In the above clip, Rick Santorum agrees with suspended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson's views on homosexuality but distances himself from Robertson's crude language. This is the same former U.S. senator who compared homosexuality to "man on dog" relationships.
In reactions ranging from relatively polite to unhinged, conservatives have rushed to portray A&E's suspension of Robertson as part of an assault on free speech and an attack on Christianity, despite there plainly being no shortage of outlets for conservative and anti-gay viewpoints. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who had previously warned that the GOP needed to "stop being the stupid party," called Robertson and his family "great citizens of the State of Louisiana." Meanwhile, GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz was the target of a death hoax.
What do you do when you are stuck in bed with whack jobs and unvarnished bigots? These days, Republican office holders who make the slightest move to pull back from the most extreme intolerant rhetoric are vilified by others on the right. This does not mean that the GOP's control of the U.S. House of Representatives is in serious danger; gerrymandering will make it hard to dislodge them. But their ability to govern, to do anything but hurl rhetorical bombs and threaten to wreck the country if they do not totally get their way, is gone. If this is not starkly clear, it is only because the media is doing so much to fuel every controversy, generating much heat and little light.
If Democrats do not confront head-on the damage being done to the country by right-wing intransigence, obstruction, hate-mongering and political blackmail, they will be aiding and abetting that damage. As the midterm elections heat up in 2014, those aware of what is at stake must press Democrats to find their backbone and press the fight for our country. The more we allow America to be held hostage by know-nothing fanatics, the less our economy will be able to compete internationally with the likes of China, India, and Brazil. Smirking ignoramuses like Sarah Palin, and demagogues like Ted Cruz who exploit them, are not going away. The signal-to-noise ratio will remain low as the media continue behaving like nihilist whores. It is time to step up, organize, and speak out using all the tools available to us.