Tag Archives: palin

Rebranding the Party of No: Republicans try to put a positive spin on obstructionism

After the unexpected smackdown Obama gave the House Republicans, the rightwingers and Republicans are making clear that they are doubling down on the ‘Party of No’ obstructionism that has allowed them to monkeywrench hcr.

There’s not exactly a shortage of people offering all sorts of advice on getting messages across. One thing that seems clear is that presenting a laundry list facts and figures does not motivate adequate numbers of voters, either in the election booth or in polls and other gauges of ‘the mood of the country’ in between elections. Now I’d say that the notion of ‘the mood of the country’ is a pretty ludicrous construction. The best we can probably do is to talk about the predominant for now mood of various constituent groups of various coalitions. However, as the current teabagger infighting shows, even that may be several bridges too far.

Looking at blogs like Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, Think Progress, Crooks and Liars, Redstate, Town Hall and any number of others will show that posters and commenters at all these sites also express ‘internal’ dissension and outright infighting. Still, on specific elections and big issues like hcr, what are at other times loose groups tend to tighten up and coalesce around candidates and issue positions, especially when confronted with such polarized choices as they pretty much inevitably are in the US.

As I noted above, facts and figures alone, however impressively arrayed, do not generally pull voters into a dedicated orbit around a candidate or policy position. I have not yet really dug into the book, but I’m tending to think Drew Weston is right when, in The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, he argues that narratives, by reaching our emotions, are more persuasive.

As the rightwingers and Republicans have demonstrated, those stories and ’emotional truths’ need not actually be grounded in reality. However, when the narratives are actually based in fact rather than distortion, they have the beneficial effect of attracting the not insignificant number of voters who are persuaded by facts and figures.

Together with people who respond more positively to emotionally undergirded narratives, they might form a coalition that can counter the Party of No agenda of the rightwingers and Republicans.


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I admit it: global warming, or climate change, is a hoax

You have to hand it to the neo birchers, flat earthers, birthers, climate change deniers and free lance commie spotters. Fueled by Fox “News” misinformation and willful misunderstanding, they never let facts or reality get in the way of their delusions and grand conspiracy theories.

They know there is a vast left wing conspiracy to sap America of its preciousness. Every single person in the media is in on the scam, from tyour local newspaper delivery people all the way up to our leaders, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. Of course, Fox “News” is free of taint, but they’re the only ones you can trust to report the exact and absolute truth, no matter what those independent fact checking organizations say about them getting things wrong so frequently.

Also, everyone in academia is in on the plot, from your children’s elementary school teachers to university researchers, professors and, the true masters of the universe, graduate students. We actually have weekly meetings to plot how best to destroy America and advance the global warming hoax.

Yes, I admit it. Global warming is a hoax. During our last meetings on taking down the country, we were told how we got all the scientists from universities and government agencies such as NASA and the EPA to lie and fake the data so we can pull off the scam.

The conspiracy is proceeding according to plan. I just hope Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin can be held off until it’s too late. Dasvidoniya, comrades.


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The Uninformed Agrieved: at least they know they’re mad

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by Mathews conduct of this interview and it brings up an important trend: the proud and willful rejection of any reference to facts and rationality in preference for stridently reactionary emotionalism.

Chris Mathews actually came down pretty hard on Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence Rhode Island over his refusal to allow Rep Kennedy to take communion. Mathews asked him if abortion is murder, what should the penalties be and Tobin dodged the question.

Mathews said Tobin must either make specific recommendations or stay out of “law making,” which the Bishop has “transgressed” into. Pretty strong stuff about separation of church and state, saying the church needs to stick to moral suasion.

Mathews notes that, although he shares the Bishop’s views on abortion, Tobin is reluctant to advise “even a minute in jail” for women and girls who have abortions because Americans, Catholics and others, don’t view abortion as a crime.

The piece began with a clip of JFK, still a presidential candidate in Houston, seeking to allay fears that he would be beholden to the Pope as President:

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish. Where no public official, either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of churches or any other ecclesiastical source. Where no religious body seeks to impose its will, directly or indirectly, upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.

