Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Republican “Grassroots” “Populist” Anger

Believe it or not, the public’s unarticulated unfocused fury is actually being harnessed by Republicans. Republicans have spent eight years (or is that 28 years?) creating most of the problems that the public is angry and frustrated about. And now Republican leaders are actually channeling and using this mass fury for their own purposes. Go figure.

Maybe they’ve been inspired by the occasional news story about a firefighter who sets a fire and then charges in and rescues everybody so he can be a hero.

These two articles (here and here) both describe the Republicans’ recent success at manipulating a scared, confused and gullible public. It doesn’t seem to matter that Republicans don’t have any solutions of their own; not a single specific idea. Apparently it’s enough to just keep yelling “Obama Socialist Nazi Communist Fascist,” “government takeover of Your health care!” and “Death Panels!” and millions of gullible assholes will go “DUUUHHH, yeah that’s right.”

Personally I think it’s too early to make any predictions about the 2010 election. Until a few weeks ago, the “experts” were saying the Republican Party was shattered and they’d stay in the minority for a looong time. Now suddenly it’s “Obama is plummeting in the polls, Democrats will stay home and get stoned on Election Day since it isn’t a presidential election year, and Republicans will retake the House.”

One day at a time…

But it really is infuriating that the Democrats are just paralyzed by all this chaos and public anger, and the Republicans can just step in and start soothing and manipulating the masses. Sort of like an animal trainer who can calm a vicious snarling Rottweiler and then train him.

The newest issue of Rolling Stone has an article about this. The article isn’t available online. The website shows it on the table of contents — “The GOP’s Lie Machine” by Tim Dickinson.

If you’ve been reading liberal blogs and “alternate” news sites (Think Progress, Raw Story, AlterNet, etc.), this article won’t tell anything you don’t already know. But it’s encouraging to see a mainstream magazine like Rolling Stone publicizing this, since most of the mainstream “media” isn’t touching these issues.

The most revealing thing in the article is a quote from Dick Armey (former House Majority Leader; founder of FreedomWorks). Armey was asked why there wasn’t any of this populist fury over high taxes and “big government” when Bush was driving us trillions of dollars into debt. His response:

“We used to use the old saying in the West, that you got outta town just one step ahead of the hangman. That’s pretty much what happened with Bush. And poor old President Obama walked into town, y’know, just at high noon.”

Straight from the horse’s (ass’s) mouth.

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Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Not only does this show how dishonest the GOP is, but how stupid and gullible their followers are as well. If the Democratic Party doesn't want it's people to stay home in 2010, perhaps they should actually accomplish something NOW and not let themselves be bullied and pushed around by a small but vocal minority of Americans.

September 19, 2009 at 8:44 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

That's been the Rushpubliscum MO for a long time now. It just so happened that Saint Ronnie's failures got sluffed off on Pere Chimpy. Dukakis caught a break.

September 19, 2009 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

At least we know that the Dems will learn from this experience, their first, initial time ever confronting such tactics never seen before in the annals of modern American politics, ever, this unforeseen and highly shocking development, wow, I can't believe the Republicans would act this way, but you'll be ready next time, Dems, won't you, yessireebob.

September 20, 2009 at 3:33 AM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

For those who aren’t fluent in Wingtard, allow me to translate what Mr. Armey meant when he said, ”…one step ahead of the hangman.”

”One step ahead of the lynch mob.”

Racism on the right really is, as President Carter alluded, bubbling up to the surface.

September 20, 2009 at 4:35 AM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

I agree with Lew, accomplish something now, and in a years time they will have enough gas in the tank to drive their supporters to the polls in droves.

September 20, 2009 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Sorry to rant here, Tom.

"...unarticulated unfocused fury..." puts it very well, Tom!

I don't think the Republicans are quite "back", at least not yet. Despite all the anger they are successfully tapping into, they have no new leaders and no fresh ideas. They describe no real solutions to our nation's problems other than simply not doing anything, letting things stay as they are. Their current "leaders" include too many "fringe" types like Michelle Bachmann. This isn't what the public wants.

A quote from one of the linked articles: "Democrats have accused Republicans of caring more about defeating Obama than actually serving the people." Well, the Dems are right about that much, I guess. The GOP leaders only want to serve themselves and regain power for their party. A look at who and what really drives the party nowadays (i.e. media personalities and the top fraction of a percent of the nation's wage earners) ought to give anybody pause for thought... but those who run the show are doing whatever they can to get people to bypass their critical thinking skills nowadays, leaving any real "thought" by the wayside. When people think too much, they are harder to control. Does what we are witnessing amount to some kind of mass brainwashing? I submit that it does.

I also think it's too early to make predictions about the 2010 midterms. However, historically, new presidents have lost some seats in Congress in the midterm after their first election. I think it is safe to say the Dems will lose a significant number seats, but their margin is substantial enough now that I wouldn't think they'll end up in the minority too soon. I still doubt it will be like the awful midterms of 1994, but you just never know.

That won't happen unless the Dems become totally paralyzed by fear, unless they aren't able to make some real advances with health care, or unless they don't stand up to the idiots in a way that doesn't just fuel more anger. When those on the right are such experts at harnessing all this unfocused energy, it almost makes the future seem hopeless... but we can't view it that way. We have to remain active. I'm getting concerned about 2010, but it's 2012 I find more worrisome (is it just a coincidence that the Mayan calendar predicts the world to end in December of that year? Heh! Sarah Palin for President!)

