Dominance Displays Among the GOP Hardcore

Jane Goodall explained for us, fifty years ago, how a crafty primate could use the simple tools at hand to increase his noise-producing capacity, and thereby his social dominance in the local tribe. Molly Ball, at the Atlantic, reports on the simple tools heartland patriots of last weekend’s Freedom Summit:

Ted Cruz Is Beating Rand Paul in the Tea Party Primary
… Saturday’s Freedom Summit, billed as an early audition for potential 2016 candidates, provided a rare opportunity for right-wing activists to directly compare the Texan and the Kentuckian. The senators spoke practically back to back, and the crowd clearly loved them both. But Cruz’s theatrical delivery wowed them more than Paul’s comparatively cerebral appeal, and his rhetorical focus on conservative red meat found more favor than Paul’s detours into libertarian concerns….

Both headlined weekend events with the New Hampshire Republican Party in addition to appearing at the summit, which was sponsored by Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity. (Yes, the Supreme Court plaintiff that helped deregulate campaign finance and the Koch Brothers’ political nonprofit collaborated—a liberal conspiracy theory come to life.) Cruz finished his speech by asking audience members to subscribe to text-message alerts for his “movement,” a tech-savvy means of building a list of grassroots supporters…

…[T]he decidedly Tea Party crowd also gave a warm welcome to right-wing gadfly Donald Trump and talk-radio host Mike Huckabee, both of whom are also flirting with presidential runs. Potential candidates with more establishment appeal, such as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, were not on the schedule; Trump castigated Bush for his sympathetic view of illegal immigrants, and multiple speakers, including Cruz, bashed the Common Core educational standards, which Bush vocally supports. Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator now running in New Hampshire, also declined to appear at the event…

(Rude aside from a Masshole: Cosmo Boy Brown knows his appeal, such as it is, lies with the ‘moderates’ of what used to be called the Establishment GOP. He’s too lazy to go full-metal anklebiter with the True Believers, especially if he can make just as nice a living touring the country-club luncheons to View with Alarum and deplore the death of bipartisanship, as was in the glory days of Ike and ‘Poppy’ Bush.)

“If you want to grow the movement, we cannot be the party of fat cats, rich people, and Wall Street,” [Paul] said. Paul went on to argue against indefinite detention, to mock Justice Department terrorist profiling, and to argue for more lenient sentences for marijuana dealing—nontraditional conservative subjects that seemed to perplex the audience.

Cruz, on the other hand, told the crowd only what he knew it wanted to hear. His speech, unlike Paul’s, was infused with personality, beginning with cute stories about his young daughters. Of his defiant five-year-old, Caroline, who likes to play a game she calls “attack the Daddy,” he mused that she must be taking her cues from Senate Republican leadership…

I agree that we, as Democrats, should be focused on turnout for our candidates in 2014. But the more noise the biggest fools in the GOP make promoting their wide range of grifters, Talibangelicals, and crazies, the better the contrast we can draw for the proverbial low-information voters this year.

19 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    If any of this involves mounting as a dominance display, I will be very cross with you. I do need to get some sleep tonight and those mental images will banish sleep forever.

  2. 2
    mclaren says:

    Classic title, Anne. You have outdone yourself.

  3. 3
    Suffern ACE says:

    I am having dinner with friends in the city on Saturday. If any Democratic candidates for office would like to attend, they can as I am billing it as a preview of the 2016 primary landscape. And if they buy me a drink, they win my straw poll.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    Go, Caroline, go!

  5. 5
    maeve says:

    Somehow I’m on a right-wing mailing list that thinks I have money to donate (not that I have a lot of money – it’s so weird i think that someone transcribing from federal records accidentally transposed “democrat” and “republican”) – I’ve been invited to join special elite “Inner Circle” groups (by donating a couple thou) and received mailings not only from Michelle Bachman but also from some potential congress person from California that was basically campaigning against FDR – I felt like replying I really supported him but I’m on Social Security and a limited income- so sorry).

    Anyway I got a mailing a while ago that was all about “Carson will win because he’s guaranteed to win 40% of the “nee-grow” vote, and we all know that is needed to win these days”.

  6. 6
    mai naem says:

    @Suffern ACE: Wrong party. It’s the GOP who’ll buy your vote. The Dems will beg for your vote.

