I speak very, very fluent Spanish

Jeremiah Goulka has a long but smart piece on Republicans’ political woes:

The Jerk Factor

As for those demographic groups the GOP needs to start winning over in the medium- and long-term, putative 2016 A-lister Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to see a middle class “message of prosperity and freedom for all” communicated loudly to immigrants and the young. But as one astute Republican insider said to me, “Hispanics won’t hear our message so long as they think our immigration platform says, ‘We hate Mexicans.’”

Bobby Jindal was right to say, “If we want people to like us, we have to like them first.” But the Party hasn’t truly begun to grasp what might be called the liking gap between the GOP and the groups it needs to cultivate. It’s time for Republicans to take a long, hard look in the mirror. It’s not just recent anti-immigration fervor that repels Hispanics and others from the party. The GOP needs to internalize the fact that the dead bird hanging from its neck is its entire modern history.

Putting someone who speaks Spanish at the top of the ticket in 2016 won’t change the fact that more and more voters — especially but not exclusively non-white voters — see Republicans as intolerant assholes (Carter Eskew, who is actually on target today):

A recent Wall Street Journal-NBC poll found that when people were asked to use a word or phrase to describe today’s Republican Party, 65 percent of responses were negative and just 17 percent positive. Democrats were split at 35 percent positive, 37 percent negative.

[…]

The answer comes from an unlikely source: President Obama’s campaign pollster, Joel Benenson. Yesterday, he delivered by far the best analysis of the current state of the Republicans Party, and it rings devastatingly and comprehensively true: Republicans have a “tolerance” problem. Whether on gay rights, immigration, global warming or women’s health issues, Republicans have sent repeated and off-putting messages. Benenson’s is a unified theory of the problem, and he suggested, correctly, that it won’t be solved piecemeal.

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think that being perceived as assholes is generally a bad thing politically, at least as far as what voters — as opposed to pundits — think. There’s some strange Beltway culture of celebrating dickheadedness. Think of politicians like Joe Lieberman and Chris Christie (who isn’t even actually that intolerant) and journalists like Robert Samuelson and Chuck Lane. That shtick goes over well in DC but not with the rest of the country.

When the jerk store calls, it doesn’t matter what language you speak when you answer.

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66 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think that being perceived as assholes is generally a bad thing politically,

    Only when you lose. Everybody hates the bad loser.

  2. 2
    Nemo_N says:

    Atrios once said that people are usually okay with assholes as long as they think they have them on their side.

    I think that’s right; the problem with republicans is that they are omni-assholes.

  3. 3
    BerkeleyMom says:

    As a female I don’t want to be just tolerated by the political party I’m voting for. I want real acceptance, a little respect for my contributions to society, and policies that benefit me and my family. Good luck with that Republicans.

  4. 4
    ericblair says:

    They celebrate dickishness when conservatives do it, which is quite a lot. They’re quite happy to clutch their pearls and shake their heads when a Democrat dares to mouth off.

    They’re not going to suddenly discover tolerance, because intolerance is the biggest selling point to the GOP. This isn’t the first time that a gooper has suggested that maybe xenophobic rage has a downside, only to get ignored and shunned from the other factions of the party. They picked purity, and they’ll get it.

  5. 5
    James E Powell says:

    Right-wingers love public figures, in and out of politics, who express contempt for the people they despise. They love Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh for the exact same reasons that normal people do not like them.

  6. 6
    Calouste says:

    So if you have a strategy to win elections based on getting 51% of the population to hate on the other 49%, it turns out that when demographic changes change that 49% into 51%, you have painted yourself in a corner. I guess no one could have predicted that.

  7. 7
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    It’s possible to be an asshole without being intolerant. It’s not possible to be intolerant without being an asshole. I don’t think people care about the asshole part so much.

  8. 8
    Derelict says:

    What’s missing in this analysis is the underlying dynamics of the GOP as it stands today. The party’s policy stances, in their entirety, can be written as follows:

    1.) Give more money to the wealthiest people in the country, whether through tax cuts, crony contracts, or simply overlooking the looting and theft those people engage in.

    2.) Try to enact laws that punish people for their most private and intimate behavior while screeching about the intrusiveness of “Big Government”.

