As I've said before, I miss having a sane Republican party. I'm an independent voter, not a member of any party, and I've voted for Democrats, Republicans, Greens, and Libertarians. But it's becoming more and more clear that the GOP has just gone nuts, Charlie Sheen-style.
Over the past month or so, the evidence has become overwhelming that it's time for an intervention -- voters need to sit the Republican leadership down and tell them, no more votes for you until you straighten your party out.
Let's look at the political wreckage over the past month or so:
- Ninety-one year old New Hampshire Republican Martin Harty says the "defective people, the drug addicts, mentally ill, the retarded -- all of them" should be sent off to die. He also admits that he has no idea what he's doing in the state legislature: "We're all sort of bluffing it out. The few votes I've made so far I really didn't know what I was voting for or against. Just looked at the people around me and went along with them."
- During a debate on a Florida bill for a dress code for students, Republican Representative Kathleen Passidomo blamed the alleged gangrape of an 11-year-old on the way the girl was dressed. "There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gang raped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute," Passidomo claimed.
- While talking about gang rape and blaming the victim is apparently okay in the Florida House, don't use the U-word. Democrat Rep. Scott Randolph was chastised by the GOP leadership of the House for using the word "uterus" on the House floor. During debate on an anti-union bill, Randolph pointed out that Republicans claim to be against regulations, and then turn around and put all kinds of regulations on citizens. So he suggested that perhaps his wife should "incorporate her uterus" to benefit from the GOP's anti-regulatory ideology and get around their push for measures that would restrict abortions. (He got the line from his wife.) "The point was that Republicans are always talking about deregulation and big government," Randolph said. "And I always say their philosophy is small government for the big guy and big government for the little guy. And so, if my wife's uterus was incorporated or my friend's bedroom was incorporated, maybe they would be talking about deregulating."
But according to House GOP spokeswoman Katie Betta, the using the U-word just went too far: "...[T]he Speaker believes it is important for all Members to be mindful of and respectful to visitors and guests, particularly the young pages and messengers who are seated in the chamber during debates. In the past, if the debate is going to contain language that would be considered inappropriate for children and other guests, the Speaker will make an announcement in advance, asking children and others who may be uncomfortable with the subject matter to leave the floor and gallery."
- Republican governor Rick Scott is pushing to push to privatize Medicaid in Florida -- and a business he started, and handed over to his wife when he took office, could benefit enormously if the plan goes through.
Scott started Solantic, a chain of walk-in urgent-care clinics, in 2001, just a few years after he resigned as the CEO of hospital giant Columbia/HCA amid a massive Medicare fraud scandal. He transferred his $62 million stake in Solantic to his wife when he took office, but this doesn't eliminate the conflict of interest.
Solantic also offers drug testing services. And Scott recently signed an executive order requiring random drug testing of many state employees and applicants for state jobs -- and is pushing a bill to make poor people pay $35 for a drug test before they can collect welfare. On the other hand, he's opposed to a database that would help stop doctors from over-prescribing addictive prescription drugs, more likely to be abused by white middle- and upper-class people. That would be too much government intrusion into people's lives.
Three months into his term, Scott's approval rating has fallen to 33 percent.
- But why should Florida have all the fun? The lunacy continues in Wisconsin where Republican Governor Scott Walker is using state funds to fund a sinecure for the son of a major campaign donor. With almost no management experience, 26-year-old college dropout (and two-time convicted drunk driver) Brian Deschane now manages dozens of employees and oversees state environmental and regulatory issues, making more than $81,500 a year. After only two months on the job, Deschane has already received a 26 percent pay raise and a promotion.
Deschane’s father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Wisconsin Builders Association, which contributed $121,652 to Walker's campaign.
- Among the 50,000 emails sent to Walker during the fight over his union busting bill was one from Carlos F. Lam suggesting a "false flag" operation where an operative pretending to be on the union side would attack Walker. Lam is not just a random wacko, but a deputy prosecutor in Johnson County, Indiana. Or rather, he was: he resigned when the story came to light. Lam is the second Indiana prosecutor to lose his job over controversial statements about the Wisconsin protests: Jeff Cox, an Indiana deputy attorney general, was forced out after tweeting that Wisconsin police should use "live ammunition" to clear protesters from the state Capitol.
- Speaking of people from Wisconsin who draw a public salary, take a moment to shed a tear for Republican Congressman Sean Duffy, and his meager $174,000 salary. At a Polk County town hall meeting earlier this year, he complained that he's having trouble making ends meet on a taxpayer-funded salary three times the median income in Wisconsin.
The GOP has been trying, unsuccessfully, to squash the video of Duffy's comments.