Operation Chaos – Proof That The Two Parties Are Not Flip Sides Of The Same Coin

It is often heard in political discussions that there is very little difference between America’s two political parties. The declarations are common that they both are corrupt, that they both lie, that they both represent what is wrong with the country. These statements are usually given in the hopes that the speaker will appear nuanced, impartial, and “fair and balanced.” But, for anyone actually following politics, the idea that both the Democratic and Republican parties are two sides of the same coin is a position nearly impossible to defend. Instead of being two sides of the same coin, the two parties are increasingly becoming completely separate currencies.

To illustrate this point one need look no further than the historic case of “Operation Chaos.” In late February, 2008 conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh began what he called an “operation chaos,” where he encouraged conservative Republicans to cross over and vote for Hillary Clinton in the presidential primaries. The call to vote was not motivated by support of Clinton’s ideas, nor was Limbaugh encouraging people to respectfully do their civic duty. Instead, what Limbaugh and the conservatives that participated hoped to achieve, was civil discord by denying then Senator Barack Obama a decisive victory. In short it was an attempt to create an inaccurate reflection of what U.S. citizens wanted in the upcoming presidential elections.

It is important to note that in several states, namely Ohio and Indiana, what Limbaugh was encouraging was a felony. In both the Buckeye and Hoosier state it is illegal to interfere in a political party’s nomination process for the purposes of disrupting that party.

Of course anyone who follows Limbaugh’s show knows that outlandish, inflammatory remarks are his trademark. Whether it be calling a civically active young woman a “slut,” or mocking an actor who is raising awareness of a deadly disease, Limbaugh has periodically displayed a talent for illustrating the darker nature of humanity.

However, what is important to note is that this kind of ignorant vitriol does only largely exist on the Republican side of American politics.

Take for example the current Republican primary. Whereas Rush Limbaugh and his followers would openly and proudly interfere in the democratic process of another party, the Democrats do not behave this way.

The recent Michigan primary has drawn some attention, not only because of Mitt Romney’s near-defeat, but also because a number of Democrats were reported to have crossed over to vote for Rick Santorum. Proof, the ever “fair-minded” commentator will note, that the Democratic Party is just as immature as the GOP.

But is this an accurate statement? On closer inspection one finds that it is not. The call for Democratic voters did not come from Rachel Maddow, or Thomas Hartman. Ed Schultz is not, day after day, encouraging people to commit a felony in several states. Instead, the call for Democratic voters came from no one other than Rick Santorum himself.

Campaigning directly towards Democrats, Santorum is reported to have said that voters should prevent Romney from winning the nomination because he did not support the auto-bailout.

Therefore, not only was the support sought but it can be argued that it was genuine, since one of the frontrunners of the race was personally denouncing the hard-line position of the GOP. It will be interesting to see if Santorum continues with his support of the auto bailout in the primaries to come.

Open mindedness and fairness in judgment are virtues, but impartiality it not. The truth is that the GOP is continually moving further from reality, all the while embracing a more hateful fantasy that marks anyone they disagree with as an “undesirable.” It is not the aim of this column to encourage voters to pick between Santorum and Romney in the primary, instead the goal should be an outright rejection of politicians that find it impossible to stand up to, or criticize the ranting of an AM radio tyrant.