What Spurs the GOP’s Conservative Base

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Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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  1. Avatar Will Truman
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    says:

    The three listed factors aren’t all independent of one another, but neither are they all really dependent, except as aggravating factors. With a white Obama, you get… Clinton-level hatred, probably, which was itself pretty intense. The conservative echo chamber existed back then, but wasn’t then what it is now.

    I think the biggest issue here is just that they all aggravate one another and has created a very unhealthy cycle.Report

  2. Avatar Henshaw
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    says:

    It’s been a decade, but I’m not convinced that the anti-Obama sentiment is worse than the anti-Clinton sentiment that was on the right during the 90’s. Thanks to the internet there’s a bit of observational bias going on because finding anti-Obama nonsense is a tweet away, but Clinton never received over 50% of the vote.

    The economy was good in 1996 and Clinton still didn’t break 50%. There are still a lot of people chronically unemployed in the country right now. They may blame the GOP, but if you still don’t have a job 4 years later it’s not like you’ve warmed up to the new guy.

    There was a lot of hand-wringing on the left in 2005 when Bush was reelected, but victory was only an election away. President Obama had a lot of things going for him in 2008 and 2012.

    The GOP could nominate Rubio (I can’t stand the guy FWIW) and win in 2016 especially if the economy continues to stutter on. The Democrats need some economic momentum. They can’t blame the GOP forever and they’re not likely to have as good a candidate in 2016.

    The nation has elected 3 straight 2 term presidents for the first time since Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. The power of incumbency is getting stronger.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Henshaw
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      says:

      1996 was a three-way race, with Perot getting 8%. Clinton crushed Dole 49%-41%.Report

    • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Henshaw
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      says:

      “The economy was good in 1996 and Clinton still didn’t break 50%. ”

      That’s true, but there were two factors in 1996 not present in 2012:

      1. An independent candidate with a strong showing. Perot was not as strong in 1996 as he was in 1992, but he still got about 8 million votes, according to wikipedia. Of course, some of those might have broken for Dole, but it’s hard to ignore that one independent candidates often serve is to provide someone to vote for when you don’t want to vote for the incumbent.

      2. I imagine the electorate in 1996 was relatively less diverse than the electorate in 2012.

      None of this means you’re necessarily wrong, but it does qualify your point a bit.

      I agree that the power of incumbency is getting stronger, but I predict that if the Dems win president in 2016, a Republican will win in 2020. If the GOP wins in 2016, chances are good that he or she will be reelected.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Henshaw
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      says:

      I was in middle and high school for Clinton’s presidency, so my memory of the time is worse than most but, as I recall, Clinton didn’t seemed to be hated with the intensity that folks hate Obama. If Henshaw’s numbers are accurate (and I have no reason to believe they aren’t), than it would seem that Clinton hate was more widespread, while my anecdotal memory tells me that there are pockets of anti-Obamaness that are much louder and stronger than what Clinton faced.

      Though I don’t think enough can be said about your point that technological shifts make an apples-to-apples comparison really difficult.Report

      • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        I have only anecdotes and impressions, but anti-Obamaness *seems* to me to be more visceral than anti-Clintonness. However–and this is also anecdotal and impressionistic–I think it was possible to hate Clinton in a way that it’s hard to hate Obama. They’re both charismatic fellows, but Clinton has a sort of slimy air about him, while Obama seems, to me, like an essentially good man who has made some very tough and dangerous choices.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Pierre Corneille
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          says:

          Also, this. I can see the reason why you’d see Clinton as this skeevy politician who’d try to grab your daughter’s ass in the Oval Office. Thinking Bill Clinton is a scumbag who doesn’t have the honor to be in the Oval Office at least has some facts and logic behind it. OTOH, all the stories about Obama being a secret Muslim Marxist trying to destroy America have no actual basis in reality.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        I was in my mid-20s in ’92, and I remember visceral anti-Clinton hatred just oozing from the pores of right-wingers. I saw “Impeach Clinton” bumperstickers on cars before he even took the oath of office. Remember, mid-90s is when talk radio really found its place–I’ve never been sure whether that’s because Clinton gave them such a useful object to attach hate to, or whether Clinton became so hated because talk radio had found its method.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          Clinton was a useful target because he was the first competent national Democratic politician in a generation. As other people have pointed out in prior threads, there’s a certain segment of the Republican base that truly believes no Democratic win is illegitimate. See the rants after this years election about it was unfair that Obama actually appealed to people who weren’t straight, white, and Christian.Report

        • Avatar Henshaw in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          People hating the President isn’t a new thing. It’s fairly constant through the nation’s history. I’m not sure it’s any worse now than it has ever been.

          It’s funny how people warm to ex-Presidents once they’re out of office.

          Reagan was probably the last super popular president and there was still a very loud group of people who didn’t like him. It’s just the nature of the office.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Henshaw
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            says:

            Umm….Clinton walked out on his last day of office with a 67% approval rating. On his last day, Reagan had a 60% approval rating. Both still good ratings, but actual statistics show that in fact, Bill Clinton was our last massively popular President.Report

            • Avatar Henshaw in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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              says:

              I’d compare how their respective VP’s did in the following elections. Gore failed to get 50% of the vote and ran away from his boss. Bush won most of the states in 1988.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Henshaw
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                says:

                But, part of that is that Gore ran against a good candidate (Dubya), ran a bad campaign (‘earth tones’/not embracing Clinton more fully/Lieberman as VP), and a press hostile to him.

                OTOH, Bush ran against a mediocre candidate (Dukakis), ran a good campaign (Willie Horton, etc.), and a fairly neutral press.Report

              • Avatar Henshaw in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                I just pulled the Pew research of the last 2 months of the 2000 campaign. Gore really had a press problem. It’s easily the worst for a Democrat in the last 20 years. Kerry fared much better in 2004 and Obama has had the best press coverage ever.Report

              • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Henshaw
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                says:

                Gore had a press actively working against him. Every lie made up by the GOP was endlessly repeated, but Bush being AWOL was dropped because of “kerning”. Hard to fight against that — and Gore didn’t fight nearly as hard as he should have.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jeff No-Last-Name
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                says:

                Well, it’s pretty hard for the press, those ink-stained wretches who can spontaneously break into rapt speeches about their favorite fonts, to believe that the Texas Air National Guard was using Microsoft Word prior to the existence of Microsoft or an Intel processor to run it on.Report

              • Avatar DBrown in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Facts are facts -Bush junior was AWOL as certified by the Air Force ( a very left-wing group, we all know.) BS by reporters doesn’t change facts.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                That’s debatable. I was using kerned fonts before MS Word. Fact is, Bush43 was busted out of TXANG into a paper unit, scheduled for deployment to Vietnam, which is always what happens to anyone in the reserves of any branch of service when they don’t make formation. That much is indisputable.

