Right-Wing Meltdown

A common symptom of the social/psychological pathology called “movement conservatism” is the belief that most Americans agree with rightie ideas. Righties believe this even when most polls say otherwise.

So it doesn’t surprise me at all if Rush Limbaugh thinks doubling down on the culture war is a smart move for conservatives. And with the economy improving, what else do they have?

At least some righties are facing the fact that they won’t have an electable candidate in November. There is talk of changing the rules so that Jeb Bush could be anointed. But Rich Yeselson argues this can’t save them:

But, of course, under such a chaotic scenario, the white knight candidate would be destroyed by Obama in November. The current candidates and their supporters would be enraged, and the newly crowned candidate would obviously benefit from a rigged system designed—like Bush v. Gore—solely for his one time use. It would make the 1968 Democratic Convention in riot torn Chicago look like a chess tournament.

Recall that some Democrats imagined a similar possibility in 2008. Not a new candidate entering the race, but Hillary Clinton winning the nomination via various last minute rules changes, and the support of the majority of super delegates. Of course, however, the first African American major party presumptive nominee could not somehow be screwed out of the top spot at the last minute without tearing the party apart. A Pyrrhic victory, as it used to be during the original Greek crisis.

However, the difference between Dems in 2008 and the GOP in 2012 is that the Dems care passionately about their candidates, whereas Republican voters today seem ambivalent and confused. It’s possible that by summer they’ll be primed to toss the bums out and rally around a savior at the Tampa convention. So I don’t know that I agree with Yeselson.

22 thoughts on “Right-Wing Meltdown

  1. Since the gay marriage thing has turned on them with over 50% of Americans now say that it should be legalized, and abortion is as old as some 1950’s LP album, they then turn to the fresh wedge-issue of….. contraception? And then they have old white guys provide the testimony, in Congress, some wearing starched collars? I swear, I think the DNC has somehow hi-jacked the republicans’ playbook and are writing the script for them.

  2. OK, it’s bad enough that I’ve slipped through a dimensional portal into a world where people can treat Rick Santorum as if he was qualified to be President, but it’s also a world where someone thinks that another Bush could be get elected?

    Maybe it’s not me. Maybe Reality has lost its grip on reality?

    I get that the not-Romney desire in the party is very strong, and that the GOP has spent so long in the Faux News bubble that they have no idea what others actually think, but Jeb? Jeb BUSH? WTF? I get that some want a White Knight to ride in at the last moment, but who thinks that Jeb could be that White Knight?

    First, his brother’s only success was making his father look like less of a disaster. Second, Jeb’s actually not very anti-immigrant – heck, he’s even married to a ‘Mekskin’, so not only won’t he get Democrat and Independent votes, he wouldn’t even get votes from the GOP base.

    I think even Ron Paul could get more votes in a general election then Jeb.

  3. Could be misdirection. They must have KNOWN they were backing a bunch of 3rd tier clowns for pres. But, if you look at state races, and congress and the Senate, they are doing a LOT better. I know MY Dem gov declared she was not running for a 2nd term and a half dozen dem congessional districts were written out of existence in redistricting. We need to work hard on the WHOLE ticket, from the top right down to dog catcher.

  4. The base may lack passion for their candidates, but they thrive on resentment and have a gift for making everything about them.

    As biggerbox said, Jeb is flawed too, as are other potential white knights, and it’s because of the same pathology that makes righties think Americans agree with them. There is no candidate who can win over the base without scaring off independents.

  5. biggerbox,
    Jeb, like all Conservatives, will gladly sell his soul to win. So, jumping on the anti-Messica bandwagon, will not take any great thought. And his wife will gladly sell out her heritage and her people – and it’s not like she’d be the first minority in Republican history to do that.
    So Jeb could easily be their fall-back candidate. The entire philosophy behind modern Conservatism is “Do whatever pisses-off the Liberals/Democrats the most.” And what could possibly piss-off Liberals more than another Bush running – especially if he won? OY!

    tom B,
    The fact that people can’t separate the fact that their local Republican tumor is just part of the larger Conservative body cancer worries the Hell out of me.
    These evil dipshits running for President weren’t born as national candidates. They had to f*ck over people on local, district, and state wide levels first.

    But Americans are fundamentally stupid/ignorant people, willing to believe in propaganda – and who are pliable, malleable, and as ductile as soft rubber, because of the fact that they are not good at critical thinking. Think semi-sentient sheep.

  6. “However, the difference between Dems in 2008 and the GOP in 2012 is that the Dems care passionately about their candidates, whereas Republican voters today seem ambivalent and confused”

    I agree though I believe it is not so much ambivalance or confusion as it is the pure hatred for Prsident Obama that drives them. They just want someone who can take down this president. Ironically they seem to have choosen the weakest field that I can remember.

  7. “The fact that people can’t separate the fact that their local Republican tumor is just part of the larger Conservative body cancer worries the Hell out of me….”. Me, too. I saw a poll with Warren 9 Pts. Behind Brown in Massachusetts! How a dream candidate can be behind a vacuous “pretty boy”– even if his is the incumbent — in a blue state escapes me.

