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A rare breed, to say the least, particularly because such people soon cease to be Conservatives, but one to be celebrated when Repeal-and-Replace-Romney Romney has successfully converted himself into his evil twin, but now Etch-a-Sketch Romney can't remember which of him is the evil one—ObamneyCare Romney or Kill Grandma Romney.

But all of him are absolutely certain that the US Consulate in Egypt was pandering to Muslims when it condemned the vicious Muslim-bashing video "Innocence of Muslims" by Israeli-American Sam Bacile that vicious pseudo-Christian Qur'an-burner Terry Jones is promoting.

Yes, well, we will not forget. That story is all over Daily Kos and indeed all of the Progressive and Democratic blogs. There are even Republicans in numbers condemning Romney, not for being wrong, mostly, but for being politically incompetent. But let us put that to one side for a moment to praise real Republican heroes—those who have repented of their Republicanness.

First let me remind you what it is that they need to repent for today, when they have again ratcheted up past their previous record.

Cairo, Egypt, and also Benghazi, Libya

Romney:

I think it’s a terrible course for American to stand in apology for our values.  An apology for America’ values is never the right course.
We need to be clear on one point here. This was in response to the US Consulate's statement condemning the Innocence of Islam video, not to any action of the President, which had not happened at that time.

Who Said What: Timeline of Statements on Libya, Egypt Attacks

Innocence of Muslims (HD)

On Libya/Egypt attacks, it’s Ryan vs. Romney

Ryan:

I know all Americans today are shocked and saddened by the news in the Middle East, the attacks on our diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, and the loss of American lives—including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens—this is outrageous.  Our hearts are heavy…

This is a time for healing.  It’s a time for resolve.  In the face of such a tragedy, we are reminded that the world needs American leadership, and the best guarantee of peace is American strength.

You know Romney is in trouble when Ryan is the reasonable one.

However:

Obama administration disavows Cairo apology

10:10 p.m.: Citing a senior administration official, POLITICO
reports that “The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by
Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States
government.”
Craven panderers. Just when Romney's foot-shooting was going so well.

Madness

To a man who does nothing but pound nails everything looks like a hammer. Andrew Breitbart, for example, or Grover Norquist. There are so many to choose from.

THE TELL-TALE HEART
by Edgar Allan Poe
1843

TRUE!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

To my mind, the best part of A Beautiful Mind was the transition between John Nash having hallucinations and not being able to tell that they were hallucinations, and continuing to have hallucinations but recognizing them as hallucinations.

Recovering Hallucinators

Think about that whenever you hear seemingly conscienceless Republicans hallucinating. Are they absolutely mad, or just semi-mad and lying? It doesn't always matter to listeners, but it does matter for those few hallucinators who recover and repent publicly, and bring a number of their former followers with them.

As with John Nash's cure, it takes as long as it takes. See also The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, which lays out an allegorical version of the long and difficult path from initial conversion to (in principle) true Love-thy-neighbor-as-thyself Christianity. Or the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures in Zen Buddhism. Thomas Merton's Seven-Story Mountain. There are many others. Prominent atheists have also talked about how long it took them from the basic principle to any kind of workable morality. If you are honest, you admit that you are never done. Dogen Zenji, Founder of Soto Zen in Japan:

Always we must be disturbed by the Truth.

The journey is hindered by arrival, but definitely not hindered by non-arrival.

Let us turn to some cases, or as the Japanese term it, koans.
  • Rev. (eventually) John Newton, for example, took five years after converting to Christianity to realize that he had to give up being a slave ship captain. Much later he wrote the hymn Amazing Grace and 34 years after his original conversion he became a leader in the campaign to end slavery in the British Empire. Check out Albert Finney as Newton in the 2006 movie Amazing Grace. There is a play, another movie (from Nigeria), and a TV miniseries about Newton.
  • Nixon White House lawyer John Dean, who was hung out to twist slowly in the wind, vowed that he would not be the patsy to take the fall for Watergate, and that if he went down all the others involved in Watergate would go down with him. After testifying to Congress about Watergate, he went on to write Conservatives Without Conscience and Worse Than Watergate.
  • David Brock eventually admitted that his book The Real Anita Hill, his contribution to the Clarence Thomas disaster, was pure character assassination, basically fiction, and went on to found Media Matters for America to call out Republican lies.
  • Lee Atwater claimed that he repented after he learned that he had an inoperable brain tumor, and started reading the Bible. However, Mary Matalin claimed that he was just spinning right to the end, noting that the Bible he claimed he was reading at the time was found later, still wrapped in cellophane. He certainly published an apology to Michael Dukakis, and cited other instances of his own wrongdoing. He did not, however, apologize for the racist Southern Strategy that he helped to create.
    My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The '80s were about acquiring—acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn't I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn't I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don't know who will lead us through the '90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul.
    See also the documentary Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story.
  • Former insurance executive Wendell Potter has come over from the dark side to tell us all how insurance companies rob and cheat us, and even kill us. See, for example, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans.
  • Child prodigy in Evangelical Christian revivalism Marjoe Gortner came to denounce the hypocrisy of professional evangelists. See the movie Marjoe (1972).
  • Frank Schaeffer (see profile here on dKos) is the son of Religious Right leader Frances Schaeffer, author of the "immensely influential America-bashing book" (according to the son) The Christian Manifesto. See "Obama's Minister Committed "Treason" But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero"
    Dad and I were amongst the founders of the Religious right. In the 1970s and 1980s, while Dad and I crisscrossed America denouncing our nation's sins instead of getting in trouble we became darlings of the Republican Party. (This was while I was my father's sidekick before I dropped out of the evangelical movement altogether.)
    See also Frank Schaeffer's book explaining his own moral evolution, CRAZY FOR GOD—How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back
  • Child prodigy Jonathan Krohn, who once wowed CPAC audiences with his eloquent and seemingly mature Liberal-bashing, is now an Independent highly critical of Right wing group-think. See, for example his Salon.com article, I was a right-wing child star.
  • We could also consider Abraham Lincoln growing up as a frank racist in Kentucky, and the fairly well-known evolution of his views over time.
  • Or the darling of the Right Wing and of Market Fundamentalists F. A. Hayek, author of The Road to Serfdom, and also the author of Why I am Not a Conservative.

For that matter, we could discuss Edmund Burke, the father of Conservatism, whose views did not substantially change over his career. But self-proclaimed Conservatives would cut him out of the party today as a Tax and Spend Liberal, and for most of his other positions.

Please provide more examples of Republicans seeing the light if you can.

No, Arlen Specter does not count. He changed his positions for political expediency, not for conscience. Nor, especially, does Mitt Romney claiming to be better on Gay Rights than Ted Kennedy, back in 1994.

Originally posted to Mokurai on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 10:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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