                DBrown: technically Bush43 wasn’t AWOL. To be AWOL, he would have had to be assigned an active-duty unit. Bush43 was missing from formation for long enough to be discharged from his reserve unit in TXANG.Report

            • Avatar Barry in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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              says:

              Good points.

              I think that what’s going on is that a loud group of – I’m going to be blunt, motherf*ckers – have a license to shoot their mouths off, and not be treated as scum.

              I don’t believe that anybody like the Birthers would have been given the time of the day by the mainstream media, back in the 80’s.Report

          • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Henshaw
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            says:

            Iran-Contra and the Alzheimer’s have have been contributing factors why “a very loud group of people who didn’t like him”.

            Could be because he was a sleazebag, ya know.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          You might recall that the pre-Murdoch Wall Street Journal, which many people [1] considered a respectable, mainstream conservative news organ, published many, many columns accusing the First Lady of being a murderess. Jerry Falwell fund-raised with a video-tape containing alleged evidence of this. Evan after several police investigations had concluded that Vince Foster’s suicide was just that, a suicide, Ken Starr found it necessary to investigate the case again (and found that no evidence pointed anywhere else.)

          So, yeah, absent widespread rumors that the current First Lady kills white children to use their blood in her salad dressing, it’s hard to call Obama-hatred worse than Clinton-hatred.

          1. Not me.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Schilling
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            says:

            I think the difference is, that I don’t truly believe more than 10-20% of Republican’s ever believed the Vince Foster BS. Which is a large enough base to fundraise off and such, but not enough to build a political movement.

            OTOH, the idea that Obama is a Manchurian candidate trying to destroy America was the default position of the conservative base (see polls about 50% of primary voters thinking Obama wasn’t born in the US) that it was implied by every Presidential candidate in the Republican primary not named Tim Pawlently or Ron Paul.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
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            says:

            Heck, Vince Foster was just one mysterious death out of dozens around Bill Clinton. It was hard to turn around without stumbling over the mysteriously murdered body of yet another of his former associates who’d crossed him. Then there were the bags of Chinese cash that kept showing up in the White House, and his executive order putting massive Western lands off limits as soon as they might compete with China, along with the disappearance of the Loran satellite bus after a Chinese launch failure (critical to ICBM technology), and countless other signs of the impending apocalypse.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          Thanks, Hanley. I grew up in a very liberal town and can’t say that I knew anyone who was a “right-winger”. Hell… I was the “right-winger” amongst my friends at that time because I was somewhat to the right of where I am now.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        The vast rightwing conspiracy wasn’t nearly as effective as the “teaparty” koch apparatus.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Henshaw
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      says:

      “Thanks to the internet there’s a bit of observational bias going on because finding anti-Obama nonsense is a tweet away…”

      Indeed, far more people blogged about the Obama election than blogged about Clinton election. We can therefore mathematically prove that Obama was a hugely more popular President than Clinton.Report

  3. Avatar Pierre Corneille
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    says:

    So, Elias, you’re saying that the only reason someone would oppose Obama is because they’re racist?Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    i> In those years, the Democratic Party became labeled, to its detriment, as the party of “acid, abortion and amnesty.” With the Democrats’ values far to the left of the silent majority, McGovern lost in a landslide to Richard Nixon in 1972.

    While there are no catchy phrases for the Republicans of 2013,

    How about “reaction, resentment, and racism”?Report

  5. Avatar b-psycho
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    says:

    Amazing thing to me about the base’s opposition is how much ethnocentrism steers attempts at criticism from that group into direct self contradictions. I.E.: the same people will say one moment that Obama is acquiring powers more suited to a dictator (though the trend of the surveillance state goes back long before him) and then the next claim that he’s “gutting” the military.

    Problem: Show me a dictator that doesn’t like militarism…Report

  6. Avatar Ryan Bennett
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    says:

    Given the fact that I have close relatives who stocked up on guns and ammo in advance of the 2012 election in fear that Obama losing would cause widespread race riots it’s hard not to see race as a major factor. Obama hatred IS much, much more virulent than that directed at Clinton. Clinton was hated as a supposed slimy, dishonest operator. Obama, on the other hand, is trying to “destroy the country with socialism”. The Clinton hate was human in scale. The Obama hate is almost supernatural in scope. He’s been bred to be the perfect sleeper agent to destroy everything.

    That being said, things are very different now. It’s technically possible to stay 100% inside the conservative media bubble, and the insane bubblings of the fever swamps can go national in days, even hours. It’s a perpetual motion machine, that on each turn, refines and adds to the message of how horrific Obama is. It’s marijuana in the 1970 vs. today, almost a completely different beast.Report

    • Avatar Henshaw in reply to Ryan Bennett
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      says:

      I had close relatives stock up on guns in 1992 for exactly the same reasons people did in 2008.

      In fact, next time I’m going to make sure I buy stock in gun manufactures when this cycle inevitably repeats itself. I’m kicking myself for not thinking about it.

      FWIW it’s also technically possible to stay 100% inside the liberal media bubble. That’s probably why a 1/4th of Democrats thought Bush had a hand in 9/11 during his presidency.Report

      • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Henshaw
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        says:

        Good points, but a couple notes:

        1. Clinton actually campaigned on stronger gun restrictions, and they got the assault weapon ban passed in 1994. Obama, on the other hand, until Newtown avoided talking about gun legislation at all, and during his first term federal gun laws were incrementally loosened. So, back then, there was at least some reason to stock up, before the new laws were in place. I’d be surprised if they were stocking up in fear of a race riot.

        2. As for the media bubble, it’s true that liberals can stay in their own bubble, but there’s less evidence from polling and other sources that they do, at least not nearly to the extent of hardcore conservatives. And definitions matter. The NYT on the right is seen as a hard-core liberal rag, on the left it’s still the paper of record with a slight liberal tilt. I’m very liberal. The NYT is one of my 3-4 go-to sources. Maybe it’s a bit liberal, but I would contend its reporting is MUCH more accurate than what you see in the leading lights of the conservative bubble.

