Mittens and the Baggers

Assuming that Mitt Romney is truly the “inevitable” GOP nomiinee, the question is, what will the Tea Party faction do?

According to Steve Kornacki, Rush has been trashing Mittens robustly and urging his listeners not to support him — anybody but Mittens. Rush’s influence is such that he could keep support for Mittens low enough to cost him the nomination.

Kornacki says also that much of Rush’s animus is directed at Mitt’s Massachusetts health care plan, the blueprint for “Obamacare.” However, Rush was fine with Romney when he ran in 2008 and had no issues with Romneycare, even though it was a couple of years old at that point.

This illustrates perfectly how irrational and hysterical much of the right’s response to Obama’s presidency has been. The individual mandate is actually a concept with deep conservative roots, one that numerous congressional Republicans touted as an alternative to Bill Clinton’s reform proposal in 1994. This is why Romney had no trouble finding a representative of the Heritage Foundation to join him on stage when he signed his law in 2008. And it’s why that law just wasn’t a big deal to Limbaugh and most other conservative opinion-shapers back in 2008 — and why it only became a problem for Romney when Obama embraced it at the national level.

It’s not that hard to imagine an alternate universe in which Romney somehow won the White House in 2008, then muscled through a national version of his Massachusetts law — with Republican support. But it was Obama who won, and when he tried to do the same thing, virtually every Republican in America accused him of destroying capitalism. As Jonathan Bernstein put it, it seems that to the right the Affordable Care Act isn’t socialism but that Obamacare is.

When politics gets this irrational, it’s hard to predict what people will do. Baggers who run screaming from Romney now might be persuaded to vote for him in the general election. Nate Silver thinks the Republican primary calendar mostly favors Mittens (although less so if Hew Hampshire is moved up to December), since he is likely to win two early states, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Speaking of irrational — Jonathan Bernstein brings up something I’ve been thinking about also. The baggers have been stirred up into a fevered pitch about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes. However, it’s almost certain many of these same screamers pay no federal income taxes themselves and don’t realize it. He writes about the “We are the 53 percent” movement —

… the other story in the “53 percent” group is that I’m pretty confident that a substantial portion of them…don’t actually pay income taxes, and therefore are not, in fact, part of the 53 percent of households who do. For example, this citizen claims to be a college senior working “30+ hours a week making just barely over minimum wage.” Which is great and all, but if that’s all he’s got he’s not paying any income tax. Just as a guess, I’d be surprised if any fewer than 10 percent of the posters are actually income-tax free, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s about 50/50.

[Note: If the link in the quote isn’t working, this is the site he is talking about.]

Of course, they’re paying payroll taxes, and some federal taxes probably are deducted from their paychecks. And they file income tax returns and enjoy their refunds. What’s not connecting in their brains is that what’s being refunded is whatever federal income taxes were taken out of their paychecks, and that FICA taxes do not count as “income” taxes.

But this takes us back to the fact that these people are very stupid and will believe whatever they are told by the media mouthpieces they listen to, and if Mittens is the nominee, you can bet that Rush and the rest of the mouthpieces will fall in line and order their audience to do their duty and vote for Romney.

There’s no right-wing equivalent of Ralph Nader (well, except Ralph himself) to persuade them that it doesn’t matter which candidate wins, so they should send a message to the GOP by not voting, or by voting for a third-party candidate (such as Ralph). It’s mostly lefties who are dumb enough to fall for that one.

8 thoughts on “Mittens and the Baggers

  1. There’s no right-wing equivalent of Ralph Nader to persuade them that it doesn’t matter which candidate wins, so they should send a message to the GOP by not voting, or by voting for a third-party candidate.

    I think Herman Cain might do just that if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination. Like Nader to the Democrats, Cain’s political career doesn’t appear to depend on falling into line with the Republican establishment. I haven’t been watching him closely enough to get a sense of whether he would want to be the right-wing Nader, but if he does then I don’t see who could stop him.

  2. Pretty much everyone has money deducted from their paychecks, and will be told, ‘See! You’re one of us! We’re paying OUR fair share. There are people out there paying NO taxes!’
    And the lie will reverberate because the people will see the money taken out of their pay. Like with that dumbass College Senior.

