Leeches of the GOP

Aw, heck, let’s gloat some more. It’s a nice change of pace for us.

Somewhere last week I heard a couple of journalists covering the campaigns say that in the days before the election the Romney people were jubilantly confident while the Obama people were hopeful but nervous. Of course, you could also say “deluded” and “realistic,” respectively.

Anyway — by now you’ve probably seen the video clip of Ann Coulter saying “If Mitt Romney cannot win in this economy, then the tipping point has been reached. We have more takers than makers and it’s over. There is no hope.” I infer that Coulter considers herself to be one of the “makers.” But what exactly does she make?

The fact is, Coulter is a professional leech. She is one of several “personalities” who make a good living by leeching off the climate of hate and divisiveness that is the lifeblood of “movement conservatism” and the Republican Party. Every year or so she re-writes the same polemical book and gets it republished under a new title — some variation on Be Afraid: How Liberals Hate God and America and Want to Eat Your Babies. I don’t know who actually reads this stuff, but somebody buys it. Then she does a speaking tour and rakes in fees. Her weekly toxic waste dump of a “column” is still being syndicated. And people still go to her for her “insights” into the direction of conservatism.

But Coulter’s main function within the GOP it to keep pumping the hate so that she can continue to make a living as a leech.

A few days ago Rick Perlstein published an article at The Baffler called “The Long Con: Mail-order conservatism.” Although a bit rambling and unfocused, the article provides a fascinating view of how a culture of leeching has attached itself to “movement conservatism” and the Republican Party. All manner of people are making themselves rich by fanning the flames of alarm and then sucking money out of the rubes who believe them. It’s so blatant that conservative “media” such as Newsmax and Current Events are being subsidized by sucker schemes for Making Big Money Without Actually Having to Do Anything to Earn It.

So you’ve got individuals like Richard Viguerie and groups like the NRA that mostly specialize in fundraising by scaring people. Usually they’re sucking money out of ordinary folks, but we see now that Karl Rove managed to suck money out of the very wealthy, which makes him master of the game, I suppose.

Perlstein describes the standard come-on:

There is the bizarre linguistic operation that turns “liberal” (or, in Coulterese, “pink”) into a merely opportunistic synonym for “stuff you don’t like.” There’s the sloganeering alchemy that conflates political and economic magical thinking (“freedom”!). There’s shorthand invocation of Reagan hagiography. And then, presto: The suggestible readers on the receiving end of Coulter’s come-on are meant to realize that they are holding the abracadabra solution to every human dilemma (vote out the Democrats–oh, and also, subscribe to Mark Skousen’s newsletter for investors, while you’re at it). …

… Miracle cures, get-rich-quick schemes, murderous liberals, the mystic magic mirage of a world without taxes, those weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein had hidden somewhere in the Syrian desert–only connect.

The Republican Party isn’t just being challenged by changing voter demographics. As long as people with inordinate influence in what’s called “conservatism” are milking it like a cash cow, they’re not going to let it adapt to changing voter demographics.

18 thoughts on “Leeches of the GOP

  1. I don’t know that Coulter and people of her ill ilk don’t “make” anything – gaseous emissions by bovines ARE part of the warming climate, and SOMETHING is fertizing our crops!

    My favorite line from Perlstein’s article, is that Viguerie’s Conservative mailscam kept 85% of what they got for themselves as overhead (profit), while the “cause” for which the mail was sent, only got 15%.
    Poor P.T. Barnum. Back then, the man had to have and run an actual circus, with performers, artists, animals, clowns, freaks, and workers, to make a profit off the suckers. Maybe his generation of suckers was more discriminating – and he had to show them something to get their money.
    Now, people like Coulter spout some BS on radio, TV, and gullible publications, slap a new cover on the same feckin’ book, change the title, and make a nice living off of bulk buys that moronic groups puchase as give-aways, and discount racks, where the individual gullible idiot’s go to get her “wisdom.”

    If I was a recipient of Wingnut Welfare right now, I’d be a little worried. All of the money spent by the rich suckers on Rove’s and other’s Super PAC’s, was money that WON’T be coming into the coffers of conservative “Think Tanks,” and perpetual bovine-emissions foundations.
    And what will all of the Wingnut Welfare recipients do for a living if that spigot stops gushing cash, if the milk from those cash-cows dries up? Not one of them has ever actually worked a day in their lives. And you can’t actually get paid to warm the atmosphere or fertilize the fields. Beside, bovine cattle are more efficient at that, than human cattle.

  2. Whatever became of the “Greatest Generation” of white males? They used to be vibrant, useful problem solvers. Delayed PTSD?

    Nowadays they are useless, whining takers. My dad must be spinning in his grave to think of what his generation has devolved into…

    • Whatever became of the “Greatest Generation” of white males?

      Well, to be fair, there can’t be that many of them left. Someone who was 20 years old in 1941 would be over 90 now, right?

      But yeah, what I saw of middle-class white folks of the GG is that their inner dialogue was Triumph Over Adversity. They grew up during the Depression! They fought World War II! And then they enjoyed probably the sweetest economic circumstances of any generation since the beginning of civilization. The menfolk went to college on the GI bill and bought their first homes with government-subsidized mortgages, and then over the years they enjoyed rising incomes and secure employment, and they traded up their homes so they could retire in luxury condo communities in Florida.

      The thing with us Boomers is that we kinda expected the same deal for us, and some of us got it, but a lot of us fell short. Our jobs were less secure; the raises were fewer and further between. We had to stretch further to buy homes, and then it took two paychecks to pay for it. And our kids have considerably lower expectations, not to mention crushing student loans. But from what I could see even back in the 1970s and 1980s my parents generation didn’t see that the rules already were changing, and what had worked for them wasn’t necessarily going to happen for us.

