“Better Than Us”: The Sore Winners

Tom Junod at Esquire has an excellent piece on the well-to-do, older white people who he calls “America’s Super Minority“:

… Republicans, who once decried the rise of identity politics, now practice it so relentlessly, so ruthlessly, and above all so successfully that they’ve created a beleaguered minority where only a cosseted majority stood before. It is a kind of super minority, its material well-being encroached upon by the swelling ranks of the shiftless poor and its spiritual well-being encroached upon by shadowy “elites” whose figurehead is in the White House. And the odd hallmark of the new identity politics is that it requires a denial of identity: because of who you are, you can’t even say who you are. You can’t say you’re a Republican; you have to say what my friend says, which is that he’s “more Libertarian these days.” You can’t say that or say that you’re wealthy or, God forbid, rich; you have to say that you “do all right,” and “make good money,” but that’s only because you work hard. And you can’t ever say that you’re white, because, as my friend insists, “skin color is irrelevant. C’mon, you know me. You know I’m no racist.”
__
Now, my friend is right: I know who he is, and I know what he’s not. But I also know that an identity politics that requires a denial of identity also requires a response to the denial of identity — and the response is rage. Because of who they are, you can’t say who you are, and it is by this dynamic that yesterday’s Silent Majority becomes today’s Tea Party, gaudy and loud in its discontent, and that my friend becomes part of a privileged majority that perceives itself as an underprivileged minority — one of the Sore Winners.
[…]
__
This is what you hear again and again from the Sore Winners, whether you hear it from the professional Sore Winners or the Sore Winners who happen to be your friends: the conviction that no amount of financial success, political domination, religious hegemony or cultural is sufficient to take away the sting of being looked down upon.
__
It is one of the biggest dividing lines between liberals and conservatives: sensitivity. Liberals are supposed to be the sensitive ones, but even the liberals who worked themselves into a froth over George W. Bush never really cared very much about what he thought of them. But conservatives care what President Obama thinks. They care to the point of imagining what he thinks…
__
Worrying about what someone who doesn’t think about you thinks about you: this is the essence of Sore Winnerdom, and it is no accident that it also the essence of the Republican animus. The Republican party was small and hidebound — the party of country-club corporatists, and the range-war West — until, with the Reagan Revolution, it began grafting unto itself the legions of the disaffected: the Christianists, the Southerners, the blue-collar workers displaced by the collapse of America’s industrial base and estranged from the unions that failed them. The Tea Party, in this sense, is not a new development so much as it is part of an ongoing migration of the perpetually petulant, a political phenomenon grounded in a demographic one: the creation of a class of baby-boom retirees who have been deprived of meaningful work but given personal computers as Christmas presents. The skin on the Republican Party’s “Big Tent” is by definition thin, and under it gathers a volatile throng of people with nothing in common but the fear that outside its environs someone is laughing at them — or simply having a better time.

By all means, go read the whole thing. I’ve got an old friend from the Midwest visiting, and one of the touristy things we did this week was a trolley tour through “historical Salem”. The abbreviated, tourist-friendly version of the “reasons” behind the Witch Trials, as dispensed by a couple of elderly guides with local accents so thick my friend kept looking to me for translation, involved money (witches’ properties reverted to the state or to previous owners), pietism (the conviction that encroaching outsiders failed to appreciate the local godliness requirements), and a conviction by “the rich men and merchants” that women, children, and non-whites (such as the probably mythical Tituba) were getting uppity and in need of stern correction. The more things don’t change…

100 replies
  1. 1
    Todd says:

    But I also know that an identity politics that requires a denial of identity also requires a response to the denial of identity — and the response is rage.

    I for one welcome our new raging hipster overlords.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    Conservatives really are the sensitive ones. I’ve seen so many bumper stickers that say “Do _____, it pisses off a liberal” as if we liberals live for nothing else than thinking about how these people live their lives. They come across as needy and high-maintenance. We don’t care about their guns, or their butt plugs, or if they want to eat a tub of Crisco every day.

  3. 3
    bjacques says:

    That pretty much sums up some, but not all, of my conservative friends, but and it seems to increase the higher up the food chain they go, regardless of whether they really earned their money or just inherited a lot of it and managed not to piss it away (though they may have pissed away yours).

    Add to the above alternate whining and gloating as well. When the GOP are the minority party, they whine about the Democraps taking America from hardworking Americans and handing it over to illegal aliens. They gloat when a Democratic-led initiative runs into trouble (often thanks to GOP interference) and they gloat in anticipation of a Republican sweep of Congress and/or the White House. When the Repubs are in charge, they gloat about a coming permanent Republican majority but still find time to whine because liberals refuse to STFU and admit defeat.

    Because, win or lose, they want to hear you admit that they are right and have been right all along.

  4. 4
    MMonides says:

    This reminds me of the “Who are you better than” article highlighted on this blog a few months back. Excellent reads.

  5. 5
    bjacques says:

    @Beltane 2:

    We need some prominent liberals to start a campaign against cleaning one’s gun before checking whether it’s empty or running the car with the garage door closed.

    “Hanoi Jane can’t tell *me* what to do!” BLAM!

  6. 6
    bootsy says:

    It’s a good article. But his friend actually is a Racist.

    The theoretical non-racist Teabagger doesn’t exist. They were “angry” at Obama before he was even inaugurated. If it’s taxes they’re angry about, they should love Obama, who gave 95% of the country a tax cut.

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    The oversensitivized search for any possible grievance, the systematic paranoia by those among the most powerful groups in society that someone is dishonoring them, betraying their value system, subverting the society they built with their inferior and lazy and anti-community values — this was a syndrome perfected to majestic heights by Southern whites.

