That “Hot Mess”

Eugene Robinson’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post had a concluding paragraph that really summed up America’s political situation. After explaining that we need at least two political parties, he wrote:

Right now, we have one center-left political party — the Democrats — and one flaming hot mess of ego, resentment and paranoia. It’s going to be a long two years.

The disgraceful antics of the crazies at Biden’s State of the Union address was just one recent illustration of that “flaming mess.” The newly-constituted “oversight” committees were another–evidently, they fell so short of proving misbehavior by the Biden Administration (while unintentionally disclosing Trump’s efforts at Twitter censorship) that Fox News decided against live coverage of committee shenanigans. 

Speaking of shenanigans, the media has been all over wacko George Santos, who appears to live and work in an alternate reality that he managed to peddle  during his Congressional campaign. Santos has been described as an outlier–rejected by “normal” Republicans.

The GOP’s purported outrage hasn’t found expression in Santos’ expulsion from the House, of course, and pathetic Kevin McCarthy (talk about your “hot messes”!) has appointed him to spots on important committees.

Now it turns out that Santos isn’t the only Republican fabulist.

Twelve years before she was elected as the first Mexican American woman to represent Florida in Congress, Anna Paulina Luna was serving at Whiteman Air Force Base in Warrensburg, Mo., where friends said she described herself as alternately Middle Eastern, Jewish or Eastern European. Known then by her given last name of Mayerhofer, Luna sported designer clothing and expressed support for then-President Barack Obama.
By the time she ran for Congress as a Republican, she had changed her last name to Luna in what she said was an homage to her mother’s family. A staunch advocate for gun rights, she cited on the campaign trail a harrowing childhood that left her “battle hardened.” She said she and her mother had little extended family as she grew up in “low-income” neighborhoods in Southern California with a father in and out of incarceration. She said she experienced a traumatizing “home invasion” when she was serving in the Air Force in Missouri.

Luna’s sharp turn to the right, her account of an isolated and impoverished childhood, and her embrace of her Hispanic heritage have come as a surprise to some friends and family who knew her before her ascent to the U.S. House this year. A cousin who grew up with Luna said she was regularly included in family gatherings. Her roommate in Missouri had no recollection of the “home invasion” Luna detailed, describing instead a break-in at their shared apartment when they were not home, an incident confirmed by police records. And three years before her first congressional bid as a conservative, Luna registered to vote as a Democrat in Washington state, voting records show.

I wonder how many other GOP Representatives have dramatically re-invented themselves in order to appeal to the GOP’s White Christian Nationalist base.(Calling Elise Stefanik…) 

The New Republic recently published a less snarky and more analytical look at the GOP’s departure from sanity.The article began by quoting from a speech in which former President Kennedy had characterized political clashes as disputes about  

“ways and means of reaching common goals—to research for sophisticated solutions to complex and obstinate issues…. What is at stake in our economic decisions today is not some grand warfare of rival ideologies which will sweep the country with passion, but the practical management of a modern economy.”

As we’ve all noticed, that civilized era didn’t last long.

Ideological warfare resumed in the United States with the rise of the New Left in the late 1960s and with the rise of the New Right in the early 1980s. Today, those ideological storms have subsided. This time, though, ideology is over not because right and left have reached rough consensus; far from it. The contest is done because the Republican Party walked off the field. We have arrived at the end of GOP ideology….

 The author, Timothy Noah, explained that he wasn’t’t using the term ideology to describe pathologies, or resentments, or ethnic hatreds.

I’m not using it to describe the mob’s surrender to an authoritarian leader. I’m not using it in any of the broadly pejorative senses in which the term is commonly used today.

Rather, I’m using the word “ideology” to describe, in a neutral manner, some set of reasoned and coherent principles and policies, however mistaken, around which a society can be organized.

Instead of ideology (what I would call philosophy) Noah says we have GOP nihilism: “a party’s self-perpetuation for its own sake driven by an opportunistic indifference to fact and reason, expressed through coarse and incendiary rhetoric.”

In other words, a hot mess.


  1. Isn’t ideology based on philosophy? e.g now that you have your philosophy, what are you gonna do about/with it?

  2. Lack of conscience, latent narcissism which has become active, or has been activated by permission slips knowing those will not be punished for pathological lying.

    I wonder, how those who claim to believe in Christianity would fall in lockstep behind deceivers! They continuously reveal that they are not followers of Christ, because Christ was not a deceiver!

    So, if they follow a path of deception, who or what would they be emulating? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news concerning so-called Christians, but, the main word in Scripture that describes deceiver? Well, that word is actually Satan! It means deceiver literally.

  3. One can only hope that the MAGA wing of GOP will eventually collapse under the weight of its own duplicity, and the sooner the better.

