Friday, September 24, 2010

Post in which I start with making fun of Tom Emmer and once again default to the concern that our country is doomed.

The husband mentioned to me last night that Tom Emmer has a new ad out appealing to his gay hatin' base. For the most part, it's framed as that moderate and reasonable concern that Minnesotans might not have the freedom to be able to vote in order to deny people the same basic rights they themselves enjoy. Because putting it to a popular vote was always how civil rights were won in the past, which worked because Americans are always reasonable people that can see past their own fear and prejudice when it comes to defending the constitution and bill of rights. In fact, I'm not sure why we have to have things like courts to uphold civil rights and liberties at all, since we've always done such a good job on that subject.

Emmer's angle here strikes me at first to be to be pretty desperate - if you have to dress up your rhetoric to hide your actual meaning, doesn't that mean you've already lost that battle in popular opinion? Once you have to start whistling to the dogs, I think you've lost that battle. I'm kind of surprised, to be honest; I didn't think Emmer would touch the culture wars this election. I assumed it was his Achilles heel that just begs for "extreme right-winger" counter attacks, something I assumed wouldn't do him any favors in a gubernatorial election in a overwhelmingly moderate and politically tuned in state. Yes, these social issues, no matter how much the fiscal conservatives want to say otherwise, are still simmering underneath the tea-party kettle. But for the most part, they aren't brought to the forefront of important issues for this election year, because the conventional wisdom tells us that it's the economy, stupid.

But the latest poll from Rasmussen shows Emmer leading. And even if you allow for the right-leaning Rasmussen's habit of tinkering with polls to get a desired outcome, that's still way too close.

And it's not just Emmer.

Bachmann's new ad surprised me as well - in which she tries to link Tarryl Clark to Nancy Pelosi (Clark isn't on your side! She's on Nancy Pelosi's side! OMG!). Running against Nancy Pelosi in local elections has traditionally been a failing strategy for Republicans (see recent elections in NY-23, PA-12). Mainly because aside from the political junkies, no one really knows who Nancy Pelosi is, but also because on the local level, your constituents don't really care about Nancy Pelosi's evil socialist plan, they just want their damn potholes fixed. If Tarryl Clark could get her act together and start taking an offensive stance rather then a defensive one (and if she could stop with the over-enunciation in her ads, because it's starting to creep me out), I think she could burn Bachman pretty bad at this point. She's showing her weak side - if all you have is Hell-Fire-Pelosi, you've really got nothing. But Bachman too, is leading in the polls.

So I have to wonder what the hell is going on here, first, why would these two candidates switch up their campaigns and play with desperate, decisive tactics? And second, why does it appear to be working? Both Emmer and Bachman have hit some low points: Emmer with his son's passed-out-chick penis art, millionaire restaurant servers and grand speeches at businesses saved by policies he was against, Bachman with her loyalty to the tea-party, "Jim the Voter Guy thinks you're a moron" campaign, and well, the fact she's fucking insane. But these snafus have not seemed to affect them in the polls, they still show them to be pretty strong contenders. So what gives? What constituency could they possibly be playing for?

Oh yeah. Them.

If you asked me a year or so ago about this phenomenon, I'd of told you it's both hilarious and awesome. The more extreme the right gets, the more the country will back away slowly and go with people that aren't appealing to the worst in America. And I'd probably say the same thing today, but the truth is, I'm starting to get worried.

I can't help but recall a few other things that have happened as of late, mainly Karl Rove's bowing and scraping to the Tea Party after he hurt Delaware Senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell's feelings and Newt Gingrich's adoption of his new favorite "Did you notice Obama's a black dude" argument. Understand who we are talking about here - Newt came out pretty strong last year as the new moderate voice of the Republican party (there must of been a book he needed to sell), leading the heads of lefties everywhere to explode because dude, if Newt is your moderate, that means your party is off the rails. It seems like only yesterday that my main fear was Newt would be the one to shift the political discourse further to the right, because of these attempts to paint himself as the rational prodigy in a sea of crazy. And as for Bush's brain? Karl Fucking Rove? This was the guy that prided himself on being the 24-hour news cycle talking point setter. If Karl Rove thought that kittens were taking over America by force, the lead story of the day would be about hairballs of mass destruction. You didn't disagree with Rove. Ever. This guy ruled politics for over a decade. That Rove crumbled and Newt decided his gravy train was flowing from the other side of crazy sets a dire tone for the GOP establishment - those harmless little teabagging puppies they pet and cooed and wiped up after to in order to buck up enthusiasm for their party have now grown into frothing beasts that that bite you, shit all over the place and refuse to go back in the crate.

Again, this would probably work in the Democrat's favor under normal circumstances, but Democrats have shown themselves to be complete fucking idiots when it comes to campaigning this year, and that the enthusiasm gap is very, very real. That's right, they can't even get rid of the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy (despite overwhelming support in battle ground states), and doesn't the fact that we are still calling them the Bush Tax Cuts rather then, you know, the new, improved, Obama Tax Cuts for the middle class tell you all you need to know about how poorly the DNC is playing this one? And it makes me want to bang my head against the wall, because the movement conservative takeover of the GOP is giving the Democrats an absurd amount of material to work with. The mask is slipping, guys. Take advantage of that. The Democrats can hit the Republicans pretty hard right now, and any whining on behalf of the GOP's party would come across as vapid and silly (you can't really preach about angry old liberals when your party is calling for armed rebellion and talking about how the President is the enemy of America). So this is a rare time that the Democrats actually could be assholes to their opponents and get away with it! This is the rare time that they could actually reach out to their own base and let them know that even though they are fucked over every other election year, they really are appreciated sometimes. This is the rare time that they could actually win against the beltway wisdom, because even the Very Serious people in the DC media circuit can't defend this level of crazy.

And they do... nothing. Goodness, they wouldn't want to rock the capsized boat. People might get angry or call for impeaching the president or something. People that would never vote for them might not vote for them. No, instead of attacking all this crazy right in front of their own faces they instead attack their own base, you know, that professional left that never did anything for them but get Obama elected. And this is the situation at hand going into these 2010 elections, a naive and moronic DNC versus an insane and moronic GOP. And we all know who's yelling the loudest and will be turning out in droves on November 2nd:

Yeah. Them.

Update: Emmer's ad was actually put out by the National Organization for Marriage. I'm not sure how much influence Emmer had over it, if any (it does contain footage from ads the Emmer campaign did put out). Emmer does state favoring a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on his campaign website.

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