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Tuesday, 29 October 2013 07:46

Standards to Live By? The Twisted Logic of the "Values Voter"

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Government Shutdown RallyPride seems to come in different shapes and sizes these days. And standards vary according to wherever the political winds transport them. Ann Coulter said she was "so proud" of Republicans for shutting down the government and hoped more Republicans like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz would be elected in order that the right-wing goal of defeating the affordable care law could be realized. Host Sean Hannity agreed, of course, and it seemed that the nasty chorus of ultra-conservative views would continue as before to keep the country embroiled in endless partisan rhetoric.

She said it was a brilliant tactic deserving of praise, and she hoped more of the same would develop in the near future. Coulter and other wingers are fast talkers and sound at times almost rational. According to Cruz, "There is no Senator in this body, Republican or Democrat, who is more principled, who is more dedicated, who is more fearless and willing to fight for the principles that make this nation great than is Senator Mike Lee." MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said he admired Lee as well, even though he wasn't in favor of shutting the government down. What, in fact, was so admirable about costing the government billions of dollars while the country ground to a halt, and thousands of jobs were lost?

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And where do the self-proclaimed 'values voters' fit in? Are they a special breed of super-patriots prepared to set an example for the rest of us to emulate? Do they have a secret code to discern moral parameters for people who are too dim to make those determinations for themselves? There are no adequate explanations for how such voters reached the values that influence their votes and send them into paroxysms of cheering and applause. One can only guess at the driving force that encourages enthusiasm of such magnitude - - perhaps it is just a great well of ignorance that rises up to engulf the empty surround that passes for thoughtful deliberation. Values voters, indeed; however did we reach a point where charlatans and hucksters deliver versions of our language that defy meaningful translation, and yet are celebrated among those for whom rational debate holds no appeal?

It may be a foolish waste of time to wade into the depths of Coulter's partisan rhetoric, or try to make inroads into the wild flights of political fancy that find their way into the public utterances of Cruz and other right-wing speakers who presume to speak for their supporters...or, as they would prefer to put it, "The American people." Still, there is something so incredibly infuriating about the right-wing's extravagant prose and stretching of the truth; it is almost impossible not to respond. Most annoying of all is the smug Cruzian sense of humor that mocks Democrats and disrespects all politicians who do not share his views.

(Photo: Keith Ellison)