The Critical Mass

The party of Norris, Lovitz, Stein, Nugent and Williams Jr.

I see that the Republican Party has evolved into a homeless shelter for washed-up entertainers.

Despite his much-discussed conversation with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, we’ll leave Clint Eastwood out of this argument. He’s 82 and I can overlook a few late-season errors, because his spaghetti westerns, Play Misty For Me, Bird, and even a couple of those later movies – Gran Torino and the two Iwo Jima films – were quite thoughtful. Also, I was raised by a cranky old man. I get it.

Chuck Norris has no excuses. He’s a D-minus karate actor used as a stooge by both the Huckabee and Gingrich campaigns, which had him stand behind their dubious candidates like a cardboard cutout, nodding his head in agreement to their strange visions.

Norris and his wife, Gena, have just put up an anti-Obama video on YouTube. At one point, Gena quotes Ronald Reagan circa 1964, back when that faded actor was throwing his support behind Barry Goldwater for president:  “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into 1,000 years of darkness.” A victim of typecasting to the end, Norris stands beside his wife, nodding his head in agreement with this strange vision. He’s thinking maybe he can land a bit role in this new prequel he’s just heard about, Lord of the Rings: 1,000 Years of Darkness.

Jon Lovitz called Obama a “fucking asshole” on a podcast because the comedian doesn’t agree with the president’s tax policy. Then he refused to apologize, despite heavy criticism, because Obama’s “not king.” In a talk-show appearance later with another former Saturday Night Live Star, Dana Carvey, the two over-the-horizon stars commiserated on what a terrible world we now live in, a world where a comedian can’t crack a joke at the president’s expense. Neither acknowledged this obvious fact: If they want to earn a laugh, the joke has to be funny.

Ben Stein, the monotone actor, has resurrected his profile as a conservative commentator. At least he’s not a newcomer: He was a speech writer for Nixon. Stein’s schtick is arguing on behalf of dismissed ideologies, including creationism. He co-wrote and starred in a documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, that claims a belief in evolution may have led to the Holocaust. Really.

Ted Nugent. No one listens to his music anymore. So he screams for attention like a petulant child, threatening Obama and writing essays for a conservative newspaper, The Washington Times, that are filled with fact errors and distortions. He even went on Fox News’ Your World With Neil Cavuto a few years ago and lied about a conversation that he had with me. With me!

Hank Williams Jr., a continuing embarrassment to a great legacy, was at it again this week.“We’ve got a Muslim for a President who hates cowboys, hates cowgirls, hates fishing, hates farming, loves gays, and we hate him!” the country singer told a crowd  in Fort Worth, Texas. People cheered, some guy in the front waved a Confederate battle flag.

Williams’ words inspired an awesome Tweet by the actor Alec Baldwin. “If Hank Williams Jr wasn’t such a pathetic, wheezing fossil I’d have a talk with him. I think we need to call Hank Williams Jr what he is…. A broken-down, senile, racist coot.”

Get used to it. The party of Lincoln is now the party of Norris, Lovitz, Stein, Nugent and Williams Jr.