    3.) On any other subject or problem, GOP policy is “whatever pisses off liberals,” even if that means opposing the same policies the GOP introduced and supported just 4 hours previous.

    As long as this is the summa of GOP policy analysis, they cannot help but make more and more voters dislike the party.

  9. 9
    jumpinjezebel says:

    It isn’t just a public position problem – it’s their base of intolerant, obsessive, scared assholes that dominate their primaries, talk radio, editorials and board trolls. Until they tell these people to go away they’re still stuck with them and their visions of what Republicans should be.

  10. 10
    mainmati says:

    Psychologically, it is well-known that people like people who are happy and have upbeat messaging. This is one reason that a lot of American liked Reagan even though most of his policies were quite destructive. For a time, W managed to do this too though he was undermined by being pleasant but also callous and incompetent and, of course, dominated by the Dark Lord who was the real Master. In contrast, the GOP not only has a demonstrably negative and destructive set of policies they also convey them in the nastiest kind of way whether through the right-wing media or the relentlessly negative Congressional Goopers. And then, there was, of course, Rmoney. So policies need to change but also the open scorn with which they view most of America.

  11. 11

    After the last week living in Michigan, having seen “RTW” bills signed, I have been reading more and more about the history of unions and the history of the term “right to work”. Considering RTW originated out of the fascist movement in the U.S. it brought me to the conclusion that really the Republican party, and Tea Party especially, should be considered fascists in a modern way.

    Between attacking average people, giving tax benefits to the rich and wrapping itself in the flag and religion, I am not sure how one comes to a different conclusion than to realize that this IS the new American fascist movement.

    Here is some history I found interesting on this history. http://www.nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/right-to-work

  12. 12

    The GOP needs to internalize the fact that the dead bird hanging from its neck is its entire modern history.

    Can someone explain this metaphor to me. Is it some subcultural reference I’m missing?

  13. 13
    Short Bus Bully says:

    Overt displays of sociopathic tendencies are regarded with high esteem by the Punditocracy.

  14. 14
    Balconesfault says:

    When your target audience is primarily people who listen regularly to Limbaugh, Hannaty, Savage, and Ingraham … being an asshole becomes regarded as a virtue.

  15. 15
    MikeJ says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I don’t think people care about the asshole part so much.

    I’d disagree with you. Even the liberal liberals want more assholishness. People who are active in politics online want to see Obama come out and stomp on the republicans in public and don’t give a shit about what actually gets accomplished. They want their leaders to hate the right people, hate them with the same intensity they feel, and most importantly, demonstrate that hatred even when it isn’t helpful to getting stuff done.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Rick Massimo says:

    @James E Powell: Yeah, this discussion is missing the fact that at any time other than September, October and November of presidential-election years, being a dickhead is exactly what Republicans intend to do, because it’s what their base wants.

    And it’s finally biting them in the ass, in part because for the first time the 24/7 news channels are being used not only to vault the latest conservative fake outrage to the forefront of the national discussion, but also to remind people of what Republicans said a few months ago when they thought no one but their donors were listening.

  18. 18
    danimal says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I think you’re right, JSF. Often I’ll read your comments and think “What an asshole!” while laughing. But I’ve never thought you intolerant.

    And I mean that in a complimentary way.

  19. 19
    cmorenc says:

    What many GOP politicians fail to grasp is the critical difference between resolutely having a spine and resolving to be an asshole. True, Reagan somehow got away being an asshole too often because his acting background made him good at projecting a sunny disposition, which is a face many citizens were disposed to welcome after the prevailingly dark-seeming dozen or so years from 1968-1980. However, the “sunny-face” schtick has worn quite thin since then, as the citizenry has grown much more wary and cynical of politicians generally.

  20. 20
    RSA says:

    The GOP needs to internalize the fact that the dead bird hanging from its neck is its entire modern history.

    The party of Lincoln has discovered that coasting for 150 years on racial relations is probably a bad idea.