    This sense of the more privileged continually being aggrieved by the less privileged and less powerful, all expressed indirectly in terms of honor and community values and work ethics and so forth — this is the Lost Cause grievance mythology writ large across the entire nation from the Southern Strategy to the TeaTard screamers.

    How could [Southerners] so glibly reconcile slaveholding with pretensions to virtue? We prefer to assume that their defenses were either lies or self-delusions. If neither of these alternatives meets the complexities of the circumstances, then their mental gymnastics and their habits may be characterized as unintended paradox — a discrepancy between boasted ideals of freedom and a contrary assumption that those values could forever rest upon the enslavement of blacks.
    __
    Apart from a few lonely dissenters, Southern whites believed (as most people do) that they conducted their lives by the highest ethical standards. They thought that they had made peace with God’s natural order.
    __
    Above all else, white Southerners adhered to a moral code that may be summarized as the rule of honor. Today we would not define as an ethical scheme a code of morality that could legitimate injustice — racial or class. Yet so it was defined in the Old South. The sources of that ethic lay deep in mythology, literature, history, and civilization. It long preceded the slave system in America.
    __
    Since the earliest times honor was inseparable from hierarchy and entitlement, defense of family blood and community needs. All these exigencies required the rejection of the lowly, the alien, and the shamed…
    __
    Honor and Violence in the Old South, Bertram Wyatt-Brown, 1983

    And the eternal contradiction is that as the inequities visited by the better off to the worse off increase, as the substance of the grievances shrink, the outraged cry that their honor is being challenged only gets louder and more panicked.

  8. 8
    Michael says:

    Can we please airdrop pallets of lard, deep fryers, frozen onion rings chickens, ground steaks, egg wash, flour, salt, cigarettes and fourth tier beer all over the south, please? And we should add lots of “Jackass” DVDs.

    And while we’re at it, lets give the Southron states some waivers to make the speed limit 90….

  9. 9
    Guster says:

    This is my right-wing family member. She hates self-confidence and competence because she possesses neither, and suspects that anyone who has both of those things despises her.

    She lives on SSI and hates the gov’t. She doesn’t think about the check she gets every month, she simply despises all those people who she imagines go around feeling superior to her.

    Huge Palin fan.

  10. 10
    cleek says:

    a class of baby-boom retirees who have been deprived of meaningful work but given personal computers as Christmas presents

    that is hilarious.

  11. 11
    Emma says:

    I was going to say something but… El Cid said it all. Thank you, sir.

  12. 12

    Worrying about what someone who doesn’t think about you thinks about you …

    That is just full of win. Yes, all the liebruls, non-whites, gays, uppity women, and other assorted folks spend every waking moment thinking how much we don’t like “the doing alright” white guys. Sigh. Now if we can just get these guys to come down off their fucking crosses … or maybe we should just leave them up there? I seriously doubt they would rise from the dead, but you never know … according to legend it did happen once before.

  13. 13
    Guster says:

    @El Cid:

    And the eternal contradiction is that as the inequities visited by the better off to the worse off increase, as the substance of the grievances shrink, the outraged cry that their honor is being challenged only gets louder and more panicked.

    Well said. You see a little microcosm of this in the Ginny Thomas and the Curbstomper’s requests for apology.

    And it’s the whole, ‘We the People don’t give the rich enough rimjobs’ theory of public policy.

  14. 14
    soonergrunt says:

    Well, as kind of attached to this, because I see it as part and parcel of the whole Sore Winners phenomenon, we are about to see the rise of “Curb Stomp Veterans For The Truth”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol.....ers/65300/

    The curb stomp denialism action is starting up hot and heavy.

  15. 15
    jwb says:

    @Guster: Looks like your family member is going to get what she thinks she wants. Looks like the whole country will be. Not so good for any of us, but I am sort of curious what’s going to happen to that fantasy structure when it becomes clear that they’ve just made things worse for themselves. Yes, I understand that fantasy structures are resilient and they will simply seek out new targets to blame (and I’m sure Faux News will be obliging in identifying suitable targets), but at each stage there is always a chance that the rage will light on our overlords, who because they are sore winners and can’t help themselves are not as invisible nor as invincible as they believe.

  16. 16
    Walker says:

    @Guster:

    Huge Palin fan.

    This is exactly how “Mean Girls” gain power in high schools.

  17. 17
    wilfred says:

    Goddamned old, white, nazi, fascist, confederate, racist motherfuckers.

    Is it Hate Week again?

  18. 18
    El Cid says:

    @wilfred: It’s never a bad week for hate week!

  19. 19
    jwb says:

    @soonergrunt: I guess the one thing you can say is the fact that they have had to turn to denial suggests that the act of stomping itself remains beyond the pale. It’s been interesting watching this play out from “yeah, so what if I did it. heh. heh” to “my back problems made me do it” to “I couldn’t help that she put herself under my boot and she should apologize to me” to now “it was all staged and so didn’t really happen.”

  20. 20
    bemused says:

    @jwb:
    I doubt the light will dawn for most of them. It will be totally Obama’s fault.
    Yesterday, a woman called my husband at his job about paying her bill and said she didn’t want to use her credit card because of Obama high interest rates.

  21. 21
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Interesting article, but that’s a lot of words to describe what one word does so succinctly; Assholes.

  22. 22
    Kryptik says:

    @jwb:

    It’s articles of faith. Video evidence means nothing if it contradicts your world view, because it’s obviously a conspiracy. Like the whole ‘SEIU THUGS PARALYZED GLADNEY!’ myth that keeps propagating despite video showing that Gladney standing over a SEIU guy, then getting shoved to the ground only to pop up and walk off. Spritely for a guy wheelchair bound for the weeks after that ‘assault’. Oh, and Shirley Sherrod. Enough said.