Mathews repeated the quote, asking Tobin what he thinks of it. Tobin replies that JFK was talking about “establishing a national religion.” Incredulous, Mathews asked how he can assert such a transparently untrue assertion.

You think he meant something different from what he said?

The short answer is yes, he probably does. Although he could be cynically manipulating the faithful, it’s also entirely likely that the good bishop has deluded himself enough that he can purposely accept a ridiculous interpretation of Kennedy’s meaning.

It happens so often that it can become hard to notice. Here is just a short selection from today’s toobnetz:

  • New Left Media (via HuffPo) has a great video showing the vacuousness of Palin autograph seekers:
  • Via TPM, the RNC thinks they lost the last two elections because they were just too leftist, so they think it’s a good idea to implement a purity test.
  • Via Think Progress, teabaggers think it’s just a hoot to jeer a woman whose uninsured pregnant daughter in law died.
  • Via Crooks and Liars, Tucker Carlson, in all seriousness, asserts that Palin is “as smart as” Al Gore and “more experienced than” Obama.
  • Via Plumline, Cheney slams Obama for bowing the the Japanese Emperor despite serving two presidents who did exactly the same thing.
  • Via TPM, Crist spells it out:

    “It’s hard to be more conservative than I am on issues — though there are different ways stylistically to communicate that — I’m pro-life, I’m pro-gun, I’m pro-family, and I”m anti tax.” … “I don’t know what else you’re supposed to be, except maybe angry too.” [Emphasis added]

  • And last, via Political Animal at The Washington Monthly, Steve Benin, addressing the issue, quotes Isaac Chotiner at TNR

    The first problem with this argument is that … Palin is unlikely to become a policy wonk because she is not very smart. What’s more, Douthat’s argument is tautological. Sure, it would be nice for the GOP if Palin and Huckabee were interested in policy. But if they were interested in policy, then they would not be so appealing to the GOP base.

    In other words, the problem is that a large part of the right has no interest in a policy wonk, and sneers at intellectuals and elites and the types of people Douthat would like to see running the party. A candidate who was interested in learning the ins and outs of the welfare state and health care policy is unlikely to ever achieve Palin/Huckabee levels of popularity with the grassroots.

These examples illustrate the views and psyches of a fairly large segment of our society. Recent polls estimate this group to comprise around 20 to 25 percent of the general populace.

That means, assuming you live in an average place, demographically speaking, and you’re in a room or on a bus with 19 other people, four or five of them believe things that are demonstrably untrue and act on those beliefs politically and socially.

In some areas the percentage of your 20 busmates or roomates will be lower; but in other areas, it will be higher — and in some of those areas, very, very much higher.

The web, along with older media like talk radio and Fox News, help fan the flames of such irrationality. But, like printing presses and cans of spray paint, this specific technology is still neutral. Barring further corporate intrusion, it is not in and of itself responsible for the ignorance spread through its reaches.

It just as readily carries counter arguments and refutations. But to do so, it must be peopled with those who are ready and willing to counter the ignorance. Thankfully, it is.

And after coming of age doing so much to fight the spread of misinformation during eight years of rightwing Republican misrule under Bush and Cheney et al, progressives and liberals on the web are well positioned to keep banging on the outside walls of the rightwing echo chamber.

[This post has been changed since original publication to correct the wording of the final paragraph and to acknowledge that emphasis was added to the Crist quote from TPM.]

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Palin booed by disgruntled autograph seekers

This is priceless (via ThinkProgress):

This is one reason why I’m still not convinced she’ll have any real success if she runs in 2012. She and her handlers are so arrogant and inept that they even anger fanatics who took time off from work and waited in the cold and rain all day for her autograph.

If she can’t even avoid pissing this crowd off, what response would she evoke from people who are not already enthralled with her?

And it’s not as if any establishment Republican aides and staffers who know enough to avoid this kind of bush league unforced error would be all that eager to sign up to work for her.

