It was noteworthy when Peggy Noonan — Our Lady of the Dolphins — stepped into the role of the GOP’s voice of reason, following the rise of Sarah Palin as its vice presidential nominee in 2008. It was a real eyebrow-raiser when David Brooks took on the task of talking sense to Republicans during the debt deal debacle, before returning to his “sinners in the hands of an angry market” theme.
This summer, in the middle of the debt ceiling debate, I tried to sum up the significance of those two moments.
You can take your pick for the moment the GOP noticably went off the rails. I have two favorites: when it fell to Peggy Noonan to be the Republicans’ voice of reason following Sarah Palin’s VP nomination, and when David Brooks warned the GOP that it “may no longer be a normal party”. Together, they’re the political equivalent of Courtney Love showing up at your intervention and Charlie Sheen offering you a ride to rehab. But this Republican party isn’t likely to heed such sane voices as Noonan and Brooks, and would just as soon throw them overboard.
At the time, I thought it couldn’t get much worse. But now, it’s fallen to Pat Robertson — yes that Pat Robertson — serve as the GOP’s latest voice of reason.
What does it mean when a political party has become too extreme for Pat Robertson?
On his show “The 700 Club,” televangelist Pat Robertson commented on the views of the GOP, calling them a bit too extreme.
Robertson quoted Lyndon Johnson: “Don’t these people realize that if they push me over to an extreme position, I’ll lose the election?”
The notoriously controversial Christian figure mentioned that if candidates venture into heavily radical territory, it could cost Republicans the general election.
“Those people in the Republican primary have got to lay off of this stuff,” he exclaimed. “If they want to lose, this is the game for losers.”
I thought it would be helpful to put this statement in the context of some of Robertson’s previous statements. So, here’s video compilation. It’s a long one, but that’s because there was so much to include.
Keep in mind that this is the same Pat Robertson who:
- Justified divorcing a spouse with Alzheimers;
- Concurred with Jerry Falwell in blaming the 9/11 attacks on gays, feminists, and liberals;
- Predicted a “holy war between Islam and Christianity”;
- Claimed Hurricane Katrina was proof of “God’s judgment” against America ;
- Said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was punished by God with a stroke for “dividing [God's] land”;
- Said that feminism encouraged women to “leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians”;
- Warned that Europe is committing “racial suicide”;
- Suggested wiping out the State Department with a “nuclear device”;
- Suggested he would “fire about half of the government workers” as an economic fix;
- Declared the Anti-christ was “probably a Jew alive in Israel today”;
- Declared that “Communism was the brain-child of German-Jewish intellectuals”;
- Warned that Orlando, Florida, expect some “serious hurricanes” — not to mention “terrorist bombs,” “earthquakes,” “tornados,” and “possibly a meteor” — because Gay Days at Disney World;
- Said the post-earthquake cracks in the Washington Monument were a “sign from God”;
- Said Haiti was hit by an earthquake because it was “cursed” by a “pact to the devil”;
- Called for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez;
- Advised a woman whose husband had a wandering eye to “make yourself as attractive as possible”;
- Urged viewers to “Buy gold and get your money out of America as fast as you can”;
How far is too far “out there” even for Pat Robertson? We know now. The Republican part has become too extreme for Pat Robertson’s liking. That’s more than a little disturbing, all things considered.
If having Peggy Noonan as the voice of reason is like having Courtney Love show up at your intervention, and having David Brooks as the voice of sanity is like having Charlie Sheen offer to drive you to rehab, then having Pat Robertson attempt to talk you down from the ledge may be a bit like having Keith Richards as your rehab counselor.