A Walking Stereotype Of Self-Indulgence.

(cross posted at kickin it with cg and motley moose)

If you are a Republican its been a busy week. First, David Frum weighed in on everyone's favourite political analyst Rush Limbaugh and basically... tore him a new one...

On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of "responsibility," and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as "losers." With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence - exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we're cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rush's every rancorous word - we'll be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time.

Oh snap.  

Some conservatives felt Frum's piece didn't go far enough.  

"He plays an important role in our coalition, and of course he and his supporters have to be treated with respect. But he cannot be allowed to be the public face of the enterprise..."

Respect your closet cases, if you want to.  As long as you need the yahoos, you won't be able to hide them.

David, you are capable of better political strategy than this.  How about open disavowal of the yahoos and an attempt to make the GOP into something relevant to America's future, rather than a refuge for plutocrats and snake-handling fundamentalists.

The GOP, like the Liberals, have tarnished their brand for at least a decade.  You need to write off the true believers who think you lost because you were betrayed, or that the last election was a vast con job, and try to reestablish contact with the American people.


Then if that weren't enough RNC Chairman Michael Steele declared that abortion is an "individual choice." 

L: How much of your pro-life stance, for you, is informed not just by your catholic faith, but by the fact that you were adopted?

M: Oh, a lot. Absolutely. I see the power of life in that. I mean, and the power of choice! The thing to keep in mind about it, uh, you know, I think as a country we get off on these misguided conversations that throw around terms that really misrepresent truth.

L: Explain that.

M: The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other.

L: Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?

M: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice.

L: You do?

M: Yeah. Absolutely.

L: Are you saying you don't want to overturn Roe v. Wade?

M: I think Roe v. Wade--as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.

L: Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?

M: The states should make that choice: that's what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.


If you missed SNL this past weekend - here's a bit of awesomeness that you should be sure to check out (not sure if the clip works - damn Canadian IP)

Tags: David Frum, GOP, hehe, Rush Limbaugh, SNL (all tags)



tips for GOPtasticness!

by canadian gal 2009-03-11 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: A Walking Stereotype Of Self-Indulgence.

I thought this diary was going to be about me.

by Steve M 2009-03-11 06:36PM | 0 recs
Re: A Walking Stereotype Of Self-Indulgence.

You're too funny. Well done!

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-11 09:46PM | 0 recs
Re: A Walking Stereotype Of Self-Indulgence.

It's so strange to see how precipitous the decline of the GOP has been.  I'm not terribly old and haven't lived through a pendulum swing like this, so maybe parties always nosedive after a good run.  But still, there was a time from 2001-2003 when it looked like the Republicans were the natural leaders of the US for the foreseeable future.  Moving to Canada (not offense, CG) seemed like a completely rational response to this.  But what really caused this swing?  Iraq?  The economy?  Katrina?  All of those things were disasters, but none of them in their own right seems large enough to significantly alter the political playing field.

I'm not a big "synergy" type guy, but I think people just looked at all of these failures and decided the whole GOP brand was bad.  The irony here, is that for as much as the warmongers talked about the effectiveness of "decapitation" in Iraq, it seems that they have been the biggest victims of it.  Once W. was rightly seen as a terrible president, there wasn't anyone else to go to.

blah blah blah

by the mollusk 2009-03-12 07:16AM | 0 recs
no offense taken.

i don't think there is one specific thing that we can look at and say 'this destroyed the GOP' - but i think the things you mentioned are certainly part of the equation.

i think the most striking thing to me was during the primary when rolly polly said that he would vote for clinton over mccain.  that did it.  and not because he shouldn't be entitled to vote for whom he chooses - but rather that it wasn't a preference thing - it was about being a shitty neocon having a tantrum - leader of the GOP heh.  

as to the 'branding' issue - obama is a superstar (trust me this is what i do for a living) - that said - branding is fine for communications, etc etc.  but the brand has to have substance in order to be successful.  and much as the 'america is conservative' meme has been pushed - its not looking that way these days.

by canadian gal 2009-03-12 07:28AM | 0 recs
Re: no offense taken.

But Rush is a polemicist pure and simple.  There's absolutely no reason he should be even considered the head of the Republican party except that they have no head.  And even that isn't so unusual, but the people that may have been the heads are so scattered and demoralized at the moment.  I think a lot of that is Bush's fault.  I mean, first, anyone even remotely connected to his cabinet is toast.  Second, he really did nothing to foster a new generation of conservative leaders.  So you're left with warmed over oatmeal like Newt Gingrich or complete oddballs like Bobby Jindal or Michael Steele.  A few years ago when the Democrats were essentially leaderless, you could at least count on Joe Biden or Carl Levin to make a compelling and coherent case.  I'm not sure you can say the same thing for the Republicans right now.

I suspect that the future of their party comes from the Tim Pawlenty wing.  Sort of like their version of the DLC.

By the way, I would move to Canada even if the U.S. wasn't a disaster.  And - I completely agree that Obama is a huge brand star.  And I don't know the first thing about that business.

by the mollusk 2009-03-12 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: A Walking Stereotype Of Self-Indulgence.

