Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fools, Zombies, & Republicans

While most of our staff no longer gets dressed up for Halloween, there are staff pets and at least one staff kid currently, and inevitably that means discussions over Halloween costumes. Frankly, no matter how good you think you or your kids' ensemble is this year, you're not going to defeat the Republican Party when it comes to hiding behind a mask.

The Republican Party has at least two highly visible examples of their costumed "heroes" today, both wearing the same zombie outfit from head to toe. We're well aware that Ohio's Gov. Kasich and New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie don't exactly look like one another, let alone have the same proportions. Yet both men have played the intolerant zombie role quite well for some time now, until their masks both slipped on Monday.

For Kasich, his mask has actually been slipping for some time, technically since about February. That's when Kasich - like a host of other Republican governors who initially refused the federal Medicaid expansion program that's part of the Affordable Care Act - changed his mind and decided he wanted the Federal funds. For Kasich, it's been a nine month process of putting on and taking off his masks, all with one driver behind it all - selfish greed.

Admittedly, in his case, Kasich's goal to make his own record look better may end up helping the poorest in his state - that is, as long as the Republicans wearing their evil zombie costumes in the Ohio House don't win their legal challenge to prevent poor people from getting health care.

In the case of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, his zombie mask of bigotry slipped to reveal something that's really not much of a secret these days - that his ambition to run for President in 2016 is stronger than any other emotion he's got.

That ambition could be seen clearly last Friday though, with the unanimous decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court that same sex marriage in that state was completely legal. In response to their decision, Christie finally dropped his legal opposition to the practice. Angry anti-gay right-wing extremists huffed and puffed and stomped their feet Monday - but that didn't change the fact that same-sex couples had already been getting married in New Jersey since midnight the night before.

Christie made sure to make one last grimace with his bigotry mask, however. He said to the media Monday that while he still heavily disagreed with the court there was no chance his appeal would succeed - so he was giving up, to save his state the money, energy and effort.

Pity Gov. Christie couldn't have remembered his concern for saving money when he scheduled the special election that was held this week.

What both Kasich and Christie exhibited in their performances as GOP zombies on Monday is the perfect example of the facade Ed Kilgore noted in Washington Monthly on Monday - namely, that extremist Republicans and the rest of the Republicans in office really don't have two different goals.

As Kilgore notes, their methods may seem different. The brainless, tea party-infused, zombie routine certainly makes them seem different from those Republicans who don't act crazy today. The truth is, both sets of modern, ambitious, Republicans only have one real goal: Pushing the nation to the right, at every opportunity possible.

Don't let the costume fool you.