  3. Also, and: most of the money spent on the election went to the media, largely held by the people donating, in one grand daisy chain.

    It was Reagan who defined “Liberal” as “not Republican enough; different from us” back in the late 70s and early 80s.

  4. The parasite party finally found its perfect standard-bearer in Willard. Thank goodness they can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    May I add the AARP to the list of leeches. Selling insurance or guns to people who are really scared is such an antisocial occupation that helps nobody but the profiteers.

    • Stella — I don’t believe the AARP sells guns. They have some good member benefits that are worth checking out. I get my dental insurance and auto club through AARP considerably cheaper than I could get them anywhere else. That’s not to say they are above criticism, but they’re not in the same bag as the NRA.

  5. maha,
    And don’t forget, a lot of them got secure pensions when they retired. They didn’t have to ‘play the market,’ like so many of our generation have to with 401K Plans – and that’s those who even have them!

    Over the last 40+ years, the system was gamed in order to kill the middle class – because the feeling was that it was getting TOO strong. Wnen people felt secure, and their children did too, they started wondering why black people and women couldn’t enjoy many of the same rights that they did. The Civil Rights and Women’s movements scared the living sh*t out of the powers-that-be.

    And Stella, my late Father had an AARP medical plan that he paid less than $200 a month for, and that covered pretty much everything that the VA didn’t. And that saved us about $55,000 on radiation and chemo treatments – in other words – my Mom’s house. And I have their car insurance, and save myself about $300+ a year. So, while some of it is, not ALL of their insurance is a rip-off. 🙂

  6. If I might paraphrase: “If Ann Coulter still matters in this country, then the tipping point has been reached. We have more rubes than citizens and it’s over.”

    Out of curiosity, I just looked up Ann Coulter’s bio, and learned that she was growing up in privileged Fairfield County, Connecticut at the same time I was. That gave me new understanding of her schtick. She’s just another one of those fairly intelligent, but fundamentally lazy people who has found that being a non-dumb blonde with a sassy mouth can get you a long way without working too hard. I went to high school with women like her. She’s always been comfortable, she doesn’t like to work hard, she doesn’t really care about accomplishing anything, and she gets her jollies by being what an old colleague of mine called a “sh** disturber.” How fundamentally boring she is!

    Definitely NOT a ‘maker’.

  7. All right! I’m an honorary black person!

    That clip is funny, but it also really says something. The translator is a brilliant idea. There’s a lot going on there about how people see Obama and what they project onto him. And not just black people, although I think it also shows the deep identification black people tend to feel with Obama. It shows, for instance, why there was never any doubt black voters were going to turn out.

    It surprised me that anyone thought they wouldn’t, because you really don’t need to know much about black people at all to know how solid the support is. The image that always came to my mind was an older black lady saying “What? They’re gonna take away my black President?” Of course they turned out.

  8. As much as I despise Ann Coulter and her ilk – and you make some very good points about how conservativism is a magnet for leeches like her – I’m going to play devils advocate.

    Any movement or religion requires spokespeople to articulate and clarify what the movement is about, both to maintain internal order among the converted, and to advertise what the movement is about to the rest of the world.

    We liberals have our de facto spokespeople, from Rachel Maddow to Michael Moore to Noam Chomsky and so on. Even the movement called “science” had its Carl Sagan and its Bill Nye the Science Guy. These people are communicators. And all of them are making money off their respective movements, so they could too be called leeches. If Coulter’s product is hate, Moore’s product is hope and Sagan’s product is insight, for example.

    I don’t fault someone as wretched as Ann Coulter for being in this role as communicator, nor for her business of making money off of it – they all do it – but I do fault the stinking corrupt religion she’s selling – the hatred, the self-righteousness and so on. And most communicators really believe whatever religion they’re selling – Carl Sagan sure did – and are going to fight to their death to keep it going. And so long after a movement’s expiry date has passed, these people will still try to hawk their wares, even though the public has moved on.

    The argument about Coulter not making anything doesn’t mean a lot to me, because there are loads of leadership functions in a movement or a society – and that’s what communication really is – where nothing is directly produced, and yet they’re critical for keeping the movement alive and on track.

    Many years ago, I studied The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in a psychology class. It’s a classic work (1962) that describes how science moves from one paradigm that describes reality to another, for example, from Newtonian physics to the physics of Einstein, which superceded Newton. The point is, the people who believed in Newton didn’t one day decide to convert to Einstein. They violently resisted Einstein, and had to die off, and be replaced by newer people who didn’t have preconceived ideas in the way of understanding and believing in Einstein’s theories.

    So it is with people like Ann Coulter. Long after she’s been forgotten by the world, I can still imagine her ranting on to whoever has the misfortune of being around her, like some depraved old witch, spewing bile and hate.

  9. I joined the AARP in 2009 to support its support of the health-care reform act. I’ve stayed a member since. I read their monthly publications, and I find that they perform a lot of valuable services for retirees. I’ve never seen any indication that they scare their members, and I’ve never caught them selling guns. Walk-in tubs and oversized cell phones, yes. I could use both of those things myself.

  10. Ann Coulter is mean and hateful; and, it is a disgrace that she can earn a lot of money by purposefully hurting other human beings. She is on the level of that slug, Karl Rove.

  11. erinyes,
    I think it’s more along the lines of Thurston Howell III and Gilligan, and the angry offspring had his/her/its hair dyed after having some gender modification surgery.

  12. Love me some “Luther”, Key and Peele..I am certain that middle aged white women in Iowa were not their demographic.. but they got me..think how much faaster this whole fiscal cliff thing would be solved if only “Luther” could go to the Obama to a meeting with Boner and McConnell.

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