  21. 21
    General Stuck says:

    Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think that being perceived as assholes is generally a bad thing politically, at least as far as what voters

    You want to know what the real republican woe is? It is winning 59 percent of the white vote, and still losing by five points. That is the blinking neon sign that screams out the wingnuts will have to make some massive changes in their belief system. And swallowing whole a lifetime of birthrighted privilege and entitlement is not going to happen without a big bunch of sustained pain/ The only thing we can hope for is the sorry motherfuckers don’t burn it down during the long national therapy session it will take to change deeply implanted notions of white supremacy. A white minority along with the persons today’s GOP treats as second hand citizens, are going to insist on having a sense of country and compassion for others, and not a bunch of greedy clowns stealing everything that isn’t nailed down, like they can take it with them when they go. Or, maybe thinking it will make them not have to go at all.

  22. 22
    Arrik says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

    Chévere.

  23. 23
    deep says:

    Simple answer, this nation and the GOP in particular like to glorify bullies. It’s part of our culture since the rise of the modern conservative in the late 60s.

  24. 24
    Roger Moore says:

    Shorter: You can’t be both the party of angry white guys and the big tent party.

  25. 25
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    It’s possible to be an asshole without being intolerant.

    See: Chris Christie.

  26. 26
    RareSanity says:

    Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think that being perceived as assholes is generally a bad thing politically, at least as far as what voters—as opposed to pundits—think.

    This can all be equated to the massive echo chamber that conservatives have created for themselves. From politicians, to pundits, all the way down to the base. They have so isolated themselves from diverse ideas, that they really do extrapolate the, “Well everyone I know thinks X,Y, and Z”, that they seriously believe that their ideas are actually popular.

    If you live in a rural southern, or mid-western area, or you sequester yourself to the gated community of a suburb…and only watch Fox News and listen to wingnut radio…you might think that your ideals are pretty universal. I mean, everyone you talk to, everything you hear on TV, and everything you hear on the radio, agrees with you…how could you possibly be wrong?

    That is the GOP’s problem, the echo chamber.

    It’s like that little arc-rector powering the magnet in Iron Man’s chest. It is the source that powers his unbelievable suit, but if he were to ever remove it, the shrapnel reaches his heart and he dies.

    GOP echo chamber == Iron Man arc-reactor

  27. 27
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:

    Can someone explain this metaphor to me. Is it some subcultural reference I’m missing?

    He’s referring to having a dead albatross hung around your neck, ala “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”.

  28. 28
    Brachiator says:

    @DougJ:

    Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think that being perceived as assholes is generally a bad thing politically, at least as far as what voters—as opposed to pundits—think.

    Yeah, you are probably wrong about this.

    The GOP leadership don’t care how they are perceived. They care about gaining and retaining power. The GOP leadership and much of their base take for granted the notion that only the right sort of people should be allowed to vote or have their vote counted. The recent Maddow show had a devastating piece on how the GOP has rigged state districts so that Republicans control key states and send more Repubs to Congress than Democrats no matter what the popular vote count might be. And on top of this they are looking into more ways to suppress voter registration and turnout.

    Shorter: if voters don’t like you, nullify voters.

    The GOP is locked into this strategy, no matter what, because they are convinced that Democrats are traitorously wrong about everything they believe. So, even if they can’t yet change the national system to make the allocation of electoral votes more partisan, they will settle for trying for a majority in the House and maybe Senate, even if they can’t easily steal the presidential election.

    And they are more openly and more stridently pushing the view that only white Christian men and married white Christian women count as Real Americans(tm). This makes any honest appeal to Latinos or anyone else who does not accept neo-white supremacy impossible.

  29. 29
    BrYanS says:

    What was funny was in 2000, the wingnut I was working with was bragging how the hardworking minority group, the Hispanics, were siding with the Republicans, while the lazy handout seeking ones, the Negroes, were siding with the Democrats.

  30. 30
    brantl says:

    Chris Christie is both intolerant and an asshole. He’s intolerant of unions of any kind, any kind of real social programs (AT ALL), and wants the poor to starve to death, what’s not intolerant about that? It waddles like a duck-whale, talks like a duck, craps like a duck; if it isn’t a duck, it’s some weird hybrid.

  31. 31
    Nicole says:

    Assholes make for good TV because they are ready-made conflict creators. Drama, and TV is a dramatic medium, is all about conflict. As soon as the conflict is over, the entertainment is over, too. We can talk all we want about wanting more civility, but civility is boring to watch and TV is entertainment first and everything else second.

