Priest-King of the Spite Voters

So the NYTimes published an article examining the scholarly theory that “Spite Is Good. Spite Works“:

… Although groups of excessively spiteful or selfish players quickly collapsed, and rigidly fair-minded societies were readily destabilized by influxes of selfish exploiters, the flexible sharers not only proved able to coexist with the spiteful types, but the presence of spitefuls had the salubrious effect of enhancing the rate of fair exchanges among the genials. By the looks of it, Dr. Smead said, “fairness is acting as a defense against spite.” …

… and right on cue, here’s the Washington Post interviewing Would-Be President Rick Santorum:

… It’s like “The Passion of the Christ” meets Bruce Springsteen meets “Election.”

History says that Rick Santorum should be the next Republican nominee for president. Republicans are wont to nominate the guy who came in second the last time around (see: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney). Having won 11 states in 2012, Santorum should be the front-runner.

The problem for him is that no one believes this will be the case…

The first question, of course, is whether he will run. Who would want to put their nine-person family through the wringer once again, all for the chance of going up against an expanded list of conservative candidates? If he were to do so, and then lose Iowa, that would almost certainly be the nail in his political coffin…

“I’m in Iowa,” he says. “I’m traveling around the country giving speeches. I’m writing a book. I’m doing everything that’s necessary to be in position to make a decision.”

But he’s also put himself in the position to make a bunch more money. Coming in second in 2012 meant he could give speeches for an average of about $40,000 to $50,000 per gig. Matt Beynon, who has worked for Santorum in various capacities for years, says that before 2012 he was “making just a small fraction of that.”

By being a potential contender, he gets to keep his speaking fees high and can bring attention to his EchoLight Studios, which makes faith-based movies.

“Everybody has a script, everybody has an idea, everybody wants to make a movie,” Santorum humblebrags about the business like a seasoned Hollywood pro (his company is actually based in Dallas). “I’ve never felt so popular.”

Much as I hate to admit it, Mark Ames wasn’t wrong about a significant chunk of the American (Republican, middle-to-working class, non-coastal mostly-white mostly-male, Christian-identifying) electorate — the Spite Voters:

… If the left wants to understand American voters, it needs to once and for all stop sentimentalizing them as inherently decent, well-meaning people being duped by a tiny cabal of evil oligarchs—because the awful truth is that they’re mean, spiteful jerks being duped by a tiny cabal of evil oligarchs. The left’s naïve, sentimental, middle-class view of “the people” blinds them to all of the malice and spite that is a major premise of Middle American life….

This is America, not Denmark. In this country, tens of millions of people choose to watch FoxNews not simply because Americans are credulous idiots or at the behest of some right-wing corporate cabal, but because average Americans respect viciousness. They are attracted to viciousness for a lot of reasons…

…[W]hat if the Truth is that Americans don’t want to know the Truth? What if Americans consciously choose lies over truth when given the chance–and not even very interesting lies, but rather the blandest, dumbest and meanest lies? What if Americans are not a likeable people? The left’s wires short-circuit when confronted with this terrible possibility; the right, on the other hand, warmly embraces Middle America’s rank soul and exploits it to their full advantage. The Republicans know Americans better than the left. They know that it’s not so much Goering’s famous “bigger lie” that works here, but the dumber and meaner the lie, the more the public wants to hear it repeated…

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

80 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    rigidly fair-minded societies were readily destabilized by influxes of selfish exploiters

    The theory of the troll.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Who would want to put their nine-person family through the wringer once again, all for the chance of going up against an expanded list of conservative candidates?

    Rick Santorum

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Jeez. I had just about managed to talk myself up and out of my McCutcheon-induced funk, when you go and post this.

    I swing wildly between “Fuck it, we’re doomed” and “They can only prevail if we let them.” Today, it’s mostly been the former. Better luck tomorrow.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    If the left wants to understand American voters,

    Yes, because the “left” and “American voters” are two completely separate groups of people. The “average” American voter has voted for Democrats over Republicans in three of the last four federal elections.

  5. 5
    doug r says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Over 7 million signed up for ACA health plans and attendance is down 13% at SeaWorld. I know that cheered me up.

  6. 6
    doug r says:

    @Baud: It’s not that people change their minds that much, it’s that different groups turn out for different elections.

