Welcome to Repugnut Thoughts pt 3.
Last time we took a trip to Fantasy Land to explore a trio of fairy tales (2 of theirs, 1 of mine) that sought to explain why Willard lost when almost every factor (and wingnut pundit) indicated it should have been a landslide.
This time, we come back down to the “real” (sort of) world.
“The 47% Strikes Back” Problem!
Wouldn’t you know it? Here’s poor Willard: relaxed, speaking off the cuff to some of his peers. Doing something he never does in public – “letting his hair down” so-to-speak. Telling his “big buck buds” how he really feels about the rest of the country.
And then some damn wage slave has to go and ruin the whole thing by catching it on phone cam.
The video may be out of focus and blurred, but the audio isn’t!
In itself, this was a disaster. What made it even worse, was that it reinforced Willard’s “we’re better than you peasants” image. The image was quite a bit self-inflicted: Little things like “Some of my friends are NASCAR owners”; $10,000 bets; my wife owns 2 cadillacs; ad infinitum. (Well, maybe not that many, but a lot.) Team Obama piled on early in the campaign, taking a page out of Clinton’s reelection campaign against Bob Dole.
By the time the vid was released, a lot of people were already beginning to wonder if Willard could even relate to their problems, let alone fix them. All in all, this didn’t do anything to convince them that Willard was “their man”.
To be fair, in this case, Willard wasn’t the disease, he was simply the symptom. He really didn’t say anything that a large (and fervent) segment of Repugs doesn’t believe in its “heart-of-hearts”. (There’s a bit of irony involved in this and I’ll get to it in a few paragraphs.)Plus, it must be true, cause Willard and the troglodytes heard it on Faux Noise.
Before we move along, let’s take a look at that “freeloading 47%”. I think you will find that it’s not quite like Willard made it sound.Oh, and look where the “freeloading 47%” are concentrated. (Irony foreshadow #2).
This is the “Ayn Rand” brand of conservatism down to its filthy core.
Ms. Rand, who is beloved by the greedy rich, Paulie Ryan, the Pauls (Ron & Rand) and the libertarian lugnuts on the right. Ms Rand, who made her name dividing the country into “producers” and “takers” and blaming all its problems on “takers”. Ms Rand, who spent her last years as one of her own despised “takers”, living on Social Security and welfare.
While there are a lot of “dirty-handed” Dems when it comes to coddling the rich, the Republicans were, and the Repuglicans are, masters of the art. One quick example:
We all (or at least most of us) have heard the urban legend of the tax-hating Repuglicans. They despise taxes when they stumble out of bed in the morning, they abhor taxes while partaking of their 3 drink lunches, they loathe taxes as they’re putting on their “jam-jams” for “beddy-bye”. The Regublicans hate all taxes in any way, shape, form or fragrance. Every chance to stop a tax or lower an existing one, they’ll grab it. (“Grover Norquist’s Pledge” and all that cow crap.)
At least that’s the way the legend goes. As with most legends, there is a touch of truth to it, and as with most legends, a heaping helping of horseshit. The Repug’s are anti-tax. That is, they’re anti-tax if you’re rich. Poor or middle class? Not nearly so much!
The latest examples of how Repuglicans really feel about their betters, several red states, led by Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana and Sam Brownback’s Kansas (Kansas? Why is it always Kansas?) want to eliminate personal and corporate income taxes and “take up the slack” with sales taxes. (Quick disclaimer: My state, Oregon, doesn’t levy sales taxes, but believe me, they still get their money.)
That’s a hell of a great idea! Don’t take part of a man’s hard-earned paycheck, just tax him on the things he buys.
The problem, of course is that like almost all recent Repugnut ideas, this one looks ripe, but smells rotten. Sales taxes tend to be very regressive. Instead of going into a long-winded explanation as to why, I’ll just give you the link and show you a chart on Jindal’s gift to his financial backers:
Bobby and Sam have been joined (so far) by:
- Nebraska’s Governor, Dave Heineman, who has introduced a bill to eliminate several taxes, including individual and small businesses.
