Aligned with the lunatics

First, I am an independent when it comes to politics. I tend to lean slightly to the left on many issues but certainly not all. Second, I have many staunch Republican friends, and all of them are sane, intelligent, thoughtful people. I have great respect for them.

Third, I know that the Republican party is comprised primarily of sane, intelligent, thoughtful people.

That said, I can’t help but wonder if Bill Maher was correct last week when he asserted that the majority of the crazy people reside in the Republican party.

Mind you, not that all Republicans are crazy. Just that if you’re a crazy person, you’re probably a Republican. He said:

When Jon Stewart announced his rally, he said that the national conversation is dominated by people on the right who believe Obama's a socialist and people on the left who believe 9/11 was an inside job. But I can't name any Democratic leaders who think 9/11 was an inside job. But Republican leaders who think Obama's a socialist? All of them! McCain, Boehner, Cantor, Palin, all of them! It's now official Republican dogma, like tax cuts pay for themselves, and gay men just haven't met the right woman.

As another example of both sides using overheated rhetoric, Jon cited the right equating Obama with Hitler, and the left calling Bush a war criminal.  Except thinking Obama is like Hitler is utterly unfounded, but thinking Bush is a war criminal? That's the opinion of General Anthony Taguba, who headed the Army's investigation into Abu Ghraib.

It seems like a point at least worth considering. While the Democrats certainly have their share of problems, they seem relatively deficient when it comes to bigots, hate-mongers, creationists, and lunatics.

A recent report, for example, indicates that 50% of the incoming GOP class to Congress does not believe in man-made global warming. How is it that every single Democrat in Congress sides with the 98% of climate scientists who assert that man-made global warming is real while so many Republicans do not?

Does this not strike you as a little nutty?

Do we really believe that there is a liberal conspiracy amongst almost all the scientists engaged in climate research?

Do we honestly think that every other industrialized nation is wrong in their attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

And on the campaign trail, was President Obama ever forced to defend McCain against unfounded and hate-filled claims uttered by his constituents? Of course not.

But again and again, McCain was forced to publicly defend his opponent against his own supporters who repeatedly called Obama an Arab and a terrorist, among other things, and he was booed in the process.

Tea Party organizers must now patrol their own rallies to ensure that hate-filled signage is removed immediately, and Tea Party leaders are forced to constantly disavow the racist and homophobic claims of their more extreme members, candidates included. This is a political movement that was centered on small government and deficit reduction but often becomes marred by candidates like Christine O’Donnell and Glen Urquhart, who recently said:

"The exact phrase 'separation of Church and State' came out of Adolph Hitler's mouth, that's where it comes from.  So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ask them why they’re Nazis."

I just don’t hear that kind of crazy-talk coming from the extremists in the Democratic Party.

When was the last time you heard a Democrat compare a Republican to a mass murderer?

And you just didn’t see signs like this, with such frequency, when President Bush ran for office:

I can’t help but feel bad for my Republican friends. Like I said, the great majority of Republicans and conservatives in general are intelligent people who want to do what they believe is best for the country, but it seems as if their party has been infiltrated by a large group of exceedingly loud lunatics who often dominate the conversation and force honorable men like John McCain to disavow their hate-filled speech at his own rallies.

It’s become near-political suicide for a Republican to support gay marriage or call for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, even though our Republican-appointed Secretary of Defense wanted the policy to end two years ago.

It’s like being a New York Yankees fan. I love my team, but I am also forced to acknowledge that there is an unfortunate number of Yankees fans who are loud, stupid, arrogant and willing to spit on the wife of an opposing pitcher.

I’m not happy to be aligned with these people, but I can’t simply switch loyalties and become a Red Sox fan.

And I fear that the intelligent, reasonable majority of the Republican Party feels the same way.