  7. 7
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I’ve been stuck on the former 90% of the time the last year or so.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @doug r:

    Right. At most, this country is evenly divided. So why am I always reading left-wing writers describing conservative voters as average Americans? We hate it when the Village describes America as a center-right nation, don’t we?

  9. 9
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @doug r: those are both tremendously cheer-worthy things. Thanks for the reminder about ACA, and for sharing the SeaWorld info, which it had not heard.

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    “Fairness is acting as a defense against spite.”

    I think this has something to do with the reason we can’t have nice things.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    I would probably never get out of bed. I truly do believe that, try as they might, they can’t fully control us without our permission. And that I refuse to give them. But shit, it is tiring.

  12. 12
    IowaOldLady says:

    What baffles me is that people I see around here at the gym or the store mostly seem decent. Displays of epic meanness seem confined to public figures. Is this entertainment? Is it displacement for the hidden meanness of people around me? I’m puzzled by the discrepancy I see between people around me–some of them being rural, deeply religious, Republicans–and the people I see on TV.

  13. 13
    Roger Moore says:

    Who would want to put their nine-person family through the wringer once again, all for the chance of going up against an expanded list of conservative candidates?

    A narcissist.

  14. 14
    Roger Moore says:

    @IowaOldLady:
    You know how the anonymity of the internet allows people to unleash their inner asshole? Well, voting is also anonymous.

  15. 15
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    which it had not heard = which I had not heard

  16. 16
    the Conster says:

    There is so much unquestioned acceptable cruelty that passes for entertainment, as it ever was in witch hunting America. Rick Santorum is the current day Cotton Mather. I hope to FSM that 2016 is either Rand/Santorum or JEB!/Christie, and the Dems run on birth control and pot.

  17. 17
    Gopher2b says:

    I once clearly and unambiguously demonstrated to my dad how FoxNews lies and manipulates its viewers. His response: “I don’t care about the truth or facts. I like FoxNews and I believe them.”

    Right then and there I knew the only thing we can do is wait for that generation to die (which makes me sad because I love my dad).

  18. 18
    Cacti says:

    @Baud:

    Yes, because the “left” and “American voters” are two completely separate groups of people

    Sluts and blahs don’t count.

    Haven’t you heard?

    Meanwhile, in the real world, Obama won states in every geographic region of the country.

  19. 19
    efgoldman says:

    @the Conster:

    and the Dems run on birth control and pot.

    They should absolutely run on birth control (and the war on women generally.) Pot is not a relevant issue to most of the electorate. They should push the class war meme, and in states and districts where it matters, hammer the shit out of the war on voting.

  20. 20
    Eric U. says:

    that last block quote seems as close to Cleek’s law as people in the media will get

  21. 21
    🍀 Martin says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’ll add to the ACA happiness. Medicare sign-ups are year round, and Michigan and New Hampshire just started their expansion. During the regular year, people can sign up when they turn 26, when they lose or change a job, when they get married, get divorced, have a kid, etc. We’ll lose some of the 7 million because they won’t pay their premium, but there’s probably another few million that signed up directly through the insurers rather than the exchanges (you can just go to Kaiser, etc. and get the same policy). And over the course of the year, we may well sign up several million more.

    And Kentucky lowered their uninsured population by 44%. That’s just unbelievable.

  22. 22
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cacti:

    Sluts and blahs don’t count.

    Exactly. We all know that Mitt Romney deserved to win in 2012 because he wan the white vote. Obama had to depend on minorities, who shouldn’t really count.

  23. 23
    beltane says:

    @Cacti: The proper wording should be “What the left needs to understand about the type of voter who hate liberals more than they love their own children.”

  24. 24
    Mike in NC says:

    Santorum versus JEB! would be as good as Mothra versus Godzilla. Just rooting for fatalities.

  25. 25
    Gex says:

    @IowaOldLady: I had a boss that used to say the stupidest shit about hatred and bigotry until finally I had to explain to him that maybe, just MAYBE people didn’t treat him like a brown gay woman (which is what I am) because he isn’t one. Therefore he never had to see any of the nastiness I’ve seen. Perhaps your experience is somewhat similar. People don’t show their nastiness in day to day interactions in most cases anyhow. And if you aren’t the kind of person they would be nasty to, you may never see it. Doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

  26. 26
    GregB says:

    How has Santorum’s outreach with the Blahs been going?

  27. 27
    Baud says:

    @beltane:

    “What the left needs to understand about the type of voter who hate liberals more than they love their own children.”

