Exposing the Puke Funnel For What It Is

Ruh roh. Looks like some people are getting a look behind the curtain:

The controversy illustrates the influence of right-wing Web sites like the one run by Andrew Breitbart, the blogger who initially posted the misleading and highly edited video, which he later said had been sent to him already edited. (Similarly, Mr. Breitbart used edited videos to go after Acorn, the community organizing group.) Politically charged stories often take root online before being shared with a much wider audience on Fox. The television coverage, in turn, puts pressure on other news media outlets to follow up.

***

Fox News began its pursuit of Ms. Sherrod in prime time on Monday night on three successive opinion shows that reached at least three million people. Leading off, Mr. O’Reilly asked on his top-rated program, “Is there racism in the Department of Agriculture?” He discussed the tape, plugged Mr. Breitbart’s Web site and demanded that Ms. Sherrod resign immediately.

By the time Mr. O’Reilly’s remarks, which were taped in the afternoon, were broadcast, Ms. Sherrod had indeed resigned, a development that Fox’s next host, Mr. Hannity, treated as breaking news at the beginning of his show. He played a short part of what he called the “shocking” video from Mr. Breitbart, and later discussed the development with a panel of guests, mentioning the N.A.A.C.P.’s recent accusations of racism within the conservative Tea Party movement.

“It is interesting they just lectured the Tea Party movement last week,” Mr. Hannity said, telegraphing a talking point that would come up repeatedly on other shows.

Now if they can just recognize that this is how every ginned up nontroversy from ACORN to the NBPP story is promoted, we will have made some real progress.

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47 replies
  1. 1
    Kryptik says:

    Now if they can just recognize that this is how every ginned up nontroversy from ACORN to the NBPP story is promoted, we will have made some real progress.

    Don’t worry, they’ll be following up with complaints about how Journolist tarred Palin and created the assumptions about her intelligence and being a quitter out of whole cloth, and then act like it’s a bigger scandal. Because you know, Journolist was such a big fucking thing of shadow media.

  2. 2
    Michael says:

    Fox News began its pursuit of Ms. Sherrod in prime time on Monday night on three successive opinion shows that reached at least three million people.

    Can we talk about this bullshit “reach” number that propaganda organs like Fox and Fats Limbaugh like to crow about so much?

    Fats has reach numbers of 15,000,000 a week. In reality, that means that 3,000,000 tards are listening to him 5 days in a row. Fox has a million watchers in a given day, but 3,000,000 views over the lifecycle of a story does not translate to 3,000,000 sets of eyes – it means that the 1,000,000 regular viewers are rubbing one out to the same news cycle over and over and over again.

  3. 3
    Violet says:

    People like Breitbart are media terrorists, as I said in the thread below. They hope to create fear, muddle, confusion and influence action. It’s worked for a long time. But this time when he threw a big bomb, a lot of it blew up on him.

    As with most terrorists, the best way to deal with him is to ignore him, clean up the mess and be vigilant in not allowing it to happen again. Don’t give him attention; that’s what he and any other terrorists want.

    Perhaps the media will learn something from this. I’m not holding my breath.

  4. 4
    me says:

    I believe O’Reilly’s show is taped, so he probably, despite protests to the contrary, said that before she resigned.

  5. 5
    YellowJournalism says:

    Just curious, as I no longer have cable news (and am saner for it), did O’Reilly, Hannity, or anyone send out an apology following the revelations that she was innocent of any acts of racism?

    I don’t count them going after the administration for firing her as an apology.

  6. 6
    Montysano says:

    Now if they can just recognize that this is how every ginned up nontroversy from ACORN to the NBPP story is promoted, we will have made some real progress.

    The best we can probably hope for is that the 27%-ers just became the 24%-ers. But I’ll take what I can get.

    Shirley Sherrod’s father was shot — in the back — by a white farmer, who was never charged with a crime. Sherrod’s life work was assisting, among others, white farmers. I’m in awe of that level of grace and forgiveness.