  4. The current mesalliance of 2 or 3 parties within the GOP, under the umbrella of the name Republican will all vote Republican in all elections. The fact that they are voting unim pluribus e, they can still carry the vote to victory. Santos is there to stay; he is merely a number which they need to maintain their slim majority in the House just as the Democratic party needs Manchin’s number to maintain their slim majority in the Senate. The Republicans are disproving President Lincoln’s statement that “…a House divided against itself cannot stand.” We are on thin ice; like those victims of the ice fishing sheds which sank like the proverbial lead balloon (no pun intended).

    These are chaotic days indeed and we now have the added concern for our safety overhead; not knowing what we are shooting down or where it came from. Who is testing us and why at this particular troubled time within our governing system and on our streets from coast to coast?

    I look to Eugene Robinson for answers; but I also look to him for questions and wisdom in identifying primary issues we need to be following.

  5. When General Welch said to Joseph McCarty “have you no decency?” it was the beginning of the end of McCarthy witching hunting “communist” which, like today, appears to have meant people he disagreed with politically. Todays GOP has no sense of shame or decency. They have one goal, winning, and that is all that matters to the leadership, such as it is, and the base.

  6. JEFFREY C; bringing that question closer to home today, when the Gold Star Father asked of Trump, “Have you no decency?”, it probably got a laugh from the GOP. Trump’s lack of decency is why they nominated him, why they worked the Electoral Colleges to get him elected and it is why they have followed his lead and continue acting on his behalf. They no longer even need Trump but are strengthening their own indecency level with Santos, MTG, Jordan and others and, after making him concede on most of his own issues, they elected McCarthy as Speaker to increase their governing powers. Indecent they are; stupid they are not!

  7. Well, at least have someone writing in the media that we don’t have a Left party in this country. Calling the Democrat right of center is a gift to the DNC.

    If you’ve been watching, every lurch to the Right by the GOP is followed by the DNC sliding over to the Right. We can argue over how far their economic beliefs are based on neoliberalism which was developed by Milton Friedman.

    Both parties use social and cultural wedges to keep the people fighting against each other. The oligarchy’s media makes this easy.

    Once again, Charles Koch said they are done funding MAGA and will return to funding those that can legislate (believe it or not). They can eliminate the hot mess by cutting off funding and supporting sane GOP reps.

    However, MTG gets thousands of individual donations every time she howls or makes an ass out of herself.

    Millions of Americans are glued to their TVs, waiting for the next “hot mess” performance.

  8. We are either experiencing the end of: an era dominated by a Republican Party that began with Nixon’s Southern Strategy; or our democratic republic. Having been an American History major in college in the late 60s, I tend to believe that President Joe Biden agrees with me that Milton Friedman economic policies have become an impediment to the survival of our democracy. We need to focus more on helping the economy grow by focusing on those who have been left behind, rather than worship at the altar of “las-sai-faire” economics.

  9. Noah’s insights are spot on, and I have taken his conclusions a step further by adopting not a branch of the underlying assumptions that led to his conclusions but simply viewing today’s mess as the end of the Republican Party with all that conclusion entails since while such party may survive in name it cannot survive in what we understand to be a “politicial party.” I frequently note that tht party is defunct and that we are dealing with captors of that party by the Trumpers and other and diverse power seekers under a fascist umbrella who have no platform or “set of governing principles.” I daresay Madison and Jefferson would not be pleased with such a turn of events.

    Thus the captors have no interest in governing as we understand it, but rather only in gathering ever more power to play their fascist game under the cover of the “Republican principles” they have captured, such as stopping the runaway spending, redoing the educational system to include religion and otherwise indoctrinate young minds in DeFascist fashion via bookburning, felonious librarians, etc., all of which are “responses to the radical left” and none of which is of any honest and substantive concern to these captors other than as a means to extend their power over the rest of us, and as with Hitler’s Nazi Party, aggrieved misfits and criminals have found a home – and some sit on the House Oversight Committee!

    The so-called “Good Germans” in the early 1930s thought Hitler was a fruitcake and that his minority Nazi party were passing fads that would go away – and did nothing. He didn’t go away, and we all know the horrific result. I am not a Good German.

  10. The “one center-left party” is disorganized, hobbled by constitutional and procedural handicaps, and routinely betrayed by supposed supporters who decide they’d rather perform a solo act, playing to the balconies and yelling “look at me, look at meee, look at MEEE!!!”

    Meanwhile, the “flaming hot mess of ego, resentment and paranoia” is lavishly funded and centrally directed, blithely ignores any laws that it deems inconvenient, and it’s minions move together in well-oiled lockstep.

    This is a dangerous situation.

  11. You better hope that the Forward Party doesn’t get any traction. If they do, they will attract the largest potential block of voters, the “unaffiliated” and leave wins to the MAGAs.

