The 2012 GOP is the naked Emperor, but covered with tattoos reading "John Birch Society," "Koch Industries," and "I heart Bull Connor." The "subjects" are the media, which thinks the GOP is clothed in the raiments of a respectable political party.
When I grew up, the John Birch Society were the crazies -- heirs to McCarthy, finding communism in any government program, seeing the Civil Rights Movement as just another arm of the communist party. They were crazy enough to be repudiated by William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater.
The 2012 Republican Party is barely distinguishable from the John Birch Society. It is funded in large part by the Koch brothers, the heirs of Fred Koch, one of the Birch Society's founding members. The Kochs may not be members of the Society, but their ideas -- extreme laissez-faire capitalism with communism lurking in any regulation, unions, health care and even Civil Rights laws -- are virtually the same. (One of the current right's few attempts to avoid looking like Birchers is morphing communism into "socialism." No need to explain to the faithful that they're really the same.)
Remember Sarah Palin being stumped as to what journals she reads ("all of 'em")? Apparently, she didn't remember that picture of herself with the John Birch Society newsletter prominently displayed on her desk. And while Sarah is now in the background, there is hardly a difference between the Republican leadership, the Eric Cantors and Jim DeMints, and the merely more openly loony Steve Kings, Michele Bachmans and Allen Wests.
What is infuriating is not just that the Republican Party has gone mostly Bircher, but that the media refuses to recognize this. One party is advocating killing the New Deal, starving government by cutting taxes on the wealthiest, using the noxious voter-suppression methods of the most vicious segregationists, and tolerating racist conspiracy theories. That is not business as usual.
The blacklisting of It's Even Worse than it Looks, the Mann-Orenstein book on Sunday shows or any other mainstream media is the latest and most vivid example of this. Two of the Broderest of the heirs of Broder, guys that were the most serious of the VSP's who were constantly called upon to intone about politics, now may as well be obscure bloggers toiling in their Mom's basement. The networks are terrified that Mann and Orenstein, just a few months ago ideal guests, are now "partisan" and must be shunned on the same shows that feature the likes of George Will, Peggy Noonan et al.
The GOP's naked extremism is there for all to see. We need to constantly point this out if no one else will.