Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"And we’re going to hurt some people"

Movie quotes that apparently motivate GOP huggy times:

"House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the party's vote counter, began his talk by showing a clip from the movie, "The Town", trying to forge a sense of unity among the independent-minded caucus.

One character asks his friend: "I need your help. I can't tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later."

"Whose car are we gonna take," the character says.

After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides."I'm ready to drive the car," West replied, surprising many Republicans by giving his full-throated support for the plan."

One of the things that always struck me about how the GOP presents their policies is the frequency in which they rely on the idea that the ends always outweigh the means (the most glaring example of this, in my opinion, is the propaganda leading up to the Iraq War, in which the 9/11 heartstrings that were tugged and the misinformation regarding the threat that Saddam Hussein posed was all really in the name of regime change rather then making the US "safer"). Now, for the most part, this is intentional: The Iraq War was hard enough to sell to the public as it was, and the idea that we needed to go bomb a country that had nothing to do with our current state of affairs probably wouldn't fly except among the most tribal of the GOP's party. If your ends and your means are both useless and damaging, you probably aren't going to get a ton of takes. So "trust me" becomes the only option.

But even if you assume it's a genuine sentiment, that sometimes you just have to shut up, not ask questions, and just go along with the scheme because in the end it will pay off, it still doesn't really follow when you look at the GOP's own dogma. Essentially the GOP is asking their members to pipe down and go along with it because the GOP establishment knows what's best for them, and assumes everyone else is too stupid to understand the complicated means that take us to a desirable end, so just trust that your betters have your best interest in mind and will take care of you.

Which, as astute observers of political rhetoric know, may be fine if it's Republicans, but could you even imagine the screeching that would take place if this sort of "Trust us, we are doing what is best for you" rhetoric was manifesting on the left? All our favorite talking points about liberal elitists would be rampaging across the internet and various opinion columns of Very Serious newspapers.* We've heard that type of accusation before, in fact, it's a major staple in the rhetoric that paints the GOP as the defenders of the little guy, the people, against Washington busy-bodies (and conveniently masks that they are really the party of the aristocracy). So I can't help but be a bit amused by a party that constantly accuses Democrats of being composed of elitists that yearn for a nanny state to control the masses and thumb their noses at those stupid American folks because they are just too simple-minded to understand what's at stake here, then turns around and actually supports just such an effort, and probably for dishonest means and ends to boot. Once again, the GOP shows itself to be a master at psychological projection tactics**.

And all this is just an observation assuming the movie quote from the WaPo is correct. It gets worse, because the WaPo actually misprinted the quote (and if this was done intentionally, we are actually starting to get all inception-like up in this shit here, aren't we?). Here is how Ben Afflick's line actually reads:

I need your help. I can't tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later. And we're going to hurt some people.

There really isn't much to add to that. No wonder the Republicans are all fired up about it. We are ruled by grifters and sociopaths.

(via MNPublius)

*And should I get started on the Hollywood aspect of this? Funny how liberals and Hollywood are always sittin' in a tree, and warpin' the minds of the folks, yet it seems to only be the GOP that seriously uses movies as political arguments (they did this with the whole "We must torture, because it worked for Jack Bauer" talking point as well). I could seriously do this all day.

**I really need to start a series on this. You can take pretty much any talking point Republicans use to slam Democrats and discover that it's actually something they are already doing themselves, or really want to start doing. It's so predictable at this point that it would almost be comical, if it weren't so damn effective.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stabbing the baby before throwing it out with the bathwater seems to be the current strategy

Gilda: Would it interest you to know how much I hate you, Johnny?
Johnny Farrell: Very much.
Gilda: I hate you so much that I would destroy myself to take you down with me.

My emotions the past several days have been volleying between blinding rage and cautious optimism what with the shutdown here in Minnesota and the debt ceiling talks in Washington. The rage stems from what I already knew - we are dealing with a Grand Old Party of grifters and sociopaths, who have managed to wrap themselves so tightly in their own ideology that they are suffocating themselves. They really have very few choices now aside from sinking the country or losing their precious little jobs (and obviously, they chose their own jobs, because they know damn well how badly they've been fucking the unemployed and wisely want no part of that).

