Thursday Morning Open Thread: Wake Up, Sheeple…

James Fallows, at the Atlantic, on “How Fox News Is (Still) Hurting the Republicans“:

… The idea that Fox News operates with different aims and by different norms from those of, say, the BBC is familiar. But this presentation is notable for two reasons.

The first is its source—for those who don’t know, Barlett is a veteran of the Reagan and Bush-41 administrations and was an influential early proponent of supply-side / tax-cut economics. He also worked for Ron Paul. Since then he’s harshly criticized the Bush-43 administration, but in no sense does he come at this as a Democratic party operative.

The second and more important reason is Bartlett’s accumulation of detail showing (a) that Fox’s core viewers are factually worse-informed than people who follow other sources, and even those who don’t follow news at all, and (b) that the mode of perpetual outrage that is Fox’s goal and effect has become a serious problem for the Republican party, in that it pushes its candidates to sound always-outraged themselves…

This paper also refreshes the question many people discussed after the Karl Rove / Megyn Kelly dustup on election night 2012 (when Kelly was operating in atypical “let’s stop fooling ourselves” mode). When will Republicans who care about winning national elections, or actually governing, stop thinking of Fox as a help and start viewing it as a hindrance, and what will happen when they do?

***********
Apart from contemplating the unknowable, what’s on the agenda for the day?

90 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    When will Republicans who care about winning national elections, or actually governing, stop thinking of Fox as a help and start viewing it as a hindrance

    Um…when they are no longer competitive in elections?

  2. 2
    Schlemazel says:

    @Baud:
    And there it is. It really is that simple, its working for them today so why worry. Fox is the hammer in their tool bag and a big reason they control both houses and many many State governments (that diddle districts to ensure greater control). As long as that is the case they are not just OK with Fox, they are excited to have them as a partner in destroying America. If that ever changes they will move on but for now it’s all good.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    @Schlemazel:

    And when they are forced to change, they will be instantly forgiven for everything the “old GOP” did.

  4. 4
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Baud: It’s the Christian way. But you wouldn’t know that, heathan.

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: I don’t know about “instantly”, it took a hundred years for the South to forgive them for ending slavery.

  6. 6
    PurpleGirl says:

    Announcing another Klown Kar participant — introducing George Pateeki? / Patooki? / Pataki?.*

    Yes, George Pataki, 3 term former Republican Governor of NYS, former Mayor of Peekskill, former member of the State Senate and the State Assembly. The only thing I ever liked about him was his environmental policies.

    * Whoever wrote line for David Letterman was a genius.

  7. 7
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    Seems that the Jersey Whale said the EFGoldman’s daughter deserved to lose last night. They just played his remarks on Morning Shmoe.

  8. 8
    danielx says:

    When will Republicans who care about winning national elections, or actually governing, stop thinking of Fox as a help and start viewing it as a hindrance, and what will happen when they do?

    That presupposes there are any Republicans who care about actually governing. Haven’t noticed any signs of that of late.

  9. 9
    Schlemazel says:

    @Baud:
    Yes, we will hear that is old news now and we only want to look forward. That BS works with the GOP for tiny sins to massive crimes.

    What scares me is what they will do next.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    FSM demands a blood sacrifice.

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    But it’s all copacetic now.

  11. 11
    WereBear says:

    @PurpleGirl: Yes. He’s actually a cut above.

    But does he do foam-at-the-mouth there’s demons in there? He’s from NY. He doesn’t do that.

    He doesn’t have a chance.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @Schlemazel:

    What scares me is what they will do next.

    Whatever we let them.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Yes. The South has come to the realization that serfdom is a perfectly acceptable alternative.

  14. 14
    Baud says:

    Today show pushing the “Clinton is rich” crap, and they are featuring Carly!

    ETA: They are trying to compare Clinton to Romney!

  15. 15
    Sherparick says:

    As Driftglass, LGM, and SteveM at “No More Mister Nice Blog” have pointed out, the perpetual “outrage” model “hurt” the Republicans and Movement Conservatism into winning landslides in the low turn-out off year elections over the last 6 years. They have huge majority in the house and a solid majority in the Senate, control the majority of Governorships and a majority of state legislature. In many “Red” states in the south and west, the Democratic Party is becoming non-existent outside of minority communities as being a “Republican” or “Republican leaning independent” becomes an identity badge for white people and watching Fox, going to you Evangelical Mega Church, and listening to Rush or Hannity, etc. is also part of being the member of the club.

