Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Congress and Wedge Issues

More and more, it seems like Congress’ main goal is not to pass legislation, but simply to bring the most divisive wedge issues into the limelight. Usually they don’t even intend for their proposed laws to be passed. The main purpose is to smear the opposition for voting against it.

Both sides have used this tactic. In 1992 the Democratic Congress passed the Family Medical Leave Act for the second year in a row. Bush Sr. had already vetoed it once, and the Democrats wanted to make him veto it again during an election year.

But Republicans have made far better use of this tactic. The Republican base just reacts more quickly and more predictably to emotional hot-button issues. Right now gay marriage and flag burning are at the top of the Republican agenda. Yup, I certainly can’t think of anything more urgent than these two Earth-shaking issues.

We’ve lost over 2,500 American soldiers in Iraq (oh that’s right, it’s “just a number”), we have a crippling deficit that our grandchildren’s grandchildren will still be paying off, and global warming predictions are getting more dire every day. But let’s put those issues aside and talk about gay marriage and flag burning.

Whatever you think of flag burning and gay marriage, you are not affected in any way by these issues. If some loser decides to set fire to the American flag, or if two guys — or two women — decide to get married, it has no effect on you whatsoever.

But these issues sure do push the emotional buttons. They come in handy if you’re affiliated with the most inept administration in our history, and/or if your own agenda goes against the interests of most Americans.

“I plan on invading every country that has something we want. I’m gonna dismantle every environmental law that’s been written in the past 50 years. And I don’t give a shit about YOU unless you have a 5-figure campaign contribution for me. Otherwise, fuck off. But hey, I hate queers and flag-burners as much as you do. Vote for me!”

And it works. It’s just unreal how easy it is to fire up millions of gullible voters just by pushing the Hate buttons.

A Democratic staffer said “There’s no question that they are trotting out their hardy perennials. They’re done purely for political gamesmanship.”

This same person doesn’t think these tactics will work as well this year as they did in 2004. “The gay marriage political ploy was a masterstroke in 2004, but it is not working this year. Voters want serious debates on serious issues, not flag burning and this other nonsense.”

Let’s hope he’s right.


Anonymous JollyRoger said...

The Gopper program is a program of FAILURE.

Would YOU run on their record? Of course they have to use wedge issues.

June 26, 2006 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jolly Roger: Nope, I sure wouldn't be running on my record if I was in their shoes. Bring on the soundbites.

June 26, 2006 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

If "gay marriage" and "flag burning" don't seem to be getting the job done, they will probably bring out "gun control", abortion and more nebulous things like "moral values".

If none of those get the job done, there will probably be some created or imagined terror threat that will scare people into "staying the course" instead of doing a "cut and run", which the GOP will say is the pussified way to go. This will target stupid, angry macho white males in the 25-50 age group.

I'm not sure how the Democrats will be able to overcome all the bullshit. It is simply so profuse and so well-orchestrated, and it is pretty good proof of Barnum's adage.

June 26, 2006 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Oh yeah, if their current soundbites fail they can always resort to generic terms like “morals” and “values.” After all, anyone who disagrees that all abortion is always wrong or that homosexuals are evil, is obviously just a godless cretin who has no morals or values. And of course those fake Terror Alerts work every time.

I don’t know if these people can be categorized by age or gender. There are some women bloggers out there who’d make your beer-guzzling tobacco-chewing rednecks look like a bunch of liberal hippies. P.T. Barnum was absolutely right, and I think this affliction affects way too many Americans of all ages and income groups.

June 26, 2006 at 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is still good old fashioned terrorism and immigration to scare the masses.

Iran, North Korea and Afganistan are playing like a script.

Fox is backing them up.

I don't real good about the Voter's perceptions


June 27, 2006 at 1:13 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Yeah, they'll probably try to play the "terror" card. But immigration could backfire on them. Most employers who hire illegal aliens are probably Republicans, and most of the people who hate the millions of illegals streaming over our border are also Republicans. This issue could blow up in their faces if they aren't careful (or if the Democrats were smart enough to use it as a wedge issue).

June 27, 2006 at 2:14 AM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

I think the democrats can hit back with minimum wage Tom. The just have to hit the right note. And hey can actually help the country in the process.

June 27, 2006 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: I hope you're right. Unfortunately, I can't think of a 3-word soundbite that captures the plight of somebody working 2 or 3 jobs at minimum wage just to get the bills paid and the kids fed. I hope the Dems can figure something out. They have the issues on their side; they just don't have the talent for inventing a soundbite or slogan that will fire up millions of voters. Republicans kick their asses in that department.

June 27, 2006 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 28, 2006 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 28, 2006 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Where's james Carville when you need him?

June 28, 2006 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: Yup, that's exactly the kind of person we need right now.

June 28, 2006 at 12:02 PM  

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