If there's one concept Republicans do not ever seem to understand, it's "blowback"
. Most of our bumbling in the Middle East is the typical example, but it happens with seeming regularity in their political decisions, actions, and propaganda. The current political circus is a prime example.
Back in 2004, John Kerry was running against George W. Bush for president. We were going through a rather nauseating display of jingoism, nationalism, and chest-thumping patriotism. Everyone was bending over backwards to proclaim "WE SUPPORT THE TROOPS". It was a reaction to the hostile reception VietNam vets got upon returning from war, as well as an "us against them" posturing when it came to anyone in the Middle East. All vets were sacred.
That one was John Kerry. Despite his honorable service in combat in VietNam, despite being awarded several medals, he was attacked. First, for his demeanor after that war, and then the very veracity of the events leading up to his being awarded those medals. It was a despicable attack coordinated by Republican operatives. It even created a new phrase: Swiftboating
. It's one of many dark spots in Republican campaign tactics.
Fast-forward four years, and now John McCain is running for president against Barack Obama. In a desperate move, McCain chooses Sarah Palin as his running mate. It doesn't take long for the world to realize that 1) she is a first-class idiot, and 2) she is a bull in a china shop when it comes to politics.
Of course, we all know how that election turned out. Palin went on to stain the airwaves with her presence, finding a welcoming home at FOX "News" to spew her particularly retarded political diarrhea. FOX has had a major stake in turning what should be a noble and respectable political process into a putrefying mess of false accusations, sleaze, empty talking heads, and bimbo mean-girl ditzyness. Palin wallowed in it, and politics in general continued to swirl in the bowl.
Donald Trump, it seems, is a perfect match for this. He is the personification of the FOX "News" ethic (now there's
an oxymoron) - bluster and bullshit, dressed up in an "I'm rich, so my opinion has weight" false sense of importance. He is an infected pimple on the ass of the body politic.
It should come as no surprise, then that Trump used the tactics of FOX and the Republican party to trash one of his opponents, effectively "swiftboating" John McCain and his military service. He criticized McCain for being captured, declaring that he likes people who weren't captured
. It's breath-takingly galling, coming from someone who managed to find enough deferments to keep himself out of the military, while less privileged kids were dying in swamps on the other side of the planet.
As expected, the Republican party faithful (and Trump's fellow candidates) are decrying Trump's attack on McCain's military history
"As an individual who has worn the uniform of this country, I was highly offended by what Donald Trump said about John McCain and his years of sacrifice in a dirty, dingy terrible prison in North Vietnam," former Texas Gov. Rick Perry told the audience later in the day. "Donald Trump owes every American veteran and in particular John McCain an apology."
Bush tweeted: "Enough with the slanderous attacks. @SenJohnMcCain and all our veterans — particularly POWs have earned our respect and admiration."
Yes, Jeb Bush - George Bush's brother - thinks all veterans "have earned our respect and admiration". I wonder what he thought of the attacks on John Kerry, orchestrated by his brother's supporters in 2004? I am sure he is retroactively disgusted.
The Republicans created this beast, and they coarsened the discourse. Now they are feeling the blowback from it. To paraphrase a great a American, the arc of Kharma is long, but it bends towards deliciousness.