    It’s the reason reality TV is now referred to as “unscripted,” not reality. Producers realized they had to create conflict in order to have something people would watch.

    In the golden days of mid-century, polite, news broadcasting it was a money-loser.

  32. 32
    burnspbesq says:

    And yet, in the face of all of this, Republicans continue to tell each other “don’t you worry ’bout a thing.”

  33. 33
    James E Powell says:

    @General Stuck:

    You want to know what the real republican woe is? It is winning 59 percent of the white vote, and still losing by five points. That is the blinking neon sign that screams out the wingnuts will have to make some massive changes in their belief system.

    It’s going to be even harder than it looks. Very often we talk about the Republicans’ constant campaigns of “the Democrats are going to raise your taxes and give the money to the [insert racist epithet]!” as if they’ve only been going on since Reagan, or Nixon.

    But those “Southern Strategy” campaigns were merely taking over what the Solid South Democrats had been doing for a hundred years. And the Solid South Democrats were built on a foundation of racist mythology and virulent hatred that goes back over two hundred years. It isn’t going to be easy to eradicate racists or racism from America, and as long as these beliefs are cherished by some voters, those voters will be readily available to some one.

    When the racist Democrats abandoned the party and turned Republican, there was another party there to welcome them. If they leave the Republicans, where will they go?

  34. 34
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think that being perceived as assholes is generally a bad thing politically

    The Republicans in my family love assholes. The bigger the asshole the more the wingnuts in my family will support them. They swoon over politicians that want to fuck over the poor.

    Was there one Republican candidate for President that wasn’t trying to out asshole the other assholes? Jon Huntsman tried and he got 1% of the vote.

    Republicans are assholes. It’s who they are and what they do.

  35. 35
    Jewish Steel says:

    I speak very, very fluent Spanish

    Don’t You Worry Bout A Thing, DougJ!

  36. 36
    Mark C says:

    What the GOP needs is for Heritage not to stop with just DeMintia, but to go on a full scale hiring binge. If they could team up with AEI in this endeavor, it would be theoretically possible to clean out many of the most offensive assholes. I don’t know what they’d do with Santorum though.

  37. 37
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @RareSanity:

    If you live in a rural southern, or mid-western area, or you sequester yourself to the gated community of a suburb…and only watch Fox News

    There’s another structural factor at work here with the GOP and Hispanic voters specifically, which is that there is no Spanish language equivalent to Fox News. It isn’t that Hispanics as a group don’t watch the news in English; that’s not true. But rather it is significant that there is a whole ‘nother channel for political news to flow to the voters that has not (at least not yet) been corrupted and subordinated to Republican messaging, and the only people who have access to it are folks of whatever color who happen to speak Spanish and listen to Spanish-language news broadcasts or read Spanish-language newspapers. Given the GOP friendly crap that passes for news on the MSM’s English language channels, both on Fox but more importantly also on CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC, who are all either Fox-lite or Fox-lite-wannabes (chasing after the old angry white person demographic), you could argue that a Spanish speaker is likely to be better informed (after controlling for other variables) regarding the news of the day, than an English-only speaker who has no access to TV that hasn’t already been contaminated with Fox influence.

    So I think maybe it isn’t just that Hispanic voters justifiably dislike the GOP’s policies, but they also have a fighting chance of being informed by MSM outlets regarding what those policies actually are.

  38. 38

    @The Other Bob:

    Considering RTW originated out of the fascist movement in the U.S. it brought me to the conclusion that really the Republican party, and Tea Party especially, should be considered fascists in a modern way.

    New Rule: If they get to call us ‘soshulists’, then we get to call them ‘fascists’.

    Especially because, in their case, the description is actually sort of true.

  39. 39
    andy says:

    @ericblair: This. intolerance is built into the OS- it can’t work without it. The fact of the matter is the GOP could have spent some time looking in the mirror post-Watergate- if they had we would have a center-left party and the center right party and conventional politics for the greater good and all that.

    Instead we have a moderate party and a party of nihlist assholes and we are lurching between actively bad governance and attempts at good governance hampered by damage control and the crazy party’s booby traps.

    I think maybe the people are starting to recognize this fact- thing is, it will take as massive an effort as the last Presidential campaign to get a shot at finally knocking the GOP into the margins, considering their continual efforts to disrupt voting everywhere they hold a little power.