    As for Mitt, Rush is right about one thing (maybe for the first time out of anything he’s ever said!), and that’s that Romney has NO Conservative bona fide’s. Ok, well, outside of the fact that he’s a rich job-killing asshole who was born on Third Base thinking he hit a triple.
    Mitt was basically the last of the Rockefeller Republicans – a weak one, but he was. And his task has been to do a 180 and appear a hard enough Conservative to appeal to the base.
    Every other candidate up there has better credentials as a Conservative. McCain did. Dole certainly did. And, of course, Little Boots. Mitt is more along the lines of Poppy Bush, who was not popular with the base. He was too much “Realpolitik,” and not enough “Rightpolitik.”

    But, the money and powers-that-be guys and gals don’t have a better option available, so they’re stuck with Mitt. The next 6-9 months should be entertaining as we watch the different factions that have loosely confederated under the GOP banner, duke it out for supremacy. But, I think, barring Jeb coming in, the money and power people will win out. Their task will then be to convinvce the ignorati/religious base to come out and vote in November of next year. A real Teabagger as VP will be a must, and you know I’ve already voiced my opinion. I think a Romney/Rubio ticket make the corporate money and power folks happy, and Rubio’s just enough of a Teabagging loon, and a Hispanic one at that, to appeal to the base. The fact that Rubio is Cuban, may make them think he’ll syphon votes away from Obama. But then, they may not know that the Cubans are not all that popular with the rest of the Hispanics.
    Cain and Bachmann are slim possibilities. But I think it more likely if it’s not Rubio with Romney, it’ll be Ryan, Walker, or Kasich. But I wonder how they’ll play in the Midwest? Maybe not so well after recent events, since they won’t pick-off too many independents. That’s why if it’s Romney, as is likely, it’ll be Rubio as his sidekick.

  3. I wonder how many of that 47% are people who are living off trust funds or investments and don’t have earned INCOME. Their taxes are different and taxed at lower rates than INCOME.

    Many people think that Social Security isn’t taxed, but it is taxable and you still have to file a return. Unemployment Benefits are also taxable and you have to file a return. Both Social Security and Unemployment Benefits being taxable are due to St. Ronnie and his pals.

  4. Rush always falls in line. He’ll play it like he did in 2008. Yes, the Republicans have given us a bad candidate, but we must do whatever we can to defeat the hated Obama. It’s actually an ideal situation for Rush; he can complain about how the Republicans are insufficiently conservative, while demonizing the Democrats as an unthinkably horrible alternative.

    But I suspect that a number of his listeners will not get behind Romney. They believe that they only lost in 2008 because their candidate was too moderate. They are petulant when they don’t get their way. They will cry out for a “true conservative” to run an independent campaign, and there are big egos on the right always looking for an opportunity for self-promotion. Even if that doesn’t happen, many frustrated conservatives will back the Libertarian or other third party candidates. And it’s not like Ralph needed a ton of votes to screw everything up in 2000.

  5. “Hysterical and irrational” prompts me to repeat, “New Yorker” Sept ’08, ‘The Obama Nation’ by Corsi. “Obama is a corrupt, enraged, anti-American drug-dealing, anti-Israel, pseudo-Christian radical leftist, black-militant, plagerist, and liar, trained as a Muslim and mentored by a menagerie of Marxists, Communists, crypto-Communists and terrorists.” – and he hadn’t even been elected yet! (Should you think this some sort of spoof making fun of righties, you’re wrong.)

    As far as Romney is concerned, reading how he got very rich is like reading a bio of Gordon Gekko.

  6. syskil,
    I think Cain’s auditioning for a FOX News show.

    I think it much more likely that Palin might go 3rd Party Rogue.
    This way, she can still get attention, piss-off the Republican establishment that she feels has abandoned her, and back out of debates and other things willy-nilly, while still raking in bucks.

    A Grifter’s gotta grift!

  7. And then there are the “stupid” among us – like 60% of mortgage-deduction recipients who say they have not used a government social program, and 33% of the recipients of federal student loans who say they have not used a government social program, and 25% of recipients of food stamps who say they haven’t used a government social program either.

    Can I add ‘clueless’ to stupid?

  8. I wondered about this “no taxes” claim. Does this mean, “no taxes in addition to those withheld from your paycheck?” Or does it mean you get all your withheld federal income taxes refunded back to you? (I know you don’t get a refund of your social security or medicare tax.)

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