    No one is forced to watch Faux News or listen to these turds. People tune in to watch and listen because they are already outraged, or predisposed to be outraged.

    Most of their day to day problems of course are caused by the corporate (almost all white and male) corporate elite, Roger Ailes types who run the multinationals, the hedge funds, the private equity partnerships, the banks, etc. who have caused their flat wages, disappearing pensions, declining benefits, and frustrated dreams. But they still posses “white privilege” (recent illustrations of what that means can be seen by comparing and contrasting how the Cleveland police treated a 12-year old boy with a toy gun and two mentally ill people with a backfireing car and the way Texas law enforcement handled white motorcycle gangs engaged in shootout/execution that left 9 people dead) and we all possess the human trait of kicking down at those perceived to be lower on the social pecking order. So the Conservative Industrial Entertainment complex serves this appetite and demand for outrage and misinformation (because I believe they want to be misinformed).

    Finally, the elite itself, both corporate and media, is for the most part also misinformed, and wants to stay that way as can be seen by the disdain and hatred for Paul Krugman for his truth telling and the admiration and influence of David Brooks for his comfortable lies.

  16. 16
    kindness says:

    Oh come on now. Fox is their heroin. Fox is their nicotine. Fox is their drug of choice. They don’t want to stop. They lurv that Fox feeling.

  17. 17
    WereBear says:

    @Sherparick: Most of their day to day problems of course are caused by the corporate (almost all white and male) corporate elite, Roger Ailes types who run the multinationals, the hedge funds, the private equity partnerships, the banks, etc. who have caused their flat wages, disappearing pensions, declining benefits, and frustrated dreams.

    Yes. But that’s who they want to identify with.

    Identify with women, “ethnics,” people who are QUILTBAG or poor? Naw, they all want to be Captains of Industry and sneer over drinks at the country club.

  18. 18
    Ryan says:

    Unfortunately, he got himself Frummed, do no one will pay attention to him.

  19. 19
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Baud: I doesn’t matter HOW HRC or Mittens got their money, their RICH!!! so it all the same.

  20. 20
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sherparick:

    the elite itself, both corporate and media, is for the most part also misinformed, and wants to stay that way as can be seen by the disdain and hatred for Paul Krugman for his truth telling

    I don’t think the “elites” are misinformed. They just have different definitions of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ than Krugman and company.

  21. 21
    Betty Cracker says:

    The GOP has been successful at the Congressional and state level as others have pointed out, but if they lose another presidential election, they will be forced to reevaluate how they’re operating, including the role Fox and hate radio play in creating the brand. Losing three presidential races in a row would be a big fucking deal, and the loser stink would start to drift over to their other legislative enterprises. There are many, many, many reasons to hope the Republicans lose in 2016, but this is an important one.

  22. 22
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Who did you say deserved to lose, Christie? Right back at ya.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    @Baud

    And poor old Rupert Murdoch barely has two nickels to rub together, huh FOX?

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA

    And poor old Rupert Murdoch barely has two nickels to rub together, huh FOX?

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    And it’s why we should be enthusiastic about voting, regardless of who our nominee is.

  26. 26
    Valdivia says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    what an ass. But we knew this about Christie.

  27. 27
    NotMax says:

    In moderation for no discernible reason.

  28. 28
    Sondra says:

    http://www.mahablog.com/

    This is what we get from the NYTimes today – HAS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY MOVED TOO FAR TO THE LEFT and that will be the headline, the talking point and the meme for this next election cycle.

    This editorial is just kicking off the XXXVII version of how to drag the Dems. to the right so that they end up “in the center” i.e. just slightly left of the least crazy group of rightwing of the Rep. party.

    And it will work just as it has always worked in the past. We are just now coming out of the tail end of this cycle. We have Warren and Sanders as candidate and even Obama has come around on some issues.

    The old “Push me Pull me” game is starting.

    Sorry about no link to the Times article – will try to get it for you. But really you’d rather eat glass than read it and weep.