If I may, mollusk, I'll give you my opinion and you can do with it what you will.

The true-believing self-described conservatives--I mean the rabids who aren't really conservative in any intellectual sense--got very spoiled these last nine years by having a leader of the party who said exactly what they wanted to hear.  In many ways, they became a cult of personality built around Bush.

The 2008 elections came and their ideology, which Bush did not share or enact much of but had become associated with nonetheless, had been rejected by the public.  It wasn't tainted by disgust with it.  It was tainted by the unbridled incompetence of the Bush administration.  In the mind of most of the public, and a majority of the GOP, right-wing is synonymous with failure to govern.  The label was well-deserved.  Bush was their candidate, so his incompetence was also their incompetence.

This time around a moderate won the Republican Primary, and the true believers refused to support him enthusiastically.  The GOP moderates had supported the conservative candidates when they won the primaries, but the favors only went one way.  In McCain, the true-believers had their one chance to possibly get Roe overturned, get their beloved tax-cuts extended, and maybe even to escalate US involvement in the Middle East.  Their spoiled, selfish asses decided their personal feelings about Mr McCain were more important than their long-term social goals.

My view on this puts me in the minority on MYDD.  You'll find no shortage of members here who believe 2008 was the start of a massive electoral shift, a new era in politics, etc.  The election data shows a shift in the preferences in 2.5% of voters.  60% of that shift (or 1.5 of that 2.5) was the result of "conservative" true-believers staying home on election day.  The "landslide" we saw in November, and Obama's mandate, was nothing more than a 1% shift.  A statistical blip.  A real push by those Republicans would have at least given their party's candidate a fighting chance.

Twice as many people still label themselves "conservative" as label themselves as "liberal" or "progressive".  The Republican party is not circling the bowl, nor are they going to be relegated to complete rejection.  Anyone who says otherwise is failing to read the data, and asking to get clobbered come 2010.

Remember how the Democrats were "irrelevant" after the 2004 elections?  Remember how it was a great time to buy real estate in 2005?  I didn't believe the hypesters then and I don't believe them now.

by SuperCameron 2009-03-12 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: A Walking Stereotype Of Self-Indulgence.

I do remember how irrelevant the Democrats seemed after 2002 and 2004.  Dark days.  But I don't think they ever quite made jackasses of themselves the way the Republicans are doing right now.  I think the election was, in so many words, much closer than the final score (as you explain).  But still, the performance of the GOP since then - and it's early - has been dismal.  They seem totally incapable of dealing with Obama and their antics that won elections for so many years just seem like antics now.  As Paul Krugman would say, 36 out of 41 GOP Senators supported a stimulus bill that would contain only tax cuts.  I think people can see through that BS right now for some reason.

None of this is to say that they couldn't come storming back in 2010.  But they are in bad shape right now.

by the mollusk 2009-03-12 10:02PM | 0 recs
Re: A Walking Stereotype Of Self-Indulgence.

I should clarify.  I don't expect a GOP storm in 2010.  What I do expect is a poorly performing economy to last through 2011, mainly due to the kick-the-can policies we're getting out of our White House.  If this turns out to be the case the GOP will give us all we can handle and probably more in 2012.

by SuperCameron 2009-03-13 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: A Walking Stereotype Of Self-Indulgence.

When Newt Gingrich became House Speaker in 1995 instead of leading to a Republican strength it actually started the steady decline of the Republican brand to the convoluted mess it has become today, IMO.  Moderates were pushed aside by the conservative firebrands who took control of the party.  As a result moderate Republicans have been vanishing steadily from Congress, either via retirements or being flushed out in primaries (targeted for replacement by Republican cons) or unfavorable election cycles.  

The country as a whole was never fully in the conservative corner, as issue after issue important to Americans were at odds with what the people actually wanted.  The reason why it appeared that Republican had the mojo for a while was old fashioned fear mongering.  Leaving aside the stolen election of 2000 the 2004 election turned on the notion that even though George W. Bush was unpopular and the conservative brand was at odds with most of the desires of the American people it would be a grave mistake to "switch horses" in the midst of two dicey wars.  Republicans felt vindicated in their core beliefs, trusting that the American people actually were in sync with their philosophies, when indeed the internal erosion process to nothing but a hollow shell was already well under way at that point, and as angry conservatives had shed the party from most moderating influences there was not much to stop the breath taking free fall of the GOP we have witnessed.

 The country as a whole was never conservative minded, as Democrats always held major edges over their Republican counterparts on most major issues such as dealing with the economy, health care, education, wages, immigration, etc.  The one big trump card they held was on national security and when that blew up in their faces and harmed the GOP on multiple levels it was virtually predestined that the GOP was going to find themselves up the creek without a paddle.  

The real reason the GOP is in the sorry state it is in was the 1994 power grab by conservatives, but it did not come to full fruition and showed itself fully as the major unraveling of an entire party structure until a decade later.

by devilrays 2009-03-12 09:34PM | 0 recs


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