Big Tent

So, the GOP is in New York pretending they are a party of inclusion this week. Given the speakers, you'd almost think they were a moderate party what with pro-choice Republicans like Pataki and Guiliani and pro-gay rights Republicans like Governor Terminator, John McCain (well, he opposed the FMA, anyway), and Dick Cheney apparently. But they are making sure their far right base knows that they'll be taken care of when it matters. Sure, McCain will get trotted out to make W. seem moderate, but behind his back, you'll see reassurances made to the hyper-conservatives that their needs will be met. The GOP knows that to be elected, you have to play to the middle, assuring America that will seek coalitions and cooperation instead of simply imposing an ideology on the country. Democrats do that, too, except we mean. We are about building coalitions and working together with people of different ideologies. Doesn't mean we've abandoned our left-wing base, as some leftists often complain. Its just a nod to the fiercely divided political climate we live with. We need to compramise to get anything done. The only other solution is to just outright lie.

That, it would seem, is the GOP solution.

For all the talk of a "Big Tent" and all the moderate voices that will be seen in prime time this week, its all just a big lie. The GOP makes little plays for the far right knowing that they can count on them to be understanding. There is some concern that they might express discontent at some speakers, but those people will be prodded into speeches that don't offend right-wing sensibilities. Play moderate, but don't mean it. Because the GOP knows that it would look very bad if a prime time speaker, say, compared gay marriage to the Nazi's slaughter of the Jews. But that doesn't mean they really have a problem with it. Why, they'll just have them lead the opening prayer.

Think I'm exaggerating? I wish. Alas, the woman who led the opening prayer for the Republican National Convention DID suggest that gay marriage was an equivilant to Hitler's Final Solution. Not decades ago. Not even privately. It was in March at a high profile meeting of a Conservative group. Specifically, she said that those who do not oppose gay marriage are akin to those who did nothing to stop Hitler's rise to power. Atrios has a more extended text for you to read if you think can stomach it.

The true face of the GOP. What happens this week in NYC is just a bit of theater.

Although this was clearly the most offensive thing I read from a Republican today, it was not the stupidist. That honor goes to none other than the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. Showing that clearly there are no depths the GOP won't sink to smear people who disagree with them, he suggested on FoxNews Sunday that financier George Soros ( who supports liberal causes like MoveOn.org) was a drug dealer. His proof? Um, he doesn't have any. But of course, he was really just saying that we "don't know" if Soros is a drug dealer. Much how I don't know that Dennis Hastert isn't really an alien sent to enslave the Earth. I mean, we don't know, right?

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