Andrew Cotto notes the similarities between Tennessee William’s play and his view of the Republican Party.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a legendary play about a wealthy Southern family in the 1950s crumbling under the weight of its fractured legacy and tragic truths. A dramatic and moving narrative, Tennessee Williams’ play has much in common with the way I see the contemporary Republican party: bloated patriarchy, misogyny, closeted-homosexuality, faded glory, elitism, envy, ignorance, desperation and fear, but what best explains the rising flames under the current Republican roof is the play’s dominant theme of mendacity. I know: Politicians of all stripes on all levels practice a certain amount of duplicity. It’s inherent in the occupation and a reality of the requirements to seek office and enact influence once in said office. But extreme deceit, or mendacity, is what I see as the defining characteristic of the Republican Party in the age of Obama.
It began in earnest in this modern era with the nomination of Sarah Palin to be Vice President of the United States. While this was primarily a move of desperation, it also required a concerted effort to convince the American people that the newbie governor of the 49th state was qualified to be second in command to the most powerful nation in the world. It was a disaster, like many failed attempts at deception, which I believe set off a pattern of blatant mistruths which have defined the Republican electorate since that time, from faux-ideas like “Drill Baby Drill” and trickle-down-economics to a shame-free pattern of deflecting blame for the deficit, the recession, the housing crisis, and the debt-ceiling debacle. Republicans made a mess of America during the Bush Administration and picked right back up in their currently-controlled session of Congress, and they blame it all on Obama. Mendacity.
It’s easy for a political party to practice their deceit when a national media entity serves as their proxy. Fox News regularly report as fact Republican-originated myths that seek to belie the Democrat’s agenda. This explains why their viewers are so painfully misinformed about so many issues, for they are naïve enough to trust the “news” in the new Republican age. And this is the content from their so-called news desk. The opinion segments of their programing features (or has featured in recent times) a legendary lineup of “Mendacity All-Stars,” such as Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Michelle Malkin. Scary. And this excludes the independent but ideologically aligned “Master of Mendacity,” Rush Limbaugh.
I see the most ludicrous of the Republican-related attempts to misinform Americans in the mountains of mendacity piled upon President Obama. This has been a concerted effort, launched from all fronts of the Republican opposition: politicians, pundits, news anchors, charlatans and random clowns like Donald Trump and Orly Taitz. According to the all-arms assault, the President is a socialist of Kenyan birth and Keynesian doctrines who doesn’t believe America is exceptional. His militant wife hates America and calls our kids fat. The President also wants to kill the elderly, bleed the rich, crank up gas prices, isolate Israel, grow the government, shrink the private sector, and host non-stop hip-hop BBQs at the “Hizzy” House.
Mendacity has made it from the Broadway stage to the nation’s capital. And Mitt Romney has assumed the leading role in the Republican production to upstage the sitting president. He’s a great choice, an actor’s appearance with a showman’s ease with scripted fiction. As I wrote about Romney’s trouble with the truth in these pages in February,“Whether it’s off the cuff or in pre-scripted manner, Romney drops whoppers on his personal past (in an attempt to seem less privileged), his professional accomplishments (his job creation numbers fluctuate wildly), on his political policies (where he changes positions more than a porn star), and on his opponents (where he has no problem painting blatantly false narratives).” I could provide a dirty-laundry list of Romney’s falsehoods, but a simple Google search of “Romney lies” yields 19,500,000 responses. Wow. Does mendacity cover it? I think we’re going to need a bigger word.