It never should have gotten to this point. The tongue-bath the media has been giving the Tea Party the past few years has been an utter and complete joke on the country, and I'm sure Tim Russert's great grandson will tell us as much in about 70 years while assuring us that all the Very Serious people in Real America agree with cyborg-McCain's plan to blow up the moon to defeat the terrorist alien babies.

At the same time, I'm a bit optimistic. David Brooks of all people came down hard on the Republicans this week:

But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.

Richard Cohen in the Washington Post simply sums it up by observing that the modern GOP has become nothing more then a cult. Are these opinion columns all that significant in and of themselves? Not really. It's nice that they've finally caught onto what some of us have been pointing out for over a decade now, but these guys have always been weak idiots that illustrate perfectly why old media is dying. What I think it does illustrate, however, is that the latest antics from the GOP is beginning to cause concern for what is normally their largest group of apologists, the Very Serious Elite Pseudo-Moderate DC pundits.

The GOP is getting so outrageous, in other words, that the pundits can't find any comparable Democratic proposal to misinterpret in order to play the false equivalency game to show how "fair" they are. And once you start to worry a media that is pretty much primed to constantly allow you to run your crazy-train uncontested less they be accused of "liberal bias", it shows just how far off the tracks the modern GOP has gone. I've had a hunch in the past that the Republicans are falling victim to their own livelihood, that they can't survive without pandering to the extremists that both turn out strongly in election years yet alienate everyone else, much like what happened with the Democrats in the 70s. In time, even the most ardent supporters that still have a few brain cells circling somewhere in their cranium can't just grimace and pull the lever anymore. In time, the party they opposed in the past starts to look like the lesser of the two evils.

The party that could never die is, in my opinion, dying. If history is any indication, even if the GOP manages to survive, they will have crippled themselves for decades (we still use 60s/70s-era talking points against the Democrats; all the Hippy Punching/angry liberals/anti-government leftists/hey doesn't Carter totally suck came from somewhere). And I think the old guard knows this, which is why you have two types of old-school Republicans in congress these days, the types that are retiring to get the fuck out of dodge before they are chased out and the ones that have embraced the Tea Party Patriots wholeheartedly even though they know damn well their politics and rigid ideology is toxic, not only to them, but to the country. Somewhere down the line, "America First" ceased to matter, and zealotry took over.

I think in the end, the massive restructuring and/or demise of the modern GOP will be a good thing for the country. But in the meantime, it's going to be an absolute disaster. If they are going to go down, they are going to do everything in their power to drag the rest of us down with them. The Republican Party used to stand for something (and could again, in the future). But today, they stand for nothing more then the fact that they hate you, they will not compromise with you, and as such, if you are not part of their tribe you must be eradicated at any cost. Although this is damaging to their party, it does not bode well for the country as a whole. But what else can be done at this point? You cannot compromise with people like this, even if they would let you. Which they won't.

And I know, I know, it's really fucked up to look at the current political climate and find optimism in respect to the policies that will probably be enacted. That there are actually people being affected, that these aren't mere numbers and statistics. I'm fully aware of my own privilege in these matters, that the loss of government services are really nothing more then an annoyance for me so far.

But I'm not going off of an idea of "Fuck you, I win! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!". It's not a game. It is just getting harder to deny that the current Republican Party just cannot exist inside the frame of what we know as a Democracy. The GOP has given no indication that they will tone it down anytime soon (like I said, I don't think they can at this point, movement conservatism has spiraled out of their own control). And as much as I will continue to disagree with true conservative principles, even I can realize that it does me no favors to have an opposition party that is insane and unwilling to compromise.

Of course, in the end, my optimism could be misplaced. We do get the government we deserve, and sometimes I fear that. And perhaps that's more where the rage comes from.

(Opening quote from Gilda, 1946.)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fun Stuff is Offically Closed

You know what Kurt Zellers? Fuck you. Fuck you and fuck Amy Koch and fuck all you other stupid ideological motherfuckers that decided to waste the entire fucking year on culture war bullshit (and actually had the nerve to go on MPR a while back and giggle about "The budget deal? But where did all the time go? Tee hee!") and then act shocked, shocked(!) when the governor of the state doesn't accept your "Fuck education who needs it when we have rich people that can't be taxed?" bullshit "deal" after fucking campaigning and winning on that very fucking same issue.

This is a gigantic fucking waste of money for the state. Pat yourself on the fucking back. Or maybe hire one of the state employees that is now out of fucking work to do it for you.