    The only goddamn thing the left needs to understand about those types of voters is that they need to be outnumbered on election day. Trying to understand anything else about them will only lead you down a dark and fruitless road.

  28. 28
    PurpleGirl says:

    @🍀 Martin: Do you mean MEDICAID sign-ups are year round (when they turn 26, when they lose or change a job, when they get married, get divorced, have a kid, etc.)?

    ETA: I get picky about this because people confuse the two programs and I think it’s important to keep them clear and distinct.

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    It’s funny, but back during the 30’s and 40’s, America was very much a center-left nation.

    I mean, after all, we did go to war with the Nazis and the Militarists of Japan and allied ourselves with the Soviet Union.

  30. 30
    efgoldman says:

    @GregB:

    How has Santorum’s outreach with the Blahs been going?

    ‘Bout as well as the rest of the GOBP, I ‘spect.

  31. 31
    the Conster says:

    @efgoldman:

    Pot is nota relevant issue to most of the electorate.

    I work with a bunch of much younger people who want to vote for Warren or Sanders for the inequality message but, they still don’t realize how much in jeopardy their basic rights are. Dems should be scaring the shit out of them about Republicans and birth control, gay rights, and the war on some drugs. That’s in their “liberty” wheelhouse.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: The Village just loves to tell us that. If it wasn’t for the Untermenschen, President Rmoney would be fulfilling the White Horse prophecy right this very minute.

  33. 33
    beltane says:

    @Baud: Exactly. At the end of the day, there is really very little to understand about these people. They are not a riddle wrapped up in an enigma, they’re just resentful, entitled, and not overly bright.

  34. 34
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud:

    The only goddamn thing the left needs to understand about those types of voters is that they need to be outnumbered on election day.

    Trying to figure out how to fit that on a bumper sticker.

    Voters who hate need to be outnumbered on election day.

    Democrats win when we outnumber the haters on election day.

    Democrats win when we vote.

    Democrats win when we fucking vote.

    We can’t win if we don’t vote. (edit)

    (Stop me when I get to something that works.)

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @beltane: They are just bright enough to fear the consequences of the formerly oppressed being in the catbird’s seat to be the new oppressors, and karma biting them all on their white asses.

  36. 36
    Scamp Dog says:

    @PurpleGirl: I’m not sure about Medicaid, but the events @🍀 Martin mentioned are changes of status that allow you to sign up for insurance via the ACA. If you don’t undergo one of those changes, you’ll have to wait until the next open enrollment period to sign up, for insurance that won’t start until January 1, 2015.

  37. 37
    🍀 Martin says:

    @PurpleGirl: [sigh] I try really hard to not make that mistake.

    Yes, MediCAID sign-ups are year round, for everyone.

    The exchanges are also available to people year-round when they turn 26, when they lose or change a job, when they get married, get divorced, have a kid, etc. They have 30 days after the event to sign up.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @WaterGirl:

    “Fuck you for not voting.”

  39. 39
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: I would buy that and proudly display it on my vehicle.

  40. 40
    Baud says:

    After Open Enrollment, you can enroll in private coverage through the Marketplace only if you have a qualifying life event or a complex situation related to applying in the Marketplace. If you do, you get a special enrollment period allowing you to buy a health insurance plan through the Marketplace.

    Examples of qualifying life events:

    *Marriage

    *Having a baby

    *Adopting a child or placing a child for adoption or foster care

    *Moving outside your insurer’s coverage area

    *Losing other health coverage—due to losing job-based coverage, divorce, the end of an individual policy plan year in 2014, COBRA expiration, aging off a parent’s plan, losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, and similar circumstances. Important: Voluntarily ending coverage doesn’t qualify you for a special enrollment period. Neither does losing coverage that doesn’t qualify as minimum essential coverage.

    *Gaining citizenship

    *Leaving incarceration

    *Gaining status as member of an Indian tribe. Members of federally recognized Indian tribes can sign up for or change plans once per month throughout the year.

    *For people already enrolled in Marketplace coverage: Having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions

    https://www.healthcare.gov/how-can-i-get-coverage-outside-of-open-enrollment/#part=2

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cacti:

    Sluts and blahs don’t count.

    Haven’t you heard?

    I am neither and yet I have never voted R in my life.*

    *Okay, I’ll admit I can be a bit slutty on occasion. but I blame Obama.