        3. I think that number on the 9/11 thing was based on people thinking that Bush knew about the attacks ahead of time, not so much that he had an active “hand in” it. And I’m not sure how many of those were people on the far left so much as more nebulous conspiracy theorists that you also find in libertarian and conservative circles. I live in San Francisco, most of my friends are pretty far left. If 1/4 of them thought Bush did 9/11 they didn’t tell me about it. As a guess it was maybe 10%, and those guys were lunatics. Amusingly enough, there was evidence in the end that the Bush Administration had been warned repeatedly with varying levels of specificity about the possibility of the attack and they ignored all of it until after the attack. It’s not “knowing about” or having a “hand in”, but they did a good job ignoring or downplaying a number of specific warnings ahead of time.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bennett
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          says:

          If I remember right, the “1/3 of liberals believe Bush could stop 9/11 so you’re just as bad as the idiots who think Obama is from Kenya” is based on a Rasmussen poll with wonky wording of, “”Did Bush know about the 9/11 attacks in advance?”” which includes both 9/11 Truthers and people who thought Bush was negligent of the threat from Al Qaeda.

          Of course, the real false equivalence is that of course, there was no 9/11 Truther candidate in the 2004 or 2008 Democratic Primaries. No, not even Kucinich or Gravel. No Democratic state legislatures passed bills about 9/11 Trutherism. No Democratic congresspeople pushed for investigations into possible 9/11 Truther-y things.Report

          • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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            says:

            Aha. I didn’t see that poll, but being Rasmussen I’d like to go through the methodology with a fine-toothed comb before calling it a day with their numbers.

            I think Dems are a lot better about policing the margins than the GOP. Sure, there’s crazies on the far left, who believe all kinds of stuff, but:

            1. You don’t see them on the Sunday chat shows, or on the news at all.
            2. You don’t see them winning elections, or even running for office
            3. You don’t see them holding positions of power within the party
            4. You don’t see them dictating the party platform

            As you note, none of that is true on the right, or at least not until after this election.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Ryan Bennett
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              I think this is because the Far Left in America is more than a little disdainful of democratic politics and does not associate itself with the Democratic Party. The Far Left views the Democratic Party with contempt and does not attempt to take it over the same way that the Far Right did with the Republicans during the 1950s and 1960s. This makes it a bit easier for the Democratic Party to police their margins.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                Yeah. This is part of it. I consider myself pretty liberal, but I know quite a few people significantly more liberal than I. Anti-globalization activists and the like and they are universally contemptuous of the Democratic Party in the “They’re no better than the Republicans” sense. Makes me laugh when I hear the GOP talking about the descent into Socialism. They have exactly zero idea how middle-of-the-road the Democratic Party is compared to real leftists.

                That being said, I still think the Dems are much quick to toss someone in front of the bus than Republicans. It’s an extension of the stereotypical Dem circular firing squad, where the GOP is much quicker to circle the wagons and blame the media or the Democrats.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Ryan Bennett
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                says:

                Right. I’ve talked with plenty of socialists. They consider Obama basically no different from the Republicans. They are not on his side, and he is not on theirs.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Ryan Bennett
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              says:

              #Panetta-BurnsReport

          • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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            says:

            The problem for the GOP is they can’t prune the crazy like the Dems can. The most active of the grass-roots activists are fully on-board with at least some of the “fringe” ideas. Prune those guys and who do you have to knock on doors come next election. For example, almost every committed Republican I speak to mentions Socialism multiple times when talking politics. It’s an article of faith that Socialism is what Obama is imposing which is, objectively, pretty damn crazy…. and that’s the very LEAST crazy of the crazy ideas about dems and Obama.

            I’m looking forward to seeing how the GOP tackles the issue. I’m pretty sure whatever they do it won’t be done in good faith with their own members.Report

            • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Ryan Bennett
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              says:

              “The problem for the GOP is they can’t prune the crazy like the Dems can. ”

              When the HuffPo goes through a local paper to find the quotes from some backwoods state Senator who thinks that the black people should be shipped back to Africa on a fleet of iron barges, that guy is held up as the epitome of mainstream conservative thought.

              When The Blaze goes through a local paper and finds a Democratic Congresswoman saying something insane about shutting down milk farms, LOL THE BLAZE R U SERIUS DOOD I MEAN RILLY COME ON GLEN BECK???? I MEAN REALLY LOLReport

              • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Jim Heffman
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                Sure, but that’s not the party. That’s a website looking to make a buck on advertising, my points above had to do with the actions of the party with a specific focus on high-level national party positions, races, and party platform.

                Sure, there’s people on both sides scoring points. Some for money, some to get link traffic, some from belief. It’s called politics. It’s a dirty business. But the GOP and the Dem leadership handle outliers VERY differently at the national level and it shows. It sure as hell has been obvious to the entire political establishment for the last few elections, as the GOP continually forces primaries on moderate, popular, WINNING Republicans to replace them with far-right ideologues. If you think it’s not happening, why is Karl Rove starting up a new organization specifically to combat the problem?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Jim Heffman
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                says:

                You don’t need to take my word for it, after all I’m just a huge lying liberal with my head in the sand, but maybe take a look at the article referenced, or look at the GOP election autopsy report issued a few days ago, or look at the stuff Karl Rove is doing to combat the problem. It’s not just liberals saying this or the lamestream media not reporting it. The GOP itself is waking up to the problem and there’s plenty of nice, clean conservative information out there on this problem.Report

          • Avatar Henshaw in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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            In September 2009, a National Obama Approval Poll, by Public Policy Polling, found that 27% of respondents who identified themselves as Liberals, and 10% as Conservatives, responded “yes” to the question, “Do you think President Bush intentionally allowed the 9/11 attacks to take place because he wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East?”Report

            • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Henshaw
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              says:

              In the same poll, 19% of McCain voters think Obama is the anti-Christ. I think it’s safe to say that people say all kinds of crazy stuff, especially in a robo-poll, where you’re not even dealing with a human.