- The Governor of “Okie-home” (If you don’t want to be stereotyped, don’t act like one.) Mary Fallin wants income tax cuts.
- Missouri lawmakers are plotting to “reform” their tax code. (In guess whose favor?)
And, let’s take a look at the “fiscal cliff” episode. (You remember that! It was in all the papers.) The Republicans tried to make their case that they were standing up for the “American taxpayer” in their resistance to ending the Bush temporary tax cuts for the rich. However, they had no problem whatsoever with letting the middle class payroll tax go back up.
Or check out the Ryan Plan, so beloved by the Repugs:Paulie also wants to eliminate, or at least, severely cut tax deductions for mortgage interest, health insurance premiums and charitable contributions. (I could be wrong, but it seems to me that eliminating deductions has pretty much the same effect as raising taxes.)
You get the picture, Repuglicans are lackeys for the rich. (So are more than a few Dems, but the Repugs are more blatant about it.) This has become a dominant feature of their “brand”. Of course, any commentary on this inevitably brings on charges of “Class Warfare”. (Why is it only “Class Warfare” when you fight back?)
Factor in the Bush Recession that hit the poor and middle class hard, while mostly skipping the filthy rich. Stir that with the “Occupy Movement”, which drew attention to the increasing financial disparity. Then throw in the poster boy for the Plutocratic class. Season with “..corporations are people“, a tax rate half of what most people pay (and that’s just from the bitty part of his tax returns he’s shown us) a car elevator, etc., etc. And, PRESTO! you get Willard losing large.
As for the foreshadowed irony: Surprisingly, the 47% comment didn’t hurt Willard too much in the states that had the most “takers” Out of the bottom 10, he only lost Florida and New Mexico. But then, that’s the South for ya. (Dum, di dum dum, DUMB!)
In a small bit of unforeshadowed irony, Willard’s final vote percentage was approximately 47%. (47.19%, to be precise.)
So, if the Repugnut brand reeks of bathroom sex with the rich, (Guess who’s the sub?) how do you change that perception?
The Ol’ Misdirection Play:
You take the Bobby Jindal route. At the same time that he was planning to piss on the poor even more, Brother Bobby was telling the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting attendees “We are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes or big anything. We must not be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys … We are the party whose ideas will help the middle class, and help more folks join the middle class.”
Care to guess which action got the most coverage?
One final 47% diversion before we proceed to more grave matters:
On several occasions during the primaries, Steve Schmidt (John McCain’s 2000 Campaign Manager) stated that according to the polls, the country was divided 47% Reps & 47% Dems. That being the case, he said that the election would be decided on the remaining independent 6%. If he was right, and I believe that he was, Obama picked up 68% of the independents, 3rd party candidates grabbed 19% and Willard got 3%.
And, speaking of those pesky voters:
When I started researching this section, what I had assumed would be about an 750-800 word section, kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I finally decided that it would be better served with a post devoted entirely to the subject. So, in this section, I’m just going to hit some of the lowlights. I’ll cover the entire spectrum, especially the red end, of “voter fraud” as soon as I clean up my backlog of posts that I’m already late with. This one included.
Under the guise of a crusade against MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD, (13 cases of in-person voter impersonation out of 649,000,000 votes cast between 2000 and 2010.) Repuglicans have been pushing voter I.D. laws and other forms of vote suppression. Almost everyone is in favor of honest elections, so this is a pretty easy sell. The problem is, that the remedies seem to disenfranchise a disproportionate number of people who don’t normally vote for Repuglicans.
The elderly, the poor, students and minorities are less likely to have valid, state issued IDs. Together, they make up about 12% of the voting-age population and a number of those states that enacted voter I.D. laws, do not make it easy to get valid I.D.s. Depending on the state in question a birth certificate copy costs between $10 and $45. Passports cost $85 and naturalization papers cost $20. Then there are more than a few of the elderly that for one reason or another, do not have access to a birth certificate.
