I keep reading that Carly Fiorina won the most recent GOP presidential candidate debate. And I keep asking myself two questions. First, what does it mean to ‘win’ a debate when all the candidates are liars, frauds, or buffoons? Does it mean you’ve out-lied, out-frauded, or out-buffooned the others? The second question I ask myself is this: who gives a rat’s ass who won or lost the GOP debate?
Because here’s the thing — every day it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Republican party lost its damn mind. They’ve either abandoned reality or they’ve somehow become untethered from it. The GOP used to be a party of principled conservatives. Sure, they had the usual scattering of rascals and double-dealing asshats that occupy every political party — but they were actually interested in governing. Then they became more concerned with ideological purity than governance, and eventually evolved into the current party of delusional thinkers. They’re no longer driven by principle or even ideology; they’re driven by pure belief.
Let’s face it, belief by itself is a pretty shitty foundation for policy. The fact is, it’s pretty easy to have false beliefs — beliefs based on incomplete information, or flawed information, or inaccurate information. Here’s an example. Until recently, I shared the common belief that sharks don’t get cancer. It turns out there’s plenty of evidence to indicate sharks are, in fact, subject to cancer just like every other creature.
Rational people (and I like to think of myself as a rational person), when presented with evidence that contradicts their beliefs, adjust their beliefs to incorporate the new evidence. I now accept that sharks get cancer. I’m not particularly happy about it, because sharks are cool — but I accept it as reality. A persistent false belief held in contradiction to sound, testable evidence and factual reality is a delusion.
If belief, by itself, is a shitty foundation for policy, then policy driven by delusion is a total fucking disaster. And that brings me back to Carly Fiorina, today’s Queen of the Monkey House. Every article I’ve seen that claims she ‘won’ the last debate includes a reference to her impassioned denunciation of Planned Parenthood.
“As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain. This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up in and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.”
That’s some dramatic shit, right there. It’s total fiction, but it’s dramatic. Fiorina says she saw that video with her own surgically-enhanced eyes. But nobody has been able to find any video showing anything at all like that. It doesn’t exist.
Think about this for a moment. Carly Fiorina ‘won’ the debate by passionately denouncing a women’s health care organization for engaging in acts they don’t do, based on having seen a video that doesn’t exist. That’s delusional.
The modern Republican party is the Party of Delusion. More than half of Republicans believe President Obama is a Muslim. Up to 70% of Republicans think climate change is a hoax. Two-thirds don’t believe in evolution. A third to a half think vaccines cause autism. Almost half of Republicans believe weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. A third of Republicans expressed belief that the Jade Helm military exercise was an Obama conspiracy to — well, there’s no real consensus about the purpose of the conspiracy, but dammit they’re sure that Muslim sumbitch was up to something.
Reality is a cold, heartless motherfucker. It doesn’t respect faith or belief. No matter how many times you click your heels and repeat There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, you’re not going to open your eyes and find yourself in Kansas. No matter how hard you clap your hands or how sincerely you believe in fairies, you’re not going to save Tinkerbell. The reality is Kansas a fucking economic disaster because of Republican policies — and if you want to save Tink your best bet is to get her enrolled in Obamacare.
You can maybe win a debate by passionately defending your delusions, but it’s no way to run a county.
Editorial Note: Since we’re talking about reality here, it should be noted that Tinkerbell was NOT the shapely little sprite you see in the Disney cartoons. Barrie described her as being “slightly inclined to embonpoint.” In other words, she was plump and bosomy. Facts is facts, people. Accept it.