    The only proof necessary is to ask ‘was this person a stinking goddamn liberal/Democrat/feminist/insert hated group du jour here?’ Once that’s affirmed, everything’s fair game, and no amount of proof will ever convince them they’re beyond the pale.

  23. 23
    matoko_chan says:

    its not sore winners….its sore eventual losers.
    its that only business class elites are left on the right, the intellectual elite and the cultural elites have left the ‘conservative’ building.

    they might win the House in the midterms, but the maths haven’t changed.

    Consider the historic campaign of 2008, when President Barack Obama bested John McCain by a solid margin of 7.2 percentage points. According to the authoritative exit polls, the vast majority of voters (74 percent) identified themselves as “white,” and McCain won a landslide among this segment of the electorate, thrashing Obama by a resounding 12 points (55 percent to 43 percent). This was the same margin that George W. Bush commanded among white voters in his 2000 victory over Al Gore. In fact, because of the larger electorate, McCain’s losing effort actually drew 9.5 million more votes overall than Bush’s victorious campaign of eight years before.
    Why, then, did Bush win the White House while McCain suffered humiliating defeat? The answer is that in eight years the nonwhite portion of electorate soared — from 19 percent of voters to 26 percent of voters. Among these voters, Obama won by a 4-to-1 margin — easily wiping out McCain’s big advantage among white voters.
    For two reasons, these numbers command close attention for anyone concerned about the Republican future.
    First, there is no chance that white voters will ever again comprise 74 percent of the electorate. Most projections for 2012 suggest that self-identified whites will comprise 70 percent or, at most, 72 percent of those who cast presidential ballots.
    Second, it would be hard for any Republican to improve significantly on McCain’s hefty 12-point margin among whites, which means that without an improved showing among Hispanics, blacks and Asians, GOP contenders will lose every time.

  24. 24
    Scott says:

    The final paragraph of the essay is a good one. The sore winners don’t merely want to win — they imagine that they suffer, and so they want revenge for their imagined suffering by making everyone else suffer for real…

  25. 25
    cleek says:

    @Kryptik:

    despite video showing that Gladney standing over a SEIU guy

    and one of Gladney’s teabagger witnesses himself was caught on video trying to start a fight with a SEIU guy, earlier that day.

  26. 26
    lamh32 says:

    Joe Sestak was on the TJMS this morning with Roland Martin. He knows where his bread needs to be buttered. For him to win, he needs the African American vote to come out hard for him to win! He had his facts together, and you could tell he came prepared for the AA audience.

  27. 27
    matoko_chan says:

    cont…

    The math here is brutal and eye-opening. If Obama in 2012 wins the same percentage of the combined black, Asian and Hispanic vote that he won in 2008 (82 percent), then in order to beat him the GOP candidate would need to win an unimaginable 65 percent of all white voters — whose numbers include such stalwart Democratic constituencies as gays, atheists, Jews and union members.
    The 65 percent threshold represents a far higher percentage than Ronald Reagan won in his landslide against Jimmy Carter in 1980, or even his history-making 49-state re-election-sweep against Walter Mondale in ’84.
    Since white voters won’t comprise larger portions of the electorate in future races, and since no Republican could compile a big enough white majority to win the election on those voters alone, that leaves only one possible path for GOP victory: more competitive performance among Hispanic, African-American and Asian citizens.

    Have you seen any recent progress in ‘conservatism’ attracting brown, black and youth votes?
    I sure haven’t.

  28. 28
    Dennis SGMM says:

    No surprise here after decades of Republicans harrumphing that our way of life was being threatened by the Commies, the Black Panthers, the hippies, the secular humanists, gays, creeping so ci ali sm, intellectual elites, short-haired women, long haired men, labor unions, Muslim hordes, etc., etc., – but never, ever, by crony capitalism.

  29. 29
    some other guy says:

    I’m reminded how on every Earth Day you’ll hear conservative callers on talk radio brag about driving their SUVs around aimlessly all day to generate as much CO2 as possible, like wasting their own time and money is somehow sticking it to Al Gore. All I can think is, dude, get a life.

    So I guess the paranoid Sore Winners are correct in this case– I am laughing at their stupidity.

  30. 30
    jwb says:

    @Kryptik: I agree with your ultimate conclusion, but I think the progression of the stories is revealing. The first attempt was in fact not that “this contradicts my world view so I have deny the evidence,” it was “this is no big deal.” But “this is no big deal” didn’t fly, which means that the act itself remains beyond the pale.

  31. 31
    ChrisS says:

    a class of baby-boom retirees who have been deprived of meaningful work but given personal computers as Christmas presents

    Not apropos of anything in particular and irrelevant to the specifics, but relevant to the tone. Has anyone else noticed the sometimes surprising level of racism and sexism in general at any random interest forum? I like MMA and I watch the UFC, and the forum I frequent, which has been around since the old usenet days, has an incredibly diverse population of professionals, young people, democrats, republicans, tea partiers, blacks, whites, hispanics, and, relatively, quite a few women (although still no where near significant) all with various interests, education levels, and general intelligence. It’s a pretty surprising place.

    However, recently the UFC heavily promoted their heavyweight challenger, American-born Cain Velazquez (who won the title last weekend), an ASU collegiate wrestler and all around nice guy, as the first potential Mexican HW champion. Naturally the forums went nuts with the cries of reverse racism sparking tons of threads about how the white man is the real victim and some really dark racist threads. You see, Cain has a prominent tattoo on his chest that reads, “Brown Pride“. Some people are pissed that he can get away with that while a white fighter couldn’t.

