Friday, April 24, 2009


Sometimes it's just funny, as when they named their tax revolt (and various other complaints) after a sexual act. Or when they came up with a slogan already in use -- by an antidepressant. Frequently, it's at the level of buffoonery: writing legislation to prevent the US from joining a "world currency." Wondering why Alaska has oil. I mean, heck, at some point you have to feel sorry for the whole party. And then they take up, by the dozens, a new talking point that's so stupid and so wrong and cynical and destructive that you just have to throw up your hands and say there's no hope. For them, or for us, the thoughtful.

As a matter of fact, I'm uncertain about torture prosecutions. I absolutely think there ought to be investigations of what went on, and I have not much doubt that the right thing to do, in the sense of pure right and wrong, is to prosecute those at the top who authorized it, if a case can be made. But I can see where the politics are complex; there are credible contrary arguments. Similarly, I'm not sure I see the point of releasing more photos of the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Were there serious people discussing it seriously, I'd be listening.

Yet, inexplicably and stupefyingly, Republican leaders seem literally, maybe congenitally, unable to make a serious argument. Instead, they're characterizing the idea of investigating torture as making us a banana republic. A BANANA REPUBLIC!!!! Could they have picked a more self-canceling and ridiculous theme? Are they that bereft of intelligence, that ideologically hidebound? For all to see, the answer seems unequivocally "YES."

I don't know about you, but when I think of a banana republic I think of a petty dictatorship, where the leader is a law unto himself, imprisoning people at his will, and, when he feels like it, torturing them. Any attempt to reign him in would be brutally put down. The rule of law has no meaning. (Yes, it also implies a narrow economy, based on a single product. Bananas, e.g. And, of course, this.) Whatever else would be true of a banana republic, it would NOT be investigating crimes of its leaders. Banana republics are about committing crimes, not addressing them. And, for the record, "show trials" are about ginning up charges where there are no crimes. Investigating actual crimes is called "accountability," a word formerly used by Republicans. And by governments that replace corrupt ones.

Hey, point-talkers: under George Bush we WERE a banana republic. The question at hand is whether to let them get away with it. Make your case. Make sense.


Anonymous said...

TPM Josh Marshall makes a good case for seeing the Republican leadership as a Junta party.

I formerly understood this to mean a military dictatorship - he explains that it it also describes a out of power party thus:

"In former Banana Republics, in their post-transition- to-democracy phases, you'll often have a Junta Party. It's an opposition party whose main goal isn't to get elected so much as to maintain the legacy of the former junta regime, defend its record of service to the state and most of all keep its former leaders from being put on trial or shipped off to the Hague..."

It's in the archives under "The Junta Party"

You will need to log in.


Ellen Kimball said...

When I heard the expression "banana republic" regurgitated by Gingrich and McCain, I burst out laughing.

All I could remember was Carmen Miranda with all that fruit piled on her head.

What a bunch of cockamamie crap from the Republicans. You'll just have to keep cutting through it, Sid.

On another topic, our 1997 Mercury Sable has cost us $1800 in repairs in the past two months. Yesterday, we signed an agreement with a local Chevrolet dealer to purchase a 2009 Malibu. Looked nice, drove nice.

I had nightmares all last night and awakened on Friday morning to the headline about "GM suppliers might go out of business due to the 13-week work stoppage the company has ordered."

We developed about the worst case of buyer's remorse I can ever remember.

My husband called the dealer and told him to cancel everything. I really felt badly about our decision, but maybe the Mercury will run for 50,000 more miles. It's worth more than the paltry $1500 they wanted to give us in trade.

Whadda do with an American car that has 91,000 miles on it and just might be getting unreliable? Keep it? Trade it? Junk it?


PS. I ran my 1963 Volvo until the master cylinder finally gave out at 150,000 miles. However, I really would like to "buy American" if that will ever be possible again.

Anonymous said...

"Tea Bagging's" a Sexual Act??
I don't get it. I didn't like that term anyway, Real Men drink Coffee, BLACK, from a Thermos, or in a Manly OR doctor's lounge...


Anonymous said...

Hey Ellen,
You might be able to get a good deal on Sid's Volvo...I'm sure he's got it parked what with all that Global Warming and Pollution...


Beer Bottle said...

"Tea Bagging's" a Sexual Act??

It's the kind of thing Sid and his friends know. Most of us think of it as "perv".

Nothing good to report from your side yet, huh? Is there a Treasury dept hired yet? Has Janet Napolean quit? Has Nancy P explained why she approved "torture"?

New dem motto: BO Stinks.

Sili said...

Well, not bothering to watch the tube, the generous spin would be that they do indeed mean that prosecution will reveal you to *have been* a banana republic. Now being post-banana.

And I thought bananas were supposed to be good (pace Comfort), but what do I know - I hate the damn things.

WV: neupl (yes please)

Timmyson said...

You do realize the basis for this right? It's the idea that one banana republic régime charges their predecessors with all sorts of trumped-up crimes when they take over.

Which isn't to say that I disagree with you; I think you're spot-on. Nice article about the slogan too.

Sid Schwab said...

Timmyson: "trumped up" is the operative phrase. The commission of what are defined by international law as war crimes doesn't fit into that bucket.

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