Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Great Month to be a Republican ... not.

"I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it." -- John Stuart Mill


It's not a great time to be a Republican (not that any time is). You have today's defection of Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party. With the presumed seating of Franken in Minnesota, you have a filibuster-proof 60. As usual, the party leaders responded with class and decorum:

- Minority leader Mitch McConnel says that Specter's switch is a "threat to the country".

- Rush Limbaugh - "Take McCain and his daughter with you"

- RNC Chairman Michael Steele - "Senator Specter didn't leave the GOP based on principles of any kind."


Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer


A few weeks ago, it was the "astroturf" grassroots populism of the Tea Parties. Grassroots, my ass. I understand the sentiment of the "fair tax" crowd (though I don't agree with it). But the Tea Parties had nothing to do with that. It was something much uglier. From Tea Parties and Teleprompters by David Michael Green:

... I suppose you could find a less spontaneous, less authentic expression of public sentiment if you looked really hard - perhaps by going to the latest Hannah Montana movie, for example - but I don't think it would be very easy. Fox (Hardly Any) News literally ran about a hundred segments on the tea parties in advance of the magical date, a promotional tsunami masquerading as news reporting that would've made any Soviet minister of propaganda blush.

I suppose you could also find political elements more incoherent and less grounded in reality if you tried really hard ... If the low rent, low IQ, low on laundry detergent (non) masses attending these events looked familiar, it was because we saw them on the campaign trail last year, angrily spouting utter fabrications and fulminating their vaguely anti-government screeds at Sarah Palin rallies. What they lack in quality dental care or concern about the health effects of obesity, they fully make up for in sheer gullibility and lumpen selfishness masquerading as vulgar capitalism.

My favorite bit from the coverage of the tea parties was the inadvertent reality intrusion episode, where some smart-ass got up at one of the rallies, got the crowd all excited about taxes and deficits, and then asked them to applaud Barack Obama for cutting their taxes. That little bit of cognitive dissonance produced a long, pregnant, troubled pause, and you could almost hear the rusty gears in their brains jamming into one another, screeching like a subway train, and ultimately shattering from sheer lack of prior use, as the attendees decided to stick with their advance programming after all, booing the mention of the shifty Negro in the White House despite the fact that he is cutting their taxes, just like they claim to want him to.

On the other hand, perhaps the most amazing sight of all was the Republican governor of Texas ... not so vaguely hinting at the possibility that Texas might secede from the union, and falsely claiming that the state had a special legal right to do so ...

Of course, only if deceit happens to be a moral problem need one worry about the hypocrisy of all these red states bitching about taxes and the oppressive federal government while simultaneously receiving far more dollars from Washington than they kick in...

... All of this is emblematic, of course, of a political movement in utter free fall, and completely lacking any sense whatsoever of what to do about it. This week it was tea parties. Before that, he was Obama bowing to the Saudi king. Before that, it was the president giving the Queen of England an iPod. Or was it the fact that he uses Teleprompters when he speaks?

A perusal of some of the signs at these Tea Parties will give you an idea of what they were really about: 10 Most Offensive Tea Party Signs. The Phoenix events were among the most disgusting.

And if you need more proof of the fact that a lot of conservatives do not get when they are being made fun of - from an Ohio State University Study:

This study investigated biased message processing of political satire in The Colbert Report and the influence of political ideology on perceptions of Stephen Colbert. Results indicate that political ideology influences biased processing of ambiguous political messages and source in late-night comedy ... There was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism ...


12 comments:

josh said...

Love the colbert study.

I found out the other day somebody I know went to a Tea Party Rally because "Hopefully someday I'll be so rich my taxes would go up".

Sigh....

Laura said...

I enjoy watching the GOP crash and burn. It's humorous to watch them react like 9-year old in a school yard. I mean, when your "leadership" and your "base" is represented by Limbaugh, Steele, and Palin, you got problems.

dbackdad said...

Conservative radio host Michael Smerconish's take on how the party is acting is telling - "He is what the party needed to be. They need to cultivate more Specters instead of deriding him as a RINO [Republican In Name Only].... The fact that Michael Steele is deriding him for his left wing record is just the same type of bullshit of playing to the base."

Scott said...

Republicans are so silly. We can't trust the government with our money, but when it comes to torturing people in secret camps, A-OKAY! No questions asked!

I mean look, I'm all for abolishing taxes, but these are the same people who want us to fight three international wars and a multi-billion dollar drug war at home. And now we're suppose to believe they care about fiscal responsibility. Micheal Steele probably is right about Arlen switching for survival rather than principle, but please don't try and tell me any Republicans (other than Ron Paul of course) have an ounce of principle that they hold to.

dbackdad said...

Scott - I really wanted to make sure that I wasn't generalizing it too much. I know there are plenty of people who went to the Tea Parties on principle ... and I respect that. But, I believe, far more went because they were told to or because they hate Obama. And, in general, if Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity advocate something, then a person's best course of action is to do the exact opposite and you'll usually be on the correct side.

Scott said...

I know a few people who went, but some what begrudgingly. Most of my libertarian friends recognized it for the hypocritical nonsense it was. I mean Fox News was involved, soooooo..........

Beck is pretty frustrating. On the one hand he says some pretty appealing things from a libertarian perspective, on the other hand he's called Ron Paul supporters "terrorists" and is one of the most obnoxious personalities on television. Hannity? Well I'm only about 5% kidding when I say I wouldn't mind seeing the man hung for treason.

dbackdad said...

From Olbermann a few days ago, two more beacons of a Republican future: Worst Person(s) in the World

Laura said...

Just in case you want to read the full study:

The Irony of Satire: Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report

http://hij.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/14/2/212

greatwhitebear said...

First, I have to tell you, judging by all the commentary from the under thirty five crowd on facebook, Michelle Bachmann may be the best thing to ever happen to the Democrats.

Now for the really important question... When are you going to review "The Soloist"? I am eally anxious to see your views on the performances of Foxx and Downey Jr,

dbackdad said...

GWB - I have a lot of pent-up movie reviews. Just saw Star Trek last night and loved it. I'm going to try and bash out a few reviews this weekend.

wunelle said...

I hadn't seen this until now. Great little summary of collected conservative lunacy.

I find continual reinforcement for the idea that the standard American news outlets (that is, most newspapers and broadcast TV) are irrelevant--worse than irrelevant, cancerous. I miss a lot of this stuff because I just refuse to plug into the standard info grid.

dbackdad said...

Wunelle - I absolutely cannot stomach TV news any more ... and I'm not just talking about outlets like FOX. I cannot stand CNN or the networks any more. I will tape specific shows like Olbermman or Maddow but if I see some Republican wingnut, it's usually because I've viewed some clip of them on the web.