    I see this all over the place on the internet, some of most casual and laid back posters on a fly-fishing forum turn into ugly racists the moment a black guy does something criminal (or a mexican is caught crossing the border) and start posting stories and links about “them“.

    “Why can’t I …”

    I found this post regarding online racism while looking for other examples:

    http://resistracism.wordpress......et-racism/

    My first experience with colorblind racism was on a gardening forum, of all places. And what I tended to notice was that white people didn’t assume other folks at the keyboard were a multi-hued group, all of whom were equal. They tended instead to assume everybody on the other end was white. And they posted accordingly.

  32. 32
    some other guy says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Even if they never win the presidency again, the sad fact is that the old, bitter white minority are still much more likely to vote in low-turnout elections like mid-terms and off-year state/local elections. The Sore Winner white power structure is not going away any time soon.

  33. 33
    jwb says:

    @matoko_chan: Actually, the math is in the process of changing and will continue to change as long as the economy sucks. I don’t think, for instance, that the Dems can count on the youth vote breaking their way much longer—especially if by some miracle they manage to hold on to both the House and the Senate. A lack of job prospects makes it difficult for them to be sympathetic to anyone in a position of power. In any case, if the math hadn’t changed, the Dems would not have the problems they do. On the other hand, it is not at all clear what the current math means, and it is extremely likely that the Goopers will attempt to turn it into an unreasonable mandate that will cause them huge problems in 2012.

  34. 34
    Guster says:

    @jwb: I’ll be shocked if the resilience of the fantasy structure doesn’t win the day. There is nothing rational there. I mean, the language is like you’re talking to a reasonable adult, but it’s almost like trying to explain things to my 3 year old. The family member doesn’t seem to have the necessary cognitive structures.

    “Obamacare is socielism.”

    “Okay,” I say, trying to establish some common ground. “But if we assume for a moment that letting kids stay on their parents’ health insurance until 26 is really happening, is that a good thing?”

    “But it’s not happening.”

    “Well, here’s another link.”

    “Obamacare is socielism.”

    “Okay, let’s agree for the moment that Obamacare is socielism. And let’s assume that this -is- happening. Would it be a good thing to allow kids to stay on their parents’ health insurance until 26?”

    “I disagree.”

    “With _what_?”

    “Obamacare is socielism.”

    (I know how to spell the s-word. I’m stuck in moderation.)

  35. 35
    J Edgar says:

    I’ve broken their behavior down to “Me, me, me, me”, interspersed with “It’s not fair”.

    Someone identified that as the behavior of a child. And I can fit this behavior pattern into the analysis of the article.

    I just can’t find any method for fixing this. “Just grow up” only works on those who want to grow up.

  36. 36
    Legalize says:

    @matoko_chan:
    No progress in attracting non-white voters. But considerable movement in figuring out ways to prevent them from voting. The GOP’s solution to shifting demographics is disenfranchisement.

  37. 37

    I had an epiphany after watching the wall to wall coverage of Obama’s appearance on Jon Stewart.

    Stewart is apparently the Left’s de facto leader. He can get attention where the rest of us cannot. This tells me that our politics has become entertainment and our entertainment has become our politics and anything the Democrats wish to do needs to be turned into an entertainment extravaganza. Any policies we want need to be approached from an entertainment standpoint. A narrative needs to be written, it needs to be storyboarded, cast, and rolled out like a Hollywood blockbuster.

    And this is good news because we should be good at this stuff.

  38. 38
    aimai says:

    @El Cid:

    Great quote, El Cid. This is something I was just discussing with some the other day (in the context of an interesting book Radical Hope by Jonathan Lear, which is a study of Crow life, ethics, and hope after the destruction of the Crow way of war–the very idea of “martial” honor and courage is distinct from the use of honor by, say, women, slaves, and other lower orders. What preserves the “honor” of the upper classes is generally forbidden to the lower classes and women. Look at Dueling–when dueling was legal for the upper classes it was explicitly forbidden to the lower classes. When Dueling was encouraged as a way of handling conflicts over honor/status among men it was unheard of for women. A man defended the “honor” of his family by killing both the woman and the man who had destroyed it through inappropriate sexual conduct. A woman defends her own honor by killing herself.

    aimai

  39. 39
    jwb says:

    @Southern Beale: We should be, but in fact we are, in general, not—probably because to go all in you’d have to give up on appealing to fact-based reality on the one hand and you’d have to have a shitload of money on the other.

  40. 40
    eemom says:

    sorry for OT, but I am really wondering what folks who actually saw Obama on TDS (I did not) have to say about this:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....09035.html
    As for Milbank, he is too many kinds of suck for me to even begin to list this morning.

  41. 41

    @jwb:

    Nah we can keep the fact-based reality. Just present it as one of those “based on a true story” movies.

    We’re good at this. Hell, we’ve got Aaron fucking Sorkin on our side. We’ve got all the cool kids. The right has … Pat Boone.

  42. 42

    Speaking of, I thought this “GOP Is The New Black” billboard (warning: Mediaite link) was hilarious. For one thing, since the billboard actually shows ALL BLACK PEOPLE, the intended message was unmistakable. But also, you know: just NO. You guys will never be cool. You’re always going to be beige, puce, acid green, mustard yellow. The color that doesn’t look good on ANYONE.

  43. 43

    @eemom:

    I saw it. Haters are gonna hate. Milbank is truly trying to be one of the Kewl Kids.

    I thought Obama was cracking a joke. He said “pun intended” after all.

