From the second inauguration of Barack Obama to the latest skirmish in the “War on Christmas,” a steady stream of outrageousness flowed from the American right this year. Here are the best of the worst of the right-wing in 2013.
The Confederate Battle Flag In Front Of the White House
Waving a confederate battle flag outside an African-American family’s home makes a statement — and it’s not “Welcome to the neighborhood.” That’s especially true if the African-American family the First Family, and the home in question is the White House. That goes double if the confederate flag flies at a tea party protest in front of the White House.
I’ll let Rev. Al Sharpton to explain.
Sure, it was “one guy with one flag,” but how that confederate flag at the White House got there has to do with a lot more than “one guy with a flag.”
And then there was the time the GOP declared the "end" of racism, via Twitter.
Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism. pic.twitter.com/uxIj1QmtkU
— RNC (@GOP) December 1, 2013
“Yeah, I Would” Vote to Bring Back Slavery
Republican Nevada state assembly man Jim Wheeler told the Storey County Republican Party that he would vote to bring back slavery, if that’s what his constituents wanted
Granted, it might seem a bit far-fetched that Wheelers constituents would actually vote to bring back slavery. Then again, considering how often conservatives defend slavery, perhaps not. But Wheeler said he was only joking. So, it’s OK. Right?
Killing Trayvon Martin … Again And Again
The murder (yes, murder) of Trayvon Martin horrified most of the nation. Conservatives, however, set about trying to “prove” that the 17-year-old got what he deserved, by killing him again and again — with character assassination. There are so many “worst” moments that it’s impossible to choose just one.
“If It Hurts a Bunch of Lazy Blacks … So Be It”
You have to wonder if North Carolina Republican precinct chairman Don Yelton knew what he was getting into when he agreed to an interview for The Daily Show about voter ID laws. In any case, Yelton didn’t get the memo about the GOP’s “re-branding efforts before the cameras rolled on one of the most jaw-dropping television interviews of the year.
I’m glad the interviewer asked, “You do know we can hear you, right?,” because I was starting to wonder.
Yelton lost his job as a county election official. Apparently, saying such things on camera is too much for the Buncombe County Republican party. Later, Yelton doubled down on his comments, including the racial slurs.
Subsidies For Me, No Food Stamps For Thee
No issue highlighted Republican hypocrisy year like food stamps did. Few Republicans personified that hypocrisy better than Rep. Stephen Fincher, when he went biblical on food stamps during a hearing this summer, saying, “Those who do not work shall not eat.” (Sometimes those who work still can’t eat. )
Not only did Fincher misquote and misuse the Bible, but he did so for his own financial gain.
Rep. Fincher is one of 14 Republicans who voted to cut food stamps while giving themselves farm subsidies. Fincher — a seventh-generation agribusiness millionaire — is one of the biggest farm subsidy recipients in Congress, having received $3.5 million in subsidies from 1999 to 2012.
Immigrants? Who Needs ‘Em?
After losing the presidential election to Barack Obama, even after getting the majority of the white vote, 2013 was supposed to be the year that Republicans “rebranded their party. Consultants were hired, and seminars were held.
Someone forgot to invite Phyllis Schlafly. The Eagle Forum president and founder told a conservative California radio show why courting Latinos is a waste of the GOP’s time.
When the Heritage Foundation needed someone to author a study on immigration reform, they turned to a guy who argued in his doctoral dissertation that America’s Hispanic immigrants have lower IQs than “white natives.”
At least they didn’t claim he was a “democratic plant,” on a mission to make Republicans look even worse. Like the GOP need any help in that department.
What War on Women?
Recently, it surfaced that Republican men were being tutored in how to talk (or how not to talk) about women. No wonder, given some of the things Republicans have said about women this year.
Pundit Erick Erickson said working women were detrimental to children and families, and Mississippi governor Phil Bryant blame the decline of American education on “mom in the workplace,” Rep. Trent Franks (R, AZ) claimed that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R, GA) claimed that the military’s problem with sexual assault stemmed from “the hormone level created by nature” in men.
But nothing ratchets up the crazy like adding Obamacare to the mix. (See below.) So the prize goes to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who turned it all around and said that Democrats were actually waging war on women through the contraception mandate.
Being Mean To Poor People
As the year closes with no extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, and another $9 billion in cuts to food stamps, 2013 is shaping up to be the year that conservatives succeeded in punishing the poor.
Fox Businesses’ Stuart Varney gave voice to the right’s attitude towards the poor, when he proudly admitted “being mean to poor people,” when he fulminated against anti-poverty programs.
Varney has a lot to say about poor people.
Punishing Federal Workers
Varney earns another spot on this list for his role as right-wing squawker, when he expressed his desire to punish federal employees, just for being federal employees.
Christie: Hot-Temper For Teachers
It was the shout heard ‘round the world. On the eve of the New Jersey’s gubernatorial election, Republican incumbent Chris Christie shouted down public school teacher Melissa Tomlinson, for having the temerity to question him.
Fortunately, Christie did not stop Tomlinson from having her say
It wasn’t the first time Christie shouted down a teacher, or anybody. Christie has presidential ambitions, but it’s a long road from being the smug, bullying embodiment of the GOP to representing America to the rest of the world.
Anyway, Christie’s got bigger problems. Allegations that Christie used his political power to punish a mayor who refused to endorse his re-election, may burn that bridge to national office before Christie has a chance to cross it.
This year the Supreme Court stuck down the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, and let stand a lower court ruling that struck down California’s Proposition 8.
It was a huge victory for supporters of marriage equality. For the right-wing, it was the end of the world.
There was tearing of hair and rending of garments on Twitter.
But my favorite reaction was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s reaction to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s reaction.
Over The Top On Obamacare
No issues beats health care reform for great moments in GOP inspired insanity. Conservatives have compared it to slavery and nazism, said that “people will die” as a result of the law, and warned that health care reform is just a springboard for “the government taking your guns” and herding Americans into concentration camps.
There was so much that it was too hard to choose just one moment. So, here’s a highlights reel, of sorts.
Counting Down To 2014
This is hardly an exhaustive list. It was impossible to capture every moment of conservatives craziness. In fact, it was impossible to keep up, because the year isn’t over yet.
Just last week a couple of brand new moments of right-wing insanity surfaced that could have qualified for this list. Maybe we'll catalog them as we count down to 2014.