  7. 7
    David in NY says:

    This is why the Times’s editorial today placing entire blame on the Administration is so infuriating, and, I might add, hypocritical. The Times and the rest of the media, including, but hardly limited to, Fox, enabled Breitbart in his ACORN fraud. Of course, the Times has yet to acknowledge its culpability in this regard. But having given Breitbart’s lies that kind of power, the Times now criticizes those who shy away when he comes out with another superheated charge.

    In pointing its finger solely at the Administration, and not at Breitbart, the propaganda press, and the mainstream press, including itself, the Times has really distorted what happened here.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07.....editorials

  8. 8
    CalD says:

    I’m so glad the Obama administration decided to come clean on this immediately. If not, the entire focus of the story would still be about them and the people who actually perpetrated the scam would be able to slither away scott-free in the confusion (again). As it is though, by stepping up and taking their lumps they’ve made it a lot more likely that Fox and Breitbart will take a few as well this time.

    Does anyone know if Sherrod has a libel case here, BTW?

  9. 9
    RS says:

    Why is no one concerned with who sent Breitbart the tape?
    I mean, even taking Breitbart at his word that he isn’t the guy who edited it, there seems to be a consensus that whoever actually edited the tape is a bonafide racist asshole. It’s not like there were copies of this thing floating around, so whoever got it and edited it was on a mission.

    I wonder if the reason Breitbart isn’t revealing that is because its a Republican Party operative. I think it’d be irresponsible not to speculate.

  10. 10
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    Now if they can just recognize that this is how every ginned up nontroversy from ACORN to the NBPP story is promoted, we will have made some real progress.

    I suppose Obama did campaign on “hope”…

  11. 11
    ruemara says:

    Haha! I’ve read several comments, blogs and listened 2 callers, all calling for Obama to step down at the end of his term because of his failure on the Sherrod issue. You have much more faith than I do that the damage is being done to the right people.

  12. 12
    ppcli says:

    It’s good that this is giving a peek behind the curtain, and this will no doubt be a healthy development, but I do think that the emphasis on race here is a trojan horse from the right. They would like nothing better than to argue back and forth about “racism” in the abstract.

    What is lost in all of this is that Sherrod is evidently a spectacular, dedicated civil servant – the kind of person that the right tries to erase by sneering every time they say “bureaucrat”. The fact is that *she* was the one who did what it took to save the Spooner’s farm, while the private attorney – you know, the one who was being *paid* to help – was just taking his fee and giving worthless, indifferent advice in return. This simple story encapsulates the emptiness of the “free market good/government bad” myth that the right wing since Reagan have done so much to hammer in to public conciousness. And it is government like this that the right have expended untold efforts to destroy since the New Deal.

    It is true that Sherrod was treated unjustly, and of course race was a factor in choosing her as a victim, but it is also true that in getting her fired, the right wing noise machine was harming the many people she was in a position to help. We should hammer away at that for awhile. Without people like Sherrod, where would people like the Spooners turn?

  13. 13
    David in NY says:

    @RS: Because, probably, no one believes a word Breitbart says.

  14. 14
    Bob L says:

    @Montysano:

    Shirley Sherrod’s father was shot —in the back— by a white farmer, who was never charged with a crime. Sherrod’s life work was assisting, among others, white farmers. I’m in awe of that level of grace and forgiveness.

    Not really, Sherrod is inflicting a worse revenge upon those white farmers my making them dependent of government’ aid from a BLACK PERSON!!!! OZMGODS. It is the noble REAL American yeoman farmer that is the cornerstone of the REAL American society. By helping them out on the flimsy excuse the economics are against them she’s refundiates this country over to GAY MUSLIM ATHEISTS COMMUNISTS FASCHIMSS!!

    /wingnut rant

  15. 15
    danimal says:

    The best we can probably hope for is that the 27%-ers just became the 24%-ers. But I’ll take what I can get.