  44. 44
    lamh32 says:

    @eemom:

    So wait, it’s Obama’s fault that Jon Stewart called him “dude”? Personally, I think that may be the part of the interview where Jon unfortunately did what alot of liberals and sorry white people have been doing with Obama. In this case, because of Obama affable personality and his “relative” youth and coolness, they all seem to forget that at the very least, the office of President deserves some sort of decorum and respect. Stewart I think forgot that for a minute, and alot of commenters/villagers/pols, etc seem to forget that Obama is no longer Senator Obama or “Barry” Obama, or just some “dude” he the President of the United States. So at the very least, he should be addressed as such.

    Anyway, looks like Capri in RI comment about Obama “shoving his endorsement”… has come back to bite him in the ass! His poll numbers are dropping. He’s gonna learn even if you are mad it’s doesn’t behoove you to out right disrespect the office of President, especially a President who even though the meme is that his “base” is not as supportive of him, really actually has broad support of his base. The same base that Capir needs!

    After Insulting POTUS, Caprio Collapses in Poll

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: I watched the show. Stewart approached Obama from the “You promised us hope and change. You have been in power for almost two years now; why isn’t everything better?” angle. Obama’s response was basically, “We have done a shit ton of good stuff, but things were really fucked up. Everything can’t be fixed overnight.” I did not perceive Obama as being defensive; instead, it seemed to me that he was not letting Stewart toss out facile observations or go for the easy laugh.

    I think Milbank’s take on the show is cheap and puerile. It fits the “Obama slapped in the face by the people for ramming stuff down their throats” narrative in Washington. I can only hope that the next narrative they need is a “resurgent Obama rebounds from slap in the face to ram stuff down the throats of Teahadists” narrative. YMMV.

  46. 46
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @beltane:

    I’ve seen so many bumper stickers that say “Do _, it pisses off a liberal” as if we liberals live for nothing else than thinking about how these people live their lives.

    Ya know… I’ve noticed that too… and I don’t get it…

    ***scratches head…***

    It seems as though we’ve got an entire political movement on our hands here that’s made up of millions of younger brothers, and sisters, who finally feel big enough, and entitled, to act out endlessly…

    “It pisses off a liberal”???????

    Really? That’s what really, really, really motivates these clowns?

  47. 47
    matoko_chan says:

    @jwb: show me minorities and youth voting with ‘conservatives’ and i’ll credit your argument.
    it is normal for the incumbent party to lose seats in the midterms.
    and like Giordano says, because of redistricting its a white thang.
    Medved’s maths are sound.
    The teaparty is pure white and old….and they feel they HAVE been trying to attract youth and minorities, and they are hella pissed because it is not worrrrrrrrrrking.
    Razib at the Secular Racists blog is kinda an asshat anymore (disclosure– i was once a GNXP coblogger, until razib dived into teabagging), but hes right about this.

    Last spring Jonah Goldberg observed that if the Democrats passed health care reform:
    1) They would suffer negative consequences in the fall elections and in the short term Republicans would benefit.
    2) In the long term the Democrats would have won policy-wise because they would set the tone of the discussion from that point on, as the question would the nature of the new expansion to the welfare state, not its existence.
    Let’s grant that the Republican victories have some relationship to Democratic policy overreach. If you could eliminate many of the policy changes enacted in the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, at the cost of indefinite Democratic control of Congress, would you? If you are a person of the Right I assume you’d accede to this. After all, in theory the ends of a political ideology are to shape the nature of the political economy, not win elections, which are just means.
    But the fixation on polls, calculations of the margin of Republican victory, as well as the Democratic panic and ennui, seem to neglect these facts. After the likely losses in the fall the pundits will talk about what Obama needs to do to win back the nation, etc. But the fact is that he’s already changed the nation, by shifting health care policy in a direction broadly consonant with liberal Democratic values. That’s really what matters, and what will echo down through the generations. The Democratic victories of 2006 will be forgotten very soon, and to some extent those of 2008 will be too. But the policies enacted by the Congress of 2008 will impact us in our day to day lives for generations. They already are.
    I don’t begrudge the Republicans their exultation after their likely victory in November. But this isn’t professional sports, it’s more than just a game, and it’s even more than just an avenue for professional advancement and self-glorification. Winning isn’t everything; it’s just a vanity which appeals to our baser animal instincts.

  48. 48
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    … and a conviction by “the rich men and merchants” that women, children, and non-whites (such as the probably mythical Tituba) were getting uppity and in need of stern correction…

    So does that some witch trials are on the GOP’s agenda after they ‘take back their country’?

  49. 49
    MMonides says:

    I was at a wedding over the weekend where I got into with a well-dressed (cufflinks and the whole bit) Republican over the budget and HCR. He was claiming (for instance) that “entitlements” are 70% of the budget and the military is about 15%. (I’m an economist btw). We both checked google, but his response was to simply make up new numbers and unrelated facts. He kept talking as if he were in some business related to health care.

    I noticed my wife was giggling the whole time. Afterwards she was delighted to explain to me that he was unemployed, not seeking employment, doesn’t take care of the kids, and stays home all day watching Fox and playing Halo. How did she know? He’s living off of his lawyer-wife who spent the bridal shower talking about what a loser he is.

    Entitled fucks.

  50. 50
    geg6 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I watched it, too, and saw the same thing you did. I thought Obama didn’t let Stewart frame things the way he wanted to and thought Stewart did the same.

    I actually thought Obama came out the better in the end than Stewart did since it seemed to me that Obama had a better sense of humor about things than Stewart did.

  51. 51
    soonergrunt says:

    @jwb: Well, this is the problem for them. There’s really no way to spin this at all, so what they have to do is make it look like a setup.
    The problem with a setup, if you believe that is remotely possible, is that means that these shitstains committed felony assault not because someone made them do it, but because felony assault is their natural reaction to given stimuli of a small, mousy-looking girl with a cardboard sign.
    Setups and ambushes don’t work if your target doesn’t behave in a predictable fashion.

