They’re Not Even That Consistent

I like the general theme of Sullivan’s bit about the meaninglessness of labels with respect to modern Republicans. However, this is simply wrong.

Income tax rates are now lower than they were under Ronald Reagan and far lower than they were under Eisenhower. And yet it has become a Norquistian non-negotiable that no taxes can be raised at all on anyone[…]

Republicans will gladly increase taxes on poor people. Republicans will annul tax credits that favor the poor even faster.

You cannot predict Republican behavior with any single principle. Full stop. For one example, take Newt Gingrich (please). Or look at the Affordable Care Act. Orrin Hatch cosponsored essentially the same bill in the 90’s and defended it until the week when Obama embraced it as a compromise plan. Now he says it is worse than Hitler. Mitt Romney implemented the plan in Massachussetts, and it’s working great! Just don’t ask Mitt to defend his greatest achievement. He won’t. As another example, take any issue that Mitt Romney ever spoke about more than once.

True, virtually everything they fight for will make the rich more secure or subdue the not-rich, but not always, and certainly not if it means that they agree with something that a Democrat proposed first.

And there, my friends, is the main difference between Republicans today and the people Sullivan used to know and love. Once upon a time the GOP would gladly cross the aisle and work with Democrats to screw the poor. Now even that exalted goal must take a backseat to petty displays of spite by loud, stupid bigots like Richard Shelby, John Kyl and Jim DeMint. What was once a genteel agreement to slowly throttle the working class has devolved into a naked gibbering scramble for the bundle of fasces, and that just won’t do.






86 replies
  1. 1
    jcricket says:

    It’s simple. If the Democrats are for it, Republicans are against it. But if the Republicans get back in charge, they can change their mind. Even if they are against it, they can claim they were for it if it gets votes.

    And yes, if it enriches the rich, or fucks the environment or fucks the poor – Republicans are for it. Oh, and maybe if it enrages the religiously nutso, they will also support it.

    That’s pretty much it at this point.

    And yet they control the House of Representatives because whiny liberals stay home.

  2. 2
    Cris says:

    You cannot predict Republican behavior with any single principle.

    Not even “Republicans enjoy hurting other people?”

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    You cannot predict Republican behavior with any single principle.

    Does it piss off liberals? That’s their only consistent ethos.

  4. 4
    Cermet says:

    Sullivan is one of those nice people that has it well and thinks at only people who are poor and don’t have it well is because they aren’t made of the superior stuff he is – for example, no universal medical care should be available because private insurance is great – just look at him; of course, he pulls in bank spinning bull and if he ever lost his income, he’d die damn fast from his untreated aids.

  5. 5
    Redshirt says:

    They are consistent, not just on issues or substance, but rather technique. There are some handy guidelines:

    1. If a liberal is for it, they’re against it.
    2. If they’re accusing you of it, they’ve already done it or are considering doing it.
    3. Support the Tribe above all else

    I think that can cover a great deal of consistency in tactics/outlook, while the underlying issues can change. Newt’s recent behavior is a perfect example – he’s been consistent in his application of the above rules, while the content of his words have switched all around.

    But as we should know by now, facts/truths/consistency don’t matter. All that matters is what Team you’re supporting.

  6. 6
    mds says:

    a naked gibbering scramble for the bundle of fasces

    Rather than dignify it with comparisons to the struggle for influence in the Roman Republic, why not just go with “bundle of feces”? Because when I see Shelby, Kyl, and DeMint in action, I don’t think “Roman Senate”; I think “pack of murderous chimps.”

  7. 7

    Republicans will gladly increase taxes on poor people. Republicans will annul tax credits that favor the poor even faster.

    Yup. Good catch. They can and DO raise taxes on poor people, all the time. And I keep hearing that old cannard from wingers about how “50% of the people in this country don’t pay any taxes.” They aren’t talking about Steve Forbes or GE, they’re talking about that shiftless ho in the projects who bought a Cadillac with food stamps.

  8. 8
    cleek says:

    ∀ (today) : Position (GOP, today) = ~Position(liberal, today)

  9. 9
    Mulherin says:

    “a naked gibbering scramble for the bundle of fasces

    Well said! As accurate a description of the current motivating force behind the wingnut golem as I have ever heard.

  10. 10
    Zifnab says:

    :-p

    What was once a genteel agreement to slowly throttle the working class devolved into a naked gibbering scramble for the bundle of fasces, and that just won’t do.

    You can’t wax poetic about how Mitt Romney passed Massachusetts health care reform to great success, then claim Dems and ‘Pubs only cross the aisle to screw the poor and the middle class.