  12. Let’s stop calling the right, the grand old party. They are, at the very least, the sociopathic old party.

  13. John. I tend to agree with you that we are involved in a struggle between good and evil: reason vs raw emotion, compassion vs cruelty, courage vs fear, generosity vs greed, honesty vs lies, brotherhood vs bigotry and love vs hate. I do not have to believe in the supernatural to recognize the difference between good and evil and know which kind of world I prefer.
    There is good and evil in each political party, in each socio-economic class, in each ethnic group, in each generation and in each individual but, by our choices, we can tip the balance either way. Perhaps we are living at a critical point in history where small choices can have huge consequences.

  14. when the parties,Rnc,dnc etc choose a panel to give blessing to a canidate,incumbant etc, who makes policy? seems over the decades the very people involved in picking,or by policy,have gone bonkers in some sort of self serving fetish to support the rich,over the majority. we have lost democracy over cheap rants and cheap people. my words may not be in tune with the eduacted here,but im sure my view is in step. the common man has been kicked to the curb,by both parties for a handful of trinkets,again. seems the lockstep of both parties today have become one party. the deep issues that affect the masses,be damn. if the pick and choose of canidates continue in this scam of the wealthy to be the sole decider on who gets what,we have only ourselves to blame for our choices.
    further reading, Jacobin 2/13/23
    economist obsession w efficincy is just a endorcement of greed.. best wishes.

  15. Jack Smith. You are coming through loud and clear. The super wealthy are buying every politician who is for sale in both parties. Fortunately, there are some who are not for sale and do uphold their oath of office. Right now, there seem to be more honorable Democrats than Republicans so I vote accordingly. But when I make a donation, it is to an organization such as Common Cause or the ACLU that is dedicated to supporting the things I value most. Best wishes to you, too.

  16. The New Republic was close, but a bit off.
    1) Red baiting existed before the New Left, noting Joe McCarthy and Nixon’s remarks about the “pink lady”, AKA Helen Gahagan Douglas.
    2) The Far Right has captured the Republicans, after a long push through the Southern Strategy, Philadelphia MS, and waterboarding. The New Left never took over the Democratic Party and the Left beyond FDR 2.0, never wanted to. The “Democratic Socialists” broke with the left in their belief that being a third party wasn’t going to help. The rest of the Left disparagingly refer to the Democratic Socialists as “New Dealers”, and distances themselves.

    Otherwise, the analysis, and the others quoted are spot on.

  17. Note – I keep bringing up these distinctions in the belief that the “both sides” equal time, has allowed the country to not ecognize the rightward drift of our politics. We did have a “center left” party and a “center right” party, but under the DLC, the Democrats moved to be “center right” as the Republicans moved to be “just plain right wing”, allowing them to move “far right” without people noticing as much. Less contrast means less saliency. That is how we got this “hot mess”.

  18. Peggy, I’ve started thinking of the GOP as “grift over policy” instead.

    I rather liked the interactions during Biden’s speech. I’m used to a different system, though, where that sort of thing is common, so “disgraceful” seems a harsh critique to me. Still, what I _really_ liked about this instance is that Biden’s quick-witted handling of the heckling both completely destroyed the rightwing narrative that he is a doddering puppet, and locked the GOP into a position that they don’t want, thus protecting some of your (pretty miserable, unfortunately) social safety net for a small while. It was pretty freaking brilliant handling, actually.

  19. Unfortunate that a large number of Americans are sick of the mess, tuned out and yawning about voting at all….

  20. Do you think the State if the Union address was uniting? Somehow politicians can simply make divisive speeches and no one respond? Hes not the Biden lawmakers and voters wanted.
    Then you have think tanks like the Brookings institute that guide policy. A lot of thiught goes into bankrupting our country.
    Heres what Forbes states about this “jukebox institution
    Yet, public spending records captured by our organization at tell a somewhat different story. Rather than focusing on “open-minded” inquiry, Brookings seems swayed by “open-wallet” inquiry. In many cases, Brookings doesn’t resemble a think tank, but a jukebox – add a little coin and Brookings will play your tune, if the price is right.

    And these aren’t just dollars provided by private donors — these are your tax dollars funding partisan advocacy projects and papers.”

  21. And the political wing of the GOP, as seen while at the gym yesterday,
    Fox News, is pushing totalitarian sentiments in such a way as to blame
    the woke folk of doing it, which exactly follows the totalitarian playbook.

  22. Unfortunately, no party has a monopoly on fabricators. Remember Hillary getting off a plane and telling about seeing the bullets fly when she had been nowhere near combat? Since I am a combat veteran (Navy, Vietnam) it turns me off when people do that.
    She was all too clever, and look what her candidacy did to the nation. I voted for her, since she was the only responsible candidate, and I don’t regret my choice. Many good friends regretted making the other choice. Democrats shouldn’t get too self-righteous on these issues.

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