  52. 52
    New Yorker says:

    @Michael:

    And we should add lots of “Jackass” DVDs.

    Hey! This elitist lib’rul atheist Ivy League graduate from New York loves “Jackass”.

  53. 53
    Judas Escargot says:

    @matoko_chan:

    The answer is that in eight years the nonwhite portion of electorate soared—from 19 percent of voters to 26 percent of voters

    OMG! Voter Fraud!

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @New Yorker: Yeah, but I bet you just use it to mock Real Americans and be all elitisty at them.

  55. 55
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity:

    “It pisses off a liberal”???????
     
    Really? That’s what really, really, really motivates these clowns?

    In their lizard minds, yes. If it pisses off a liberal then it must be RIGHT. Never mind if it’s good or bad for themselves or everyone else, as long as it’s RIGHT then that’s all they need to feel good about themselves.

    Completely  OT:

    As a person who has run game servers for over ten years, Valve/Steam

    SUCKS!

    End.

  56. 56
    catclub says:

    The phrase will be “We are all Serbians now.” And not in a good way.

    The Serbians, while attempting to crush Kosovar independence, viewed themselves as an aggrieved minority while they were actually a powerful majority. Sound familiar?

  57. 57
    Woodrowfan says:

    Great article. Here’s his conclusion talking about his friend..

    Indeed, it was not the kind of anger — or hatred — that finds redress in changing policy at all, but rather in making the people who’ve made you suffer for reasons that go beyond reason suffer in return.

    And that’s what scares me.

  58. 58
    El Cid says:

    Watching myself, I don’t think Jon Stewart himself had a clear idea what he was asking. Or wasn’t interested in thinking about his own questions long enough to anticipate potential responses and making more informed, intelligent questions accordingly.

  59. 59
    catclub says:

    @matoko_chan:
    “Let’s grant that the Republican victories have some relationship to Democratic policy overreach.”

    I’m with Yglesias here. The democrats tried underreach in economic policy, not overreach. If the stimulus had been big enough that unemployment was below 8% now, Obama and the democrats would be cruising to victory this fall.

    Unemployment was around 5% in 2006 when the democrats killed the GOP for the house and senate. Can you imagine what that election would be like if unemployment were 9%?

  60. 60
    Judas Escargot says:

    @beltane:

    I’ve seen so many bumper stickers that say “Do _, it pisses off a liberal” as if we liberals live for nothing else than thinking about how these people live their lives.

    There was a lot of this tainting sentiment during the Scott Brown election earlier this year (I live in MA– Salem oddly enough. Hello, tourists: please spend a lot of money, we need it this year). A lot of “we’ll show those libs whose boss”, too, on the local forums.

    After Brown won, friends of my fiance actually asked her “how’s he doing after the election?” which struck me as… odd. I was ‘doing’ just fine, thanks. But apparently I was supposed to spend the rest of January curled up in the fetal position somewhere?

    It just seemed like a very odd mindset to have about an election: Voting with intent to hurt others, in ways real or imagined.

  61. 61
    New Yorker says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    In their lizard minds, yes. If it pisses off a liberal then it must be RIGHT. Never mind if it’s good or bad for themselves or everyone else, as long as it’s RIGHT then that’s all they need to feel good about themselves.

    Right, this is obviously the only reason for the howling against any sort of action on climate change. The only consistent theme in the words of climate change deniers is that the big bad granola eaters are going to take their lifestyle away from them and thus must be stopped. It’s no more grounded in reality than that.

  62. 62
    El Cid says:

    @catclub: This is always the case.

    Mussolini turned the class conflict of Marxism of working class versus capitalist class from something having to do with real humans to a weird argument that there were instead proletarian countries and bourgeois countries.

    Class conflict couldn’t happen within a nation, because a nation was all one giant superorganism and so forth.

    Italy was thus a ‘proletarian’ nation, as it developed industrial capitalism later, and so did Germany, and they needed to have a ‘revolution’ against the earlier, bourgeois nations of Britain and France.

    Thus, the largest and wealthiest of industrialists and so forth in Italy and Germany were truly oppressed because they didn’t have all the wealth of their counterparts in Britain and France, whether or not the actual ‘dollar’ amounts would tell a different story.

  63. 63
    mistersnrub says:

    Welcome to Nixonland, where ressentiment shall guide us to Liberty and Freedom.

  64. 64
    Michael says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    Indeed, it was not the kind of anger — or hatred — that finds redress in changing policy at all, but rather in making the people who’ve made you suffer for reasons that go beyond reason suffer in return.

    And that’s what scares me.

    Imagine a boot stomping on a human face….

  65. 65
    RichJ says:

    Off topic and pedantic, but Tituba’s existence was documented. We just don’t know whether she was African, Indian, creole, or something of that sort.

  66. 66
    some other guy says:

    Personally, I think that may be the part of the interview where Jon unfortunately did what alot of liberals and sorry white people have been doing with Obama. In this case, because of Obama affable personality and his “relative” youth and coolness, they all seem to forget that at the very least, the office of President deserves some sort of decorum and respect. Stewart I think forgot that for a minute, and alot of commenters/villagers/pols, etc seem to forget that Obama is no longer Senator Obama or “Barry” Obama, or just some “dude” he the President of the United States. So at the very least, he should be addressed as such.

    I disagree. The President is not a king. He works for us, the people, not the other way around. IMO, a president does not deserve some kind of special deference just because we picked him as the lesser of two evils to serve as the temporary administrator of our government.

    And it’s hardly just Obama that liberals didn’t show any reverence for as president. Bush was treated to much worse things than being called “dude” while he was president. See Colbert’s brilliant skewering of him at the Correspondence Dinner, for example.