    And the bottom line is that GOP voters don’t give a shit about actual policy. They’ll vote to score points against liberals. Or they’ll vote because their corporate bosses tell him how to vote. But they won’t vote to further a government program or national plan. The assumption that government doesn’t work has made policy irrelevant.

    A GOP politician can ax funding to your school, close down your local health care clinic, kill off your local radio station, throw you to the creditor wolves, and still get elected.

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    Tribalism and war mentality, pure and simple. They give their voters a clear-cut Evil Enemy tribe – that’s us – and then oppose it at every turn, because there can’t be any compromise with Evil. And every political argument serves them in some way: if they win, they’re emboldened, and if they lose, they’re embittered and come back twice as pissed off for the next argument.

    Good catch on the “fasces” thing – it’s basically what the teabaggers have become, a political mass movement that exists for its own purpose.

  12. 12

    Oh and just go over to Huffington Post and look at all the stories about all of the many services, programs and policies that will be jeopardized by a government shutdown. I just want to scream: “THE REPUBLICANS DON’T FUCKING CARE!” Is feature not bug! The Republican Party exists solely and exclusively to piss of the Democratic Party. Period. End of discussion. They’d feed aborted babies to puppies on live television if they thought it would piss off liberals.

    At least they’re trying to set themselves apart from the other side. Of course, the Democrats are doing their damnedest to look just like the GOP, forcing Republicans to take ever more extreme positions. Go figure.

  13. 13
    Comrade DougJ says:

    Conservatism can be defined though. “Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.”

    Cleek nailed it.

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    @mds: That’s true. If you look at the lot of them as being nothing more than orangutans in suits their behavior becomes comprehensible. The same goes for the people who elect them.

  15. 15
    The Claw says:

    I still think this misses the point.

    They want to rewind the federal government’s power to do anything but make war. The racism, womb-ownership fetish and class war are just tools to get funding and votes to do it.

    They will gladly pretend to care about policy or institutions or anything else in order to divert or suppress the ability or their perceived enemies to fight them.

    They are not embarrassed by claims of violations of common decency or taste because they are ideologues who are only really bent on one thing.

    Everything else is just tactics to them.

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    @Zifnab:

    And the bottom line is that GOP voters don’t give a shit about actual policy. They’ll vote to score points against liberals. Or they’ll vote because their corporate bosses tell him how to vote. But they won’t vote to further a government program or national plan. The assumption that government doesn’t work has made policy irrelevant.

    This, although I’d never made the leap of connecting the “government doesn’t work” faith with their disinterest in policy. Well spotted.

    But yeah, fundamentally, they see this as “their” country (whoever “they” are and however “they” define themselves) – the rest of us (immigrants, black people, religious minorities, liberals, people in unions, people who live on the coasts, and anyone else their leaders point to and go “look! He’s unAmerican!”) are alien elements polluting their pristine nation, and have to be fought for that reason. Like I said, wartime mentality. Gone mad.

  17. 17
    Yutsano says:

    @Southern Beale: I also want to acknowledge a huge thing happening right now that will REALLY bite the Republicans: it’s tax season. And all returns, even electronic ones, are manually processed. That will all grind to a halt come April 8th. There will be massive screams and hollers from the late filers, not to mention extensions won’t get processed. Beautiful sense of timing on their part I must say.

  18. 18
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Once upon a time the GOP would gladly cross the aisle and work with Democrats to screw the poor.

    Wait, I must be missing the connection. What is it that the Democrats are doing to screw the poor exactly that the Republicans are passing up on?

  19. 19
    beltane says:

    @Southern Beale: Maybe this is because our political discourse is so unbalanced. If we had a crazy left that loudly advocated the abolition of religion and private property it would balance out the would-be slave owners of the right. Instead, we have the views of the slave-owners of the right being presented as mainstream. You can’t have a true center unless there is both a right fringe and a left fringe.

  20. 20
    SpotWeld says:

    And the new taxes will creep in a million different ways.
    Pulic transportation should pay for itself, fare increase. (And no, it will never be tax deductable).
    Large vechicles for private “small” businesses? Tax deduction.

    Need WIC, well that’s been privatized to save the public money, so you got to pay for the new platic ID card you must get to participate. It broke, sorry… replacement fee.

    Import tax on Japanese Sobe beef? That’s not fair. Why do you insist on punishing the rich.

    Not able to invest and take advantage of those record corporate profit? Stop being a silly poor person and spending all your money on food, rent, medicine and clothes.

  21. 21
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Comrade DougJ: But Cleek said it with style!

