Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Republican Party isn't serious - and the sooner the media admits that, the better off we'll all be

First of all, let's look at the evidence for why the Republican Party isn't serious.

They don't do math

In this last election, we saw how the Republicans abandoned the concept of math in favor of what Stephen Colbert would call "truthiness" with  their use of unskewed polls. Now they're doing it again with their budget proposals. Everyone knows you can't get $800 billion in additional revenue by closing loopholes and limiting deductions (unless you're willing to sock it to the middle class) all while actually lowering rates. So they just don't run the numbers and continue to lie about it.

They just threw another constituency under the bus

During the campaign we talked about how the white male heterosexual patriarchy (in other words, the Republican base) is in its death throes. One after another, we watched them throw constituencies under the bus...immigrants, women, GLBT, people of color...until ultimately, its was the entire 47%. And now, rather than learn from their mistakes, they've compounded them. With their rejection of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, they just ran over another group of citizens.

Their ultimate agenda is laid bare - and rejected

A few weeks ago I suggested that the ultimate Republican agenda could be summarized in three goals:
  1. Reduce taxes (on the wealthy)
  2. Increase military spending
  3. Privatize everything - especially entitlements
Whether it happens before or after January 1st, they are about to cave on #1. And then we'll find out whether or not they're willing to continue to hold the country hostage with things like the debt ceiling in order to attempt to get concessions on numbers 2 and 3. At this point, that is exactly what Speaker Boehner is promising to do. The question for Mr. Boehner and his accomplices is whether or not holding the American people hostage is a way to win votes. If they think it is - they're WAY more delusional than most of us imagine. 

The upcoming battle between the business community and tea partiers

We all know that what's driving Republicans off this cliff (and here I'm referring to more than just the so-called "fiscal cliff") is fear of a tea party primary challenge. But let me clarify, when we talk about the tea party these days, we're not referring to any actual organization. We're talking about the pumped up extremists in the Republican Party.

Jonathan Bernstein suggests that lays the groundwork for an upcoming battle for the Republicans.
That’s a key question to look at not only in the continuing fiscal cliff talks, but really in every issue, from taxes to immigration, that will show up in Congress this year. Republicans simply can’t be a functional party if their politicians only care about possible primary challenges. Before this is all over, the Republican Party may finally have to make a critical choice between the pragmatic concerns of the business community and the fundamentalism of the Tea Party.
I'm not ready to make a call on which constituency wins that battle. In a way, the fact that it remains unclear is homage to the fact that money is losing its over-riding influence in politics because that about sums up what business interests bring to the table. Until the tea party came along, it was a pretty sure bet that when the corporate world said "jump" the Republican response would be "how high?" These days...not so much. Ultimately money is only a tool to be used to influence votes. If the tea party can round up those votes for a primary challenge without money from the business community, they are sidelined.

The one thing we DO know is that tea party challenges may be successful in truly red House districts. But we've seen how it is a disaster when it comes to Senate races and presidential contests. So the Republican Party is doomed to the status quo as it exists today - or worse - until they find a way to fix this one.

That about sums up the current situation - except for the media's role in perpetuating the fantasy that the Republicans really are a serious opposition to the current Democratic Party pragmatists. Michael Grunwald took that one on in a magnificent rant last week. If you haven't already, you really should read the whole thing. Here is his conclusion.
I realize that the GOP’s up-is-downism puts news reporters in an awkward position. It would seem tendentious to point out Republican hypocrisy on deficits and Medicare and stimulus every time it comes up, because these days it comes up almost every time a Republican leader opens his mouth. But we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.
The media can continue to pretend - and prolong the slow demise of this formulation of an unserious party. Or they can start to actually report facts and give up their attempts at false equivalency. Of course the latter would be met with howls of "partisanship" from the lunatics on the right. But the way I see it, many of them are running the bigger long-term risk of going down along with the Republican Party (ie, look at what's happening at CNN). At some point you have to wonder when they actually ask themselves what they have to lose by aligning themselves with reality.


  1. This is a great piece Smartypants. You have summed up my frustrations with the media, although, I must admit I enjoy watching the Republican elephant's death agonies. ;)


  2. The Media are paid by the Corporate Plutocracy to guard and advance the interests of Neo-Feudalism. It's really just a matter of following the money.

    As a thought experiment think of Jonah Goldberg (i apologize) he has been paid millions to write unserious books which work to dupe and confuse conservatives. He's often invited onto News programs and has columns run in many newspapers.

    Why? He has Zero talent, experience or a track record of merit.

    But, he pushes the Fear of the Kenyan Marxism! And he serves the interests of the Rich who reward him for his service in getting Americans to enslave themselves with the bonds of Wage Slavery.

    1. I'm much more interested in the mainstream media than I am in right-wingers like Goldberg. So I'm thinking in terms of CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS. The print media is pretty diverse at this point. I think low info voters mostly depend on TV news and they're the one's that need to wake up.

    2. But, please recall an organization like The Heritage Foundation is funded precisely to make conservative bs which they disseminate to the print media.

      The Heritage Foundation's 2001 report proclaimed if the Bush tax cut legislation were to pass, it would:
      1) Effectively pay off the federal debt;
      2) Reduce the federal surplus by $1.4 trillion;
      3) Substantially increase family income;
      4) Save the entire Social Security surplus;
      5) Increase personal savings;
      6) Create more job opportunities.

      Media Outlets picked it up and ran with it!

      In 2011, the Heritage Foundation produced their epic Poor in America report, which argued that the "Poor" in America are okay because they have micowaves and a "reasonably steady supply of food".

      I think the great thing is that in the 10 years in between their evil propaganda "The Left" and progressives recognized that social media could allow them to show how despicable and vile these Right-Wing NoThink Tanks actually are.

      In my recollection the MSM did not.


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