  40. 40
    Seanly says:

    Jeebus, something in Explorer doesn’t like the Walters embedded video…

    Anyway, a wide swath of 20 to 40something white males seem like total a-holes to me (and I’m in that demo). Selfish, snobby, entitled, arrogant, sexist & rascist homophobes – a lot of my contemporaries have most of those traits in spades. And for the white males in the next age bracket, just trim off a couple of those. Is it any wonder that one of the two parties is going to cater to such jerks?

    I know I’m generallizing too much. Maybe it was spending ’97 to ’04 working with some Pennsyltucky rascist jerks and then being in SC from ’05 to ’11. I’m in ID now and there’s a little bit more of a tolerant attitude though still too much libertarian selfishness here.

    While I think the long term demographic trends doom the current uberconservative branches of the Republicans, there is a lot of misery they can spread until Democrats begin capturing more states.

  41. 41
    General Stuck says:

    @James E Powell:

    If they leave the Republicans, where will they go?

    There is only one place they can go, and that is into their regional southern dens of inequity to stew in their own hateful juices. And the only way the republican party can begin to win elections again. (short of epic dem failure, or another Reagan)is to moderate their core conservative ideas as possibly a part of the solution in our economic lives. Not the solution all by itself, as manifested by Laissez-faire utopia econ policy that is killing us.

    And they are going to have to stop elements of their party from trying to suppress or criminalize human behaviors they are personally offended by, but cause no harm to anyone. And finally to embrace the multicultural reality that is this melting pot country. If they can do these things, they could earn back a lot of midwest and NE fiscal conservative wingers who are now voting dem, or not voting at all because of the hate for minorities, and the poor, and now even the largely white middle class. And I swear, none of this seems remotely possible from the current conditions of the GOP/ But who knows what will happen.

  42. 42
    JustRuss says:

    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to see a middle class “message of prosperity and freedom for all”

    Really? Until your party is willing to admit that Walmart’s employment practices are a problem, instead of a model to be emulated, you don’t get to claim “prosperity for all” in your platform.

  43. 43
    andy says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:

    “The word ‘albatross’ is sometimes used metaphorically to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse. It is an allusion to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798). In the poem, an albatross starts to follow a ship — being followed by an albatross was generally considered an omen of good luck. However, the titular mariner shoots the albatross with a crossbow, which is regarded as an act that will curse the ship (which indeed suffers terrible mishaps). To punish him, his companions induce him to wear the dead albatross around his neck indefinitely (until they all die from the curse, as it happens). Thus the albatross can be both an omen of good or bad luck, as well as a metaphor for a burden to be carried (as penance).”

  44. 44
    The Moar You Know says:

    My racist teabagger mother insists that the GOP can do an about face on immigration and Mexicans, and have them all voting Republican within one year, because “Mexicans are stupid. The last election proved that!” Yeah, ma, it sure did.

    I refrained from using California’s Prop 187 as an example. Almost twenty years since then and California just keeps getting bluer.

    Mexicans not only ain’t stupid, they’ve got long memories. VERY long memories. I actually see them as a natural GOP constituency one day, but it won’t be in my lifetime. Too much bile and hate thrown their way for far too long, and it’s not like that’s stopped, or is going to, anytime soon.

  45. 45
    MikeJ says:

    @Seanly:

    Anyway, a wide swath of 20 to 40something white males seem like total a-holes to me (and I’m in that demo). Selfish, snobby, entitled, arrogant, sexist & rascist homophobes

    Welcome to Reddit!

    I wonder how this ties into the High Fidelity topic from earlier. In days of yore the lonely outsider could dive into the esoterica of music or comics or computers. All fields that required intense study and offered no rewards beyond the respect of other outsiders. Now anybody is an instant expert on any obscure topic simply by looking at wikipedia.

    The way to set yourself apart is to be transgressive Yes, back in the olden days we had plenty of assholes who acted the same way. But geekdom did teach us how to deal with other people, even if they were people just like us. Is American politics now just the greater internet fuckwad theory writ large?

  46. 46
    The Moar You Know says:

    There’s another structural factor at work here with the GOP and Hispanic voters specifically, which is that there is no Spanish language equivalent to Fox News.