    No, the 27%ers are still 27%.

    But this killed a lot of the Fox/Breitbart credibility among right-leaning independents. That group really doesn’t like being played for fools. That’s why this event is a disaster for conservatives.

  16. 16
    Peter says:

    OT, but speaking of nontroversies: Huffpo is still pushing that Warren vs Geithner angle. Even though the second paragraph of that very article quotes him as saying that “she would be a very effective leader of that institution”. It then goes on to quote him for paragraphs agreeing with her, with the only bad word he has to say about her that he ‘doesn’t agree with all the conclusions she reaches’.

    And then it immediately turns around and insists that ‘Nevertheless, it seems likely that the only way Warren will get the job is if Geithner is overruled.’

    There are ridiculous spin doctors and nontroversy-pushers on the left as well as the right. The only difference is the ones on the right are better at it.

  17. 17
    JCT says:

    @ppcli:

    It is true that Sherrod was treated unjustly, and of course race was a factor in choosing her as a victim, but it is also true that in getting her fired, the right wing noise machine was harming the many people she was in a position to help. We should hammer away at that for awhile. Without people like Sherrod, where would people like the Spooners turn?

    Haven’t you been paying attention? The Republican party will save them by cutting taxes on the wealthy! And then it will all trickle down to the Spooners (any day now). All without SOCIALISM!

    Yes the inherent cynicism is breathtaking.

    All I can say is that *this* time these assholes really picked a bad target. As someone else said, maybe we have a “have you no decency” moment. It would be most welcome.

  18. 18
    Jennifer says:

    @RS: This is why I’d like to see a lawsuit. We might get some of those answers. We also might not; Breitbart might try to falsely claim the privilege of a “journalist” in not revealing his “source” – but that wouldn’t get him off the hook for pushing something with malicious intent without verifying its veracity. That’s what’s expected of “journalists”.

    Also, I haven’t read the linked piece yet, but…do they ever get to the part where they admit that pretty much the ENTIRE MEDIA picks up these things and flogs them, also without verifying their veracity?

    People ask why everyone is focusing on the White House instead of Breitbart. This is why. Focusing on Breitbart shines an unfortunate spotlight on the general lack of competence in our media at large.

  19. 19
    feebog says:

    Why is no one concerned with who sent Breitbart the tape?

    Because Breitbart is a lying sack of shit. No one sent him the tape. He got it, thought he could do the same kind of hit job he and his buddy Andrew did on ACORN and had at it.

    If indeed someone did send him the tape, the onus is on Breitbart to prove it.

  20. 20
    Kryptik says:

    @danimal:

    But this killed a lot of the Fox/Breitbart credibility among right-leaning independents. That group really doesn’t like being played for fools. That’s why this event is a disaster for conservatives.

    I’ll believe that when I see it.

  21. 21
    ksmiami says:

    They really are **itheads. I realized in the early 90s with the Clinton defamation that the Right NEVER builds anything positive, they are all tear down destroyers all the time. Once people see what is behind the curtain – the hate, the greed and the anger, most decent Americans will run screaming for the door cause it turns out we like things like parks, roads and a fair shake. And none of these are promoted by the GOP.

    I am of the strong belief that the quicker the GOP dies like the Whig party, and takes along with it the odious rightwing media, the better off we will be as a nation. I mean sure, you will have your pockets of cretins here and there, but they will not be polluting the airwaves and slandering good people like Ms. Sherrod anymore.

  22. 22

    No one could have possibly foreseen that taking a fRightWing meth abuser’s word on anything would result in a face-full of putrid egg yolk!

    Whatever. If they want to keep pushing “Obama is a racist” it won’t be the lamest way they’ve wasted their time. (Nothing will top Birfitis.)

  23. 23
    sven says:

    Josh has a good post on the issue up at TPM

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.c.....?ref=fpblg

    I don’t know that there has been a better refutation of the ‘liberal bias’ in the MSM than the Sherrod mess. It isn’t just that the ‘liberal’ network news and print outlets participated in the smear. All of the major players correctly identify Sherrod’s firing as unfair but none of them want to touch the role of the media in the affair.