  22. 22
    Brachiator says:

    Once upon a time the GOP would gladly cross the aisle and work with Democrats to screw the poor. Now even that exalted goal must take a backseat to petty displays of spite by loud, stupid bigots like Richard Shelby, John Kyl and Jim DeMint.

    Sad but true. The Tea Party People, Sarah Palin, and the extreme GOP have whipped themselves into a frenzy in which they believe that it is their godly duty to punish the poor, nonwhites, union members and people who vote Democratic, and that the country belongs only to Real Americans.

    The odd thing is that after doing their masters’ bidding, many of these people will soon turn around and notice that the oligarchs have screwed them over, too.

  23. 23
    Napoleon says:

    @mds:

    “pack of murderous chimps.”

    Why are you slandering packs of murderous chimps by comparing them to Republicans?

  24. 24
    jcricket says:

    @Chris: This, although I’d never made the leap of connecting the “government doesn’t work” faith with their disinterest in policy. Well spotted.

    It’s funny the people who claim gov’t doesn’t work are also the ones who want the most expansive military (“I know, government is awful and tyrannical, but let’s arm it to the fucking teeth!”) and most expansive control over social issues (“you can’t have my guns, but I sure as hell own your uterus and you better nots be having teh ghey sex”).

    No one is in favor of small government, they just favor different pieces. Republicans are just better liars than the rest of us.

  25. 25
    Dave says:

    @cleek: This. I mean, you have Republicans complaining about Libya! When is the last time a Republican ever complained about using the US military. That’s right, the last time we had a Democratic President. I’m surprised they haven’t ret-coned WW2 into some misguided humanitarian mission to save European Social(ists).

  26. 26
    Tim F. says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Republicans could have made health care reform substantially more regressive. They could have supported stimulus packages that almost completely wrote out homeowners and ordinary people in the small print, and it almost certainly would have passed. They could take the hand that Obama’s offering them right now and drastically slash social spending, but for them drastic isn’t drastic enough. You get the impression that the rightwingers who have Boehner’s balls to the fire want to shut down government irrespective of what Obama offers or agrees to. For them it’s just a lark that’ll look great on their resume at AEI or FOX.

    Instead of getting through compromise even more than they reached for under Bush, the shutdown will kill off the GOP’s credibility, melt down its leadership and most likely leave Obama a free hand to set policy going forward.

  27. 27
    Dave says:

    @cleek: This. I mean, you have Republicans complaining about Libya! When is the last time a Republican ever complained about using the US military. That’s right, the last time we had a Democratic President. I’m surprised they haven’t ret-coned WW2 into some misguided humanitarian mission to save European Social(ists).

    Also…the filter is just weird.

  28. 28
    Cris says:

    @jcricket: No one is in favor of small government, they just favor different pieces.

    I never tire of citing Amanda Marcotte’s observation: by “limited government” the GOP wants to limit who is served by government, not how much it does for those it serves.

  29. 29
    Chris says:

    @jcricket:

    Agreed.

    Re conservative ideology in general, I just read something in the comments section of a Paul Krugman blog post (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c.....-blogging/) about the ideology of the old Confederacy:

    The historian C. Vann Woodward called it “herrenvolk democracy” — a doctrine of absolute political (but not social) equality between members of the racial and/or sexual and/or religious elite. An enormously successful (if highly unstable) docrine, then as now.

    Fair to say that that’s what much of conservative voter base wants: a country with them as the only Citizens, everyone else handled in some way or other. If you look at some of the “fringe” but not unpopular views in the conservative base (that Muslims and religious minorities in general aren’t entitled to First Amendment protections; that immigrants should be shipped out of the country even if they were born here; that people who’re too poor to pay taxes shouldn’t vote; etc, etc, etc), it’s a common thread running through all of them.

  30. 30
    cleek says:

    @Dave:

    Also…the filter is just weird.

    the pie filter?

  31. 31

    Orrin Hatch cosponsored essentially the same bill in the 90’s and defended it until the week when Obama embraced it as a compromise plan.

    Passing Republican ideas now counts as a “compromise”?

  32. 32
    Chris says:

    @Dave:

    I’m surprised they haven’t ret-coned WW2 into some misguided humanitarian mission to save European Social(ists).

    Two words: Pat Buchanan.

  33. 33
    Redshift says:

    @jcricket:

    No one is in favor of small government, they just favor different pieces. Republicans are just better liars than the rest of us.

    Republicans believe in “local control” except when more local government does the wrong thing, and then they believe the federal government should override it.

    Exactly how this differs from not believing in local control at all is left as an exercise for the reader.

  34. 34
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Tim F.:

    This is true. Good point.