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Fox News Espanol.

    They have a TV channel as well, of course. Several of them.

    Sorry.

  47. 47
    JustAnotherBob says:

    @General Stuck:

    You want to know what the real republican woe is? It is winning 59 percent of the white vote, and still losing by five points. That is the blinking neon sign that screams out the wingnuts will have to make some massive changes in their belief system

    I don’t see them ready to change beliefs yet. Or ever.

    Right now they seem to be looking at a combination of cleaning up their tactics and hiring some additional votes.

    They’re going to lean on candidates to not say things that upset people as happened in a couple of Senate races. And they’re casting around for ways that they can get some of “those others” to vote with them while not actually including “those others” in the party.

    That’s not a good route to winning.

    What I see more likely is after a couple more significant losses the corporate wing will start to largely abandon the most extreme social conservatives and seek a new majority of voters from the more conservative parts of the middle.

    In the primaries all the corporate money will flow to more moderate candidates. I think that was happening during the last round with larger amounts of money going to Romney. Unfortunately for them, their only option was deeply flawed. I expect they won’t make that mistake again.

    The corporate wing will front someone acceptable to a lot more of the middle, assume that most of the far right will vote with them based on “lesser of the evils” and over time the right-wing nuts will die off.

  48. 48
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    They have a TV channel as well, of course. Several of them.

    Yes, but is anybody watching it? Is it the default channel on when you walk into a restaurant, bar or waiting room, like the English-language Fox News is? Do the other Spanish language channels try to imitate it because they covet the Fox leaning demographic? There is a big difference between merely being on the air, and having major influence, and the most pernicious thing about Fox News is the influence it exerts on the other MSM channels to shift to the right because they are hoping to get a slice of the Fox News demographic.

    Also, you missed the asymmetric aspect of my argument. It isn’t that Hispanic voters lack access to right wing MSM news; that is not true. It is that Spanish speakers have more and better access to MSM news that is not right wing, which monolingual English speakers do not.

  49. 49
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @MikeJ:

    I’d disagree with you. Even the liberal liberals want more assholishness. People who are active in politics online want to see Obama come out and stomp on the republicans in public and don’t give a shit about what actually gets accomplished. They want their leaders to hate the right people, hate them with the same intensity they feel, and most importantly, demonstrate that hatred even when it isn’t helpful to getting stuff done.

    You’re wrong, as usual, and this place is worse off for you being so.

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    My racist teabagger mother insists that the GOP can do an about face on immigration and Mexicans, and have them all voting Republican within one year, because “Mexicans are stupid. The last election proved that!”

    Sadly, this really encapsulates the GOP view. Not only are Mexicans wrong; they are also supposedly stupid and, presumably, easily led by their betters.

    I can only imagine what your mother might think about blacks or Asians.

  51. 51
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @BrYanS:

    What was funny was in 2000, the wingnut I was working with was bragging how the hardworking minority group, the Hispanics, were siding with the Republicans, while the lazy handout seeking ones, the Negroes, were siding with the Democrats.

    How was that funny?

  52. 52
    jl says:

    I skimmed the whole piece.

    Two problems seem insurmountable to me. First, the modern GOP has thrown its lot in with the top sliver of the income and wealth distribution, and they favor policies that help that sliver (in other words, offer enormous unearned gifts to that sliver) and hurts everyone else. The 250 K to not quite the richest bigshots in the world group was precisely the demographic some of their half-assed compromises to appeal to the ‘middle’ proposals would have hurt. So that ‘sliver’ problem is a big problem, and it cuts across racial and ethnic categories.

    And second, due to the first, they support egregiously cruel and pointless policies that hurt the country as a whole to favor their favored sliver. Some of the hurt for the many that they advocate involves stealing money that people labored very hard for decades to earn and set aside in social insurance and private retirement funds, or deals pointless misery and premature death out to keep their favored sliver wealthy. So, a-hole policies. And it takes an a-hole to favor these kinds of policies. That is, to put it politely, they are a-holes. And as a famous member of an extinct species of Republican once is supposed to have said: you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

    So, I sense a big problems for this bunch that will not be solved by the GOP in its current form.

  53. 53
    Davis X. Machina says:

    There’s some strange Beltway culture of celebrating dick-headedness.