  8. The Republican Party in 2012 has exactly one principle: Get That N!%%er Out Of the White House. They’ll fall in line behind anybody their authoritarian daddies tell them will do that.

  9. Tom b, I saw that poll too, and I was stunned. Then I got to thinking about what Gulag said about his past polling experiences, and my own experience with an NRA poll, and now I have lots of questions about the process:
    1. Who conducted the poll?
    2. How were the questions framed?
    3. If the poll was conducted via land lines, then it would garner more responses from older folks, and people living in rural areas where cell service is not available–notably populations which tend to vote Republican. So how do polling outfits factor this into their data? Or do they?
    4. Have there been any studies on the degree to which polling results influence voters’ opinion of candidates?

    As a total aside, recently, while briefly living in one of those land line only pockets of rural Americana, where the only radio stations blared R.W. hate-mongering and fundie praise the Lord and pass the ammunition 24/7, I received an “opinion poll” phone call from the NRA.

    I agreed to answer the polster’s question. Why not? I own guns. I was raised on a ranch where guns were valued on a par with hoes and plows–necessary, but not worshipful. And the NRA’s initial questions were easy to answer along those lines. Then the questions subtley shifted into what I can only describe as a push poll. Now I was verrrry slowly being nudged into acceptance of a belief system to which I could not agree. And at that point, I explained (in my nicest voice, Gulag, in case it was you calling) that this entire poll was ________ (fill in the blanks, but do so with civility), and that, no, the purpose of the NRA’s poll was obviously to ____ (fill in the blanks, but do so with civility.

    And this is why I spent so many words on things I do not understand.

  10. If you look at the most recent poll of polls on Real Clear Politics –

    Obama vs Romney – it’s Oboma by 6.1%
    Obama vs Santorum – it’s Oboma by 8.4%
    Against Gingrich – Obama by 13.9%
    Ron Paul goes down by 8.2%

    In the generic contest Obama vs republican – it’s a tie.

    Which may mean that half the country can imagine a better president than Obama, but no such person is running. If the GOP can run a bot we are in trouble. Against flesh & blood candidates, at the moment, President Obama is doing well.

    It’s a traditional recurring election theme that in the primary, a candidate will run in the primary as VERY conservative (if republican) or VERY liberal if a democrat. In the general, the nominees run as moderates, haggling over the moderate vote. But that can’t happen in this election. No turning left for the GOP. Romney might have hoped he could play to the swing voter without using the word ‘moderate’ but the primary contest has forced Mitt to commit in order to beat back conservative attacks. So the top of the GOP ticket is going to be bat-shit right-wing crazy. It’s not selling now and hopefully it will have even less appeal in November.

    Keeping in mind that the election is 9 months from now, If the GOP can’t put together a bid for the White House, what happens in congressional races?

  11. muldoon,
    I don’t remember doing an NRA poll. At least not a push-poll one.

    But I can tell you, we did a pretty fair share of push-polls. God, they were awful. They were frequently aimed at the opponents strong point. And people bit like starving trout.
    And example would be something like:
    “If it were true that Candidate X (always the opponent of the politician who paid for the poll – if it was a primary, it was a fellow Republican, with some anti-Democratic Party questions later, to plant more BS seeds, if the Governor, Mayor, State Legislator, Representative, Senator, etc., was from that party) was accused of molested boys when he was a Cub Scout leader, would you more or less likely to vote for him?
    And if it were true that when he was in the first Gulf War he abandoned his men and ran away, and still got a medal, would you be more or less likely to vote for him?”
    What’s the persona being polled going to say, ‘SURE, I want to vote for a child-molesting coward. MORE LIKELY!’
    I would always hint (remind them) that this was a bullsh*t question, when they asked “Really, I hadn’t heard that. Is that true?” I’d say, “IF it were true…”

    It was the length of a lot of polls, and the horrible push-polling questions that made me quit and not go back.
    There have got to be better ways to make $8 an hour for a few hours in the evenings or on weekends, with no benefits, than talking to some Ancient Crackers in backwater districts and states.
    But, with my unemployment running out in a few weeks, I may have to swallow my pride, and go back to the 2nd worst job I ever had – telemarketing being the absolute worst.
    Right now, I have a full-time, unpaid, job taking care of my Mom and my terminally ill father. So, I’m not even thinking that far ahead. We’ll have to figure out how to make ends meet without my unemployment money. Somehow…

  12. Also too… no, also THREE – The QOTD after Obama gets the payroll tax cut passed:

    “We’re dumb, but we’re not stupid,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told reporters after he voted. “We did not want to repeat the debacle of last December. It’s not that complicated.”

    The above is from the (sometimes odious) Huffington Post:

    Btw – I’m not really FOR this particular tax break, since it might, and could, actually effect Social Security in the long term. I thought one or two years might be ok, but I’m thinking I may have been mistaken.

    What’s everyone elses take on this?

