Transformers, more than meets the eye

Ron Brownstein (along with Tom Edsall, the only establishment political analyst I respect) had a solid post-election piece on the idea that Republicans are the party of restoration, Democrats the party of transformation. This part gets to the key idea — that most conservatives believe they are outnumbered by the vile takers, even the conservatives Bobo touts as New Jack Burkeans:

For better or worse, this election more clearly stamped the Republicans as a Coalition of Restoration, overwhelmingly dependent on the votes of whites unsettled by those changes. After Obama’s victory, conservative grandees such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly portrayed the election as something like the Alamo, with true Americans overrun by hordes of benefit-grubbing minorities and young people. “We are outnumbered,” Limbaugh despaired. Romney capped this keening last week with his postelection diatribe to donors about Obama’s “gifts”–possibly the bitterest screed from a loser since Richard Nixon declared, “You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore” after he lost California’s 1962 governor’s race.

Romney’s remarks weren’t just sour grapes; they reflect a widespread fear among the Right that a heavily nonwhite class of “takers” will vote itself ever-expanding benefits at the expense of mostly white “makers.” Romney earlier expressed that conviction in his broadside against the “47 percent,” and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan has made similar arguments for years. Yuval Levin (identified this week by David Brooks as one of the Right’s “two or three most influential young writers”) recently described Democrats as “an incoherent amalgam of interest groups … vying for benefits … at the expense of other Americans.”

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41 replies
  1. 1
    Wag says:

    “an incoherent amalgam”

    Sounds like a good description of our community here at BJ

  2. 2
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Wag: We prefer a mass snarling jackals, thank you very much.

  3. 3
    keith says:

    Easy retort: “Tough titties”

  4. 4
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Yeah, us Democrats are a coalition of people yelling “Fuck you, Fascists!”

    Seriously, they should have known for years that the poor, minorities, women, gays, and anyone who gives a shit about the quality of life of others would finally gang up against them.

  5. 5
    dr. bloor says:

    Brooks, Levin et al can say anything they want, but they’re basically yelling into the wind. Indeed, I hope they never stop–a lifelong Democrat is born every time they go off on one of their “White makes Right” screeds.

  6. 6
    Mark S. says:

    Is “non-racist Republican” an oxymoron now?

  7. 7
    The Golux says:

    The wingnuts are sounding more and more like the French aristocracy circa 1788.

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    there’s this little fact that some White folks wanna ignore…

    my family – and millions of other Black and Latinos folks have been in this country for at least 150 years……

    so FUCK THEM about somebody ‘ taking their country’.

    Black folks BUILT this country with FREE Labor from the mid 1600’s until 1865 and then 100 years of American Apartheid until 1965.

    FUCK THEM ..

    they were never big fish in a big pond.

    they were big fish in a pond where everyone else was trapped in sardine cans.

    the world of Mad Men was a fucking DELUSION.

    and, NOBODY, except for them, wants to go back to it.

  9. 9
    PeakVT says:

    the idea that Republicans are the party of restoration, Democrats the party of transformation.

    Figured that all out himself, did he? I mean the fact that one side calls itself conservative and the other side (sometimes) calls itself progressive doesn’t provide any hints, now, does it?

  10. 10
    LosGatosCA says:

    The only thing new here is the Republican aggressiveness – they have used the term ‘special interests’ for decades to mean ‘the takers’, ‘the browns’ , ‘the feminists’, and the illegals all grouped together.

    Peak wingnut is actually always with us, it just takes a new guise every once in a while.

  11. 11
    Wag says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I like both descriptions, and don’t feel the two are mutually excousive. A Venn diagram would have significant overlap. I know I personally would be included in both groups.

  12. 12
    phil says:

    Romney and Ryan are white? They look pretty mixed race to me.

  13. 13
    Mike in NC says:

    Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly portrayed the election as something like the Alamo, with true Americans overrun by hordes of benefit-grubbing minorities and young people.

    I’ve been seeing the term “True Americans” in some Letters to the Editor in local newspapers, so I assume it’s being pushed by FOX News and the Hate Radio blowhards. Is “Real Americans” now considered passe?

