TURNING THE NUTTINESS TO 11…. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is perhaps best known for arguing that his party should emulate the insurgency tactics of the Taliban. It’s the kind of comment that offers some perspective on the Republican leader’s frame of mind.
[Sessions argues] that Mr. Obama is not trying to create jobs. In an interview, Mr. Sessions cited rising unemployment in asserting that the administration intended to “diminish employment and diminish stock prices” as part of a “divide and conquer” strategy to consolidate power.
Mr. Sessions, in his seventh term, said Mr. Obama’s agenda was “intended to inflict damage and hardship on the free enterprise system, if not to kill it.” By next fall, he predicted, voters may regain appreciation for the era of Republican governance when “many dreams were achieved,” the size of the economy doubled and employment and financial markets hit record levels.
Now, expecting Americans to long for the days of Bush/Cheney is on its face comical, but let’s not brush past the fact that an elected congressman and member of the Republican leadership believes the president of the United States deliberately wants to undermine the country and destroy capitalism. The elected leader of the country, Sessions argues for no apparent reason, is actively engaged in a campaign to weaken the country, on purpose.
This, of course, is insane. That Sessions was willing to say this, out loud and on the record, is compelling evidence that the Republicans’ deranged hysteria is getting worse, not better.
It also reminded me of something Matt Yglesias wrote last month.
[T]o be fair, during the Bush years more than one person passed me this “14 Characteristics of Fascism” document in order to prove that under George W. Bush the United States had become a fascist regime. Overreaction to policies you don’t like is a pretty understandable human impulse. The difference is that mainstream, prominent outlets usually try to restrain that kind of impulse. But this sort of over-the-top rhetoric isn’t burbling from the grassroots up, it’s being driven the very most prominent figures in conservative media and also by a large number of members of Congress.
Right. If some random right-wing blog or shock-jock argued that the president is intentionally ruining the economy and killing capitalism, as part of an incomprehensible campaign to consolidate power, it’d be easier to dismiss as just another conservative tantrum.
But Pete Sessions is an elected member of Congress. Republican lawmakers think so highly of his intellect, they put him in charge of the NRCC. And not even four months into Obama’s first term, he’s already delivering bizarre tirades to the New York Times.
For all the recent talk about what the Republican Party needs to do to get back on track, I might recommend a simple step for the top of the to-do list: stop being crazy.