Sunday, August 21, 2016

Republicans Are Channeling 1984 (The Book, Not the Year)

Opinion |

Philosopher and novelist George Santayana once observed that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Nowadays, however, it seems that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to be Republican spokespeople.
Take, for instance, the latest jaw-dropping assertion from failed presidential candidate and former “America’s Mayor” Rudolph Giuliani.
Rudy appeared in front of a crowd at a Trump rally in Youngstown, Ohio, and said, with a straight face, “Before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attacks in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.”
Yes, that’s right, folks. The man who milked the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, so long and so hard for political gain that Joe Biden once observed that “there’s only three things Rudy mentions in a sentence: a noun, a verb and 9/11,” the man who stood all teary-eyed before a Republican convention and claimed that on that dark day he “grabbed the arm of then-Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and I said to him, ‘Bernie, thank God George Bush is our president,’” now seems to have forgotten both the day and which president he was thanking God for.
Then you have Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson, the dead-eyed, raven-haired convicted shoplifter and sometime reality show guest star who’s fond of sporting a “Road Warrior”-esque necklace made of bullets during CNN interviews.
When Trump was taking heat over attacking the parents of Capt. Humayan Khan, the American soldier who sacrificed his life to save his comrades, Pierson snarled, “It was under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that changed the rules of engagements that probably cost his life!”
Only problem was, Khan was killed in 2004, when the president, once again, was George W. Bush. She then went on to assert to an obviously flabbergasted Victor Blackwell in a later CNN interview that “Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem.”
Blackwell couldn’t resist paying out a little more rope for Pierson to hang herself with: “So you’re saying that Barack Obama took us into Afghanistan, post-2009?” Pierson, with an expression slowly dawning across her face that reminded me of Wile E. Coyote when he realizes he’s walked off the cliff again and is standing on thin air, nevertheless plowed ahead: “That was Obama’s war, yes.”
Nope. Sorry. Much as I hate to be one of those awful liberals who keep blaming George Dubbya Bush for the stuff he actually did, that one was his, too.
It seems as if Giuliani and Pierson were attempting to appeal to the same crowd I wrote about back in 2013, when a survey by Public Policy Polling found that 29 percent of Louisiana Republicans said it was President Obama who was responsible for the botched response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — and another 44 percent said they weren’t sure. By the “same crowd,” of course, I mean “morons.”
It’s all very “1984.” Not the year, the book. As you may remember, in that bleak novel, people who’d fallen from grace or become politically embarrassing to the Party were stricken from the history books, removed from all records, with even photographs in which they’d appeared altered to remove all trace of their existence. They became, in the words of the Party, “unpersons,” and to even mention their names was to invite torture and death.
In addition, the three superpowers (Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia) were locked in eternal war, with each power occasionally shifting its alliances. But to admit that things had changed might mean that the Party had been wrong.
So, when Oceania stopped fighting, say, Eurasia and turned its armies loose on Eastasia, everyone blithely said, “We have always been at war with Eastasia.” They even got to the point where the good citizens not only believed it, they could shift without a moment’s hesitation when it changed again and they had “always been at war with Eurasia.”
And so it is in the People’s Republic of Wingnuttia. George W. Bush was an embarrassment, and his family doesn’t support Big Brother With the Little Hands, so he’s never mentioned anymore. It’s as if his entire presidency has been edited out, leaving a seamless jump from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama. To the people who once said, “Thank God he’s our president,” poor Dubbya is now an unperson.
And they have always been at war with Obama.