  42. 42
    beltane says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You know the drill. If you’re not a slut or a blah you are an arugula eating elitist which, I think, makes you an honorary slut or blah.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Some people have decided that their racism is more important than left of center politics. Southern Dems in the 30s and 40s were fantastic on lefty measures (as long as those measures didn’t include anyone who gets darker than a manilla envelope during the summer). Many of those people are the core of the GOP today.

  44. 44
    beltane says:

    With the changing demographics in this country, I can easily envision the day when the bigger, meaner lie will be used to the disadvantage of the Republican party or at least the people who vote for the Republican party. After all, it could be argued that the average Republican is not a salt-of-the-earth American, but rather a racist caricature of a white person.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @beltane: I know. I fit a shit-load of the secondary hate categories. I just don’t fit the primary ones.

  46. 46
    James E. Powell says:

    I’ve been voting since 1974 and I have been a spite voter on several occasions. I came of age during the Nixon years. I hated him and all his works and all his promises. Later, I hated Reagan even more. In all these years I’ve never been tempted to vote for a Republican. They have been horrible people with horrible policies since I was in high school. I can’t think of a single significant policy that the Republicans have enacted or tried to enact that I don’t oppose.

  47. 47
    danielx says:

    @Baud:

    Because he’s on a mission from God, as he will readily tell you and anyone else willing to listen to him.

    The Republicans know Americans better than the left. They know that it’s not so much Goering’s famous “bigger lie” that works here, but the dumber and meaner the lie, the more the public wants to hear it repeated…

    Uh, yeah. And, to expand on one of the themes in Mark Ames’ diatribe, they – they being primarily white lower to middle class males who identify themselves as Christian – resent the shit out of anybody who looks different and/or happier than they do, and in particular those who they know or suspect get laid a lot and have fun doing it. I mean, take Santorum – clearly he does get laid, he’s got nine kids. But getting your freak on is not a phrase that leaps to mind when contemplating Rick Santorum or his putative sex life, which I’d rather not, thanks. Santorum may get laid a lot, but he still looks like a miserable motherfucker.

    But yes, this is why they had such a visceral hatred towards hippies all those years ago, and still do, although hippies is more or less a catchall phrase for anyone who looks like he or she gets laid more, enjoys life more, and worrys less than they do. Which doesn’t require all that much of a stretch, frankly. As long as they can vote for someone who promises to bring some misery into the lives of those they detest, or at least not decrease the current misery level of those they detest, well, they’re good with that. The “spite vote” concept does explain something that has always puzzled me – to wit, common sense had told me that pols who promised to improve people’s lives in some sense generally had an advantage. Even W had his innings with the “ownership society” and so forth – it sounded good, even if what that really meant was providing greater opportunities for Wall Street looting. Republicans didn’t give a flying fuck about the deficit at that point either. That ended up with a lot of Republicans being miraculously sheep dipped – by 2009 they’d never heard of anybody named George Bush, and if they had, he wasn’t a real Republican or a real conservative.

    At which point it was back to business as usual; punishing people who Republican voters don’t like and want to see be punished, even if this produces results contrary to those very same voters’ interests. Admittedly, this produces cognitive dissonance at a level that would put me on medication sufficient to put me in a coma – yeah, let’s roll back banking regulation, yea, deregulate it even more so that Wall Street bankers can have even more risk-free opportunities to rip off the public! Because all those problems were caused by brown people buying houses they couldn’t afford and because free markets.

    Facts don’t matter to them, logic doesn’t matter to them, what matters is that someone they don’t like is being hurt. They like seeing people hurt.

  48. 48
    Chris says:

    … If the left wants to understand American voters, it needs to once and for all stop sentimentalizing them as inherently decent, well-meaning people being duped by a tiny cabal of evil oligarchs—because the awful truth is that they’re mean, spiteful jerks being duped by a tiny cabal of evil oligarchs. The left’s naïve, sentimental, middle-class view of “the people” blinds them to all of the malice and spite that is a major premise of Middle American life….

    Oh, man. Where has this paragraph been hiding? That’s exactly my thoughts in re… if not “American voters” as a blanket statement, certainly the Republican-voting ones and far too many of the centrist ones. The idea of their voters as well-meaning salt of the earth types horribly duped by criminal masterminds both gives the masterminds way too much credit, and lets the voters off way too easy.