  14. 14
    sharl says:

    @rikyrah: That there is a truth-filled high-value rant.

    I really wish that the old slave burial site in NYC had gotten a LOT more press than it did at the time of its discovery in 1991, so more folks would realize that stolen, involuntary labor was used to build the earliest version of NYC, rather than some early fictional John Galt types – Hollywoodish plucky, get-‘er-done European settler manly men, with their sturdy wimmenz at their sides. Southern-based slavery deserves all the attention it gets – and then some – but not at the expense of knowing about the early slavery that took place above what is now the Mason-Dixon line. [And I haven’t even addressed the Chinese-built railways out West, etc., etc.]

  15. 15
    Tone in DC says:

    @rikyrah:

    my family – and millions of other Black and Latinos folks have been in this country for at least 150 years…… so FUCK THEM talking about somebody ’taking their country’.

    Black folks BUILT this country with FREE labor from the mid 1600’s until 1865 and then 100 years of American Apartheid until 1965.

    FUCK THEM …

    Righteous.

  16. 16
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “a heavily nonwhite class of ‘takers’ will vote itself ever-expanding benefits at the expense of mostly white ‘makers.'”

    So what are they gonna do? Leave the US for Whiter countries? Black and Brown folks are here to stay, racists.

  17. 17
    mdblanche says:

    @Wag: Balloon Juice and the Democratic Party are both like a family. The members are consumed by petty grudges, jealousies, and disappointments while different branches are either feuding or barely on speaking terms. But every November we put that aside and try to get through one nice day together, sometimes even succeeding.

    The Republican Party is like a cult. Started by enterprising grifters as a way to prey on the confused and vulnerable, it has isolated its membership from the rest of the world and now even the leadership is buying its own hype. When the inevitable mass suicide finally happens, you can only hope they don’t take the rest of us down with them.

  18. 18
    NonyNony says:

    @PeakVT:

    I mean the fact that one side calls itself conservative and the other side (sometimes) calls itself progressive doesn’t provide any hints, now, does it?

    Conservative doesn’t have to mean “Restorationist”. Moderate conservatives are supposed to be open to change, just slow change. With lots of roadblocks. And not too much of it at once. The fact that THAT group is now allied in a coalition with this country’s progressive wing instead of the conservative wing is a big part of what’s wrong with the Republican Party these days.

    Also – what’s with the word “Restoration” there? In my High School History/Government classes I think the word I was taught for that portion of the political spectrum that was so far right they wanted to drag us back in time was “reactionary”, not “restorationist”. Is this some kind of new political correctness because calling a group “reactionary” is mean or something? Because the modern GOP pretty much fits the definition of “reactionary” that I was taught (“status quo ante” and all…)

  19. 19
    Zifnab25 says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Is “Real Americans” now considered passe?

    I was a Real American before it was cool.

  20. 20
    Zifnab25 says:

    @mdblanche:

    When the inevitable mass suicide finally happens, you can only hope they don’t take the rest of us down with them.

    I won’t lie. When I saw Glenn Beck at his peak, I was thoroughly convinced we were going to find him a decade later, camped out in Jonestown surrounded by thousands of jumpsuit-clad disciples, engaged in a mass-marriage followed by murder-suicide.

  21. 21
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Wag: Also too, Tunch worshippers. We may be jackals, we lubs that tubbeh kitteh with an after market tail.

  22. 22
    Felonius Monk says:

    @phil:

    Romney and Ryan are white? They look pretty mixed race to me.

    Yeah, they are both part ASS and part HOLE. I guess that could be called mixed.

  23. 23
    mdblanche says:

    @Zifnab25: I know just what you mean. I have a few relatives who would have been in those jumpsuits.

  24. 24
    Wag says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Over the four years I’ve been here, I think its not so much Trunch worship as it is Trunch fear that holds our community together. I know I fear waking one night with a furry mass pressed against my face…

  25. 25
    Wag says:

    @mdblanche:

    When the inevitable mass suicide finally happens, you can only hope they don’t take the rest of us down with them.

    This, too

  26. 26
    HRA says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    I doubt there is any “white country” to be found and we are all better for our country being one of many.