Back at the turn of the last century a number of southern states enforced a poll tax to prevent poor people, and black people from voting. Modern voter ID laws, with their costs, are essentially a 21st Century poll tax as quite a few of the poor, elderly and minorities will not vote due to not having proper state issued ID.
In case there is the slightest doubt as to the Repugnuts’ true motives, here’s Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Mike Turzai speaking at a House committee meeting last June 23rd (2012).
There were several other Repuglican strategies to limit the opposition’s vote count. For instance, Florida tried its damnedest to curtail voter registration, not to mention purging any suspected potential fraudulent voter from the polls. (By a very surprising coincidence, almost all of the future frauders were in mostly Democratic areas.) The state also cut early voting, including “Souls to the Polls” Sunday. (Chance a guess who that mostly affected?) Fortunately, the courts stepped in on that one. To top that off, Florida made standing in line to vote, an all day operation in a lot of unfriendly precincts.
The irony of all this was that there was a massive voter fraud effort in Florida. It was perpetrated by Nathan Sproul and his Strategic Allied Consultants, a GOP hired consulting firm that submitted “hundreds of faked voter registrations”, according to the Florida Department of State.
For more on Nate and his various adventures, check out this NYT article.
There’s also quite a bit more information on voter fraud here.
And, while I’m on the subject of voter suppression, there is an argument for limiting the vote in one of my earlier posts: Too Many People Vote!. (Available as always, just a click away.) I guaranty Repugs won’t like it, because it doesn’t discriminate against minorities, the poor, women or Democrats in general. It just might affect the Repug voting base just a teeny bit, but that’s just collateral damage since it will hit a few Dems as well. (Or are the Dems, the collateral damage? ….eh, well, 27 of one, 3 cubed of the other.) Anyway, check out the post. I think you just might agree with a good deal of it.
The “Matthew 7:16” Problem
I’m sure that more than a few of you have run into the 553 error notification when trying to communicate. For those of us from the Cretaceous (snail-mail) age, it’s the computer version of “Return to sender”!
Sorry, just couldn’t resist slipping a little Elvis in.
This one is a perennial favorite with the Repugs. No matter who they run, or how much the candidate kow-tows to the “Party Line”, when they end up losing, it’s because “the message didn’t get through to the voters”. This excuse is absolutely hilarious! Republican “Doctors of Spinology” are incredibly effective at getting their message across. They’ve been convincing people to vote against their own self-interests for decades. Plus, as everyone’s grandpa used to say, “Actions speak louder than words!”
The problem isn’t that the message didn’t get across. The problem is that it did!
This is the “Matthew 7:16” problem: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (And, I ain’t talkin’ “Log Cabin Republicans”, so get your mind out of the gutter.)
As every society advances (or at least when it advances) there is always a segment that rebels against progress. The kind that think “The old ways were good enough for me, so they’re good enough for everybody else!” (You know, like when white men ran everything and everybody else knew their place.Or else!!) A lot of pundits have commented about the Republican Platform taking us back to the 1950’s, but if you seek the source of some of their ideas, you have to go a lot further back then that.
Several early examples of what Republicans in 2012 had devolved into (Repuglicans), came not from the the candidates themselves, but from their constituency.
In light of the above (and other) incidents,It’s not surprising that the Repug “brand” continued to lose market share as the debates dragged on.
And, of course, since the candidates had to seduce this crowd or never make it to the finals, they all (except Huntsman) tried to position themselves to the right of the rest. Sometimes, it got hilarious watching them stumble over each other scrambling for the title of “MOST CONSERVATIVE”. Not that any of the candidates were that “great shakes” anyway. As Huntsman said later, “….the barriers of entry to this game are pretty damn low.”
The fun (sort of) part of all this, was that the whole country was watching. The Repugs had decided to hold a record number of
clown…..I mean candidate debates, in a year when the 1st string (Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, et al) all decided to sit it out. As a result almost every primary candidate got their “15 minutes of fame”. What they did with it sank the party even more.