    I just don’t think it was ever in the cards. For a white president, sure. But they could never allow a black guy to be credible, cloyingly centrist, and only occasionally effective at doing anything real for the American people by working together. Republicans had to try and destroy him. To resolve the existential crisis at the center of their movement.

  35. 35
    Dave says:

    @Chris: Duh. Can’t believe I forgot about Pat’s eloquent defense of Hitler against the unwarranted aggression of England and the US.

  36. 36
    Dave says:

    @cleek: yeah. Why is the word Social(ist) filtered out. I must have missed the explanation…

  37. 37
    one_outer says:

    @jcricket

    And yet they control the House of Representatives because whiny liberals stay home.

    Yeah, right. Liberals are the ones who keep voting for war criminals and corporatists without noticing that on the stuff that matters there is only one side. They then whine about how people with a conscience won’t just shut up and do what they’re told to support Dear Leader as he slaughters more innocents and impoverishes more people on behalf of his Galtian masters at Goldman Sachs. False choice tribalism above all else, apparently.

    I’d rather be mischaracterized as whiny than actually be a collaborationist with the criminal class.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Redshift says:

    @Yutsano:

    Does it piss off liberals? That’s their only consistent ethos.

    Pissing off Democrats and liberals and funneling money to rich supporters. But occasionally those two come into conflict, so neither one defines them completely.

  40. 40
    Dave says:

    @Tim F.: Ahhhh….thank you.

    Now I feel dumb for having missed it.

  41. 41
    Cris says:

    @Dave: That’s not the pie filter. The pie filter is a GreaseMonkey/Firefox plugin that cleek built to blot out comments of people you don’t want to read.

    The problem with s o C I A L I S m is the pharmaceutical name contained within.

  42. 42
    Johnny Gentle (famous crooner) says:

    Excellent writing, Tim. That is all.

  43. 43
    Culture of Truth says:

    As another example, take any issue that Mitt Romney ever spoke about more than once.
    Heh heh heh

  44. 44
    jcricket says:

    @Chris: Thanks for the interesting cite – didn’t know there was a historical term for it. But I’m not really surprised. Republicans have a total up-is-down, forget the lessons of the past kind of mentality right now.

    FDR caused the Depression, Republicans are the great civil rights heros, white evangelical x-tians are the most oppressed people, opposing bigotry is what’s bigoted, wars are great, universal healthcare has never worked, the list goes on.

    Again, Democrats need to get a strategy that doesn’t involve hoping the other guy keeps screwing up. As you can see with California, you “win” when you rely on that in the small sense, but you don’t really win – leaving you unable to get any real work done b/c you have no agenda for people to buy into.

  45. 45
    Mike E says:

    @Redshift: Any idea is as good as any other to a movement conservative, as long as it distracts attention away from the sound empty trucks make when they back up to the Treasury. That “Beep…beep…” you heard during W’s reign was the click track to his administration’s theme song, “Robbing Us Blind”. Yes, I know, Michael Moore is fat!

    What was once a genteel agreement to slowly throttle the working class has devolved into a naked gibbering scramble for the bundle of fasces

    This is called ‘evolution’

  46. 46
    jcricket says:

    @one_outer: You prove my point perfectly.

    Look at the right wing – how did they get the Republican party to become substantially more right-wing? Did they stay home? Did they form a third party? No. They pushed and they pushed and they pushed, and here we are.

    I’m a leftist. These days I’m probably a fucking socialist compared to most Democrats. I believe in massive tax hikes for rich people and corporations, a complete overhaul and increase in any and all regulations governing the environment and corporate behavior, single payer, etc. Hell, I’d support war crimes trials for Bush, et. al. if they were happening.

    But staying home will not get us a more liberal Democratic party and it certainly won’t result in a more liberal America – witness 2000-2006 and then 2010.

    I’m not telling you to shut-up. I’m telling you to yell louder to the people that matter (your elected officials), vote for them (while holding your nose) and then hold their feet to the fire.

    What’s your solution?

  47. 47
    PeakVT says:

    For one example, take Newt Gingrich (please).

    Can’t we pay some country to do this? I don’t know if he’s has done the most to ruin the public discourse in this country, but he’s definitely in the top 10.

  48. 48

    I’ve been trying to make “Republicans want to raise taxes on the poor” happen for years.

    Remember “lucky duckies?” Remember Joe the Plumber complaining that “half of Americans pay no taxes?”

    What do you think all of this talk about flat taxes is about? Who did Reagan raise payroll taxes on?

