The Death of the Republican Party, Part 1: Janet Jackson's Nipple of Doom:
Here's where we stand as a nation: Right now, it is more likely that someone or some entity will be punished for the split-second exposure of Janet Jackson's naked titty during the 2004 Super Bowl than for authorizing the torture of detainees at our prison in Guantanamo Bay. It is more likely that someone will get fined for Bono exuberantly broguing the word "fucking" as an adverb during a live awards show than for wrecking the American economy. These are the type of ruins left behind after an indulgent period in 2003-2004, when scared shitless Democrats, cowed by the Karl Rove-created juggernaut of post-9/11 Bushistic politics, forgot that there was a fucking war going on and actually enabled the Republican Congress to hold hearings and raise FCC fines because of a breast that you could only see if you went tenth of a second by tenth of a second through the video, the typical masturbatory obsessiveness of the religious right.

Even now, with the Supreme Court's two rulings in the last week upholding the fleeting, spontaneous "fuck" regulation on a 5-4 vote and sending the Jackson boob back to a federal appeals court to reconsider its overturning of a fine, Democratic Senator John D. Rockefeller declared, "We must be doing more, not less, to give the FCC and parents all across America the resources they need to protect their children from indecent programming." Once a prison bitch, always a prison bitch.

Of course, it probably doesn't need to be pointed out that by the time the Congress was arguing about fucks and tits, America was waterboarding the fucking tits off Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and more or less making psychological and physical wrecks out of other detainees in various prisons, with the Abu Ghraib photos just coming out. But, especially to Republicans, there was far, far more indecency in that nipple.

Democrats were on a death march, desperately flailing about, completely disempowered, trying to figure out the best way to be junior Republicans, too blinded by fear to oppose the President, even with the filibuster, simply trying not to hemorrhage in the next election. Of course, we know what happened, when the mind-blowing incompetence of the Bush administration brought the chickens home to roost. But that was still three years away.

However, the revival of the Janet Jackson nipple case is a reminder to people of just why they eventually turned so viciously on Republicans and why the GOP is an Al Franken away from irrelevance, and it's a warning, in a way, to Democrats. After the start of the Iraq war, Republicans became bloated with power (forgetting the minor setback in what was the savage end of the Gingrich "revolution" when they overplayed their hand during the Clinton impeachment). In those heady pre-Katrina days, Republicans indulged themselves like mini-Caligulas at the horse-fucking fair, and, quite simply, they did nothing to actually improve anyone's life except Halliburton's. And as everything started to turn south, the war, the economy, the world's opinion of us, Republicans still refused to do anything - fucking anything - that would actually make the country better.

It was ideology over pragmatism. It was throwing bones to the base at the expense of the larger public. Republicans nuzzled up to Janet Jackson's nipple and suckled it dry. And that's what they're left with: chapped lips at an empty teat, weeping to get one more meal from it.

Coming up: why the Supreme Court nominee battle will stab the GOP in the gut.