    It’s like running a story stating ‘Today in Dallas, President Kennedy was suddenly rushed to the hospital after the Secret Service became seriously concerned about his health’.

    ABC is even running a gauzy story so we can ‘get to know Andrew Breitbart’.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Nightlin.....d=11219422

  24. 24
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @ksmiami:

    the quicker the GOP dies like the Whig party

    This is never going to happen, we need to let go of this fantasy. The Whig party died because it tried to straddle the cultural divide between North and South and as true northern and southern factions developed in the other parties the Whigs were left as being neither fish nor fowl and everybody’s second choice at best.

    In contrast today’s GOP is an emphatically southern party. There has always been a party of the cultural south in US history. Today’s GOP is not going to go away. At best (from our point of view) they will be like the Democratic party circa 1865-1911, relegated to a regional ghetto and having little influence at a national level except in a purely reactionary manner, except every now and then when the opposition is weak and they manage to produce a Grover Cleveland like figure to take advantage of the opportunity.

  25. 25
    p.a. says:

    I don’t know, John. I think the John Cole’s of the country have already decamped. The remainder are the evidence-proof; like the evangelicals The Slactivist wrote about re: Proctor and Gamble and Satan-worship, or the news from the last few weeks on how modern ‘conservatives’ process evidence challenging their ideology (ignore it or blame it on liberal bias).

  26. 26
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    The best I’m hoping for out of this NYT piece is that it gives Howie Kurtz a sad. And I’m so petty that it will be enough for me.

  27. 27
    Comrade Dread says:

    [That’s why this event is a disaster for conservatives.]

    Not really. They moved pretty effortlessly from “She’s a racist, fire her.” to “Why’d Obama fire her before all the facts were in?”

  28. 28
    Quiddity says:

    Brietbart is at least better than Drudge because he gets out and, as a result of his nonsense during interviews, manages to half-way discredit himself.

  29. 29
    Mike in NC says:

    ABC is even running a gauzy story so we can ‘get to know Andrew Breitbart’.

    No thank you!

    As I posted yesterday, FOX will soon have Hannity/Breitbart/O’Reilly as their prime time shitbird trifecta.

  30. 30
    Chad N Freude says:

    Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Andrew Breitbart. Actually, more than anyone wants to know.

  31. 31
    cleek says:

    @Comrade Dread:
    i’m not sure they’ve moved. well, maybe the pundits have moved. but The Base is still running with “she’s a racist“.

  32. 32
    Catsy says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    This is never going to happen, we need to let go of this fantasy. The Whig party died because it tried to straddle the cultural divide between North and South and as true northern and southern factions developed in the other parties the Whigs were left as being neither fish nor fowl and everybody’s second choice at best.

    Change past tense to future and replace “Whig” with “Republican” and this remains a fairly apt description. Contemporary Republicanism is doomed by demographics and the evolution of social progress, and they are just now starting to wake up to this fact. The conservative agenda, when fully and accurately described, is repugnant to most Americans, especially the mushy middle. As a consequence they have a very delicate balancing act to perform: they have to be conservative enough to appeal to their base, but appear moderate enough to appeal to independents who aren’t on board with the GOP’s neo-Confederate agenda and value system.

    The divide now is less between North and South as it is between insane and not. As others have noted, rather than having a conservative party and a liberal party, we now have a majority party with liberal and conservative wings and an opposition party that has completely gone over the cliff. As time goes on I think you’ll see more and more conservatives jumping ship to either become conservative Democrats/independents like John, or get fully on board with the teabaggers or another third party–the latter of whom will become increasingly irrelevant.

  33. 33
    Paul L. says:

    Fox caused Sherrod to resign before their coverage of her started?

    Fox wasn’t the prime mover in this affair, a fact which Stolberg reported.