  27. 27
    RSA says:

    @PeakVT:

    I mean the fact that one side calls itself conservative and the other side (sometimes) calls itself progressive doesn’t provide any hints, now, does it?

    Or maybe that two of the most prominent establishment publications on opposite sides (sort of, but not so much recently) are the National Review and the New Republic?

  28. 28
    qwerty42 says:

    “an incoherent amalgam of interest groups … vying for benefits … at the expense of other Americans.”

    I’m sure Yuval meant to say real Americans.

  29. 29
    Culture of Truth says:

    and yet who was the candidate promising to “put that $700 billion back”, promising tax cuts, promising a massive military, promising to do away with regulations and let corps burden everyone else with the cost of their risk, pollution, promising free gas, no action on climate change…

  30. 30
    dollared says:

    off topic, but I want to thank Betty Cracker for the amazing number of cozy and innovative chicken coops appearing on every website I visit…

  31. 31
    Citizen_X says:

    @qwerty42: “Hmm. Y’know, Cletus, ‘Yuval Levin’ don’t sound very Real American to me. He ain’t no Christian, is he?”

  32. 32
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    even the conservatives Bobo touts as New Jack Burkeans

    Jack Burkeans–are those the yappy little dogs like Rosie?

  33. 33
    opie jeanne says:

    Sort of on topic, I was in a shop in Lake Arrowhead this morning and overheard the owner telling a customer that welfare recipients “make $60 grand a year.”

    You can imagine my surprise at this bit of information. When I said I didn’t think that was exactly correct he said it was true because he read it on Drudge. I said the equivalent of “well, there you are.”

    I dug out the info online and discovered that that is the AVERAGE SPENT by state and the feds per family, obviously that’s not $60k in cash, but it included all sorts of things that in my opinion don’t count as welfare, such as Pell Grants.

  34. 34
    grandpa john says:

    @Wag: I’d say the the results of the last election sounded like a pretty coherent message

  35. 35
    grandpa john says:

    @qwerty42: Most of the real
    Americans are now on reservations, so when the wing nuts talk about “our” country are the talking about the country they stole from the real Americans, the Indians who were already here?

  36. 36
    JWL says:

    As though we all didn’t ooze out the primate soup together all those years ago..

  37. 37
    Donut says:

    @LosGatosCA:

    “Peak wingnut is actually always with us, it just takes a new guise every once in a while”

    Yeah, been espousing a variation on this theme for awhile. People forget history, at least the young and naive do.. It’s always been like this. Always. Nothing really changes at the core. The contexts change in different eras, of course; there are both nuances and glaring distinctions that mark eras in time. But the core of human political interaction is always a raging war between ideologies. Currently in this country we call this the contrast between “liberals” and “conservatives”.

    Anyway. That’s all I got. +3

  38. 38
    Fort Geek says:

    @sharl: Most (if not all) of the pre-Civil War forts the US built involved slave labor. I think of that whenever I visit one. There’s a lot of beautiful mason-work, with millions of bricks that were hand-filed by black slaves to fit specific spots. At Fort Pickens, there are places with original plaster work with thumbprints left by black men who had no rights. It’s shameful that I never learned these things in school.

  39. 39
    Brad says:

    @Zifnab25: now we’re likely to find him coming out of a public restroom with a swastika self carved in his forehead.

  40. 40
    opie jeanne says:

    @Fort Geek: The ones on the West Coast, like the old one on Alcatraz and the one in Vancouver Washington?

  41. 41
    opie jeanne says:

    @Fort Geek: Yes, it’s a terrible shame and that’s even without the frantic rewriting that has gone on in the South.

    We were in England and France for a couple of weeks this fall and visited Sissinghurst, the home of Vita Sackville-West. Over 3000 French prisoners were kept in the old castle during the Seven Years War, naked, starving, packed in so tight at times that they couldn’t all sit down at the same time. They wrote their names and drew on the walls in the tower rooms, a sketch of a ship some of them sailed on, a complaint about their treatment.

    People who hold too much power, even temporarily, over other people can be breath-takingly wicked.

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