The Waterboy

May I suggest the ideal Republican vice-presidential candidate for whichever wingnut secures the GOP nomination this year: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Is there any doubt that America’s worst governor would be the perfect partner for the 2016 Republican nominee? Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis succinctly symbolizes the GOP’s vision of government: penny-pinching, cold, scornful of the weak and vulnerable, operating with reckless disregard for future generations. The Republican base wants a truly conservative ticket: a Trump-Snyder or Cruz-Snyder pairing would deliver that dream.

Ever notice that Snyder doesn’t seem to have any real remorse or sorrow for his actions towards Flint’s residents? His “apology” in his January 19 State of the State address was a pathetic joke, one that failed to convince any sentient American. Snyder never gave a damn about the residents of Flint, and still doesn’t. The Snyder vision–the Republican vision–is that if you don’t have money, you’re not really a citizen.

Eight years ago, in an interview with Thomas Frank about President George W. Bush’s failures, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow observed:

[T]his is a problem of conservatism. This is a problem of letting people run government when they believe that government can’t work and ought not work.

No wonder Maddow has been so outraged by Snyder’s human-rights abuses, as we all should be. Maddow understands that Snyder is conservatism. He is continuing the dark tradition Ronald Reagan gave birth to 35 years ago when he declared, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Yet government is not the problem per se. Government run by people who hate government is the problem. Government run by people who regard certain citizens as worthless moochers undeserving of the basic necessities of life is the problem.

We hear so much about the compassion so many Americans feel for the victimized residents of Flint. Yet we must acknowledge the sad reality that there are far too many Americans who simply don’t give a damn about the residents of Flint…who couldn’t care less that they’re drinking contaminated water…who turn a blind eye, a deaf ear and a cold heart to those whose health has been damaged for life as a result of Snyder’s deranged decision-making.

Those are the very same Americans who are embracing the hate-filled messages of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Those are the very same Americans who probably think Snyder is the real victim in the Flint crisis–the victim, of course, of “political correctness,” “race hustlers” and the “liberal media.”

Recall the repulsive running mates Republicans have selected over the decades. Richard Nixon in 1952. Spiro Agnew in 1968. Dan Quayle in 1988. Dick Cheney in 2000. Sarah Palin in 2008. Paul Ryan in 2012. Considering this track record, would Snyder really be that far-fetched of a choice?

Think about what animates the right today: Contempt for the mainstream media. Contempt for racial minorities. Contempt for government. Contempt for those outside of the right-wing tribe. Snyder would appeal to all of the right’s darkest impulses: selecting him as VP would be the ultimate bleep-you to progressives, the “political establishment” and the Fourth Estate. I wouldn’t put the selection of Snyder past this radicalized and reckless Republican Party. Would you?

UPDATE: More from MSNBC and Marcy Wheeler.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.