…that’s bringing this situation to a head.

The ever-dependable Louie Gohmert (R-Daycare) at CPAC (from Raw Story via TPM):

Vietnam was winnable, but people in Washington decided we would not win it!

(Disclaimer: as much as I like giggling at Gohmert Pyle’s duh-ficiencies, he’s clumsily after making an argument for total commitment to a war once it’s been decided that a war is to be fought. So in context, while still bad, it’s not as bad as it sounds, armchair-quarterback-wise.)

However.

Regardless of original intent, bringing up Vietnam in the same sentence as “winnable” reinforces the notion that the speaker is (and by serial association: CPAC attendees, conservatives, and the GOP) a) living 40 years in the past, and b) stupid.

Odd bit of synchronicity over t’American Conservative, with Rod Dreher quoting Dan McCarthy:

Although the party still sees Ronald Reagan when it looks in the mirror, what the rest of the country sees is George W. Bush — much as post-Vietnam Democrats continued to think of themselves as the party of Franklin Roosevelt when in the minds of most Americans they had become the party of Johnson and McGovern.

So, Republican opens mouth, “something” falls “splat” to the floor, his specific audience cheers, and everybody else points and laughs. Same ol’, same ol’.

The only thing missing here from the Bumper Fun Book of Republican Rebranding’s big list of things to avoid is “bigoted,” and that’s implied by the fact that Gohmert was rending garments over a missed chance to carpet bomb the Yellows and the Browns.

And, of course, fellow CPAC attendees gettin’ all white power and whatnot doesn’t help:

Scott Terry of North Carolina, accompanied by a Confederate-flag-clad attendee, Matthew Heimbach, rose to say he took offense to the event’s take on slavery. (Heimbach founded the White Students Union at Towson University and is described as a “white nationalist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

“It seems to be that you’re reaching out to voters at the expense of young white Southern males,” Terry said, adding he “came to love my people and culture” who were “being systematically disenfranchised.”

Smith responded that Douglass forgave his slavemaster.

“For giving him food? And shelter?” Terry said.

(More on slave days being grand from Metavirus.)

None of this is news, tho’ — it’s just one more week-long public meltdown in a years-long crisis of seeming and being. The party leaders, the seemers, think they just need to seem a little different, and all will be well, when in fact their glamours are transparent:

pithy-sounding statements backed up by nothing, meant to imply nothing, defended by nothing.

The party followers, the be-ers, the 27 percent, think they just have to be a little harder and all will be right — when in fact, what they are being is repulsive.

I’d like to have some kind of pithy resolution to this, but search me. We’re always going to have the former feeding off the latter; we just need to learn how to better manage the damage. From Lucretius, On the Nature of Things (transl. William Ellery Leonard, The Portable Roman Reader, ed. Basil Davenport, Penguin Books, New York, 1977, p.154):

For dolts are ever prone
That to bewonder and adore which hides
Beneath distorted words, holding the true
Which sweetly tickles in their stupid ears,
Or which is rouged in finely finished phrase.

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