What do Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Abraham Lincoln and Syria all have in common? The easy answer is "nothing, really". If you take Abraham Lincoln off the list, you get a different answer and it's a little scary.
While Ryan, Cruz, Rubio, Paul and Lincoln all share the GOP as their political party, any similarities between the four living Republicans and Abraham Lincoln end right there.
If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he probably wouldn't feel very comfortable in the Republican Party. He certainly would've been the only Republican attending Wednesday's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.
If Rand Paul had been the 16th president, there might well be a United Southern States of America below the Mason-Dixon line where slavery still flourishes.
Syria, however belongs on the list because it currently represents a clear and present danger to the future of America. As does Paul Ryan and, to a lesser extent Rubio, Cruz and Paul, the latter three I will resist the urge to refer to as "The Three Stooges" or "Huey, Dewey and Louie".
The danger of Syria is that, like Vietnam and Afghanistan it has the potential to drag us into something expensive and protracted. While hawks like John McCain are calling for us to do more than send in "some cruise missiles", any further involvement could turn into another roach motel ("they can get in, but they can't get out").
Syria's a conundrum because there's no great solution. All roads lead south. The most courageous path right now for the President is to do nothing and take the political fallout as he has since 2009.
Limited strikes would prove useless and still be unsatisfying for the critics on the Right. Boots on the ground would be disastrous and, at this point there's no identifiable ally in the country.
Cruz, Rubio and Rand are more dangerous to the political process than they are to the country. Their current alliance to de-fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (to be known by future generations as "Obamacare") is pure kabuki.
They're smart enough to recognize it as a dead end-40 plus votes to repeal it-but they're savvy enough to stay on the path to avoid being out-flanked on the Right. Conservative politics has come down to looking crazy enough to satisfy the Tea Party. Only Chris Christie has enough popularity to thumb his nose at what TV's Will McAcoy referred to as "The American Taliban".
One of the things that keep the loonies in the game is the low information level of the American voting public. A recent poll showed that almost 50% of those asked were unaware that Obamacare was, in fact a law. An ignorance which has turned out quite blissful for the party whose presidential candidate did not want to be hampered by "fact checkers".
Paul Ryan, though is a danger to that elusive dream we call America. He says things all the time that he knows to be untrue. He recently said that history shows us that increasing the minimum wage has always hurt the American worker more than it helped him. History, in fact shows growth among the working class after each hike in the minimum wage. It's an historic fact, not a debate topic.
One of his most recent proclamations,though should frighten every American to the core. On the issue of abortion he said, "We don't want a country where abortion is simply outlawed. We want a country where it isn't even considered."
Think about it. He doesn't just want to make something he opposes illegal, he wants to banish it from your thoughts.
If we can be broad-minded enough for a moment, let's put aside the issue of our position on abortion. Even the most pro-life advocate has to realize that to take aim at anyone's thoughts is the beginning of the end of America as we know it.
Both sides of the abortion issue as well as those on opposing sides of every issure facing America need to realize that the other side is entitled to their views. We can shout, we can point fingers and ultimately we will vote. That's how America is supposed to work.
When one side wants to mandate what the electorate can think, democracy begins to unravel. Will McAvoy may be a fictional character, but it appears that The American Taliban is not.
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