              In short, all the responses for this poll, conservative or liberal, read like an Onion article. I’m not putting much stock in it. One blogger I read regularly has a theory about these robo-polls. If you hate Obama, you’re more likely to answer in ways that are the most negative for him, regardless of if you really believe it. Same goes with Bush. If I got a robo-call from these guys, I’d have a tough time not picking YES when they asked me if Bush was the anti-Christ… Even though I know he’s not and I’m pretty sure no one is.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Ryan Bennett
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                says:

                #Panetta-Burns
                The simple answer is: 20% of people are so crazy they are idiots.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Ryan Bennett
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                says:

                From a non-polling perspective, just personally, I’ve had a ton of people I’ve talked to tell me with all sincerity either that Obama is a Socialist who is *intentionally* trying to destroy the country, take away all our guns, and lots of them have doubts he was born here. I went home to Florida for Thanksgiving and literally everyone at the table (10 people) was saying stuff like that. They gave me that sad look people give the mentally handicapped when I even slightly disagreed, and I see this same behavior all over the place and people aren’t shy about telling you. Conversely, outside of anti-war rallies I can only think of one or two times where people were as fervent about 9/11 being an “inside job”. I know it’s just my personal experience, but I think there’s an order of magnitude difference in the on-the-ground reality of these things.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Ryan Bennett
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                says:

                What’s the Carlin line… Here it is:

                “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Ryan Bennett
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                says:

                I miss that guy.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Stillwater
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                It is a bummer, but he ran things pretty rich for years. It takes its toll. I am happy he was so prolific, though. I’ve loved his stuff for years and I’d be surprised if I’ve seen half of what’s out there.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Ryan Bennett
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                I met the guy who was convinced Obama was from Vietnam, and thus wouldn’t vote for him.
                … on the bus, you meet all kinds.
                He at least listened when I said, “Obama wasn’t raised in Vietnam. His sister’s half asian, but not vietnamese”Report

        • Avatar Henshaw in reply to Ryan Bennett
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          I’m paraphrasing but the poll had around 25% of Democrats thought Bush knew the attack was coming and did nothing and another 25% thought he had a hand in the attack. It added up to around of half of Democrats.

          At least one study from 4 years ago suggested that “hardcore conservatives” (whatever that is) were more likely to read opposing views than other groups.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Henshaw
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            says:

            I’ll just toss out this very casual observation, pure anecdotal “evidence” from my decade plus teaching political science classes (in which I try my damndest to minimize the role of ideology).

            I have had both left-wing and right-wing students who were simply unable to open their minds to any critical examination of their own pre-conceived beliefs. This ranges from the left-wing student who thinks all modernity is so damaging that we should end globalization to protect people in the third world from development to the right-wing student who thinks Consumer Reports should be banned because it makes it harder for businesses to sell their profits (both true cases, by the way).

            But I’ve known considerably more right-wingers of that type than left-wingers of that type. My untested hypothesis is that it’s not simply the degree of ideology that matters, but the mixing of the ideology with religion, so that the ideological beliefs become a part of the faith. That is, right-wingers are far more likely than left-wingers to also be devout Christians.* I’ve found that conservative agnostics tend to be much more amenable to listening and seriously pondering other views than religious conservatives. Those ultra-left-wingers who are just as resistant to considering other views tend, I think, to substitute some concept of justness in place of God. That is, they have almost as devout an attachment to the concept as religious believers do to God. But it’s rarer, and my hunch is because those types of ideals aren’t, in general, quite as compelling to humans as the idea of God is.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Henshaw
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            says:

            Ah, the old “LIHOP” vs. “MIHOP” debate. Good times.Report

          • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Henshaw
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            says:

            It’s possible for someone to answer a poll question in the affirmative that asks “did Bush know about the attacks?” and not necessarily believe anything conspiratorial.

            I think Bush “knew” in the sense that his administration and its intelligence apparatus probably had all (or most of) the information but for a variety of reasons (bureaucratic muddlespeak and rivalries, difficulty deciphering credible from less credible threats, difficulty knowing the exact dates, times, and places of the attacks) could not act on the information in time). But I certainly don’t think he knew the attacks were going to happen and let them happen anyway so that he could be a “wartime president.”Report

          • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Henshaw
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            says:

            The actual wording, if we’re talking about the 2007 Rasmussen poll, was “Did Bush know about the 9/11 attacks in advance?”, which a lot of people noted at the time would surely pull in the people who believed, rightly, that the Bush Administration was negligent and dismissive of the warnings that it did have. The poll and its wording is discussed here – http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/2009/08/911-and-birther-misperceptions-compared.htmlReport

            • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Ryan Bennett
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              says:

              The Rasmussen Report itself is behind a paywall, so no love there. I do want to say that Rasmussen is quite famous for questionably worded polls. Their reputation for being both inaccurate as well as almost a “house” polling shop for the GOP makes me hesitant to believe their output without reading the fine print. They’ve gotten caught with their thumb on the scale in the past. I won’t dismiss them entirely, they aren’t the WND of polling shops, but it’s pretty clear they have an agenda.Report

      • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Henshaw
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        In the interests of full disclosure as a big liberal here’s my top daily media sources in order of frequency. FYI. I do visit Redstate, Hotair and The Corner weekly, and read a bit of The American Conservative.

        Would you call this a liberal media bubble?

        1. Talking Points Memo – Liberal but not rabid. Straight, accurate reporting. As I mentioned in another post. I go to them because I can trust that, if they report something, it’s not going to turn around and be a pile of lies.

        2. New York Times – Paper of record. Slightly Liberal.

        3. Andrew Sullivan – Supposedly conservative. Actually, middle of the road news aggregator.

        4. Kevin Drum – Middle of the road wonky liberal blogger.

        5. David Frum (conservative), Daniel Larison (Paleo-conservative), Ben Smith (former politico star), Matthew Yglesias (centrist liberal), etc…Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Ryan Bennett
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          says:

          I guess from my biased perspective I definitely have some liberal tilt to my media diet, but it’s mostly people on the more centrist liberal side. None of the ones I go to daily would I consider at all far left. I don’t have a TV so no cable news. No Daily Kos. No Democratic Underground or anything like that and I keep my eye on conservative sources constantly, often for entertainment value, but also to make sure I’m not missing anything in my own bubble.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Ryan Bennett
            Ignored
            says:

            kos is worth a read when someone intelligent is posting on there.
            “Concerned citizens” with knowledgebase can be awful interesting…Report

            • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Kim
              Ignored
              says:

              I’ll have to check it out. The problem I’ve had in the past is separating the good from the bad. There’s so much going on there it can be hard to tell. Got tired of reading some long post then realizing, 1000 words in that the author was wearing a tinfoil hat and posting from the public library.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Ryan Bennett
                Ignored
                says:

                things that rise to the top generally tend to be well researched (if they aren’t, they tend to get shouted down fairly quickly).