  7. 7
    jl says:

    ” Saturday’s Freedom Summit, billed as an early audition for potential 2016 candidates, provided a rare opportunity ”

    Wait? What? Wasn’t that CPAC? How many rare opportunities are there to hear crazed reactionary politicians running after a nomination?

    I’m confused now.

  8. 8
    jl says:

    And the linked article says that the author found exactly one attendee who preferred Paul, and exactly one who preferred Trump.

    So, that means Trump is one of the major candidates, right? Trump should totally run. That would be totally fun.

    Even I’d watch a debate with Trump in it, just for fun.

    The rest of them… meh… I got my fill of crazy and psychologically maladjusted GOP prez debutantes in 2012.

  9. 9
    Jay C says:

    Y’know, it’s all good fun to mercilessly mock these GOP buffoon-circus events, and chortle at the antics of the clowns who are meant to be the main draw(s) – but the depressing reality is that an awful lot of these fools are going to get elected to public office: and many times with huge majorities. Maybe not the Presidency – Thank God we, as a country, still display the occasional fit of sanity on a nationwide level – but enough offices in enough places to be a viable political force. The Teabaggers and their assorted allies may have the political sophistication of furniture, but they all have the same vote (one apiece) as the bluest progressive – AND: they turn out in relevant numbers. Large ones, usually

    .@maeve:

    I really don’t understand the appeal of Dr. Ben Carson to anyone, black or white. It’s weird: he’s obviously an intelligent and well-educated man; but when it comes to political stuff, he comes across as – at best – a driveling simpleton. Does the GOP truly think black voters can’t – or won’t – see through his tiresome shtik? (rhetorical question)

  10. 10
    ruemara says:

    I’d like to get them all in the same room and pray for a meteor.

  11. 11
    NotMax says:

    @maeve

    Alan Keyes 2.0.

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ruemara: DRONEZ!

  13. 13
    andy says:

    It really says something about an event when Rand Paul is the “cerebral” one.

    TOO MENNY BIG WERDS!

  14. 14
    Lurking Buffoon says:

    I am shocked, SHOCKED, that these voters who make your standard zombies look like Harvard graduates preferred the asshole who was telling them exactly what they’ve been trained to want to hear! No one could have predicted it!

  15. 15
    Marc says:

    But Cruz’s theatrical delivery wowed them more than Paul’s comparatively cerebral appeal…

    Never before has one adverb done so much work.

  16. 16
    kentropic says:

    I remember attending a party in a frathouse basement years ago (yeah, I know, but I lived there, too) and seeing with sudden, blinding clarity how much the scene resembled a Nat. Geographic special on the social and mating habits of a baboon troop — all I needed to complete the picture was a pith helmet & a notebook. The 2000 Brooks Bros. Riot in Florida was the same kinda thing: blunt, primitive. Today almost all my erstwhile frat brothers are deep into the GOP mindset of triumphal victimhood — some things never change.

  17. 17
    jomike says:

    @Jay C:

    the depressing reality is that an awful lot of these fools are going to get elected to public office: and many times with huge majorities

    Yep… majorities that are completely unaware of the glaring contradictions in their own political beliefs (from the paywalled Austin American Statesman):

    The survey found that Cruz is, as the polling group described him, “the top dog in the state,” with 47 percent of voters approving of him, and 35 percent disapproving. He is also the favored choice of Texas Republicans and independents who say they vote in the Republican primary for the GOP presidential nomination, with 25 percent support, compared with 14 percent for Jeb Bush, 10 percent each for Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Perry, five percent for Chris Christie and Paul Ryan and four percent for Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio.

    …Perhaps the most surprising results of the survey are that, even in conservative Texas, many Texans favor expanding Medicaid, raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing equal pay for equal work

    I’m surprised that a political beat writer is surprised. Tea Partiers and self-professed “independents” profess obviously self-contradictory political beliefs? In Texas? Stop the presses! Poor fella musta just fallen off a turnip truck, or an East Coast journalism school.

  18. 18
    C.V. Danes says:

    But Cruz’s theatrical delivery wowed them more than Paul’s comparatively cerebral appeal, and his rhetorical focus on conservative red meat found more favor than Paul’s detours into libertarian concerns….

    Note to Paul: you probably don’t want to use cerebral arguments with a group that is purposely non-cerebral. Stick with one syllable words in short sentences and you’ll do much better.

  19. 19
    Citizen_X says:

    subjects that seemed to perplex the audience

    Like that’s a difficult task.

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