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fox news corrects sarah palin

Link via TPM: How low can a person’s credibility sink? If the answer is lower than Fox’s minimum required truthiness, then may the flying spaghetti monster have mercy on your soul.

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Major media not reporting Republican’s extremely low polling numbers

Crooks and Liars has a piece noting the new Dkos poll.

The gist is that while Obama’s numbers have predictably dropped from early highs and House and Senate Dems aren’t the most popular people in the minds of most Americans, House and Senate Republicans, along with the Republican party in general, are miserably unpopular with the vast majority of people in this country.

Dkos poll_64bf2

Just as in the campaign, most Americans reject the childish temper tantrums of the rightwingers and Republicans. Joe the Liar has replaced Joe the Plumber, but he isn’t playing any better with the majority than Mr the Plumber, the Quittah from Wassila or the guy with the stuffed monkey plastered with the Obama sticker.

Watch the video to see the sorry racist squirm.

Realizing he’s being filmed, he first peels the label off the stuffed monkey’s head, then squirms as the videographer keeps the camera on him. He eventually tries to duck behinf a sign held by a child on an adult’s shoulders, even appearing to attempt to persuade the child to hold the sign high when he drops it and exposes the man for the fool that he is.

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Explaining Sessions (and the rest)

Jamison Foser has a good piece at Media Matters on the racism and sexism on display in Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing.

There have been a lot of posts at various progressive sites and blogs about the racism and sexism so I won’t rehash them here. I just want to briefly examine what seems to lie underneath the shabbiness and think about what it might mean some of the actors involved.

Sessions’ (R-AL) own racism is well known, if unremarked upon by the media in their current fainting spells about the supposed reverse racism of a latina supreme court nominee.

Another well worn racist retread media darling from yesteryear, Patrick Buchanan, also largely gets a pass. Although this is beginning to change.

Sessions trotted out the Desi Arnez “your got a lot of ‘splaining to do” gem, to his own obvious great amusement and self satisfaction.

Graham (R-SC) condescended to the judge, using anonymous quotes about her temperament that a colleague attributed to sexism [see the Foser link in the first paragraph], and told her that maybe she needed to do a little self reflection.

What do Sessions, Buchanan, Graham and the media hacks who almost completely ignored all this, while at the same time being hyper sensitive to perceived slights against white males, have in common?

They have in common a sense of entitlement, a sense of white male privilege that is so ingrained — in their own psyches and in our society — that it has become virtually invisible. Stephen Colbert breaks it down here in a segment called “Neutral Man’s Burden.”

According to this view, white males are, by definition, neutral. Anyone who is not male and white is suspect and defined, often completely, by that difference from the supposed norm of the white male. This is a fundamental reality in America today.

It is a reality so fundamental that, despite exhortations that others engage in self reflection, many people in America today, certainly a large percentage of white males, are unaware of it.

It resides just under the surface of pandering from Republicans, from McCain and Palin to their rabid admirers to so many in the media, talking about the “real America” in last year’s campaign. Even Clinton engaged in it with her desperate gambit to woo “hard working Americans.”

While Clinton and Palin broke through the gender glass ceiling, they still were clearly using thinly veiled code for “white Americans.”

This is, and has been, slowly changing. Changing at a glacially slow incremental pace. But changing.

The problem for almost all rightwingers, most Republicans and many in the media is that their either are unaware of this change or they are all too aware of the change and are trying like hell to stop and reverse it.

The idol of so many rightwingers and Republicans, William F Buckly, explained the purpose of the conservative National Review, launched in 1955 this way:

…It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no other is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.

And to this day, so many rightwingers, Repbulicans and media chatterers see it as their solemn duty to “stand athwart history, yelling Stop.”

They might be able to slow it at times, even temporarily divert it at other times, but they cannot stop it. Still, in the process of trying, they mark themselves clearly for all to see.

They mark themselves clearly for all to see them as the reactionary racists and sexists that they are.

And that mark is indelible.

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