  13. Republicans are so messed up that they are always unhappy when they actually get what they say they want.

    They tell themselves that people loooooooove crushing unions, shaming sluts, and divesting themselves of the freedom-killing entanglements of Medicare, Social Security, and the assurance that they will have something to eat when they wake up the next morning. Yet, somehow, when Republicans help out and make these things actually happen, all kinds of hippie-types come out of the woodwork and say nasty things that hurt Republican fee-fees.

    That is what is going on with them now: they were absolutely certain that the real problem with their previous candidates was that they compromised too much with Democrats, signed up for working government programs, and that secretly, deep down, these kinds of Republicans actually wanted to see the country run properly. This must not stand.

    It’s not like they chose these candidates. Turns out, when you run a batshit crazy, delusional, Bircher-obsessed operation, the kinds of people you attract are either crazy or grifters. Or both.

  14. Maybe the Reps are thinking this. They get to the convention with either Santorum (can’t write that name without a frothy vision in my mind, EEEWWWW) or Romney, both of which are getting beaten by Obama badly. The republican establishment then puts forward a moderate republican as the nominee at the convention who is able to somehow swing away from the culture war issues, make it about the economy. The tbaggers will have to go along because they will see that if they don’t, Obama will be president for another four years. The new nominee will appear to be all moderate and stuff because he’s not against women’s birth control, but is still a solid conservative. Moderates would run to him. They’re not going to a brokered convention to end up with Sarah Palin, but with a Chris Christie. So if you drive heavy conservative social issues now, the brokered nominee at the convention seems just that much more moderate (meaning sensible).

  15. Watching David Greg-borey on NBC right now.
    Because my life just doesn’t suck enough, I guess…

    Every time he talks about Rick “Sanctimonious” Santorum, I think he’s sports a huge boner (for him, at least) under that table.
    Lil’ Stretch just LOOOOOOOOVES him some Rick.
    God, if they ever meet, I hope someone has a crowbar handy so they can pry Greg-borey off Santorum’s leg that he’s humping.
    At least he has Al Hunt and Helene Cooper White to counter the odious Ed Gillespie and obtuse Andrea Mitchell. Usually, there are 4 Conservatives telling people what Democrats and the WH think.

  16. The logistics of a last-minute candidate are not good. Lack of money, exposure, recognition. The smart Rs will sit this one out. In fact the smart Rs are already self-sidelined.

  17. “I’m not really FOR this particular tax break, since it might, and could, actually effect Social Security in the long term.” Agreed, but we ARE in a bad economy. I hope it doesn’t become an every year occurence, though, as I hope to be able to collect SS someday. If Obama can let the Bush tax cuts expire after the election,though, that could be huge for reducing the general deficit, though– don’t forget about that. And those taxes are more progressive in nature than SS.

  18. BB – A brokered convention is a ‘trick play’ in the sense of a football play that’s not a conventional running or pass play. It can work once, and in the best of circumstances, deliver one score. But the GOP has to score twice – they need ALL of the base AND some moderates OR they need most of the base and a bigger slice of moderates. It has not escaped notice anywhere that voter turnout among the GOP faithful in the primaries is WAY down and a move to a candidate who is even LESS extreme than the current crop of candidates will underwhelm an apathetic base. The GOP establishment can’t ignore the base entirely without risking a third party bid by the Tea Party.

    I don’t discount the possibility that the GOP will try to substitute an unknown in the face of certain defeat (if poll trends continue) but the reason the GOP isn’t running a candidate who can bridge the ideological gap between bat-shit crazy and moderate is because there aint one. Also, some ‘serious’ GOP candidates may have decided to sit this one out because they want to run in 2016.

    Being the candidate who lost to President Obama would doom a candidate who thinks that the political climate will be better in 2016. So the ‘top tier’ candidates like Christie and Jeb may decline the honor of a brokered nomination and defeat. The worse the polls are for the GOP, the less likely it is that a major candidate will step forward to take the place of honor at the guillotine.

  19. tom B,

    But I can see where when (if?) Obama and the Democrats DO decide to end the payroll tax break, the Republicans, who were against it, will scream about ‘tax increases!’ I just hope that the Democrats are prepared for that. Which is saying a lot…

  20. Gulag – The tax break is a small stimulus, but in the current political environment in DC, you can’t even say ‘stimulus’. Almost all the tax break money is spent by consumers, so it is nearly 100% effective, though tiny. By contrast, the ‘Stimulus’ in 2009 was much larger, but included crap like tax breaks for business that added to the size but was ineffective. Actual infrastructure spending and assistance to states and municipalities to prevent layoffs ARE effective.

    Good news tends to reinforce itself, because if consumer confidence goes up, so does consumer spending. So the tax break is ‘seed money’ and whether it’s a good plan or a bad plan depends on economic growth. I agree we can’t stay there forever and from a political standpoint we should ‘phase out’ the break, rather than end it to blunt the GOP attack.

  21. OT – I have always felt that the social progress of the 60s and 70s was driven by the music of the time. Whether art changed the culture or culture changed the art can be debated. But in the current political culture war, the influence of music is lacking – IMO. I wanted to point out an exception – here’s the link to the lyrics, the live performance is up on youtube. The artist is Ani DeFranco the lyrics to “Which Side Are You On” nail it.


Comments are closed.