  49. 49
    cleek says:

    @jcricket:
    it’s almost as if they’ve convinced themselves that the evil liberals control all forms of information: the media, popular entertainment, schools and universities, science, etc.. and given that, they now can simply reject anything people might learn from those institutions (if it clashes with whatever Republicanism is supposed to be that day) as liberal propaganda. but they’ve used that logic too often. and now they’re unable to relate to reality – they have to make ridiculous logical leaps to get from one isolated Republicanism-approved island of reality to the next.

    or so i sometimes hypothesize.

  50. 50
    Culture of Truth says:

    @jcricket: Obama caused the recession, poor people caused the housing crisis, Republicans invented gay rights (give that one 10 years)

  51. 51
    Culture of Truth says:

    @PeakVT: The Bronx Zoo snake has volunteered to bite Trump, via twitter

  52. 52
    gene108 says:

    I don’t get why Teabaggers keep bringing up the Constitution and the Founders.

    Teabaggers hate compromise.

    The Constitution is nothing but a bunch of compromises.

    The Founders compromised all the time, in order to govern the new nation.

  53. 53
    Chris says:

    @cleek:

    but they’ve used that logic too often. and now they’re unable to relate to reality – they have to make ridiculous logical leaps to get from one isolated Republicanism-approved island of reality to the next.
    ___
    or so i sometimes hypothesize.

    Oh, I think you’ve got it. Which is one reason to worry about the future: even if the country does pull together the will to start fixing itself at some point, half the country will have been lying to itself for so long they literally won’t know where to start fixing things, which is going to be quite something to overcome.

  54. 54
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Comrade DougJ:

    “Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.”

    well….no..I don’t think that is actually true. Because of freemarket boggarts.

    In my Defense Against the Dark Arts of Conservatism class at Hogwarts we teach how to recognize and disapparate free market boggarts to first years, because they are so common.
    Freemarket boggarts are much harder to detect than ordinary boggarts. The classic boggart assumes the aspect of the worst fears of the target, but a freemarket boggart assumes some shared value of the target in order to get close enough to inject the target with Glibertarian Reasonableness Poison, which it secretes through the hidden fangs in its mouth.
    To detect a freemarket boggart simply level one’s wand and cry “do you believe in the innovation of the market!” Usually this causes the immediate disapparation of the boggart, but sometimes one must also apply the Ridickulous! charm as well.

    So even though Sully shares some cosmetic issues like palin-hatred and gay rights advocacy, if you point your wand at him and yell “do you believe in the innovation of the market!” he will reveal himself as a freemarket boggart.
    The unifying principle of conserative death eaters is freemarket dark magicks. This is directly oppositionary to the unifying principle of liberal wizards and wizardettes, which is called Social Justice Magicks, or as the conservative death eaters call it, Soshul-ism.

  55. 55
    Cris says:

    @gene108: In Teabagger world, the Constitution is a divinely inspired document, akin to scripture. The founders were inspired by God and channeled His word.

    Not joking.

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    @Cris:

    Yep.

    This was written by an apparently atheist conservative blogger last summer:

    In fact, in all of human history, there has been only one genuinely progressive, genuinely liberating idea: a lightning bolt across the pages of history – the why in 1776, the how in 1787 – the idea of limited government, god-given rights, personal liberty and rule by the vast collective wisdom and industry of the common man, and not by the bored, pampered and self-hating elites that have run everything before and since. This is a once-in-history idea. This is why we have to conserve it. We have to conserve this fundamentally liberal idea.

    American exceptionalism in a nutshell. It’s not enough to like the U.S, to think it’s a generally good country, or even to think it’s the best or one of the best around. You have to literally believe we’re Exceptional and Chosen on an almost supernatural level. So much that no one has ever or could ever reproduce the specialness and awesomeness of Us.

    Think of the Hebrews’ view of themselves as the Chosen People in the Old Testament, and translate that into modern conservatives’ minds, and you begin to get an idea just how high on themselves they are.

  57. 57
    rikryah says:

    if it benefits anyone other than a rich, white, man, the GOP is against it.

    there…as clear as punch as to what they’re about.

  58. 58
    Barry says:

    @Brachiator: “The odd thing is that after doing their masters’ bidding, many of these people will soon turn around and notice that the oligarchs have screwed them over, too.”

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for that day (although WI has given me hope).

  59. 59
    Mark S. says:

    @Chris:

    rule by the vast collective wisdom and industry of the common man, and not by the bored, pampered and self-hating elites that have run everything before and since.

    Not that the rest of it isn’t stupid, but the Founders were hardly going for rule by the common man. Only white male property owners could vote, and even they couldn’t vote for Presidents or Senators.