September 20, 2009 at 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Snave, Bite your keyboard! If Sarah Palin gets elected in 2012, I'll buy into that whole mis-translated mayan calendar the worlds-gonna-end schtick myself! :)

September 20, 2009 at 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Where are the talking points from Tom's wingnut stalker? I soooo enjoyed the profound originality...

September 20, 2009 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: That's exactly right. If the Democrats are too timid and won't carry out their campaign promises, Democratic voters will stay home on election day. President Gingrich anybody?

JR: That probably was a break for Dukakis.

Randal: You're right, this is absolutely astounding that the Republicans would act this way. Who knew? But now the Democrats will know what to do and they won't let this happen again.

Carlos: And we all need to be fluent in Wingtard. "Know Your Enemy" as the saying goes.

Holte: Damn right. If the public option, energy legislation, etc. are passed soon, the wingnuts will yell and scream, but they're gonna do that anyway. And a grateful public will keep the House strongly Democratic in 2010.

Snave: (About Republicans retaking the House) -- "That won't happen unless the Dems become totally paralyzed by fear, unless they aren't able to make some real advances with health care, or unless they don't stand up to the idiots in a way that doesn't just fuel more anger."

Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what's happening right now. Let's see, which would be worse, the Mayan gods destroying the world in 2012 or Sarah Palin getting elected to the White House? It's a tossup.

Bee: I don't know if Lisa gave up or if she'll be back with a vengeance. She was one of the regular commenters at Bring It On! (now defunct) where I used to cross-post everything. I did warn her that she'd get a lot more arguments at this site than she did at Bring It On!, so we'll see what happens. It's been fun. I used to get a lot of rightwing commenters over here when I was using BlogExplosion and BlogMad.

September 20, 2009 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Oh I'm here I am just watching the president downplay ACORN.

September 21, 2009 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

They should have just rammed the Healthcare bill through in the 2 weeks they wanted to and worry about the the minor details like cost later being the stimulus worked so well to solve that crisis and we better get that cap and trade bill through to fix that crisis.
Oh and of course we need a civilian security force mobilized asap to solve all the other crisis' this administration is creating..
Yep that is sure to win the hearts and minds of everyone.

September 21, 2009 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lisa: "They should have just rammed the Healthcare bill through in the 2 weeks..." Presto! We agree on something :)

For different reasons of course. I think Obama and Congress made a huge mistake by dragging this thing for eternity. In the movies, when somebody removes a bandage, or pulls off the tape when the person's mouth has been gagged, they always yank it off quickly, instantly. There's a quick "Ouch!" and then it's over.

These town hall rampages and Fox News tantrums are the equivalent of pulling the bandage off slo-o-o-owly. Let's get it done now.

September 21, 2009 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

right Tom they should have "rammed" it through. Either was it will be rammed.
Just so you guys can say "See Obama appeased Moveon". Heck with minor details.
We wouldn't want to see "Patient dumping".
That only happens to the poor in Chicago. Hmm now who was executive at the hospital that did that good deed to help the poor?

September 21, 2009 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

What part of the bill did you like best Tom?

September 21, 2009 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lisa: My favorite part of the bill is the public option. Oh wait, it's not there any more. My second favorite is the requirement that large employers either provide coverage for their employees or pay a fee. Oops, scratch that.

Well, at least they aren't taking that asinine approach of fining individuals who don't have health insurance. Oh, wait...

September 21, 2009 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

what is the obsession with the Public Option anyway?
Do you want socialized medicien for yourself ad your family?
I know I wouldn't want it for my mom. She gets good care with her private insurance and I would hate for her to be forced into a government run program.
I would like to see a safey net but not the goal of geting everyone on a governemnt run system which is their ultimate goal.
The only people I could see wanting it is people who fall into the poverty level.
I can't understand what the purpose is other than putting insurance companies out of business.
Ask any doctor and see what they think. I already spoke to 5 and not one of them thinks it will be good.
We will lose alot of good doctors and will lag in innovation.Then here will all the rich people go who come here for treatment ?
Oh maybe to Cuba where Michale Moore goes. I hear healthcare there is just so great except when there is no money to run powere in the hospitals then they can pull a car up to the window and do surgery by headlight.

September 22, 2009 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Ruinous Right said...

Excellent post.

The mob on the right truly is astonishing. They sat back for years while Bush/Cheney took us for a ride, now they're up in arms about issues many don't even comprehend.

IMO: Top two items fueling the anger:

1) Misinformation / Disinformation / Propaganda

Dishonest politicians, divisive pundits and faux cable news channels are distorting facts to fire up the base. Many conservatives have bought into the 'left-biased mainstream media myth' and only subscribe to far right media. Some won't even take the extra step to verify info via fact check websites or other nonpartisan sources because of the paranoia right-biased media creates. Now the far right is trying to convince people that climatologist don't understand climate, scientists don't understand science and economists don't know anything about the economy. It's classic propaganda working to 'dumb-down' the audience.

2) Racism

Some people simply don't like the idea of an African American U.S. President. Racism still lingers in older generations and it's alive and well in various neighborhoods throughout rural and urban America - especially the South. The South seems to be where the strength of the GOP lies, so it's no surprise that the party remains relatively quiet in condemning the pundits, entertainers and politicians who promote it.

Moderate and sensible conservatives should denounce some of the outrageous behavior before it's too late.

October 1, 2009 at 9:16 PM  

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