Ah, Maine: the land of Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and the dying breed of moderate-to-liberal New England GOPers. Surely it must be the last bastion of sanity in the Republican Party. I would have bet money on this, but I have to admit that I'm not terribly knowledgeable about the political environment on the ground in a state that might as well be New Brunswick (Note to vacationers: Skip Bar Harbor and go straight to the Bay of Fundy. Bar Harbor sucks.) Turns out that my image of quaint New England Republicans with pleasant JFK-like accents badly needs updating. The state GOP has been conquered by TeaTards. The newly ratified party platform of the Maine GOP is a simply amazing read. It's a coarse mixture of Ron Paul buzzwords, chat topics from the Free Republic forums, neo-Bircherite nonsense, tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theories, and phrases most recently heard from the mouths of your local militiamen.

As I am always careful to emphasize in the classroom, party platforms are essentially meaningless. They're not even remotely binding to any candidate and at best they have a bit of symbolic value. But that symbolic value is important here. This document indicates that the apparatus of the GOP, at least in this single state, has become one with the lunatic fringe. This is literally a laundry list of Glenn Beck's pet projects over the past year: ACORN, the Fairness Doctrine, "card check", cap-and-trade, the favored interpretation of the 10th Amendment among people who have no idea what the 10th Amendment means, and a thick coating of Patriot/Militiaman jargon. You have to see the whole thing for yourself, but some of the highlights include:

1. The downright bizarre, such as repealing the Law of the Sea Treaty and the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child. If you are ever confused about whether or not you belong to a fringe group and/or are a lunatic, do this simple test: ask yourself "Do I have a strong and negative opinion about something called the Law of the Sea Treaty?" If yes, seek counseling. (If you haven't guessed, this is a pet issue for brainwashing homeschooling advocates.)

2. Whole sections that sound like Ron Paul masturbating, including "Return to the principles of Austrian Economics" – as if any of these assheads have ever read an economics textbook in their lives – and "Pass and implement Fed bill #1207 (Introduced by Ron Paul), to Audit the Federal Reserve, as the first step in Ending the Fed." Good luck with that.

3. Efforts to win the hearts and minds of working voters, like "Clarify that healthcare is not a right. It is a service." and "Reassert the principle that 'Freedom of Religion' does not mean 'freedom from religion'." Don't forget to "eliminate the Department of Education." Then kick back and watch the votes roll in.

4. Pure, unadulterated paranoia that sounds as if written by the Montana Freemen with a quick revision or two by Terry Nichols. "Repeal and prohibit any participation in efforts to create a one world government." "Restore 'Constitutional law' as the basis for the Judiciary." (It sounds so legit when 'Constitutional law' is in quotes.) "Oppose any and all treaties with the UN or any other organization or country which surrenders US sovereignty." And of course, "investigate collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth, and prosecute any illegal collusion." I had no idea that anti-regulation "industry" was participating in "collusion" to propagate the myth of climate change.

Like many people who are far removed from it, I am fascinated by the extreme right. I mean, just read their manifestos and their "tax protester" legal logic. To do so is to stare in wonder at the people who can not only imagine this shit but also believe it. Sure, most of it is just buzzwords (say "Sovereign" and "natural rights" a lot and you're golden on the militia lecture circuit) from people who lack the intellectual firepower to understand the comics let alone the Constitution. But upon closer examination it really is quite amazing the web of delusions they have managed to create. They are like a thousand Tolkiens, each with an entire fantasy universe inside their heads.

Fortunately one needn't dig quite as deep to find this kind of material anymore. As Maine and the Teabagging movement in general have proven, this kind of incoherent babble from America's future Federal courthouse bombers is becoming quite mainstream.