    Unheard of! New York Times readers got to read about the actual role played by Fox, a highly influential player in our national discourse. Good lord! They got to see the Times report on the work of another news org! At the same time, they learned that Fox wasn’t quite the prime mover in this affair, a fact which may have escaped MSNBC’s viewers over the past few evenings. As readers can see in the quoted passage, Stolberg reports that Fox’s pursuit of this case only began on Monday night, after Sherrod had been fired. As far as we know, that is accurate.

    (On Monday night, Sherrod wasn’t mentioned by Glenn Beck at 5 PM; by Brit Baier at 6 PM; or by Shepard Smith at 7 PM. The coverage didn’t begin until late in O’Reilly’s program.)

  34. 34
    Fleas correct the era says:

    I don’t know that there has been a better refutation of the ‘liberal bias’ in the MSM than the Sherrod mess.

    The refudiations get betterer and betterer but Our Greatest National Media keep doing the same things. Don’t misunderestimate their ability to keep cringing away from the charge of being biased — except in favor of the rich right wing, that one’s OK — because they can keep this up for decades. (They already have.)

  35. 35
    flavortext says:

    This is a perfect example of why the government needs to actively work on behalf of minorities who have injustices committed against them. If a white person gets treated unfairly by a minority, FOX News, Breitbart, and the rest of the right wing noise machine go on the attack to correct the injustice, whether real or perceived. Just like it was in the pre-civil-rights era. (EDIT: By that I mean a white-male dominated conservative power structure.)

    If a minority is treated unfairly by a member of the white majority, however, who do they have? Groups like the NAACP, the SPLC, and thanks to various civil rights acts, the U.S. Government. At least that’s how it is supposed to work anyway. The fact that both the NAACP and the U.S. Government failed to defend Sherrod from an angry right wing dude looking for a scalp, or even verify that what Breitbart was accusing her of was true is appalling. I admire the fact that Obama wants to build a post-racial society, but let’s not forget that we are not there yet.

  36. 36
    Svensker says:

    @Paul L.:

    Oh, good grief. Shep Smith deliberately didn’t mention it because he didn’t “trust the source” — he said so after it was all over. Shep is one of the sane ones at Fox.

    For the timeline on who did what when see Media Matters

    And, of course, Fox didn’t do it all by their little own selves. Breitbart pushed it, and Fox’s megaphone started blaring, along with lots of other little megaphones. Doocy, Kelly, O’Reilly and Hannity all went after the story hammer and tongs. They loved it. A nigrah hatin’ on whayte peeple, dayum! They were licking their chops.

    The right wing is trying to weasel it’s way out of this one, but there’s not much wiggle room. Breitbart, Fox, and the O Admin were all wrong. The O Admin has apologized and tried to make restitution. Breitbart and Fox? Yeah, still waiting for that apology. Why, I may still be waiting 10 years from now! Hoocoodanode?

  37. 37
    Toast says:

    A funnel takes something that’s spread out and concentrates it. I think of FOX and the rest of the right’s media infrastructure as more of a Puke Sprinkler.

  38. 38
    frankdawg says:

    Yes, I am sure, now that this has been pointed out to everyone in the media, that this sort of hysterical reaction to to a shitstorm created in the rightwing cesspool will never happen again.

    I know it won’t because my good friend, the Tooth fairy said so today at lunch and The Easter Bunny agreed.

  39. 39
    frankdawg says:

    @Paul L.:

    Except Bill tapes his sludge earlier in the day so he actually made the call for her resignation BEFORE she resigned – not his fault.

    Also too – the shitmiesters at FAUX news were on the horn demanding quotes and asking “so what are you going to do about this?” before she resigned. True, the chickenshits in the admin didn’t bother to check the story before they wet themselves but they could guess the sort of beating they were going to take.