    …[W]hat if the Truth is that Americans don’t want to know the Truth? What if Americans consciously choose lies over truth when given the chance–and not even very interesting lies, but rather the blandest, dumbest and meanest lies?

    I think that pretty much completely explains Reagan’s popularity, actually.

    The country had just had twenty years of getting a light shined on every ugly corner that polite society liked to pretend wasn’t there, from the reality of the Vietnam War to the reality of how we treated black people to the reality of how we treated far too many other groups (women, gays…) Along comes Reagan to say “nah, forget all that stuff, those big liberal meanies are just trying to make you THINK America’s uglier than it is but that’s just because they hate America.” And polite society throws itself at its feet.

    “I want to believe” isn’t just for UFOlogists.

  49. 49
    waspuppet says:

    In other words, they’re bitter and they cling to their guns and religion.

    It’s a shame that it’s shrill and unfair and partisan to point out that for all the crap Obama took about that, he was dead right.

  50. 50

    Much as I hate to admit it, Mark Ames wasn’t wrong about a significant chunk of the American (Republican, middle-to-working class, non-coastal mostly-white mostly-male, Christian-identifying) electorate — the Spite Voters:

    Well, their version of Jesus does chuck anyone into an eternal torture fire pit for not believing the right things, while they look on and clap and nod and rejoice with an ‘I told you so’ look on their faces, so yes, I’m inclined to believe there’s just a tiny amount of spite in them.

  51. 51
    Chris says:

    @danielx:

    although hippies is more or less a catchall phrase for anyone who looks like he or she gets laid more, enjoys life more, and worrys less than they do

    “Hippie” is also in the same category as “Nazi” when it comes to now-meaningless labels to be stuck on people we don’t like as a signal that they should be punched (not necessarily just metaphorically).

  52. 52
    Chet says:

    @Baud: I think there is (and, pace Ames, long has been) a tendency among certain soi-disant “progressives” (particularly those of the well-educated, well-heeled, Stuff White People Like variety) to take refuge in what Christopher Lasch, in The True and Only Heaven, dubbed “the politics of the civilized minority”:

    Mencken taught liberal intellectuals to think of themselves as a “civilized minority” and to wear unpopularity as a badge of honor. A man of intelligence and taste would always find himself “in active revolt against the culture that surrounds him.” Praising Sinclair Lewis, Mencken laid it down as a dogma that “the artist is … a public enemy; vox populi, to him, is the bray of an ass.” The best thinking was always carried out in “conscious revolt” against the majority.

    The postwar reaction made it easy for liberals to accept Mencken’s low opinion of the average American. Not only liberalism but civilization itself, it seemed, had no future in America: such was the conclusion reached by most of the contributors to Harold Stearns’ celebrated symposium, Civilization in the United States (1912). Another collaborative project, a state-by-state survey conducted by the Nation in the early twenties, conveyed the same impression, on the whole; even more than the Stearns collection, “These United States” revealed liberals’ deep revulsion from American politics and popular culture.

    You see the same thing with stuff like the “Urban Archipelago” editorial that Seattle’s The Stranger ran after Dubya’s re-election in 2004. Or pretty much everything mclaren posts around here.

    Some soi-disant “progressives” really are the smug, elitist assholes who spit on their countrymen that the Right makes all LoC folks out to be. Is it really surprising that this particular soft bigotry of low expectations inspires some denizens of the despised flyover America to say “fuckit” and go out of their way to act the part?

  53. 53
    chopper says:

    History says that Rick Santorum should be the next Republican nominee for president.

    god doesn’t love me that much.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chet:

    Some soi-disant “progressives” really are the smug, elitist assholes who spit on their countrymen that the Right makes all LoC folks out to be. Is it really surprising that this particular soft bigotry of low expectations inspires some denizens of the despised flyover America to say “fuckit” and go out of their way to act the part?

    in Englisch bitte.

  55. 55
    Mike G says:

    “Beware of those in whom the will to punish is strong.” — Nietzsche

  56. 56
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Chris: Exactly right. Shit was getting real. Much more pleasant to believe pretty lies.

  57. 57
    Chris says:

    @beltane:

    At the end of the day, there is really very little to understand about these people. They are not a riddle wrapped up in an enigma, they’re just resentful, entitled, and not overly bright.

    Over at Kfmonkey, the creator of Leverage got a comment from someone saying he’d like to see some more “nuance and complexity” in the villains. His response:

    “The single, unpleasant truth is that most people, particularly criminals, are NOT complex. They are shallow, greedy sons of bitches to whom we attribute genius planning or complex motivations in order to preserve a false sense of order in our universe.”