  60. 60
    gene108 says:

    @Cris:

    I know, I’ve seen the Thomas Kinkaid painting about the Founders and / or Presidents, with Jesus and the Constitution.

    I don’t think all of them think this way though. I think there are some business types, who know better, who’ve become Teabaggers because they can get better breaks for business.

  61. 61
    Calouste says:

    @Chris:

    Well, if you just ignore that parts of the Declaration of Independence were copied from the Dutch Act of Abjuration two centuries earlier. And I wonder where the founding fathers got the name of ‘Senate’ from, can’t have been from the Romans.

  62. 62
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @rikryah: Or, put another way, the contemporary Republican view of political power is this: the government may be used to help people like me, but must never be used to help people not like me. And “people like me” is white suburban Christians with jobs.

  63. 63
    N W Barcus says:

    It’s not as though Sullivan himself has been a model of consistency. This is a guy who created an Orwell “award” for political misuse of language by his opponents and used it to promote the political misuse of language by his friends. He attacked gay men as being promiscuous anti-monogamist spreaders of AIDS, yet Michaelangelo Signorile and others have documented that Sullivan, who is HIV-positive himself, was trolling for anonymous “bareback” (ie, unprotected) sex on gay personals sites.

    I’m not saying he’s always wrong, but anyone who sets their time by his clock will probably only be accurate twice a day.

  64. 64
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Calouste:

    if you just ignore that parts of the Declaration of Independence were copied from the Dutch Act of Abjuration two centuries earlier.

    As well as being very similar to the “English Bill of Rights” issued by William and Mary in 1689.

  65. 65
    jcricket says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Obama caused the recession, poor people caused the housing crisis, Republicans invented gay rights (give that one 10 years)

    I forgot the one about the poor people causing the housing crisis. That one blows my fucking mind.

    Oh, and the stimulus caused the debt and the recession too and created no jobs. And government jobs aren’t real jobs (unless they’re in the defense sector).

    Cleek is right – we’ve never been an especially fact-driven country, but now one party is so totally unmoored from facts that they can say and do whatever they want, because they realized no one will call them on their bullshit. Well, no one that matters.

    ABL was right a while back – we’re about 4 Senators and a President away from total fucking apocalyptic ruin (with lots of death and suffering along the way b/c we won’t have healthcare).

  66. 66
    Chris says:

    @Mark S.:

    Not that the rest of it isn’t stupid, but the Founders were hardly going for rule by the common man. Only white male property owners could vote, and even they couldn’t vote for Presidents or Senators.

    Right. And the thing is, they know it too (that’s what all the “we’re a republic not a democracy” harping’s about, and the arguments that this or that person shouldn’t be entitled to vote). They just want to exclude half the voting population and still get the feel-good vibe of populist rhetoric.

    After all, what good is privilege if you can’t be righteous about it?

  67. 67
    Chris says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Or, put another way, the contemporary Republican view of political power is this: the government may be used to help people like me, but must never be used to help people not like me. And “people like me” is white suburban Christians with jobs.

    Plus rural whites (see the drain of federal money into the black holes that are rural, sparsely populated red states).

    And they’ll jump through hoop after hoop after hoop trying to explain to people why “they” deserve the government help and “these people” don’t.

  68. 68
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chris: I don’t think it takes that many hoops. It’s like this: “I work hard and play by the rules, I’m just in a bad spot right now. It’s not like I’m some ungrateful lazy-ass begging for a handout.” And it’s that phantasmagorical presence of the Ungrateful Lazy Bastards sucking up all Our Tax Money that drives, like, at least 89% of Republican voting.

    ETA: The same logic makes it permissible for people to help their daughters get abortions and then return to the picket line the next morning without feeling hypocritical.

  69. 69
    Ash Can says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    The Bronx Zoo snake has volunteered to bite Trump

    Now why would that snake want to poison itself?

  70. 70
    Tony J says:

    @cleek:

    it’s almost as if they’ve convinced themselves that the evil liberals control all forms of information: the media, popular entertainment, schools and universities, science, etc.. and given that, they now can simply reject anything people might learn from those institutions (if it clashes with whatever Republicanism is supposed to be that day) as liberal propaganda.

    Believe me, that’s exactly what most of the wingnuts I come into contact with believe. It’s all a conspiracy and ‘They’ are all in on it, whether as manipulators, dupes, or combination of both. There’s apparently nothing too way-out and extreme for them to consider at the very least ‘unproven but likely’ as long as there’s a Liberal somewhere who disagrees with it. And anyway, whatever it is, Liberals did it first, did it worse, and got away with it, so anyone who complains is just a whiny hypocrite.