    “Off the Bullshit Scale
    May 27, Obama Administration
    This is possibly the dumbest thing to appear on the NY Times editorial page in some time, which is a real accomplishment considering they run David Brooks twice a week.”

  29. 29
    WereBear says:

    @Betty Cracker: Losing three presidential races in a row would be a big fucking deal, and the loser stink would start to drift over to their other legislative enterprises.

    There has to be a reason someone is upset about Fox.

  30. 30
    ThresherK says:

    From the downstairs thread: Mittster for FIFA?

    Football is the greatest game in the world; it has to be, to have survived FIFA and Sepp Blatter. Putting Romney in there is just asking god to smite it.

  31. 31
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    From The Onion:

    Santorum

    Age: 23 years younger than average supporter

    Birthplace: America he barely recognizes anymore

    Campaign Goals: Keep the rampant liberalism in the Republican party in check

    Economic Platform: More of a social issues guy

    Debate Strategy: Hoping to be permitted to watch from green room

    Hobbies: Searching for intelligently designed life on other planets

    Views On Hardcore Pornography: Included in presidential platform

    Motivation For Running: Kill some time before going to Heaven

    Biggest Controversy: Is presidential candidate

  32. 32
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @WereBear: Even Fred Dicker, the NYPost writer and guy who inexplicably turns up on my local teevee news to opinionate, says that Pataki knows he has no chance. He’s merely “running” to raise his public profile and add $$ to his private law practice.

  33. 33
    ThresherK says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: What, for not getting the Final Jeopardy! with OJW’s name in it?

    Someone with his track record, and future trials, ought to be grateful. (Yeah, I know, totally not him.) How many sitting governors ever get to be Jeopardy! responses? It’s not like he’ll ever join Gadsden or Seward in the all-time list of popular clues.

  34. 34
    ThresherK says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: What is it about R govs of blue states that makes them think their worth spit?

    Pataki might do better if his slogan wasn’t the all-too-honest “Pataki: Like Pete Wilson without so much charm”.

  35. 35
    Waysel says:

    @Sherparick: This.

  36. 36
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @ThresherK: Some progress was being made in reforming the NY State criminal justice system. When Pataki got in as gov, it all stopped. He was not interested.

  37. 37
    Weaselone says:

    I am going to echo the commenters above. Bartlett’s complaint boils down to Fox makes it hard for republicans to win the Presidency (the only truly national election we have) and govern in a way that benefits the nation. The republicans currently hold the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the US Supreme Court and a sizable majority of the houses, senates and governorships of the States. The only thing they do not have is the presidency. Although I would not touch their policies with George Bush Sr.’s ten foot pole, or take on their demographic problems, I would swap outcomes with them in a heart beat. Spotting the democrats a couple of points in the presidential elections is a small price to pay for the electoral domination they enjoy at all other levels.

    As for governing effectively. Bwa-ha-ha-ha. If you ever questioned that Bartlett’s a political trilobite, you have your answer. No part of the republican base gives a crap about effective governance as it applies to republican politicians. The moneymen want lower taxes, no regulations and gutted enforcement. Bad governance, when it isn’t a boon is presumed not to have an impact on them. The actual voters want the poor screwed over harder, America, fuck yeah, more guns everywhere, and daily vaginal ultrasounds for women. Good governance is only to be demanded of democrats. Bad governance is by definition the fault of democrats and a reason to vote for more republicans.

  38. 38
    artem1s says:

    When will Republicans who care about winning national elections, or actually governing, stop thinking of Fox as a help and start viewing it as a hindrance, and what will happen when they do?

    well, when Faux start culling the herd of debaters, I think. Faux is going to go for the crazy so they can sell more ads and get more viewers. I predict they will choose their top 10 candidates for the debates based on the craziest polls possible. No way they are going to exclude Trump or Ben Carson, even though they are in no way viable candidates. If Christie wants in on the grift gravy train, he will get into the debates even if he is in handcuffs just because of the explosion potential. Fox makes their money on conflict and they aren’t going to change that and host a snooze-a-thon full of pundits talking about very serious policy issues. They’re going to double down on the Jerry Springer model. Even odds at least one of the candidates starts throwing chairs or foaming at the mouth.

  39. 39
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @ThresherK: On the other hand, he might join Agnew, indictment and plea out.

  40. 40
    Valdivia says:

    @ThresherK:

    He has that reputation for having cleaned up the Utah Olympics so I guess this is why his name is being thrown around. But as you say: soccer would never survive it!

  41. 41
    debbie says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    I cannot imagine the delusions Pataki must be suffering under to think he would make even a viable VP candidate. He makes John Kasich look legitimate, if that’s even possible.

  42. 42
    ixnay says:

    Someone may have already posted this. Thurber, “The Owl Who Was God.” One of my favorites: http://www.k-state.edu/english.....as_God.htm

  43. 43
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @ThresherK: orthodontic jaw wiring?

  44. 44
    ThresherK says:

    @Bobby Thomson: “Outlaw Jersey Whale”. I thought I was just keeping up with the cool kids in this space by turning it into an acronym.

  45. 45
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @ThresherK: Guess I’m not one of the cool kids either. ;-)

  46. 46
    NonyNony says:

    Eh – this is just the ongoing faction war in the Republican Party. Bartlett is old school – he’s not happy that the Birchers have taken over the party he was a member of for so long.

    The GOP is not going to re-evaluate anything because there is literally nothing “they” can do. They are not unified – they’re a bunch of factions all at war with each other over who gets to be the King of Shit Mountain. Some of them benefit from the perpetual outrage machine that is Fox News and those factions will be protecting it.

    On top of that – Fox News is looking out for Fox News first and foremost. Fox News is going to do what it needs to do to keep viewers and for Fox News having viewers that “won’t believe anything that doesn’t come from Fox News” is a bonus. TV Network execs would KILL to have that kind of viewer loyalty, even if it is in an aging demographic (they’re a captive audience for advertisers who want to sell reverse mortgages, gold, sexual dysfunction drugs and class action lawsuits related to failed sexual dysfunction drugs. It may not be the 18-30 yo demo, but it pays the bills).

    What’s more – if Fox News actually became more balanced those viewers would disappear. They don’t actually “believe anything Fox News tells them”. Fox News is just very careful to ONLY tell them things that they want to believe. There’s a cart before the horse problem that all of this polling is missing. OF COURSE people watching Fox News are less informed about reality than people who use other news sources – people don’t watch Fox News to become informed. They watch it to have their worldview validated. And they know that Fox News will tell them what they want to hear and not challenge them. The moment Fox News deviates from that formula they’re dead.

  47. 47
    Lee says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    …but if they lose another presidential election, they will be forced to reevaluate how they’re operating….

    This would be the normal reaction. You are talking about Republicans who have done very well at the Congressional & State level so they can continue to delude themselves that ‘EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!’. They can run bat-shit insane candidates and win so they will continue on the same course until they start losing the significant Congressional & State elections.

  48. 48
    Lee says:

    @artem1s:

    We can always hope!

  49. 49
    MattF says:

    Somewhat remarkable: a WaPo political correspondent calls out Ted Cruz’s hypocrisy.

  50. 50
    Paul in KY says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Agree. They know the real score. And they likes it.

  51. 51
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    In understanding The Right, I found this quote from 1964’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” interesting:

    The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through “front” groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy. Spokesmen of the various fundamentalist anti-Communist “crusades” openly express their admiration for the dedication and discipline the Communist cause calls forth.

    Doesn’t that sound exactly like the Kochs with their front groups, singing “Free at last!” because of Citizens United?

  52. 52
    rikyrah says:

    twitter for the truth. But, I think that blaming Fox is letting the sheep off the hook.

  53. 53
    Cervantes says:

    @Baud:

    Whatever we let them.

    Thank you.

    @Sherparick:

    No one is forced to watch Faux News or listen to these turds. People tune in to watch and listen because they are already outraged, or predisposed to be outraged.

    Yes, Fox makes money off those people, who in return get their lies and outrage — a free-market symbiosis. Is there anything to be done about it?

    @WereBear:

    people who are QUILTBAG

    I hadn’t seen that one before. Thanks.

  54. 54
    Valdivia says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: The Paranoid Style book by Hofstadter is prophetic.

  55. 55
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @rikyrah:

    I think that blaming Fox is letting the sheep off the hook.

    This, a hundred times this. Well said.

  56. 56
    Paul in KY says:

    @MattF: It was Milbank, though. A ‘man bites dog’ column would be Krauthammer or Will writing that story or something like it.

  57. 57
    Cervantes says:

    @Weaselone:

    The republicans currently hold the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the US Supreme Court and a sizable majority of the houses, senates and governorships of the States. The only thing they do not have is the presidency. Although I would not touch their policies with George Bush Sr.’s ten foot pole, or take on their demographic problems, I would swap outcomes with them in a heart beat. Spotting the democrats a couple of points in the presidential elections is a small price to pay for the electoral domination they enjoy at all other levels.

    Challenging observation, thanks.

    the Presidency (the only truly national election we have)

    Most national, certainly. Truly national? I’m not sure.

  58. 58
    gene108 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Losing three presidential races in a row would be a big fucking deal

    Despite feeling we are awash in a wave of right-wing conservative governance, at the moment, the Presidency is still very influential in setting the agenda and defining the goals of what we want to do as a nation.

    The impact a President has in transforming America often is not felt during their term, but if they do things that capture the popular imagination they can push this country on a more liberal or more conservative course.

    Republicans have bee furiously trying to blunt this aspect of Obama’s Presidency, since he took office, but I hope some basic issues are sinking in and nudging us left, such as income inequality, the environment, education, and the right to have access to affordable healthcare.

    Democrats winning in 2016 can help push this part of the national consciousness, while Republicans winning can undo a lot of the gains that have been made.

  59. 59
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @MattF: we have always been at war with isolationism.

  60. 60
    Tommy says:

    I often mentioned my father is a Republican. He can’t stomach Fox. No chance he would ever watch that channel. There are a few sane Republicans out there. My father is one.

  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    Would it be easier to reschedule our elections to ensure more voters turn out?

    Cancel the midterms; have Congressional elections every four years — it’s not like the House turns over that much with two-year terms. If Senators get eight years, so it goes. Could it ever mean less fundraising for our “public servants?”

    States rights probably says the red states will want to keep their offyear and weirdly timed elections, to keep the riffraff away. Someone needs to clue the riffraff in that the primary is frequently the election where the voter gets the most choice. Show up, damn it.

    Problem is, you have a four-year electorate that votes for hope and change, and a two-year midterms electorate that fervently avoids any progressive spirit, even when it might help them.

    And HAVE MAIL IN BALLOTS, for three weeks to a month before election day. Make it easier for people to vote.

    Do we not want our nurses and emergency responders voting?

    Shake up the electorate, which has gotten too complacent. Don’t let the olds and scareds have outsize power, which they do now.

  62. 62
    Elizabelle says:

    @gene108: Yeah. Think of the Justice Department, and what it pursues under a Democratic administration (voting rights, brutal policing tactics) vs. a Republican one (ensuring Pat Robertston’s law grads will snuggle into the federal employment cocoon).

    Also: Supreme Court justices. Would like to go back to a time when hearing something is headed for the SCOTUS doesn’t instill angst.

    Federal elections are huge.

  63. 63
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    A theater version of Wolf Hall?

    I made my theater flat on paper, because I am a novelist by trade. As soon as “Wolf Hall” was published, there was an appetite to see it onstage. Flesh and blood actors would imitate the people who lived in my imagination. Would that, friends wondered, do violence to my inner world? In Stratford-on-Avon, in London, and now in New York, playgoers would ask the big question: How does it feel to see your characters come to life?

  64. 64
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tommy: He needs to become a sane Democrat. The big hurdle is ‘sane’ and he’s already got that. Just a small step over to goodness & light!

  65. 65
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tommy:

    There are a few sane Republicans out there. My father is one.

    No offense but I look at everything the Republican party stands for and I question the sanity of anyone who votes GOP.

  66. 66
    Tommy says:

    @Paul in KY: I turned my mom. Dad is a little harder.

  67. 67
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gene108: Yep — the presidency is a big deal, and if the GOP loses for a third straight time, they aren’t going to say, “Oh well. At least we have Congress and most of the states.” I remember when the Democrats lost three presidential elections in a row. It changed the character of the party — mostly for the worse, IMO.

    Could the present-day GOP become even more cruel and irresponsible if forced to undergo a soul-searching? It’s possible they’d actually evolve a little bit. That would be a good thing. It’s unnerving to have one of the only two viable parties in the hands of superstitious lunatics and greed-heads.

  68. 68
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Paul in KY: @OzarkHillbilly: @Tommy: I thought the same kind of thing about Bartlett. If he sees his party dancing down Crazy Street, does he still vote for them? I’ll bet he does. It’s all about tribal identity.

    I see this at the gym all the time. Smart, nice people who don’t watch Fox but have been Eisenhower Rs all their lives and aren’t going to change now.

  69. 69
    NonyNony says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Would it be easier to reschedule our elections to ensure more voters turn out?

    This would require Constitutional amendments. Constitutional amendments are never easy.

    The reason why Democratic turnout is low for midterm elections is because Democratic voters don’t think that they “count”. And the reason they don’t think that they “count” is because they’re not national elections and Democratic voters tend to only think about national elections and sometimes mayoral elections in large cities (though sometimes not even those).

    What needs to happen is a change in the mentality of the Democratic party so that they treat EVERY election to be a national election – whether there’s a president running or not. If they put the same kind of coordination into a national message and national get-out-the-vote drives for every election, then voters would turnout. Republicans actually do this – they treat every two year election day as a national referendum. The Democrats have never been able to do that and so we get a massive outpouring of Democrats on the elections that they perceive as national referendums and people not bothering on the elections they perceive as so unimportant that they’re not even sure if there’s an election this year or not.

  70. 70
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My father is pro-choice. Thinks climate change is real. He votes Republican and I can’t understand it.

  71. 71
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: My mother did. Of course, she died just a few years later (’06- Iraq was the thing that did it for her) I suspect my old man would have too if Alzheimers hadn’t robbed so much of his brain his last decade or so.

  72. 72
    C.V. Danes says:

    I believe that the brainwashing starts much earlier than Fox news. The brainwashing starts in Sunday school.

  73. 73
    Botsplainer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I disagree. The South never did forgive, based on the number of Confederate ancestor worshipping flaggots who demand reverence to their noble forebears while sneering “git over it” to people of color, many of whom were born, lived and worked prior to the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.

  74. 74
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tommy: Like I said, I doubt his sanity.

  75. 75
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Botsplainer: If they didn’t forgive Republicans their original sin, why do they overwhelmingly vote Republican in every election?

  76. 76
    Cervantes says:

    @Tommy:

    My father is pro-choice. Thinks climate change is real. He votes Republican and I can’t understand it.

    Have you asked him?

  77. 77
    Betty Cracker says:

    @NonyNony:

    What needs to happen is a change in the mentality of the Democratic party so that they treat EVERY election to be a national election – whether there’s a president running or not. If they put the same kind of coordination into a national message and national get-out-the-vote drives for every election, then voters would turnout. Republicans actually do this – they treat every two year election day as a national referendum.

    QFT.

  78. 78
    Cervantes says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I remember when the Democrats lost three presidential elections in a row. It changed the character of the party — mostly for the worse, IMO.

    Would Clinton have won those two terms if the party hadn’t changed (to more closely match him)?

  79. 79
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tommy: You seem like you have a lot of gumption, Tommy. Just keep on plugging away!

    Edit: Might get mom working on him a bit.

  80. 80
    debbie says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:

    Having read the books and watched the BBC production (twice!), I don’t know that I’d to see a stage production. It might depend on who’s playing the parts, though.

  81. 81
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @NonyNony:

    Republicans actually do this – they treat every two year election day as a national referendum. The Democrats have never been able to do that and so we get a massive outpouring of Democrats on the elections that they perceive as national referendums and people not bothering on the elections they perceive as so unimportant that they’re not even sure if there’s an election this year or not.

    For a party full of people who deep down inside are hostile to democracy, the GOP is awfully good at making democracy work for them. There is a huge outrage gap in their favor. They tell their base, “Vote like your life depends on it,” and their base believe it.

  82. 82
    J R in WV says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    My mom was bedfast with COPD the last years of her life, and whispered to me that she had voted absentee for Bill Clinton – twice!

    “Don’t tell your Dad!”

    Because of abortion rights the Republicans obviously intend to take away if at all possible. Can’t allow those little wimmen any self-control over their reproductive self, at all! I expect Mom lost a friend or perhaps a cousin to an illegal abortion gone bad, and never forgave society for creating that possibility in her life.

    I will never forget the moral courage she showed in giving up a life-long conviction that the Republican party offered the best path forward for America. She also became less religious as she approached death, moving from agnostic to atheist over the last years. My Dad moved the other way, allowing himself to hope a little that he and Mom could be together again somehow.

    Say what you will, my family was interesting…

  83. 83
    gene108 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Could the present-day GOP become even more cruel and irresponsible if forced to undergo a soul-searching? It’s possible they’d actually evolve a little bit.

    Some folks flirted with sanity after 2008 and they were beaten down by February 2009.

    So far, after every GOP loss, in my lifetime, they drift further and further to the Right. Ford losing begat Reagan. George HW Bush losing begat Gingrich and later his hell-born spawn and McCain losing begat the rise of the Birchers / Fundies seizing control of the GOP.

    @NonyNony:

    What needs to happen is a change in the mentality of the Democratic party so that they treat EVERY election to be a national election – whether there’s a president running or not. If they put the same kind of coordination into a national message and national get-out-the-vote drives for every election, then voters would turnout. Republicans actually do this – they treat every two year election day as a national referendum.

    Republicans have spent the last 35-40 years working on this.

    The Fundy churches decided to lay-down in bed with Republicans int the late 1970’s and those churches have been working feverishly to push their congregations to get-out-and-vote and flood Congresscritters office with angry phone calls and other such activities, which gives them an outsized influence in politics.

    I do not know of any central sort of entity, such as a Fundy Church, where all the liberals are plugged into and treat the head of that entity as the divine word of God and therefore are willing to do whatever he says.

  84. 84
    J R in WV says:

    @gene108:

    Not being like that is why we’re all Democrats, isn’t it?

    Don’t like being told what to think, what to do! We would rather figure it all out late at night than hear “revealed truth” from some sanctimonious asshole in the pulpit…

    Even if it was truth, it being “told to us” is what’s wrong with that picture.

  85. 85
    NonyNony says:

    @gene108:

    And yet every four years the Democratic Party manages to run a national election anyway.

    Republicans have some advantages in this area to be sure, but mostly they win because in off-year elections there isn’t anyone who is even trying to oppose them the way they do in presidential elections.

  86. 86
    Chris says:

    @NonyNony:

    Exactly. The root problem in the Republican Party isn’t the pundits, it isn’t the politicians, it isn’t even the financiers. It’s the voters.

    Bruce Bartlet is as you say, an old school Republican in the Rockefeller vein, who just hasn’t gotten the memo that his kind isn’t welcome and barely exists anymore: they’ve all moved over and turned into the DLC/Third Way milquetoast wing of the Democratic Party.

  87. 87
    JustRuss says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Losing three presidential races in a row would be a big fucking deal,

    To a party that cared about governing, sure. But “the party” is mostly the money, and they just want the government to stay the hell out of their way. And with the IRS and EPA being starved, TPP and other trade deals in the hopper, Citizen’s United, fracking bans being overturned left and right, they’re doing fine. Sure, it would be nice to have a Bush in the White House, but they’re getting most of what they want regardless. Having a Democrat in the White House gives them someone to blame when things go sideways and is a great focus for the rage their constituents are addicted to.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’m not convinced you’re right either.

  88. 88

    […] in this morning’s Wake Up Sheeple thread, I mentioned that losing three presidential races in a row (please FSM, let it be so!) would […]

  89. 89
    Barry says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “I don’t know about “instantly”, it took a hundred years for the South to forgive them for ending slavery. ”

    No, that was because the slavery supporters migrated to the GOP, while the slavery opponents went to the Democratic Party.

  90. 90
    Barry says:

    @Betty Cracker: “Could the present-day GOP become even more cruel and irresponsible if forced to undergo a soul-searching? It’s possible they’d actually evolve a little bit. That would be a good thing. It’s unnerving to have one of the only two viable parties in the hands of superstitious lunatics and greed-heads. ”

    I don’t think so. For the past several years, the GOP has reacted to each setback and each success the same – by moving to the right, and by lowering their moral and intellectual standards.

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