An extraordinarily talented, brave American writer, Aaron Sorkin, added considerably to his critically admired body of work with this season’s final episode of Newsroom, titled The Greater Fool, which aired Sunday, August 26 on HBO. “The Greater Fool” is someone who thinks he can win where others have failed – and that we are a country of Greater Fools. With stunning dialog that would challenge any actor, and nail any viewer to his couch, the current political situation was summed up brilliantly in a single great hour of television. Weaving creative inter-office romance with actual, up-to-this-minute news clips, we finally heard and saw the news as we might have from Murrow and Cronkite and others not entirely beholden to sponsors! The show took on the Tea Party like government troops in a civil war; these are a few of the battles as reported by Newsroom’s fictional news anchor:
Republicans and Voter Fraud
Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee, has voted in the last 75 years. This year, she can’t. She doesn’t have a driver’s license, because she doesn’t have a car. She doesn’t have a passport, and a trip abroad was never in her future. At the moment, 32 out of 33 voter registration ID laws have been proposed and passed by Republican state legislatures. Voter fraud is the problem, says Texas Governor Rick Perry. In a five-year period during the Bush administration, when 196,000,000 votes were cast, the number of cases of voter fraud reached – 86! The problem for Republicans is voters with no government-issued ID card are mostly poor, black and vote Democratic.
Republicans believe in a prohibitive military, common sense government, law and order, and free market capitalism; that there are social programs that were started in the last half-century that work, and too many that don’t.
The Tea Party believes in loving America, but hating Americans. Florida Representative, Republican Allen West: “I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.”
They believe in loving America, but hating its government. Founder and President of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist: “I don't wish to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drop it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
And, anyone who disagrees with the Tea Party has sinister, anti-American motives. Tea Party activist and candidate for 2012 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination, Herman Cain: “The objective of the liberals is to destroy this country. The objective of the liberals is to make America mediocre.”
And, you must never, under any circumstances, seek to reach a compromise with your opponent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.”
One other plank in the Tea Party platform: if you are poor, it’s because you are either too lazy or too stupid to be rich. South Carolina Republican Lt. Governor Andre Bauer: “My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child, to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed.” – It’s almost hard to believe that Republicans can’t get poor people to vote for them.
Mitt Romney: “He (Obama) didn’t create the recession, but he made it worse and longer.” Then, later he said, “I didn’t say he made it worse.”
The Founding of America
During Tea Party rallies, in campaign speeches, we’ve been told that America was founded as a Christian nation, and if the founding fathers were here today, they’d tell us so.
John Adams, in the Treaty of Tripoli: “As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
Thomas Jefferson: “That our civil rights have no dependence on religious opinions.”
First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Perversion of History
What’s more frightening than the perversion of our great history is that sensible, smart, strong Republicans – the very men and women who should be standing up to radical fundamentalism – are so frightened of losing primary battles to religious zealots that they’ve thrown in the towel on sanity. So, we get this:
John McCain, Senior Senator from Arizona and previously Republican nominee for President of the United States: “The Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.”
It’s ironic, because the biggest enemy of the phony Republican isn’t Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It’s this man (Jesus Christ). He said, Heal the sick, feed the hungry, care for the weakest among us, and always pray in private.
Tea Party speaker at Thomas More College: “The idea of strict or absolute separation of church and state is not and never was the American model. Now it’s a model used in countries like Turkey and France.”
Republicans In Name Only
* Ideological purity
* A fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism
* Denying science
* Unmoved by facts
* Undeterred by new information
* A hostile fear of progress
* A demonization of education
* A need to control women’s bodies
* Severe xenophobia
* Tribal mentality
* Intolerance of dissent
* Pathological hatred of the United States government
They call themselves the Tea Party. They call themselves conservatives. They even call themselves Republicans, though Republicans certainly shouldn’t. We should call them what they are: the American Taliban. And the American Taliban cannot survive – if Dorothy Cooper is allowed to vote.
Wherever possible, I have plagiarized Aaron Sorkin’s 'Newsroom' script. I only wish I could write like he does.