Republican presidential nominee may not be quite as repugnant as other extremists in his party, but he’s still a rotten apple in a bad barrel
In this election cycle, much of America has been riveted by the eye-popping extremism of several Republican candidates. Donald Trump, the rich builder turned ridiculous “birther,” is the posterboy for the sickness that has seduced the modern GOP.
While Trump gets headlines, there are plenty of Republican head cases. In Colorado, Rep. Mike Coffman claimed at a fundraiser that President Barack Obama was “just not an American.” This thinly veiled racism was echoed by Mitt Romney’s campaign co-chair John Sununu, who claimed that Obama is “lazy” and his policies are “foreign,” and said,
“I wish this president would learn how to be an American.” Sununu’s despicable comments reached an all-time low when he suggested that Colin Powell endorsed Obama because he’s black.
“Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama,” Sununu said in an interview on CNN. When pressed on what those reasons might be, he replied, “Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”
In an election where the Romney campaign is heavily dependent on maintaining a large lead among white male voters, Sununu’s divisive and twisted words contained a diabolically coded message: If black people vote based solely on race, white voters can be excused for doing the exact same thing.
According to Think Progress, “Romney has never publicly rebuked Sununu’s racial remarks, though Sununu has previously issued retractions of some of his statements.” The larger question is why is Romney allowing this corrupt, race-baiting slob to play a prominent role in his campaign?
Of course, the one issue where the GOP’s insanity is most prominently on display is abortion. The “legitimate rape” comments by Missouri Republican Senate hopeful Todd Akin encapsulate what a large number of social conservatives actually believe. While Akin was panned, Republicans penned platform language calling for a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion that did not include an exception for cases of rape or incest. It seems that Akin’s sin was his sincerity and his gaffe was not playing the Republican game of obfuscating wacky ideas.
Now Republicans are hiding behind the terminally eroded authority of the Roman Catholic Church. On ABC’s This Week on Sunday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich defended Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s statement suggesting that pregnancies resulting from rape were “intended” by God.
“My response is, if you listen to what Mourdock actually said, he said what virtually every Catholic and every fundamentalist in the country believes, life begins at conception,” Gingrich said.
The former speaker does have a point about the base sharing Mourdock’s worldview. But any political party that gets its moral direction from Rome or a roaming philanderer like Gingrich with his penchant to leave sick wives shouldn’t be taken seriously.
One downside of the GOP’s circus-like sideshow is that it allows Mitt Romney to appear sane and rational by comparison. In reality Romney is a nasty individual with radical ideas who seems to have little regard for animals, women, minorities, gays and 47 percent of Americans whom he regards as bums who can get their healthcare in the emergency room.
As a lover of animals, his mistreatment of Seamus the dog, the pet he strapped to the top of his car when he took the family to Canada in 1983, is inexcusable and shows a capacity for cruelty.
In terms of women, he said as little as possible to tamp down the aforementioned abortion nuts. He vows to appoint Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia who would overturn Roe v. Wade. His choice of anti-abortion stalwart Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate underscores his commitment to having big government make deeply personal decisions that are now reserved for women and their doctors.
When it comes to gay people, Romney’s malice is both personal and political. While in high school, he joined some friends in tackling and pinning down a gay student to cut his hair with a pair of scissors while the victim sobbed.
Today, all the students involved in the assault are remorseful — except for Mitt Romney, who mysteriously can’t seem to recall the incident. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney inhumanely put gay parents through bureaucratic hoops to get accurate birth certificates for their children.
While Romney is not at the bottom of his party’s foul barrel, let’s not forget that he is still a rotten apple.
Wayne Besen is founding executive director of Truth Wins Out, a Vermont-based nonprofit organization that fights anti-gay religious extremism. He can be reached at WBesen@TruthWinsOut.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 2, 2012.