Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Unrequited love and the GOP

Charlie Brown, one of our generation’s great philosophers said, “Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.” Smooth or crunchy, there’s no more painful kind of love than unrequited self-love.

The Wyoming Republican Party has tried to be smooth and crunchy. Self-lovers attempt to be “all things to all people.” The novelist Anthony Powell said, “Self-love seems so often unrequited.”

When you love someone who doesn’t love you, you move on. But what can you do when you love yourself and that love is unrequited? Think “The War of the Roses” with one person playing both Michael Douglas’ and Kathleen Turner’s roles.

Wyoming Republicans vigorously courted the religious right, the anti-choice crowd, the intolerant, and a long list of the single-issue groups. They made partiers of a variety of “again’ers” opposing rights and dreams of women, gays, minorities, gun-safety reformers, immigrants and environmentalists. As they won more elections they fell in love with themselves. But winning elections through division inevitably leads to superficial self-love, which is inevitably unrequited.

The latest example is the attack on Governor Mead resulting from his appointment of Kate Fox to the Supreme Court. The self-proclaimed “family values” crowd is furious. They didn’t want Mead to be governor from the start. “Early in the 2010 election cycle WyWatch warned voters that then Gubernatorial Candidate Matt Mead was not pro-life,” Becky Vandeberghe, chair of the WyWatch PAC told a news organization. “Today he solidified that perception in thousands of pro-life voters’ minds when he publicly announced he has appointed previous NARAL Attorney and advocate, Kate Fox to the Wyoming Supreme Court.”

Of course the charge is as ludicrous as it is gratuitous, but then, self-lovers characteristically engage in those kinds of self-recriminations. The GOP is taking a favorite wedge issue used to defeat rational Democrats and turning it on one another.

Then there’s the spectacle of internecine warfare among the Cheney’s. There is no greater example of self-love than Dick Cheney and Dick Cheney. Now Dick wants his mini-me, heterosexual daughter Liz to be a senator so badly he’s sided with her against his other daughter.

But when you’re working for the love of the right, it’s a problem when your sister turns out to be a lesbian. Mary and Liz’s parents had to choose between self-love and loving one another. They piled on Mary, assuring the voters that Liz always believed what she says she believes today, i.e. that her sister doesn’t deserve civil rights.

Wyoming’s 16,000 uninsured families are the latest collateral damage in this lover’s spat. Medicaid expansion could have provided them with insurance. But they’ve been spurned for Mead’s wooing of the tea party. If ever there’s been unrequited love, it is between Mead and the GOP rightwing. But he hasn’t given up trying. He knows if he can’t win them over, Cindy Hill will. So those 16,000 folks who probably aren’t even registered to vote…let ‘em eat cake.

Max Maxfield is experiencing unrequited love. He counted the number of signatures on a petition filed by the Constitution Party to repeal the “Hill bill” finding it short of the number required to get on the ballot. Now the Constitution party chair-person is running against Max. Where’s the love among the righties?

Another example? How about the vicious attacks on House Speaker Tom Lubnau by gun control opponents? Anthony Bouchard of Wyoming Gun Owners said of Lubnau, “When you have been keeping an eye on corrupt politicians long enough, you can almost predict how they will react when they are confronted with the truth. It’s just like turning the lights on in a room full of cockroaches!”

Many see an element of schadenfreude in all of this. But the result is that once moderate Republicans like Enzi, Mead, and Lubnau are being driven off the cliff to the right in order to avoid the inevitable outcome of an unrequited love, i.e. a primary election defeat.  Perhaps they’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places.

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