At one point, even Herman Cain (‘ol “Niner-Niner-Niner) was leading the pack. I mean, come on, ol’ Herm may have a future as a stand-up comic, but President? I don’t think so! Then there were Repugs like Todd Akin, Allen West, Sister Sarah, Michele Bachmann and Joe Walsh: all tea potty faves, but they scared the shit out of the rest of the country.
So, between the primaries, the debates, the loose cannons and the billion dollar ad/smear campaign, you have to admit the Repuglican message got through loud and clear. Most of the country just wasn’t buying it.
Double Down, Double Dumb
This is a tough, almost impossible, problem to solve. In the end, it may well be the primary factor in the regionalization and final dissolution of the party. (I’ll explore that in the next (last) episode.) This is where you run headlong into the hardcore “true believers”. The same people that knew it was going to be a Willard landslide and they were going to take back the senate and expand the house. The same people who booed the gay soldier, cheered the excessive Texas executions, that thought letting the uninsured die without treatment was a great idea. The same people who think the word from Bullshit Mountain is pure gospel and all of the rest is “liberal media lies”.
The base of the problem is that the Republican Party no longer controls the Repuglican Party.
Quick! Name the head of the Republican Party! Sorry, it ain’t Reinhold Reince Priebus. (Years ago in Portland there was a TV Pitchman who earned the sobriquet “The Weasel”. Damn if Reinhold doesn’t bring him to mind.)
It sure as hell isn’t John Boehner. Not after the disaster of “Plan B”. Mitch McConnell is too damn scared of being “primaried”, let alone face an actress in the general to be the “Man-in-charge”.
The head of the Republican Party is not an elected politician. And no, it’s not Grover Norquist, or Karl Rove, or Billo the Clown, or even Rushbo.
Roger Ailes is Boss Bull on Bullshit Mountain. While Karl (Turd Blossom) Rove may have an in with a lot of rich twitches, Rush (“Will somebody please find my meds!”) Limbaugh may have his dodo heads, and Grover (He was cuter on Sesame Street.) Norquist may have his “taxaphobics”, Roger’s Realm covers the entire spectrum of the low-information, mentally lazy portion of the population. (Aka: the Republican Base and fellow travelers.)
Over the last few months there have been a number of pundits commenting on “the bubble”. Fox is the bubble!
This is where the fantasy fountain spews forth its magical myst of misinformation, misdirection and plain, old-fashioned smoke and mirrors.
Fox is the reason that the right (from Willard on over) got blindsided when the voting results came in. All those months, (years really) Fox had been feeding them this worldview that had very little basis in reality. And, because it appealed to their preconceived notions, they bought it hook, line and sinker. What they did, essentially, was outsource their thinking! The funny (hilarious, actually) thing about it is that a lot of Fox’s own bought into it as well, not to mention a lot of other people (like Karl & Willard) who should have known better.
Bullshit Mountain claims (of course) to be all about news (fair & balanced and all that bull flop). What they are is a classic example of a propaganda machine. If the NY Times motto is “All the news that’s fit to print.” BS Mtn’s is “All the news that fits our view. (And, if it don’t, then make it!)“
Since Faux Noise is the “voice of the burning bush” to the loco yokels that comprise the majority of the Repuglican base, whatever the line of the day is, they follow it pretty much in lock step.
I cover Rog a bit in “The Tea Potty (pt 8: Players & Takers)“, and sometime soon (relatively) I’m going to devote a whole post to him. But now, he’s just part of the story.
Wrap time for this episode. There’s a bunch more to be said about Rog, BS Mtn, and the wingnut media, and I will next time around in “Repugnut Thoughts (pt. 4: THE FINAL SOLUTION)” I’ll also cover the final fate of the Repuglicans as well the future of the tea potty. Spoiler Alert: They’ll be back! (The baggers, not the pachyderms.)
Stay tuned sports fans.
p.s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, check out my FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might just enjoy it. Better yet, you might “like” it. I’d love it if you did.It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).