    It’s all of a piece with the cult of the gut, savvy-worship, and reflexive contrarianism.

  54. 54
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @jumpinjezebel: Quite true, Jez. Right-wing radio/media IS the voice of the Republican party. Anne Coulter, Rush, Michelle Malkin, Michael Savage, Dennis Miller, Beck, et al: this is your Republican party. Then trot out the actual politicians like Bachmann, Palin, Steve King, Mitch McTurtle, and so forth, and you’ve got a party of angry, self-entitled people who wrap themselves in the flag and wave their bibles and don’t get why we’re not all lined up to worship their glory.

  55. 55
    JustAnotherBob says:

    @jl:

    First, the modern GOP has thrown its lot in with the top sliver of the income and wealth distribution, and they favor policies that help that sliver (in other words, offer enormous unearned gifts to that sliver) and hurts everyone else.

    I think you’ve got that backwards. The top sliver, not having enough votes, threw its lot in with whatever group of haters it could identify. That started with Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

    Now they are running short of haters and they’re looking for a new group of something to recruit.

    The massive problem they’ve got is that they have lots of fellow party members who hate all the groups they might consider recruiting.

  56. 56
    El Cid says:

    Lots of the Republican base and the most prominent pundits & media figures absolutely adore it when their types act more dickish, more assholish, more insensitive, callous, haughty, rude, sneering, and just plain mean.

    Good god, their whole love affair with Sarah Palin began because she gave one of the most sneering, assholish major political speeches I’ve ever seen. And I mention that because her sneering dismissiveness was so hot for them that it made her vapid stupidity, ignorance, and general record of failure go from a negative to a plus.

  57. 57
    JoyfulA says:

    Goulka’s description of his conversion to Democrat is worth reading, too:

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/blo.....republican

  58. 58
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: The albatross was considered a good luck symbol to old time sailors, and to kill an albatross spelled doom for a ship. In Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the perpetrator of such a crime was forced to wear the body of the dead bird around his neck. Didn’t save the ship, though, but the perp survived to tell the tale. ‘Swhy I hate poesy.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @El Cid:

    Remember how Fucker Fuckerson was insisting that Rmoney trumpet the 47% speech? That he celebrate his outright hatred for “the moochers” out there who will vote for the ni*CLANG* no matter what?

  60. 60
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @BrYanS:

    What was funny was in 2000, the wingnut I was working with was bragging how the hardworking minority group, the Hispanics, were siding with the Republicans, while the lazy handout seeking ones, the Negroes, were siding with the Democrats.

    Uh-huh. 71% of Asian-Americans voted for Obama.

    Remind me again whether the stereotype of Asians is on the “lazy” or “hard-working” side of the aisle?

  61. 61
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    The Republicans in my family love assholes. The bigger the asshole the more the wingnuts in my family will support them. They swoon over politicians that want to fuck over the poor.

    People, you really REALLY need to read up on authoritarian followers. It took me a while to wrap my head around it too, but they really do not think like normal people.

  62. 62
    Rex Everything says:

    Stevie Wonder is the greatest.

  63. 63
    Brendanyc says:

    My dad (a white, working class Bronx boy who was also a dedicated union activist) told me many years ago that the defining quality of Republicans is that they are mean. Simply that. it seemed a stereotyped, shallow view for a long time to me, even though my politics were very far from Republican. But as the years roll by, i find, sadly, more and more that my dad was right. the strain that runs through so many Republican opinions, values, attitudes and political positions is simple mean spirits.
    It isn’t Rand or Hayek or Limbaugh–although they certainly help encourage the worst in these folk.
    It is meanness.

  64. 64
    Buckyblue says:

    Wow, I think the Hispanic voters have seen these fascists before. In their country of origin. Fascists are fascists whether they speak Spanish, English, German or Italian. My problem is the native ‘mericans who can’t see the repugs for what they are.

  65. 65
    Chris says:

    @jumpinjezebel:

    This.

    Frankly, their base collectively has always scared me more than any individual politician.

  66. 66

    Thanks all! I knew the meaning of albatross, but a dead chicken, in my experience, always means something to do with voodoo and/or as a threat (maybe that’s a Southern way to look at it)…..Sorry to be so dense.

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