                Some of the FrontPage folks are damn fine authors.
                (obligatory disclaimer: I have met some of the folks who post on there. and I have posted on there.)Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Henshaw
        Ignored
        says:

        “In fact, next time I’m going to make sure I buy stock in gun manufactures when this cycle inevitably repeats itself. I’m kicking myself for not thinking about it.”

        There was an article somewhere about how 9mm/.45 cal pistol ammunition is basically rationed at many gun stores (e.g., you get to buy one box of each per week). The Tea Partiers are buying like crazy, and the ammunition makers are not going to pump billions into the bubble.

        I’d love to have a cut of that; I’d hype the fear and (quietly) mention ‘new federal regulation’ what ‘I’m forbidden to talk about, so don’t pass this on, OK?’, and have these fools bid on boxes of bullets.

        Then a few years from now I’d set up a secondhand ammo shop, and help these guys unload the several thousand rounds they bought.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Barry
          Ignored
          says:

          *snort* scam’s way better than that. You do mail-order, online retail. You make the biggest, badassical scaretactics you can, and you watch who signs up for more ammo from you.

          See, they’re giving you their names for free. And addresses.

          That way, in case there ever is /serious/ trouble, you know who to get first.

          And you use all of this crazy cash for liberal causes (like EFF).Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Barry
          Ignored
          says:

          The ammunition factories started running three shifts a couple years ago and still haven’t caught up with demand.

          Under George HW Bush production was running about 3.5 to 4 billion rounds a year, which spiked to 5 billion as soon as Clinton was elected. Then the Republicans managed to take back the House and paranoia eased, so production dropped back to 4 billion. When George W Bush was elected production dropped to 3 billion, but ammunition was still plentiful. Production stayed at around 3 billion rounds a year through 2003 or so, slowly rising to approach 4 billion during the 2008 election. Obama won, and now production is 6 billion rounds a year (twice the levels under most of GW Bush’s term) and the shelves are shockingly bare.

          To meet demand, production should probaby go up to 7 or 8 billion rounds a year, which would probably require plant expansions since going from 2 shifts to 3 shifts upped production from 4 billion rounds a year to 6 billion rounds, and there is no 4th shift to add.Report

        • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Barry
          Ignored
          says:

          Just having a related conversation with my neighbor, who manages a sporting goods store. They don’t have any kind of rationing set up. It’s first come, first serve. Despite the shortages, they haven’t raised prices. It pains my capitalist heart.

          And Barry, don’t bank on a huge surplus of bullets a few years down the road. Per my neighbor, there was a huge rush on ammo after the 2008 election as well, but no slump after things steadied out. People who bought the extra bullets either used more bullets or just permanently maintained a higher supply.Report

  7. Avatar Rogers
    Ignored
    says:

    reply to Henshaw at 13-
    2 statements regarding the stolen election of 2000. Both true (so far as they go) and collectively designed to elide (that’s deliberately mislead) the theft.Report

  8. Avatar NewDealer
    Ignored
    says:

    I am not going to get into a debate over whether Clinton or Obama bashing is bad. Both were subject to absurd conspiracy theories but did anyone question whether Clinton was constitutionally eligible to run for office? I think not.

    I am a full believer in the 27 percent crazy factor and that there is a substantial part of the Republican right that will never accept any center-left or liberal politician as a legitimately elected official. They are simply not interested in the democratic process unless it elects right wing republicans only.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to NewDealer
      Ignored
      says:

      True. It’s four Democratic terms now that a big chunk of the GOP base has considered illegitimate for one reason or another, plus the term that Al Gore almost “stole”. So, let’s call it 4.5 terms. Funny stuff.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to NewDealer
      Ignored
      says:

      Actually there was some serious questioning on whether Clinton was eligible to run for office, centered around a possible letter Clinton sent when he was in college in Europe in which he renounced his US citizenship, a letter that the State Department was keeping under wraps.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Serious, huh? I know where that letter is. It got squirrelled away in the same crate with Bush43’s missing TXANG records … out at Area 51.

        [Insert four bars of theremin woo-woo noises here]

        The Truth is Out There.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to BlaiseP
          Ignored
          says:

          Though those specific letters were forged there was a lot of evidence, completely unrelated to those letters, that he got lots of insanely cushy treatment in the Guard and there was a lot of his time there unaccounted for, not on base, off somewhere goofing off like we was wont to before he got sober and boring (drinking, blowing lines, womanizing, the good things in life).

          At the time, I was really pissed about those forgeries, not just because it’s slimy bullshit, but because they gave him a free pass on all the legit issues with his service outside of the letters. Then again, that’s politics, without a smoking gun and pictures of the guy with the live boy or dead girl in bed it’s all so easy for them to put down as “dirty politics”.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        But the secret Clinton letter shows quite clearly that the Obama birthers are nothing new at all.

        Part of the anti-Obama paranoia is simply a reflection of his very odd record and the lack of information about him, which is very unusual for a President.

        There’s his odd record: He grew up in Indonesia with a Muslim father (who wanted to feed him meet from an endangered tiger). Was Obama a Muslim for a while?

        Once back in Hawaii his mentor was a member of the Communist Party USA, and his mom did bondage porn in the guy’s house.

        One of his close friends, who worked across the hall from him and in whose home he announced his entry into politics, was also one of the country’s most notorious domestic terrorists.

        And then there’s his infamous preacher, plus his ties to a few famously corrupt Chicago figures, one of which took money from a rich Iraqi and spread it around. Yes, part of Obama’s personal house might’ve been paid for by Saddam.

        Then there’s his sealed college transcripts, the lack of any Harvard Law Review articles, voting “present”, his wife’s cushy hospital job, their statements about enemies who “cling to guns and religion”, her lack of pride in the US until it elected her husband, etc.

        It’s a pretty big canvas, mostly blank, where people can imagine all sorts of things.