    Lets hope to Spaghettios that no crank at FAUX calls the White House & says “The Ruskies just launched ICBMs at us does the President have a comment & what are you going to do about it?” Those same pussies would launch our stuff and then check just so those guys at FAUX wouldn’t say bad things about them on the TV.

  40. 40
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Catsy:

    but appear moderate enough to appeal to independents who aren’t on board with the GOP’s neo-Confederate agenda and value system.

    This is where your logic fails. There is not in fact anything which compels the GOP to do this. The post-1865 Democratic party was under no such compulsion, and remained a largely regional southern and rural western party for half a century. I see no reason why the 21st cen GOP cannot follow the same path, and internal party dynamics fairly compel them to do it.

    Like most policy and ideology oriented commentors, you simply don’t grasp that much of our politics is driven by competition between cultural blocs, which are strongly but not exclusively regional in character. Neither democraphic change nor ideological battles over policy are going to make the cultural bloc which is the core of current GOP support go away, hence the GOP is not going to go away either. And the Tea Party is not going to kill them off either, merely reinforce the internal dynamics that are forcing them into a role similar to the Dems circa 1870-1890.

    Most likely what will happen is the big business will shift its allegiance and influence peddling increasingly over to the centrist Dems instead of the GOP as the latter becomes a regional party, much as the railroads and other late 19th cen. finance capitalist groups did with the post-1865 GOP. That process has already started (look at how campaign contributions from hedge funds to the two parties shifted circa 1992 to present).

    The crucial ideological fight of the mid-21st cen isn’t going to be between the GOP and the Dems, it is going to be within the Democratic party over whether the latter loses its last vestiges of being a populist party and chucks the legacy of FDR and Truman and becomes the party of big business entirely, or not.

  41. 41
    p.a. says:

    This is where your logic fails. There is not in fact anything which compels the GOP to do this. The post-1865 Democratic party was under no such compulsion, and remained a largely regional southern and rural western party for half a century. I see no reason why the 21st cen GOP cannot follow the same path, and internal party dynamics fairly compel them to do it.

    Over this period the Dems had a very poor record in Presidential elections (Cleveland, twice, not consecutively), at a time when the Presidency was a much more limited institution and Congress much more powerful than today. To be satisfied with the Gilded Age Democracy’s situation today would be foolishness for any party.

  42. 42
    Catsy says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    This is where your logic fails. There is not in fact anything which compels the GOP to do this.

    Are you blind? They’re doing this /now/. It’s basic electoral math. There are simply not enough people in this country who subscribe to the extreme ends of Republicanism to make it electorally viable, unless they lie and obfuscate about their real agenda. I’m not speculating about something that has yet to materialize, I’m describing a dance that they do right now, have done for years, and are going to depend on more and more as the country’s demographics change and it becomes harder and harder to obfuscate what they really stand for.

    They cannot continue to win national elections on their own agenda. Every political operative with any sense recognizes this, which is why so many Republicans up for election this year are running from Angle, Rand and the teabaggers as fast as they can, and why Angle is trying so hard to bury her primary campaign positions.

    Like most policy and ideology oriented commentors, you simply don’t grasp that much of our politics is driven by competition between cultural blocs, which are strongly but not exclusively regional in character.

    I grasp the dynamics at work here just fine, thanks for inquiring. I simply disagree with your conclusions.

    Neither democraphic change nor ideological battles over policy are going to make the cultural bloc which is the core of current GOP support go away, hence the GOP is not going to go away either.

    Your “hence” conclusion does not logically follow from your premise.

    Your first statement is unobjectionable. Of course the people who currently hold conservative or batshit insane beliefs are not going to magically go away because of demographics or policy. That does not automatically mean that they will remain with the GOP. You are making a very common error I see among political observers, in that you are conflating the fundamental cultural and social divides that currently define the parties with the parties themselves, and concluding that just because the people who believe X aren’t going to disappear it means that the party that is the current vehicle for X is likewise perpetual. This is an error refuted by over 200 years of American politics in which this kind of permanence has never, ever been the case. There have been Democratic and Republican parties since the dissolution of the Democratic-Republican party in the early 1800s, but any similarities between the parties then and today end with their names.