    It turns out that living on a diet of Koolaid, while not immediately fatal as initially believed, nevertheless has drastic effects on the cognitive faculties and can lead to personality disorders that overwhelmingly take the form of paranoia, masturbatory victimhood, and misplaced aggression towards anyone not wearing a ‘Koolaid – ‘Everything Else Is Poison, FACT!’ T-Shirt.

    There’s no arguing with them, because they already had the argument, and you lost.

  71. 71
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @N W Barcus: Just point your wand at him and yell “DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE INNOVATION OF THE MARKET!”
    All will be revealed.

  72. 72
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @cleek: But the left does control culture ….and media and academe. 94% of scientists are not republican. 75% of post docs vote democratic.
    The right has been wholly disenfranchised from contemporary culture. The intellectual elite and the cultural elite have left the building.
    All the Right has left is talk radio and talk tv.
    And Business class elites. That is why Atlas Shrugged is going to sukk monkey balls. That is why christian movies and christian musick are uniformly horrible.

    All they have anymore is a zombie culture fueled by rage.

  73. 73
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @Zifnab:

    And the bottom line is that GOP voters don’t give a shit about actual policy. They’ll vote to score points against liberals. Or they’ll vote because their corporate bosses tell him how to vote. But they won’t vote to further a government program or national plan. The assumption that government doesn’t work has made policy irrelevant.

    Exactly. A guy who sings tenor in my church choir is a Republican of the libertarian persuasion. He’s an oddball in our church as the majority of us are flaming commie/pinko/ratfinks.

    A few years ago he and I began a discussion of a political issue at the time. His opening salvo was, “Well, we all know that government can’t do anything right.”

    My reply was that I didn’t think that this assumption was at all borne out by the evidence. He refused to have further discussion, and walked out of the room, because I wouldn’t buy his initial assumption.

    I call myself a recovering Republican. I was raised in a conservative Republican household, where it was a mantra that private enterprise did everything best, followed by city, then county, then state, and finally federal government. It was ok for government to do some things, e.g., war or police departments, but except for war, the more local the action was, the better it was likely to be, whether or not that made any sense with issues requiring cooperation across various jurisdictions.

  74. 74
    Chris says:

    @Tony J:

    Believe me, that’s exactly what most of the wingnuts I come into contact with believe. It’s all a conspiracy and ‘They’ are all in on it, whether as manipulators, dupes, or combination of both. There’s apparently nothing too way-out and extreme for them to consider at the very least ‘unproven but likely’ as long as there’s a Liberal somewhere who disagrees with it. And anyway, whatever it is, Liberals did it first, did it worse, and got away with it, so anyone who complains is just a whiny hypocrite.

    “Unproven but likely” is the key. There’s a limit to the number of people who will flat-out say “Obama wasn’t born in the United States,” but if you phrase it as “why won’t he show us his birth certificate?” virtually their entire base is onboard.

    Moderate Republicans and way too many centrists are willing to politely consider any idea coming from the right wing fringe, no matter how mad, while recoiling in horror from even the most moderate proposals coming from Democrats.

  75. 75
    licensed to kill time says:

    @jcricket:

    I forgot the one about the poor people causing the housing crisis. That one blows my fucking mind.

    I got that argument from a young neighbor of mine last year. And he is a ‘poor people’. He had to join the Army because he couldn’t find/keep a job. Now he’s on his way to AFG. All his talking points were pure RW radio.

  76. 76
    Xenocrates says:

    the bundle of fasces

    Ahem. From the usually-reliable (snicker) Wikipedia:

    Fasces (pronounced /ˈfæsiːz/, a plurale tantum, from the Latin word fascis, meaning “bundle”[1]) are a bundle of wooden sticks with an axe blade emerging from the center…

    I therefore declare your ultimate sentence both repetitive AND redundant! Nonetheless, I agree with your conclusion whole-heartedly. Actually, I had the same thought as an earlier commenter; perhaps you meant to write “bundle of FECES”??

  77. 77
    jcricket says:

    I recently caught up with a cousin I hadn’t seen in like 15 years. He’s one of those “bloombergian” moderates (he’s actually from NY). He’s still full of right-wing talking points (“all of us are to blame”, “financial sector just had a few bad apples”, “capitol makes the jobs”, etc).

    And a so-called “reasonable” libertarian trotted that piece of shit argument out when he was “debating” me on a thread about the WI union-bashing initiatives. I think it’s one of those classic examples where anyone who “hates government” is prone to believe it, and there’s no amount of counter-evidence that could convince them, because, well, gov’t is bad.

    The bosses of these fucking putzes are laughing all the way to the bank and It’s amazing how much the idiocy has sunk deep into our culture.