        Imagine how the left would react if Republicans ran a candidate who:

        Grew up largely in Argentina and Chile, the son of an adopted father of German descent.
        Had Lyndon LaRouche as a childhood mentor and used to go to BBQ’s hosted by Timothy McVey and James Earl Ray’s family, then spent years attending services at the World Church of the Creator (part of the White Supremacy Movement).

        No matter how hard Fox News might try to pretend such a President is a mainstream figure with an ordinary past, there’s no way the left would keep from freaking out all week long and twice on Sundays, and they’d beat their head against the wall over how such a person ever got elected to anything.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          Communists? You don’t say, Brother George! I can’t remember when being a Communist became illegal in the Land of the Free, my mind grows old and withered like a stale walnut left too long in the cupboard. Ah (clutches head) it’s coming back to me now…. Alex, what is the Year of the Cat?

          No guilt like associative guilt. It’s mathematical. The associative property.Report

        • Avatar Turgid Jacobian in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, you sure give the game up quickly. I’ll give you that. Actually, I have to say that you’re really very funny when you aren’t trying to channel the less erudite stylin’s of Dennis Miller.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          It’s not illegal to be a member of the American Nazi Party, either, but it wouldn’t really add to anyone’s comfort level if we elected one President, now would it? After all, this is the land of the free!

          We’re used to hearing things like, “He’s didn’t associate with a communist communist, and what’s wrong with communists anyway? He said he’s not really a close friend of the terrorist he worked across the hall from for years and who hosted his entry into politics, he’s just an acquaintance. And it’s not like the guy was a foreign terrorist.” They could find a dead pre-teen prostitute in his closet covered in Obama’s DNA and within a week having a closet full of dead kids would be pushed as the new normal.

          People who aren’t part of such normalization can’t shake the feeling that Obama is a really worrisome figure.Report

          • Avatar DBrown in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            Finally, the ‘first person to mention Nazi’ in a discusion, means you have lost the argument and also know you have – you lose.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DBrown
              Ignored
              says:

              Note to self: never discuss WWII with DBrown.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi in reply to DBrown
              Ignored
              says:

              This isn’t novemberReport

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to DBrown
              Ignored
              says:

              And so the whole attempt to understand why conservatives don’t like Obama is once again revealed as an empty charade, aimed not at understanding anything at all, just self-justification and in-group reassurance.

              “You see, the reason we worry about Obama is that …. [ snip ] …”

              “You said “boobies”. I win!”Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                I still can’t work out if you’re for real, or this is an archly recondite bit of funnery. We know you’re worried about Obama. You think he hangs out with the wrong people.

                But what has Obama actually done that’s so bad for the country? He’s not particularly liberal, lots of liberals don’t like what he’s done and not done on the civil liberties front. Health care reform? He caved on that. We’re not really happy about that as Liberals. I’d think you Republicans would like ACA, it looks for all the world like Romney’s plan in Massachusetts.

                What else? Repealing DADT? I don’t sense you’re a bigot: gay or straight, it doesn’t matter when you live so close to the guys in your squad you can already identify everyone’s farts in the dark by smell alone.

                The nation rallied around Bush43 on 9/11. Democrats and Republicans alike gave him the authority to go fight the bastards who’d done this to us. For quite a while there, partisan bickering died down and was considered rude as hell. It’s not like we can’t unite around the President when times get tough. Bush43, for all his errors, cared about Africa. I don’t care what anyone says about him, he had a heart for the suffering of Africans. Not even Obama, who you’d think would give a damn about Africa, hasn’t done anything.

                But there’s something unseemly and skeevy about the way Conservatives have gone about attacking Obama. There’s a visceral hatred for the man, a rage just hissing out from between the seams of their steam pipes. All that Chimpy McBush stuff, even at the height of the Iraq War folly, nothing compares to this level of unhinged hatred from the Right.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve run into this so many times. Family members, friends, etc. getting red in the face and talking about how terrible he is, how he’s destroying the country, he’s arrogant, etc.. Usually not a lot of details are given.

                I’ll usually say something like “I don’t even recognize this guy you’re talking about”. I’m pretty damn liberal, and my usual state wrt. Obama is mild disappointment, for all the reasons you note above. I like the guy, and he’s doing good work, but he’s not nearly as liberal as I would prefer. Then I’ll ask the person, “Tell me, specifically, what he’s done that shows he’s destroying the country” and it usually boils down to all these things they believe he’s going to do, but hasn’t done yet, because he’s tricky and waiting for us to let our guard down.

                My Dad, last night, was going on and on about the “explosion of lazy government workers” under Obama and he laughed at me (literally, in the chinese buffet) when I said that actually federal, state, and local gov’t employment had dropped drastically under Obama. There was NO WAY that was true. I just said, mildly, wait until we get home. I’ll find the sources of info and you can pick the one you think isn’t lying to you. We sat down later and pulled up the details from 4-5 sources showing the decline. He agreed it was true, but I’m sure in his head there was some rationalization going on.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            In my town, the Republican candidate proudly talks about having a communist/socialist on staff.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          And then there’s his infamous preacher

          The one who kept enlisting in the military and got a letter of thanks for the president for his service as a medic? I’ll admit that as a patriot he was no Dick Cheney.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            Rev Wright: “And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains, the government put them on slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton field, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, not God Bless America. God damn America — that’s in the Bible — for killing innocent people. God damn America, for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America, as long as she tries to act like she is God, and she is supreme. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent..”

            Abraham Lincoln, famous Republican:

            One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            You’re saying we should have killed both of them.Report

  9. Avatar BlaiseP
    Ignored
    says:

    The burr under the GOP’s saddle has been there for many years. It’s just now working itself into an irritating place. The GOP’s been detached from reality since the rise of the Neoconservatives and everyone knows it.

    Schizophrenics are often obsessed with particular people or situations: Obama’s presidency is not a fundamental cause for GOP estrangement. Obama is just a preoccupation, a focus for their mania, as was Clinton in the 90s. Take the labels off Obama, he’s hardly a big ol Liberal Democrat. Neither was Clinton for that matter.

    But in the days of Clinton, a politician could fight like a dog for part of the day and hang out with the dogs he’d just fought for the rest of that day. Packs of dogs are like that: Clinton did business with Gingrich on that basis. Boehner would do business with Obama on the same basis, were he allowed. But while Eric Cantor, that prissy Jacobin, continues to throw spanners in the gearworks, we shall have none of that. Mark my words, Eric Cantor will not come to a good end: dogs certainly enjoy a fight but are pack animals, too. Eric Cantor does not play well with others. His day is coming: that dog has had his day. Congress is not two packs, but one.

