Please proceed.These two words, delivered by President Obama at the second presidential debate, have already drawn praise from Markos as his favorite moment of the election season, but they apply far beyond Mitt Romney's debate stumble.
In saying these words, President Obama invited the Republican nominee to carry on indulging in the right-wing, echo chamber fantasy. Romney's confidence that the president could not have used the term terrorists in association with the Benghazi attacks was gestated in a conservative movement that's become so divorced from reality, that it felt free to invent its own narrative of events, and so convinced of its fantasies that it felt sure they would be accepted by everyone else.
It can be argued that those words were not all that important in securing the election. By that point, whatever temporary boost Romney (remember him?) had gained in the first debate had already faded in all but the most Republican friendly—and ultimately inaccurate—polls. However, that moment was important as the point where one thing became crystal clear to a majority of Americans: Republicans have gone crazy. Granted, that's been true for awhile, and absolutely definitively true since the elections in 2008, but Romney's high-profile walk through conservative conspiracyland was the nail in the coffin for the GOP as a reasonable, mainstream alternative.
Those words continue to fit. They could be used at any point in the last month as the Republicans proved themselves ever further divorced from the national will. Please proceed in your rigid ideology that places minor adjustments in the top tax rate over the economy and jobs. Please proceed in hyperbolic attacks on modest changes in the health care system. Please proceed in blind obedience to the NRA even as they turn every school in America into Thunderdome Elementary. Please proceed to publicly, loudly demonstrate that you're being driven by demons of orthodoxy ... with no real idea who defines what's orthodox.
Really, GOP, please proceed.
It's far too early to write an obituary for the Republican Party. They've stumbled from their deathbed in the past, flooding midterm voting booths with tea party zombies that still stink up the House and far too many state legislatures across the country. But in 2012, they showed a remarkable ability, not to recover from mistakes, but to proceed down the road that leads to oblivion.