfilled?

The reason is that we are not so much dealing with a faith-based movement as we are with a delusional fantasy-based movement. And a fantasy can only persist just as long as it is insulated from any critique, from any exposure to outside reality. When confronted with the preposterousness of their delusions, the deluded will not blame themselves for basing their lives on a quest for the impossible--they will instead blame their failure to achieve their fantasies on those who exposed the truth of what their fantasies really were.

And my friends, this is where the GOP finds itself today: forced increasingly by those who no longer feel constrained to tell the emperor that his clothes are the most stylish on the planet to confront the harshness of reality, and the accompanying self-doubt, loathing and blaming the outside world is just getting started.

It won't be long now before Ben Ferguson blames the Democrats for letting Bush invade Iraq.

I'm only half-joking.

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