    The Bush43 years were one long baroque fugue of self-delusion. With McCain’s loss, the Tea Parties exhibited the weirdest temper tantrum in the history of modern politics. Was Obama a Fascist or a Communist? Or was he a Kenyan? Whatever he was — and more importantly, regardless of what he did, Obama could do no good.

    America’s face has been changing but I’m not sure racism plays a large part in Conservative hatred of Obama and the Democrats. It’s not the same sort of racism, for one. It’s a subtler thing: Obama is the apotheosis of what Scalia would call Racial Entitlement, the notion that people would vote for Obama just because he’s black.

    Repetition is reinforcement. At the risk of Going Godwin, I should like to point out one of Goebbel’s most useful tools as propaganda minster was the then-new high fidelity tape recorder, allowing him to tailor and rebroadcast Nazi speeches on the radio. Aided and abetted by Rush Limbaugh and the usual suspects, the Outrage Machine went into overdrive, all day, every day. And it did so on the radio and to a lesser extent, television. But it has not done well on the Internet, where there’s a conversation.

    The parallels are striking: the GOP’s coping strategy swings between spittle-flecked denial and preposterous lies, the ginning-up of mythical enemies, bizarre appeals to national identity. And always the decrying of national weakness: the rhetoric of Cato the Censor, hateful, unchanging and inflexible.

    That which cannot bend — will break. It has all been seen before when the Democrats, long the party of racism and anti-Republican sentiment hearkening back to the era of Reconstruction, painfully morphed into the Party of LBJ. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, LBJ knew he was consigning the Democratic Party to political oblivion for a decade.

    Will the GOP have the wisdom to do the same with the Tea Party, evict its version of the Dixiecrats? Conservatives aren’t stuck in the past: it’s a perfectly reasonable sentiment to want to preserve what’s good and true. Conservativism always said “Don’t mess with a working machine”, fending off the intemperate tinkerers. They were once the People of the Big Picture, the Long View and the Little Guy.

    Such people are still there in the GOP. Wisdom doesn’t shout. Its voice is easily drowned out by the shouters. Conservatives simply must start being conservative again.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to BlaiseP
      Ignored
      says:

      I hope you’re right about Cantor.

      I don’t think racism is driving the anti-Obama fervor. I think it comes down to more of a general disengagement on points of agreement. That’s one of the basics of negotiating: Find the points of agreement, and get them settled quickly. There’s not so much of that anymore.
      Everything is all about the end-of-the-world if such-and-such doesn’t happen.
      You’d think that most of them had never gotten their way before.

      Also, Texas and other border states have a pretty big R demographic that is minorities.
      Racial animus simply doesn’t come near explaining the anti-O factor.

      OTOH, talk radio, FOX, etc. does.
      But those outlets have to have an audience in the first place.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Will H.
        Ignored
        says:

        The Dixiecrats continued to bedevil the Republican Party for an entire generation. Their children will bedevil the Republican Party until they die. Eventually they’ll be discredited, as all their presidents are eventually discredited, as Nixon was discredited.

        Ronald Reagan called Efrain Rios-Montt a Freedom Fighter.

        The GOP, for all their weepy nostalgia and longing for the Good Old Days, have huge gaps in their collective memory. Every single one of them has backed the wrong side in every single such choice. I believe Bush43 was the jumping-off point for their current manic fugue: they simply can’t cope with reality any longer. It’s just too tough for them to accept the past. Bush43 was so divorced from reality, he lowered taxes and increased borrowing. His domestic policy was limited to gimme tactics such as Medicare Part D, deregulation, the appointment of doctrinaire justices to SCOTUS and unfunded mandates such as No Child Left Behind. What else was there to him? Two wars and the greatest financial disaster in modern times.

        Now the GOP wrings its hands and yells about entitlements. The Sequester has proven a pyrrhic victory: it’s crushing down any hopes of a big GOP win at the next hustings. Obama has proven too wily an opponent: snatching away their arguments, one by one. What do they have left? Pure nihilistic obstructionism.

        “If the day should ever come when we must go, if some day we are compelled to leave the scene of history, we will slam the door so hard that the universe will shake and mankind will stand back in stupefaction…” Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to BlaiseP
      Ignored
      says:

      “The Bush43 years were one long baroque fugue of self-delusion. With McCain’s loss, the Tea Parties exhibited the weirdest temper tantrum in the history of modern politics. Was Obama a Fascist or a Communist? Or was he a Kenyan? Whatever he was — and more importantly, regardless of what he did, Obama could do no good.”

      The model that *all* right-wing propaganda is 100% Freudian projection fits really, really well, on all levels.

      “America’s face has been changing but I’m not sure racism plays a large part in Conservative hatred of Obama and the Democrats. It’s not the same sort of racism, for one. It’s a subtler thing: Obama is the apotheosis of what Scalia would call Racial Entitlement, the notion that people would vote for Obama just because he’s black.”

      I think that this is correct, but perhaps in a different sense – the idea that being black in the USA is an advantage is a ridiculous lie, but I’ll bet that Scalia would assert that, by the time he’s finished a bottle of wine.

      “Conservatives aren’t stuck in the past: it’s a perfectly reasonable sentiment to want to preserve what’s good and true. Conservativism always said “Don’t mess with a working machine”, fending off the intemperate tinkerers. They were once the People of the Big Picture, the Long View and the Little Guy. ”

      I think that you’ve accidentally hit upon one of the important points – we don’t have a conservative party in the GOP, we have a radical revolutionary party. The leadership wants to rip down the last 70 or 100 years. The base supports that, at least up to the point where they get it up the wazoo.Report

    • Avatar Ken in reply to BlaiseP
      Ignored
      says:

      Schizophrenics are often obsessed with particular people or situations

      That was one of my two gut answers to “What spurs the GOP’s Conservative Base.” The big “White Slavery” sign also suggested “substituting crystal meth for thorazine”.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to BlaiseP
      Ignored
      says:

      I grew up in South Florida, and my family lived there since the 1940s. I’m not sure I’d call what most members of my family believe as racism, but it’s a little akin to that and they definitely consider Obama a symbol of the “issue”.