    QFT.

  58. 58
    aimai says:

    @James E. Powell: I’ve never been a spite voter–I’ve never opposed a program that I thought would be good for the majority of people just because I didn’t like the person proposing it unless I thought their ulterior motives were too dangerous and contradicted the spirit and application of the program they were advocating.

    And, for example, take the Iraq war? I opposed it, didn’t think there was any evidence that Iraq had been behind 9/11 and really didn’t think they had WMD and didn’t think we should invade and bomb a civilian population even if they had–but I sure didn’t root for our failure there. Because our failure would just mean an even bigger murderous cock up than necessary. I admit that I was relieved that my apprehensions were borne out but thats because I am always relieved when gravity works and the sun rises and sets the same way every day. I would have lost faith in my own judgement if Bush and Cheney had been proved right.

  59. 59
    hitchhiker says:

    Okay, wait.

    My brothers are not bitter, resentful, or stupid. They live in northern lower Michigan, the same small tourist town where we all went to high school.

    They work their asses off, trying to keep families fed and warm. They live kinda off the grid. They listen to Rush every bloody day. They’re not religious & don’t go to church. They don’t own guns. One of them smokes dope every day, and the other one meditates as he learned to do in the 70s when transcendental meditation was a thing.

    They’re warm, funny, responsible, and disciplined. I love them. One of them built out (with his own hands) a space off his house, with its own bathroom and deck and lazyboy, so that our 89-yr-old mom could spend her last days among family. He makes sure she’s comfortable and cared for — that she has company when she wants it and quiet when she doesn’t. Because of him, she’s not in some kind of institution.

    I COULD NOT DO THAT.

    And they despise Obama. Like, they HATE him and everything he’s ever done or said. They make stupid racist jokes that I just cringe over. They think Fox is the only news worth watching.

    I’m just saying, these guys are my own beloved brothers, and although they love me & respect me & see me as the “smart kid” in our family, they think I’m dead stupid for not seeing what they see.

    I think it’s the Rush factor, in a small town where the only radio you can listen to all day long while doing manual labor is rightwing propaganda. Rush is funny, right? He does radio well, and if you don’t have any way to know that he is a fucking liar, I’m sure he’s quite convincing.

    If you’d told me in 1975 that my gentle, intelligent, meditating brother would turn into a racist Republican, I’d have said, NO WAY. But that’s what happened.

    All of which is to say, lets not decide we know everything about people who are capable of voting against their own self-interest, not to mention that of the country. Some of them would surprise you.

  60. 60
    Paul in NC says:

    I think it was Goebbels, not Goering. But I could be wrong.

  61. 61
    sm*t cl*de says:

    “I want to believe” isn’t just for UFOlogists.
    Ha. Sounds like Chris has spent some time listening to libertarians.

  62. 62
    shalimar says:

    @hitchhiker: The unifying theme of every single segment of conservative talk radio: who should we hate and why should we hate them. A steady diet of that will turn people into cultists.

  63. 63
    balconesfault says:

    I’ve listened to Limbaugh many times and for the life of me cannot understand why anyone would subject themselves to that for long periods of time … it is so much dead air, repetition, and insipidness that the listener reveling in the spite and bile is the only logical explanation.

  64. 64
    TerryC says:

    @balconesfault: It’s not really dead air. It’s scripted time to allow for deep feelings of unspeakable resentment while opening another beer.

  65. 65
    Rob in CT says:

    While this is overdoing it, there’s a lot of truth to it.

    The thing is, us internalizing this would likely be bad, not good. “Oh, progressives are so naive, won’t they ever learn Republican voters are just gobshites?” Well, here’s the thing: people are good at living down to expectations.

  66. 66
    Tripod says:

    Stanley Greenberg’s fuck you boys. Right wing radio doesn’t create these morons, it gets them to the polls.

  67. 67
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @balconesfault: Being told you’re right and everyone else is wrong is a drug, not a programming format.

  68. 68
    Svensker says:

    @hitchhiker:

    Same thing in my family. Rush kidnapped my wonderful brother 15 years ago. Heartbreaking.

  69. 69
    Paul in KY says:

    @WaterGirl: “Don’t Vote & Stupidity Wins”

  70. 70
    Paul in KY says:

    @Chet: Flyover America seems to give them alot of ammo.