  67. 67
    4jkb4ia says:

    This is an excellent description of the McMegan thread I got into yesterday. (Sanity returned.) It is also a good spot to rant about the depressing poll. Republicans have a 20-point lead among COLLEGE GRADUATES!? A quick explanation is that 70% of all polled do not have an opinion of Boehner, much less Lamar Smith, Issa, and the other horrors.

    (I did not look at the websites of all the people in competitive races according to Nate, but the ones I saw have issues pages that are very short and enough to nod and say “Generic Republican”. They do not look obviously insane.) (So if the people are not looking obviously insane and campaigning hard, the voters are taking a leap of faith, especially if the outside groups are spending money to make the opponent look foolish.) (There could also be the dynamic described by Weigel in the Duffy-Lassa story where the Republican sounds more authentic about his views. “Shipping jobs overseas” is a line from 2008, for crying out loud. Have jobs in the district gone overseas?)

  68. 68
    J Frank Parnell says:

    But conservatives care what President Obama thinks. They care to the point of imagining what he thinks…

    This is something Limbaugh stokes incessantly. He makes up views that he ascribes to his enemies, and then frames them for his audience as: “this is what the libs think of you.”

    A particularly evil device, that’s now been internalized by millions of his knuckle-dragging fans.

  69. 69
    Anne Laurie says:

    @ChrisS: __

    Has anyone else noticed the sometimes surprising level of racism and sexism in general at any random interest forum?

    The ladies’-hobby boards I’m on all flatly ban “politically related” topics for just that reason. Without such cautions, the nicest, otherwise most thoughtful older women you’d ever meet online will veer from general comments about their latest shopping expedition and the adorableness of their newest grandchild to frothing, semi-coherent ragebursts about “those people” who are “destroying America”, blahblahblah.

    Fortunately, us women are socialized so that nanny-state tactics like “we don’t talk politics here” actually work, 99.5% of the time.

  70. 70
    4jkb4ia says:

    According to the Manufacturers’ Institute, manufacturing jobs in all of northern Wisconsin fell 5.8% last year, and that is all the time I am going to spend on this.

  71. 71
    Woodrowfan says:

    Not apropos of anything in particular and irrelevant to the specifics, but relevant to the tone. Has anyone else noticed the sometimes surprising level of racism and sexism in general at any random interest forum?

    Yes, I stopped reading a hobby forum I used to check several times a day. Even with attempts to keep it to a politics subforum it got to be too much.

  72. 72
    4jkb4ia says:

    @Guster:
    Would something like “What Canada has is far more radical then anything Obamacare does, and they are not the s-word” do anything?

  73. 73
    R-Jud says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    After Brown won, friends of my fiance actually asked her “how’s he doing after the election?” which struck me as… odd.

    Doesn’t strike me as odd. It’s exactly the kind of question you’d ask a die-hard sports fan after his team loses the championship. That’s the attitude a lot of people have towards this sort of thing. It’s tribal, but it’s also kind of a game.

  74. 74
    catclub says:

    @4jkb4ia:
    “Republicans have a 20-point lead among COLLEGE GRADUATES!?”

    Don’t you hate it when you realize what the people who look like you (me) are also the enemy? All those college grads means much more white, much more wealthy, as well as all the (actually not so many) college educated liberals.

  75. 75
    Stefan says:

    The math here is brutal and eye-opening. If Obama in 2012 wins the same percentage of the combined black, Asian and Hispanic vote that he won in 2008 (82 percent), then in order to beat him the GOP candidate would need to win an unimaginable 65 percent of all white voters—whose numbers include such stalwart Democratic constituencies as gays, atheists, Jews and union members.

    My dream is for one day there to be a gay atheist Jewish labor union.

    It would probably consist of two Broadway playwrights and a choreographer, but still.

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @4jkb4ia: My aunt is doing door to door GOTV for Lassa in my hometown. She says she is getting very positive feedback from people. Of course, Wausau at nearly 40,000 people is almost three times the size of Chippewa Falls. I wonder if that plays into the dynamic.

  77. 77
    Stefan says:

    I’m reminded how on every Earth Day you’ll hear conservative callers on talk radio brag about driving their SUVs around aimlessly all day to generate as much CO2 as possible, like wasting their own time and money is somehow sticking it to Al Gore. All I can think is, dude, get a life.

    I always think of that scene in “The Fugitive” where Harrison Ford has disarmed Tommy Lee Jones and is standing over him in the water tunnel. Ford points the gun and, veins popping and eyes bulging, yells “I didn’t kill my wife!” Jones just looks at him and, his arms up, and replies “I don’t care.”

    That’s just how I feel.

  78. 78
    New Yorker says:

    @J Frank Parnell:

    I imagine this is where my wingnut uncle is coming from. He’s always attributing to me various views I don’t hold or things I haven’t said or done. You can’t even call them strawmen because there’s not even a basis of reality in them. But Rush says lib’ruls believe and do these things and I’m a lib’rul….

  79. 79
    Chris says:

    @beltane:

    Conservatives really are the sensitive ones. I’ve seen so many bumper stickers that say “Do _, it pisses off a liberal” as if we liberals live for nothing else than thinking about how these people live their lives. They come across as needy and high-maintenance. We don’t care about their guns, or their butt plugs, or if they want to eat a tub of Crisco every day.

    They’re probably very aware of that on some level. That’s why they’re so hysterically angry, and that’s why they obsess so much about what we smug, preening cityslickers say about them behind their backs and how much time we spend looking down on them. As bad as it is to be looked down on or laughed at, it’s still better than being ignored.

    Someone I knew in high school once said that a milestone on the road to maturity and self-awareness was the realization that “the world isn’t out to get you; the world just doesn’t care.” Conservatives are people who never grew up – or who grew up and didn’t like what they saw.