    The crucial ideological fight of the mid-21st cen isn’t going to be between the GOP and the Dems, it is going to be within the Democratic party over whether the latter loses its last vestiges of being a populist party and chucks the legacy of FDR, Truman and LBJ and becomes the party of big business entirely, or not.

    In what way is this assertion of yours in conflict with the following?

    As time goes on I think you’ll see more and more conservatives jumping ship to either become conservative Democrats/independents like John, or get fully on board with the teabaggers or another third party—the latter of whom will become increasingly irrelevant.

    It sounds like we are looking at the exact same set of facts. You correctly recognize that the conservative-liberal policy divide will be increasingly fought within the conservative and liberal wings of the Democratic party, but you don’t think that this will eventually doom the GOP and I do.

  43. 43
    ksmiami says:

    Also, crazy has a tendency to burn itself out. Since the GOP is pretty much synonymous with crazy, I do not see the party lasting in its current form. Period

  44. 44
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Catsy:

    You are making a very common error I see among political observers, in that you are conflating the fundamental cultural and social divides that currently define the parties with the parties themselves, and concluding that just because the people who believe X aren’t going to disappear it means that the party that is the current vehicle for X is likewise perpetual. This is an error refuted by over 200 years of American politics in which this kind of permanence has never, ever been the case.

    Actually I’m suggesting an idea much more nuanced than that. I’m observing that the partisan political parties are highly stable and resistant to breaking up or being replaced by a rising third party during the periods of US history when the parties themselves are strongly aligned with those cultural and social divides, and conversely the few occasions on which we have seen a political party wither and die (the much cited Whigs being the principle example of this) have occurred at precisely the time when lines of partisan allegiance were poorly aligned with those cultural and social divides.

    US political parties wither and die when they have no stable base in one cultural bloc and suffer an identity crisis as a result. And the movement of large numbers of partisans back and forth between the two major parties, or the rise of a 3rd party into the top ranks, those events are most likely to happen when one or both parties are having such an identity crisis.

    So what do we look like today? Do we look more like the mid 19th cen (when the Dems, Whigs, GOP, Know Nothings, etc. were all shifting around), or if you prefer the mid 20th cen (when the Dems and Repubs were switching places with each other, resulting in splinter movements like the Dixiecrats in 1948 and George Wallace later on)? Or do we look more like the late 19th cen., when both parties had strong and stable regional identities?

    I suggest the latter is correct – right now partisan lines are strongly aligned with our cultural divides because the GOP’s late 20th cen southern strategy has run to its logical conclusion. The electoral map today looks like a copy of 1900 with the colors switched around. Furthermore, if one party is on the verge of splitting up because of ideological tensions, it is the Dems that are in peril of that happening, much more so than the GOP, just as was the case for the GOP in 1912 which split between Taft’s and TR’s partisans along ideological lines.

  45. 45
    p.a. says:

    Also, crazy has a tendency to burn itself out. Since the GOP is pretty much synonymous with crazy, I do not see the party lasting in its current form. Period

    Sometimes, teh crazy has a tendency to burn others. Literally.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Paul L.:

    I see that Paul is having trouble with Conservative Temporal Confusion Syndrome (CTCS) again.

    As a reminder, CTCS strikes when a conservative is unable to understand simple time concepts, like the idea that a non-live television show is taped before its actual broadcast. Therefore, Paul is unable to understand that Bill O’Reilly’s show was actually taped and completed several hours before it appeared on his TV set.

    Another common manifestation is when conservatives bitch about TARP, which was actually signed by George W. Bush but has now been magically transmogrified into a program of Barack Obama’s.

  47. 47
    Nick says:

    @David in NY: By blaming the administration, they’re trying to cover up their own responsibility, and they’ll get away with because everyone else, even liberals, are blaming the President.

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