  71. 71
    kindness says:

    There has always been disagreement between people in the political sphere. Some of it visceral. Maybe it’s my rose colored I’m old glasses but I don’t remember hate as being an OK value back in the day. I loathed Dick Nixon & Ronnie Raygun. I didn’t hate the Republicans in Congress because even though I disagreed with them they were actually decent human beings then, for the most part.

    Since Fox hit the scene though civility has been tossed out the window and now it’s no holds barred. I still don’t hate Republicans & the Teahaddists even though I would not shed a tear if many of them died today. You see hate weighs down the person doing the hating more than it hurts those that are hated. I understand that. I blame Fox for our current lack of civility. This was orchestrated by them and their minions took to it like a dog to a bone.

  72. 72
    Paul in KY says:

    @hitchhiker: I can’t believe there wouldn’t be a radio station that played music that they could listen to. Maybe it wouldn’t be their kind of music (Country, Wagner, etc.) but it would have been better than listening to that lying, doper, POS.

  73. 73
    Ecks says:

    @James E. Powell: Not so, Republicans have passed some good stuff. Bush the Elder signed cap and trade into existence for CFC’s, and that pretty tidily looked after the problem at the time. Bush the Lesser did the do not call registry. You have to hand them that one.

    So that’s… two. Which, you have to admit, would be a really good first week in power for a democratic president.

  74. 74
    mcjulie says:

    @hitchhiker: I think you’ve just described a lot of people’s Fox-ified or Rush-ified relatives. The question is what to do about it. I feel like some kind of deprogramming is in order — it really does seem like a cult — but have no idea how that would come about.

  75. 75
    mcjulie says:

    @balconesfault: Totally agreed. I’ve heard Limbaugh on only a couple of occasions. The first time, it was relatively early in his career (the 90s) and we found him on the radio and stopped because we were curious. He was expressing an opinion I didn’t even necessarily disagree with — he was just such a self-important blowhard that I got sick of it really quickly and made my husband change the channel.

    The second time was in the kitchen at his mother’s house. Limbaugh was attempting to “read” a cartoon over the air, and kept interrupting himself with chuckles over how incredibly funny this cartoon was. It was the worst radio I’ve ever heard. Like a parody of talk radio.

  76. 76
    bemused says:

    Bitter enders are furious that aspects of their lives have not gone the way they are “supposed to” for them and have to find something, someone to blame. Of course they are positive others getting something is taking something away from them. It’s the first meme they latch onto to. Why they have focused their rage almost entirely on middle to lower class people and pretty much ignored or excused the wealthier who get free rides at their expense doesn’t make sense but they don’t care. Facts are no match for folks who “just know” and watching Fox is a choice of reaffirming what they “just know”. Trying to reason with most of them is like trying to take a juicy, meaty bone from a dog.

  77. 77
    drkrick says:

    @waspuppet:

    In other words, they’re bitter and they cling to their guns and religion.

    It’s a shame that it’s shrill and unfair and partisan to point out that for all the crap Obama took about that, he was dead right.

    I don’t think very many people on our side (and not as many as pretended to on theirs) thought he was wrong. But it was a damn stupid thing to say out loud while trying to get at least a few of them to vote for you. It was already long past time for a politician to know there was no longer any such thing as behind closed doors. The fact that Romney was too foolish to understand that four years later was reason number higher than I can count why he couldn’t be allowed to be President.

  78. 78
    Bill says:

    “…but because average Americans respect viciousness.”

    This is why Christie might yet be a viable candidate in the Republican primary.

  79. 79
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Republicans are wont to nominate the guy who came in second the last time around

    This proves that Hillary is a stealth Republican.

  80. 80
    Chris Borthwick says:

    “It’s funny, but back during the 30′s and 40′s, America was very much a center-left nation. I mean, after all, we did go to war with the Nazis and the Militarists of Japan and allied ourselves with the Soviet Union. ”

    Bloody septics. Just to remind you, you didn’t go to war with anyone deliberately. Both Japan (obviously) and Germany declared war on you, and if they hadn’t the greatest generation would have sat on their arses munching popcorn while Nazis and Militarists ruled the world. If, alternatively, England and Russia had declared war on you you’d have equally happily celebrated your victory over Liberalism and Socialism.

    Americans seem to have their own memory hole when it comes to WW2.

Comments are closed.