Ronald Reagan was not only the first American President to bring the Religious Right into his administration, but he also launched an era of stupid in politics.
The man dubbed "The Great Communicator" could barely string two coherent sentences together, and after spending three years trying to make some sense of his ramblings, the media had clearly given up.
I have to laugh at how the Right have now canonized him, but during his tenure he was never that popular. I think his highest polling was right after he was shot.
Unfortunately "idiots" is now a term often used to describe the Republicans, as they've capitalized on incomprehension, and it hasn't hurt them one bit.
Their esoteric boys club has learned that there is a fortune to be made in the mining of ignorance.
Glenn Beck is not a moron, he just played one on TV.
When Stephen Harper's Reform Party had its first real political success in 1993, we were shell shocked with their constant firing of racial slurs and half witticisms. The Toronto Sun called them "a bunch of dung kicking rednecks". Now the Sun is among their strongest supporters, pitching the dung they once hoped to duck.
And they have cleverly made the reaction to stupidity, the story, instead of the actual stupidity.
Sun TV often runs a banner reading "We're on your side". Those "leftist elitist pinkos" don't understand you, but we do. Then they run to their own elitist friends and say "watch the puppets dance". Both groups come away with a feeling of superiority.
Which brings us to Toronto mayor Rob Ford. When he first appeared on the scene he created quite a sensation. Acting as though he would be more comfortable in Animal House than City Hall, he became the favourite of Canadian conservatives. The more we "lefties" sounded the alarm, the more popular he was.
From Jim Flaherty to Tim Hudak, they couldn't wait to have their photo taken with this new iconic symbol of absurdity. Stephen Harper touted him around the campaign trail, and the two are now BFFs.
However, they may have a problem.
It would appear that Torontonians have awakened to the fact that there is a reason why you don't elect someone like Rob Ford to run the largest city in Canada. His foolishness was not an act. He's really a fool.
According to Royson James in the Star:
His political honeymoon long over, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has lost the public’s confidence. And now, he’s about to lose council’s as well. The Ford revolution may be aborted before it takes root.His poll numbers are slipping fast, and in the middle of a provincial election, where Toronto is key, will this hurt Tim Hudak? Memories of Mike Harris's slash and burn policies, and broken promises, are already proving to be a hindrance.
Torontonians are not impressed with Ford’s confrontational style, his lone-wolf approach to leadership and his threats to gut city services after guaranteeing during the election that he’d cut the “gravy” and not cut a single service.
And Hudak has been playing the stupid card with his "chain gang" musings and attacks on "foreigners".
If you've been following the Republican debates, you would have to think that they have finally hit bottom. Cheers when contender Rick Perry stated with pride, the number of people he sent to death, and refrains of "let him die", when a scenario was presented to Ron Paul of a young man in a coma with no health insurance.
Has Canada's new conservative movement finally hit bottom with Ford?
I'd like to think so, but I'm not so sure. There is now an arrogance in the ignorance that is driving this movement. They could never handle bliss. They're just too damned angry. An anger fuelled by the New Right.
"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep." Saul Bellow (Canadian-born writer and winner of both the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes)