Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

There is a remarkable story floating around online that I haven’t seen posted in many places: how the Southern Baptist Convention has lined up against payday lenders. Christians have come around to the idea that this kind of behavior among financial specialists creates victims. When you see Evangelicals going after financial institutions, you’re watching a 50-year-old pact dissolving. Christians have found something in laissez-faire economics they can’t abide by, and they think the government has a role in stopping it.

I think this is huge news. At the very least, it bears closer scrutiny for those wanting to understand the current state of the Republican Party. Donald Trump’s rise shouldn’t be surprising given the huge schisms within intellectual conservatism, which is less a cohesive movement now than a group of unrelated tribes. Libertarianism, whose underlying argument is that less government and law equals more freedom (and that total freedom could somehow be self-correcting), can no longer be reconciled with Christian charity and evangelism, which sees in this idea selfishness and moral abdication. Political Christians have always seen a role of government acting as an agent for change (think blue laws). This is something they have in common with liberals, though they wouldn’t like the comparison. Meanwhile, neither Ayn Rand nor Jesus likely have much to do with neoconservatism, the idea that America’s military power can be used for the global good and stability. Nor with ethnic nationalism.

And you could separate libertarianism still from free market conservatism, which understands rampant capital formation to be the best model for engendering truly free living and thus is really fond of global free trade agreements and such.

Like all powerful movements, conservatism managed to find unity in these disparate ideas when they were embodied by a powerful historical figure: Ronald Reagan. Without the unifying and sunny idiom in which he put them (and an Evil Soviet Empire that seemed to symbolize everything he was not), there is not a lot left holding these ideas together and certainly not enough for a person who stakes his identity on his Republicanism.

Thus it’s not terribly surprising when the many virtues of these ideas succumb to the dark side of human nature, their high-mindedness superseded by the darker, baser aspects of the human character, who in his grasping for expression easily becomes easily wounded, narcissistic and chauvinistic. It’s not hard to fathom, then, how spiritualism becomes intolerance. Counterintuitiveness becomes anti-intellectualism. Loyalty to ideals becomes more important than curiosity (which might destroy them). Pride in culture and respect for tradition becomes open hostility to people who are different. Whenever a group of people are in such disarray, it makes sense they would turn to a strong man–a man of utter conviction in himself and willingness to take what he wants with bullying. These qualities are impressive enough by themselves in a leaderless vacuum to a battered conservative soul.

I am not a conservative, but I grew up with conservatives in their wolf den, and I’ve never found boastful conviction to be something they value. So I find their turn to Trump to be disheartening. It’s not that I think they actually like him–they simply want his mojo, his strong expressiveness and the idiom of confidence that used to be theirs. How else do you explain them turning to a man who has spent not one second of his life pursuing their goals, fighting for their beliefs?

Being skeptical that Obamacare did any good is one thing. But when all you have holding together your identity is your hatred for Barack Obama (and his heir presumptive, Hillary Clinton), then you really have no philosophy at all (and in many respects, you are likely defined by your low self-esteem, if some of your Facebook memes are any indication). Political ideals are something you speak for peer approval. (Or, let’s face it, your dad’s.)

Though I’m not a Republican, I’m a gestalt theorist, and I think America needs both its parties to be strong for its particular way of functioning. Both the Democrat and the Republican greatly need to speak each other’s heresies to stiffen their sinews and make their arguments more rigorous. I do not think the world would be a better place if far leftists were left alone to speak kant to one other (that certainly hasn’t been good for the arguing skills of Bernie Sanders’ fans, who are the most true-believing of anybody’s supporters and thus incredibly fragile when challenged on their candidate’s very real weaknesses).

So I am not heartened by the demise of the Republican Party. If it rises again, I would like it to do what it does best: offer sober assessments of the the very real problems perceived by liberals. I would like it to ask us: do we completely understand the nature of these problems and could our solutions make things worse? Instead, the GOP has become the party that insists government must be destroyed to be saved. It wound up destroying itself.

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A short note, because I don’t enjoy Schadenfreude as much as I used to:

The backlash has already started, and instead of the soul-searching you might expect from a defeated party, Wednesday saw a lot of GOP wags and conservative Web sites positively refusing to come to grips with what happened to them on election night and refusing to blame the proper parties: themselves. For the past four years, in the middle of a recession with high unemployment, the party had avoided analyzing a flawed deregulation policy and instead rushed to denounce the masses of resulting unemployed people as “takers.” It was a classic “blame the victim” mentality, a textbook example of psychological transference on display in a user friendly, Museum of Natural History-style diorama form. A sick strategy embraced not only by the fringe elements but by the party’s very presidential candidate. Wasn’t this the crew that used to say they were on the side of crime victims?

Here’s a page you might want to check out: “Republican Tears.” Here you’ll find out that gays, brown-skinned people wanting handouts and oversexed females took over the country last night so that the American taxpaxer could fund their nonstop government cheese eating and fucking. (You’ll also see, if you watch one telling video, how Karl Rove forced Fox News to hold off calling an Obama victory when everybody else had. There’s no big conspiracy theory about why: He had personally put millions of donor dollars at stake.)

You might say I’m wrong to overlook good-hearted conservatives by posting the Republican Tears link, and the comments by what is apparently the most extreme element of Republican ideology, tossed in with a few pictures of crying white women. ( Incidentally, I have seen a preponderance of crying white women in the election news photos, even though women overwhelmingly broke for Obama. It looks like somebody’s trying to skew the grief incorrectly. What gives?) But anyhow this Web site isn’t a portrait. It’s a mirror. It’s Republican sentiment taken at face value. Everywhere from Fox News to the vile RedState.com, conservatives are making extremism their identity: The new paradigm after a Wall Street financial collapse caused by complicated debt instruments is to blame welfare mothers and immigrants. This transparent, obvious, age-old smear tactic has somehow become our main talking point in the last few months. It’s as wrong as the kneejerk patriotism argument was during the Iraq War. Wrong, wrong, totally wrong. If you have ever said “takers versus makers” during this election, you are part of the problem.

And I hate to say that by “welfare mothers and immigrants” that it’s a not-so-subtle code for black people. You be the judge. The site Jezebel has been collecting all the uses of the word “nigger” used by angry Republicans on Twitter since Tuesday’s Obama victory.

Again, this kind of argument enrages fair-minded conservatives who insist that their real concern about American debt is short-circuited by horrible liberals playing the race card. I am only a tiny bit impressed by this argument. It’s true, if that kind of argument were really happening. (Specifically, that argument never really happens.) Nevertheless, good-hearted conservatives, you must take note: if you are not racists, the racists are hiding among you. They are using you as human shields to avoid being called out. Their birther, immigrant (and even socialism) rhetoric is a very thin disguise, and if you play into such phony arguments, your supposed good-heartedness is being used against you as a tool of somebody else’s will. There was no honest debate about our recession. The conversations had all turned stupid. It was the Republicans’ fault. That’s why they lost the election. Go to RedState.com (and especially read the comment section of this story) to see if anybody is learning that lesson for 2016.

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What are some of the stats shaping our world on Feb. 19, 2010?

–*A poll in early 2009 found that 71% of Americans prefer to have universal health care, even if it means paying higher taxes.

–*However, in 2010, 46% of Americans are now against the current health care legislation in Congress.

–*Among those against, 35% are against it because they are against health care in general while 12% are against it because it doesn’t go far enough. Three percent are for it because they are against health care reform in general and believe the current legislation effectively kills reform.

–*Seventy percent of political independents said that in 2008 they voted for Barack Obama because they voted for change.

–*In Massachusetts this year, independents voted for Scott Brown, a political conservative, in the traditionally liberal state because they were also voting for change.

–*One hundred percent of independents would prefer that things keep changing.

–*Eighty percent of independents describe themselves as angry.

–*Of those, 40% say they are swiping at imaginary bats.

–*Twenty percent of Americans say they are unsure if they are for voting against the current health care legislation in Congress or if they are voting against imaginary bats.

–*Of independents, 10% say they don’t pay attention to political issues at all. Another 10% thought that health care reform was a good idea but that they were physically and emotionally intimidated by sign wielding members of the Tea Party movement and are just being pussies at this point.

–*Fifty percent of those who said they were for health care reform last year but against it this year said they changed their minds because they didn’t realize that universal health care was a communist plot and now they are now better informed by members of the Tea Party.

–*Thirty percent of Americans feel unable to stand up to members of the Tea Party because they don’t deal very well with angry people.

–*Fifteen percent say that angry spitting people railing at bats and communism make them insecure and impotent and unable to find their keys.

–*Eighty percent of adolescent boys use the term “retard” regularly.

–*One hundred percent of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel uses the word “retard” regularly.

–*Ninety percent of those adolescent boys who use the term “retard” also think that Sarah Palin is hot.

–*Eighty percent of Republicans agree with Sarah Palin’s policies.

–*Zero is the number of policies that Sarah Palin has put forward.

–*Twenty percent of those who have switched their position on the health care legislation believe that it will change their relationship with their doctor and 80% of them said that they don’t argue very well when people are yelling at them.

–*Sixty percent of independents just like voting against people and don’t have any political convictions to speak of.

–*Eighty percent of people who believe their federal tax rates have gone up over the past 10 years are retards.

–*One hundred percent of retards and people at the Heritage Foundation believe that low capital gains taxes are the only incentive for people to invest, as if a 20% tax on capital gains means the same thing as no capital gains at all. That means nobody would have invested in Microsoft in 1986 and had a $100 investment turn into $37,000 in 22 years, because they are such suck ass whiners about capital gains they would have instead kept their money in a mattress earning zippity do da. If higher capital gains rates hurt the economy and harm revenue, why did we have an Internet boom, and why did we, at the same time, balance the budget?

–*One hundred percent of retards believe that it’s entitlement programs alone that are causing the current budget crises and not two horribly expensive wars along with huge tax cuts under George Bush.

–*Twenty percent of crazy people think the IRS is out to get them personally.

–*Twenty percent of crazy people think the CIA is out to get them personally.

–*Fifty percent of crazy rich people think Barack Obama is out to get them personally.

–*0.00002% of people think the girl who played Blossom wants to smother them with a pillow.

–*Ten percent of independents want a third-party candidate because they are trying to synthesize what’s best about the positions of the right and the left.

–*The other 90% don’t really know what the issues are because they’re watching Jersey Shore. Is that JWoww built or what?

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What were some of the highlights of President Barack Obama’s address to Congress Wednesday night?

8:15 p.m. Obama thanks the health insurance industry for making the 111th Congress possible.

8:20 p.m. Obama name checks a distinguished pantheon of Americans who have so far totally failed to bring you decent health care, including Teddy Roosevelt, Teddy Kennedy, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, George Bush and Alan Alda.

8:25 p.m. Obama stops and smokes a cigarette.

8:30 p.m. Obama excoriates those who have tried to kill reform altogether by spreading lies about the health care bill. Though he doesn’t name them personally, those people pretty much admit their guilt by sitting down and not clapping for this statement. We thank those people for telling us who they are.

8:40 p.m. Obama stops briefly while the field crew sweeps the floor and dances to “YMCA”

8:45 p.m. Obama stops to remind people that the Bratz dolls still dress like sluts

8:50 p.m. Obama suddenly inserts orders for American children to kill their parents according to plans laid out in his Tuesday speech to classrooms. “You know where the forks are. Like we talked about. On three!”

9:00 p.m. Obama is heckled by South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson for the “take her home like a six pack” joke.

9:01 p.m. Wilson yells “You lie!” after Obama says that illegal immigrants are not covered by the health care bill, after Obama says Teddy Roosevelt was president, and after Obama reads the list of specials in the Congressional cafeteria

9:10 p.m. Joe Biden still has something in his eye

9:15 p.m. Obama says that amid the health care debate, America has seen Congress at its worst (when it does nothing) and at its best (when it does nothing).

9:16 p.m. Rahm Emanuel eats a severed human hand.

9:18 p.m. Wow, after three beers … Nancy Pelosi man … I’m just sayin’.

9:20 p.m. Obama thanks the pharmaceutical companies for making Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh possible.

9:25 p.m. Obama wonders aloud why such strident political ideology is hindering progress. He just can’t imagine why influential Republican swing voter Sen. Charles Grassley, for example, would be so ideological about this health care bill.

9:30 p.m. Obama makes some controversial statements about how much his health care plan would cost, saying a lot of it was money already being spent anyway. This rankles Republicans who insist that only they be allowed to run up crippling deficits, because they do it for good reasons, after all.

9:31 p.m. Katie Couric says Obama shouldn’t kiss so many people what with swine flu running rampant.

9:31 p.m. Actually, kissing up to pigs happens a lot in this business.

9:32 p.m. Republicans several times fail to get up to clap, showing that, as an abrasive and loud minority, they are not afraid to use their thumb-sucking petulance as a weapon.

9:35 p.m. In response to Obama’s remarks, several Republicans hold up copies of a booklet which, given their complete lack of interest in reforming health care, is probably a copy of the new “Harry Potter.”

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Washington, D.C. (API) As President Barack Obama gears up to deliver an address aimed directly at the nation’s schoolchildren on Tuesday, critics are already blasting away at the idea, which they say might have the unintended adverse effect of encouraging more black children to run for president.

“This speech to children is just a travesty,” said commentator Glenn Beck. “I can’t believe he would try to talk directly to our children. Barack Obama is a racist.”

Many opponents of the speech, including the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Jim Greer, said that Obama’s speech was meant to “indoctrinate” students, clearly meaning that young black children might take the wrong example by having a black president speak to them from such a large and impressive pulpit. One of the most powerful positions in the world. One of such considerable prestige, influence and responsibility that it stirs great tremulous fear in every soul.

“I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology,” said Greer, a thinly veiled but obvious reference to Obama’s skin color, which is black.

Many Republican leaders agreed that there could be little positive outcome from such a speech, as there had been in the past when Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton spoke directly to children about their liberties and responsibilities as citizens of a free nation. The innocuous text of the speech itself, which opponents forced the White House to publish on the Internet, explains very clearly that children should stay in school and be good citizens, a message that has left no doubt in the mind of detractors: Obama is a black man speaking to children.

“I am just speechless with rage,” said Mary Worthington, a shopper in Concord, New Hampshire. “The absolute appalling arrogance of this man to manipulate the media this way and try to bend pliable young minds with his ‘I am a black man talking out loud’ message–that’s just too much for me to bear.” Worthington said she was so angry she just couldn’t talk about it anymore.

Political analysts, pundits and talking heads were keeping their index fingers to the wind Monday night to gauge how much damage Obama might have done to himself by eliciting such an outpouring of rage.

“It’s too soon to say whether Obama has buried himself politically,” said Dane Zweibel, an analyst at the American Business Institute. “I know he thought he was doing a positive thing with his message. However, I don’t think he realized the unintended effects it would have on black children watching. Now, any of them think they can run for president. I think it’s important that Americans have stood up this way to show the nation’s black children once and for all exactly what they can expect if they try to express themselves in any way, shape or form.”

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