  78. 78
    gex says:

    @Barry: I’m doubtful people will “see” anything. We’ve been watching this for 30 years. And what they’ve noticed is that black, hispanic, and gay people are causing their problems. Why would a continuation of these trends suddenly change their minds?

  79. 79
    gex says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yup. It’s a fundamental disdain for humanity, or as they like to call it “God’s children”. Never understood why they hate God’s creation as much as they do. But most of those types are quite sure they are worthy and everyone else isn’t.

  80. 80
    Catsy says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    94% of scientists are not republican. 75% of post docs vote democratic.

    Which is not suprising, given that Republicans reject the legitimacy of science that contradicts their dogma, while embracing anti-intellectualism and demonizing intellectuals.

    The right has been wholly disenfranchised from contemporary culture.

    To whatever extent this is true, the right has disenfranchised itself from contemporary culture.

    The intellectual elite and the cultural elite have left the building.

    No, they’ve left the party which not only no longer wants or values them, but actively demonizes them.

    All the Right has left is talk radio and talk tv.

    Not coincidentally the most unintelligent and least informative sources of “news”.

    I am sensing a pattern here.

  81. 81
    Judas Escargot (aka "your liberal-interventionist pal, who's fun to be with") says:

    @gex:
    Never understood why they hate God’s creation as much as they do. But most of those types are quite sure they are worthy and everyone else isn’t.

    Keep in mind that (for the evangelicals anyway), you’re talking about a demographic that hates “The World” so much that they want it to end in their lifetimes.

    I don’t know how the New Jerusalem, when it comes, is supposed to be compatible with Galtian values though– I don’t get invited to those meetings.

  82. 82
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Chris: Chris! You are not paying attention. There are no moderate or centrist republicans, there are only sly free market boggarts trying to entice you ideologically close enough to sink their fangs into you.

    Just level your wand at them and holler “do you believe in the innovation of the market!”
    Works every time.

  83. 83
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Catsy:

    I am sensing a pattern here.

    aye.
    This is also why the freemarket boggarts want to destroy our education system with NCLB and NTLB (No Teacher Left Behind) so they can memetically engineer stupider and stupider base voters.
    An uneducated population is easily manipulated.

  84. 84
    gnomedad says:

    In the Republican ideal, the government is the military wing of the private sector.

  85. 85
    pattonbt says:

    I will buy certain aspects of “the government can’t do anything ‘right'” lunacy, in that society (the Galtian paradise society of the Libertarians and Republicans) essentially leaves all the shitty “too hard to do” jobs undone. So the government is tasked with doing jobs that no one can make money off of and no one wants to manage.

    And since they are incredibly difficult tasks over difficult sectors, and require communal funding, they are never done “efficiently”. Because they, pretty much by their nature, can not be done efficiently. So the haters can just pick and choose their singular examples of waste to blast the whole program. Like Health care. There is no perfect system. There are gradients of good and bad, but none will ever be perfect. So all haters have to do is the “young bucks buying t-bones” schtick and it will sell to the rubes and reinforce their opinions.

    It takes a desire to govern and work with the imperfect to make these inefficient systems do the best they can because without government, they wouldn’t get done. Or they wouldn’t get done in a way that is beneficial to society as a whole (the whole “a rising tide lifts all boats” thing).

    For me, it’s all summed up by conversations I used to have with an old boss (right wing nut job) during the health care debate. Whatever the Fox news talking point of the day was, he dutifully repeated it. He hated HCR (because “those people” would suck off the teat of their betters even more). And I would calmly and factually corrected every lie (to no affect). So, in the end, I just kept asking “so do you even agree with the concept of improving the healthcare system? Because we pay one way or another as those who can not pay overburden the ER and drive up costs we have to cover.”. And he said “Of course I agree with the concept.”. So I would ask “Then what is your solution? How would you make the system better?”. And his answer was always “Something else.”. That’s it “something else.”. Nothing concrete, nothing specific, just something else. He never had an answer to that question.

    That’s modern day conservatism. They see the problems and academically want to “do something about them”, but they don’t. Their problem is, they are only constituted to be an effective opposition party. They are great screaming from the sidelines. But when they eventually get in power (which is going to happen in a two party system) they’ve got nothing. They can’t lead because they don’t have any policy. So they just do what their money men tell them and forget the rest. And of course this leads to disaster because they ignore the hard stuff and that continues to fail.

  86. 86
    Mo's Bike Shop says:

    FDR’s genius was making Social Security a regressive tax. Republicans will never get rid of that part.

    Clever politicians would go to town with that.

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