      Basically, their beef is that the Miami (and the state) they grew up in during the 50s thru the early 70s bears no resemblance to what they see now. Spanish is spoken everywhere and they felt like… well, the minority now… in ways they’d never felt in their lives. A profound sense of disconnection that things aren’t the way they used to be, and Obama is a convenient and powerful symbol of all that. It’s racism, but tied more to a significant cultural and social shift, more than skin color.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Ryan Bennett
        Ignored
        says:

        xenophobia. that’s all it is.
        I wish people would call a spade a spade, and not try to shoehorn things into smaller but more conveint boxes. like racism.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Kimmi
          Ignored
          says:

          You’re right. That’s the closest fit, though I assume it’s not used more because a lot of people don’t even know what it means than because they would prefer to use the term racism. Also, I’d say it’s 70/30 xenophobia/racism. I think it would feel a bit different if it was a wave of Irish immigrants they were complaining about.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Ryan Bennett
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        says:

        This is a great comment, Ryan. I hope to pick up on it with a post. May or may not happen due to how busy I presently am, so I wanted to earmark this as a great comment. It’s not always easy to distinguish between the socially acceptable lamentation of a loss of a community’s character, the less acceptable resentment towards those coming in, and unacceptable racism. And I think your last bit is very much on target. To the extent that Obama is a harbinger or exemplar of this shift, it will end up involving him.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          It would be great to see. I think a lot of liberals, myself included, often make the mistake of tarring swaths of conservatives with the racism or bigotry brush, and there is quite a bit of that, but more of it is nostalgia, or melancholy filtered through a system that does its best to convert the momentum of those feelings and ideas into something politically useful. It’s understandable, powerful, but also dangerous.

          I traveled to France 4-5 times over the last 15 years or so and I recall vividly how obvious and out-in-the-open the feelings of loss, and related feelings of resentment were coming from the older native French when confronted by the changes wrought by the influx of North African immigrants. You’d see old French guys sneering openly when a group of young Muslim kids would hop on a metro car, or looks of obvious distaste when people would walk through immigrant neighborhoods. At the time, I remember saying “Wow.. and people say Americans are racist”, but I think that’s wrong. Americans live, still, with the burden of slavery and segregation and we have a long history of dealing (often poorly) with waves of immigration. So, it’s not that those French guys were worse or more racist than us. It’s they just had never had the cultural history of having to deal with these kinds of changes, ever. They didn’t have ways of coping and, more realistically, hiding and channeling their feelings of loss at rapid change they couldn’t control.

          By the way, been reading the site for a few years now, and just started commenting this week, while sitting around back home with my retired dad. Love you guys.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Ryan Bennett
            Ignored
            says:

            I think you are correct here Ryan. Racism is too simplistic and narrow a word to really get at the resentments and dislocation people when they see their world change around them in the way you describe. Certainly there may be an element of bigotry but its not just that.

            Nostalgia is a trap. It was always better back then, for everybody all the time. People often identify their honest affection for what they grew up with as truly good and noble instead of just what they look back on with love because it was what they knew. They can’t tell the difference between the symbol and the substance.
            People who fall for their own nostalgia don’t hear themselves when they look back wistfully on times that, while good in their gauzy memory, really sucked for lots of other people.

            To many people are blind to who was left behind or lived with another’s boot on their throat while they lived their happy youthful life. Admitting others were being held down while they lived out their happy youthful years is to much for many people it seems.Report

            • Avatar Ryan Bennett in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              Louis C.K. handles this whole idea pretty well with a neat joke about time travel – http://youtu.be/TG4f9zR5yzY

              Nostalgia is a trap, and it’s especially powerful when you’re the one on the top of the heap. One line in the joke stuck with me, as a white man. “black people can’t f*ck around with time machines. A black guy in a time machine and he’s like ‘Hey, anything before 1980 and I don’t want to go'”. It made me think a lot more about this idea that things were better in the old days. Maybe they were better… For some of us…Report

  10. Avatar Nemov
    Ignored
    says:

    “Discredited” – “Weepy nostalgia” “manic fugue” “Can’t cope with reality” “Divorced from reality” “nihilistic obstructionism”

    Hide the knives when the GOP inevitably wins the White House in 2016 or 2020.Report

    • Avatar Henshaw in reply to Nemov
      Ignored
      says:

      I should have signed that “Henshaw.” Oops.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Henshaw
        Ignored
        says:

        I’ll let you pull some more line, Henshaw. Factories of evil. Heh heh. When I get around to you, there will be a celebration of sin as you have never yet seen, for I shall show you something you have never yet seen.

        But it is not yet time. Your mouth hasn’t quite outrun your ass, not over here anyway. All in good time, my man.Report

  11. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    During the build-up to the Iraq war, the anti-war left was considered fringe, and ignored. And I’d turn on the nightly news or cable bobble-heads, and see elected members of Congress use the word liberal scornfully; decrying ‘elite liberal media’ on the very media they so decried.

    Yet the liberal left was correct about Iraq, climate change, etc. etc. etc., and we failed to listen to our detriment.

    On the far right side of the spectrum, I hear that our president isn’t a citizen, that the economic crisis was caused by lending money to poor people, that tax cuts generate revenue, that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage, that there’s no such thing as climate change, that there are real Americans and others. . . and they control the debate; the ‘fiscally responsible’ conservative is an illusive voice.

    Somehow, this doesn’t add up; we’ve got a left fringe that should be heard and gets silenced, a right fringe that should be ignored but is controlling much of the debate. The sane center voices of the right have been banned, the fringe voices of the left, and we’re left with a mess my children are paying for with hijacked futures.

    Maybe we’re all just stupid and crazy.Report

  12. Avatar KatherineMW
    Ignored
    says:

    Kohut says there are three factors keeping Republicans from being a truly national political party.

    It’s funny, because I automatically read “national” in this context as being in a geographic sense. And geographically, both parties are national, despite each being stronger in some areas and weaker than others. (This interpretation probably comes from being from Canada, where we have had some pretty major parties in the last couple decades that were strictly regional.)

    But the Republicans not being a national party isn’t in a geographic sense – it’s in a demographic one. Their ability to attract non-white voters – and even their desire to do so – is very limited. And if you can only get support from a single ethnic group – even a majority ethnic group – you’re not really a national party.

    Having two parties that genuinely care about appealing to people of all races/ethnicities would do a lot to improve the current US party system.Report

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