It’s official: The crazies have taken over the asylum

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The bizarre, intellectually vapid and conspiracy thirsty right-wing extremists that collectively comprise the Tea Party movement, marched on Capitol Hill this weekend with great fanfare from Fox “News” and its deranged cabal of conservative talkers.

Blinded by hatred and underwritten by corporate special interests, these paranoid “patriots” have become parodies of themselves.

First, the organizers of the event, a lobbyist front group called FreedomWorks, claimed that turnout for the march exceeded 1 million. They were later forced to reduce that number after it induced wild fits of laughter from objective observers.

The group now claims between 500,000 and 600,000 protesters showed up. Still a chimerical figure. Especially when one considers that the protesters were not alone.

The Atlantic’s Max Fisher has reported that roughly two-thirds of the National Mall was occupied by attendees of the 24th annual Black Family Reunion, a festival aimed at “healing and uplifting black families.”

It’s a safe bet, as a report from the Washington Post confirms, that many attendees of this event did not share in the sentiments or the outrageous, Confederateflag-waving absurdities that the tea-baggers displayed.

Glenn Beck, voice of the witless, will not be moved from the dubious assertion that there were more than a million protesters present. His evidence for this conclusion: “We had a university, I think it’s the University of — I don’t remember which university it is — um, look at the pictures. And you know, they can do body space and calculate — 1.7 million, that crowd was estimated.”

When you hear something so articulate and authoritative from a man who recently misspelled “oligarchy” on his highly rated cable show, it is difficult to dispute.

But then again, the photo the Tea Party troglodytes produced showing the crowd backed up from Capitol Hill to the Washington Monument turned out to be fictitious.

I know, shocking. It’s been discovered that the photo in question was taken at least five years ago.

The actual number of protesters was probably between 50,000 and 75,000 according to media outlets that covered the event and an unofficial tally from the D.C. Fire Department.

But this isn’t a numbers game. Whether there were 50,000 or 50 million protesters, the palpable invective and treasonous truculence of those in attendance was the most striking aspect of the event.

“Bury Obamacare with [Ted] Kennedy,” “We came unarmed (this time)” and “Impeach the Muslim Marxist” were just a sampling of the incendiary placards seen at the march.

That last one is one of the most salient examples of tea-bagger ignorance.

Look: Marxism embraces atheism in lieu of all forms of organized religion.

Thus, there can be no such thing as a “Muslim Marxist.” It’s an oxymoron equivalent to a “compassionate conservative.”

There were signs comparing President Obama to Hitler.

Another sign insinuated that the president was in league with the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The lynch mob that descended on Washington this weekend does not represent the mainstream of American politics.

But it does, regrettably, represent the mainstream of the Republican Party.

There was a time, I’m told, when the Republican Party stood for something substantive.

Balanced budgets, low taxes, personal responsibility and limited government used to be the staples of this national party.

But something has gone terribly wrong. The profoundly misinformed and chronically credulous cretins who marched on Washington have taken the Republican Party hostage.

With Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as their field generals, the Right has made birth certificates, death panels and FEMA concentration camps its causes célèbres.

Today’s GOP suffers from a severe deficiency of rational thought that makes rational discussion impossible.

It isn’t health care reform or the threat of higher taxes or creeping socialism that scares these decerebrated denizens of Dixie, it’s the fear of change; the fear of “the other.”

In 1964, historian Richard Hofstadter penned an essay titled “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” in which he diagnosed the hysteria of the right-wing haters of his day.

Hofstadter’s essay concludes with these words: “We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.”

The fantasies and antics of today’s double sufferers should make it abundantly clear that any attempt at bi-partisanship is a fool’s errand.

America’s al-Qaida cannot be reasoned with and must not be appeased.