  80. 80
    Chris says:

    @catclub:

    Don’t you hate it when you realize what the people who look like you (me) are also the enemy? All those college grads means much more white, much more wealthy, as well as all the (actually not so many) college educated liberals.

    2008 was the first election ever, on record, where the Dems actually got a majority of the college-grad vote. The notion of liberal elite colleges preaching socialism is a myth, like the “liberal media.” I spent four years at one of the most liberal-friendly campuses on the East Coast – and still, me and my friends were quite used to being the only Keynesians in the room. Cultural liberalism was more common, but even then…

    Most college students are libertarians, not lefties. They may hate the religious right, but the GOP’s economic policies often benefit them enough to make up for that – and many of them just don’t care enough about anything else.

  81. 81
    morzer says:

    The teabaggers are the people who rooted for Boss Hogg, and thought that in so doing they were leading a righteous rebellion against liberal elites.

    Sorry. Old pop-culture reference.

    More recently, they thought the Cancer Man was the hero of the X-files, surrounded by bigoted liberal traitors.

  82. 82
    morzer says:

    @Stefan:

    Michael Chabon wants to know why you are stealing his ideas.

  83. 83
    beatty says:

    Hey did you and your friend take the Salem tour in a hearse? That was an option back when I lived up on the noath shoah in the late 90s.

  84. 84
    matoko_chan says:

    @catclub: well..yah.
    but it is unknown what effect a larger stimulus would have actually had.
    @morzer: the problem for the right is not just the demographic timer….it is that intellectual elites and cultural elites have left the conservative building, probably for good.
    Only business class elites remain.
    That is the meaning of the current ‘conservative’ vogue in elite bashing.
    The meaning of Rove’s current Palin bashing is that anti-meritocratic candidates can’t win except locally.
    COD demonstrated that.

    They arent winners Anne Laurie.
    They know they are going to lose the long game.

  85. 85
    matoko_chan says:

    @MMonides:

    He was claiming (for instance) that “entitlements” are 70% of the budget and the military is about 15%. (I’m an economist btw). We both checked google, but his response was to simply make up new numbers and unrelated facts.

    ‘conservative’ factblocking, backfire effect, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.
    full house effect.

  86. 86
    morzer says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Congratulations on being more confused that normal. I really thought you had reached your full potential a week ago, but you’ve moved past it triumphantly today.

  87. 87
    soonergrunt says:

    @Stefan:

    My dream is for one day there to be a gay atheist Jewish labor union. It would probably consist of two Broadway playwrights and a choreographer, but still.

    Better if it’s a union of Gay Atheist Jewish Obstetricians who would strike over having their rights to abort babies limited.

  88. 88
    matoko_chan says:

    @morzer: im not confused.
    im vindicated.

    Confirmed: Liberalism is genetic.

    pie meh, if you dont want to hear it, confused old ppl. :)
    biological basis of behavior FTW!

  89. 89
    Felonious Wench says:

    I want Sore Winners in the Lexicon. Anyone else?

  90. 90
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Guster:

    This describes virtually all of my wingnut neighbors, that would be just about everybody who lives here.

    I am superior to them, that much is true.

  91. 91
    Chris says:

    @beltane: Hmm. Well, I’m a liberal, and suicide really pisses me off. :-)

  92. 92
    fes says:

    EL Cid
    a great last paragraph.

  93. 93
    doug says:

    You know, when someone uses the word ‘Christianist’ or ‘Islamist’ it pretty much ruins the credibility of an author for me. These terms’ use is
    supremely petty and dismissive, and reveals an awful lot about the closed-mindedness of the author.

    Anyway, this article has nothing new in it. A lot of name calling, no ideas on how to refute the teabaggers’ (non) message.

  94. 94
    El Cid says:

    Thanks all.

  95. 95
    Felonious Wench says:

    @beltane:

    They come across as needy and high-maintenance. We don’t care about their guns, or their butt plugs, or if they want to eat a tub of Crisco every day.

    I demeaned myself and wrote exactly one Facebook rant. I’d been around too many 2nd amendment freaks for too long, hearing them bitch about the fedrul gubment and Obama and ammo taxes and liberals coming for their AKs, on and on and on.

    I went all ABL on their ass.

    I got on the NRA website, where it says, very clearly, gun laws have much more to do with local and state ordinances, not federal. I linked to it. I also reminded them they live in Texas and the chances of their gun rights being trampled on are less than nil. Then proceeded to deliver a scolding to my gun-fucking friends and family that turned the intertubes blue. I closed with “we liberals have guns too, you know.”

    They no longer mention it in my presence, and the worst offender no longer wears his Converse with the 2nd amendment printed on them around me. Good call.

  96. 96
    Calouste says:

    @catclub:

    The Serbians also derive a lot of their identity from a fight they lost, just like the neo-Confederates. And that loss was a really long time ago.

  97. 97
    morzer says:

    @matoko_chan:

    I see you’ve gone back to the old evolutionary baffle-gab. What happened? Did you get to chapter two in the textbook?

  98. 98
    morzer says:

    @Felonious Wench:

    Are you married? If not, I can feel a passionate affection for you with only a partially guilty conscience.

  99. 99
    matoko_chan says:

    @morzer: so sowwy you are confuzzled by contemporary scientific research and technology.
    praps you are a teabagger in disguise?
    im pretty sure you fit the age and cognitive ability catagories.
    :)

  100. 100
    PanurgeATL says:

    @Todd:

    The logical conclusion of 1977. Are people just noticing now?? This has been going on in some form or another since Armed Forces came out. (Well, OK, Murmur.)

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