Five Points to the Republicans


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58 Responses

  1. Mike Schilling says:

    Yeah, they’re learning. Good on them.Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    Now let’s see if the GOP will actually do more for Hispanos than read them Pablo Neruda love poems. Yeah. Rand Paul. What a dork.Report

  3. KatherineMW says:

    Good. They’re starting to figure things out.Report

  4. Burt Likko says:

    Indeed. Boehner did the right thing and Congressman Young did apologize.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Indeed indeed. To me, that is a bit less noteworthy because ultimately these guys always offer an apology of one form or another. What stood out and ran counter to expectations, or at least my expectations, was the response of the party leaders, which is why I focused primarily on that.Report

      • Michelle in reply to Kazzy says:

        Young’s comments do serious damage to the Republicans’ efforts to court the Latino vote. If leadership didn’t say something about them, they could pretty much give up the fight. While I’m glad leadership spoke up, let’s not pretend that there weren’t major political motivations for doing so.Report

  5. Tod Kelly says:

    It’s a pretty low bar, but yeah… good job.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Man, I was feelin pretty good about the Gran Ole Party till you said that. Thanks alot, Tod.

      But, then again, you’re right. “Wetbacks” hasn’t been kosha since the seventies. Eighties at the latest. Good on Boehner to call him on it.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

        It is by no means a home run. But this is what liberals (and some conservatives) have been calling on the GOP to do. And they did it. At least this time. It’d be wrong to ignore that.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

          If Boehner’s actions have any moral worth, it’s an act of self-policing. So the issue is entirely internal to the GOP. Having a bunch of liberals (and libertarians!) chime in with Kudos is irrelevant. And in fact counterproductive. It gives the appearance that only appearances matter.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

            But the GOP has been roundly criticized for failing or refusing to self-police. We need not throw them a parade for doing something they should have been doing all along, but I think it appropriate to acknowledge it.

            If we want things to get better, this seems as good a place to start as any. I mean, this is an issue it now appears both sides can largely agree on: don’t call Mexicans and other migrant laborers from Central or South America wetbacks. PROGRESS!Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

              Well, when you say it like that I can’t help but agree. It really is Progress!

              On a more negative note, tho, it’s noteworthy that Boehner’s noteworthy condemnation of the term “wetback” by a fellow GOPer is noteworthy. As Tod said, it’s a pretty low bar. In my book, they haven’t risen to the level of praise just yet.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Stillwater says:

            The common complaint among Republicans and conservatives in general has been that they do the right thing and get no credit for it, so what’s the point? (Admittedly, “Why do the right thing unless there’s something in it for me?” is an odd question coming from the ones who claim to be all about values.) So if giving them kudos will encourage them to behave better, I’m happy to.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              I’d rather have them be honest amongst themselves than catering to what other people think of them. Same for liberals. If Boehner wants to object to what the rest of us think of as dehumanizing language, then good on him. But he shouldn’t be doing so because of anything liberals have to say about it.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Stillwater says:

                This is like some owner proudly telling his guests he’s trained his dog to finally defecate in the back yard. They still haven’t quite trained the GOP to quit talking about rape and they certainly haven’t gotten them to treat abortion as a woman’s right to choose — but hey, they’re finally scolding each other about the use of terms like “wetback”.

                Hoo boy. It’s a start, I suppose.Report

              • Matty in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I think there’s a difference between advocating a policy on abortion that you (and I) disagree with and insulting people.Report

              • KatherineMW in reply to Matty says:


              • BlaiseP in reply to Matty says:

                “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.”

                State Del. Bob Marshall (R-VA)

                Let’s just put it this way, Matty. The GOP isn’t exactly the Party of Science. We are dealing with an institution where nothing changes until grown children corner their parents and tell them to quit saying stupid shit in front of the grandchildren.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:


                It’s hard to know if they are motivated by saving face or if these folks have finally come to their senses. I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt with an eye towards seeing things improve.

                I realize fully and entirely I might be wrong and we might see more nonsense next week. But this week appears nonsense free. And that’s a good thing.Report

  6. zic says:

    Common sense would suggest this is not how you build coalitions; it’s tribal speakage. But speakage is only a playing pieces of politics; policy is the product. And it’s the policy that counts. Apologizing for being rude is good. Having to be prompted to recognize you’ve been rude puts it into the realm of Kazzy’s posts on social norms; socializing children to norms is acceptable, socializing adults who reveal their outside-the-norm tribal norms I find a bit more troublesome.

    The GOP gets another chance; but it’s the revelation of the shift of norms within the tribe that I’m looking for as a mark of progress.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to zic says:


      This is a great point. If this is the only positive step they take then we ought to still criticize the entire body of work. But change has to start somewhere. This might signal a certain “coming to their senses” moment, which would be undoubtedly good. If this is signs of future policy change or leads to policy change, all the better. We should not give them credit for *that* yet, but we should for what they did do, which is a small but not meaningless good act.Report

      • zic in reply to Kazzy says:


        The thing that troubles me the most here is the failure to recognize responsibility. Remember Patreus’s affair? The problem there wasn’t that he had an affair, but that he had a position of responsibility that should have, responsibly, led him to understand his position moved him above having an affair. The job he held created a higher standard for him.

        I’d hold the same is true of people elected to represent us in Congress. They represent all of us; they represent their tribe still; but with that is a responsibility to represent members beyond their tribe, to work toward was of balancing interests for both their ‘inside’ group and all groups.

        That so many officials fail to recognize this is bothersome. That understanding that we’re all Americans, and all have a seat at the table has gotten lost, and it’s the message, not ‘don’t speak like this,’ that needs to be emphasized. It’s like teaching children ‘sorry’ so that it becomes an admission of guilt instead of an expression of sympathy.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to zic says:

          I think that the GOP leaders did acknowledge this, at least verbally.

          Boehner referred to it as “…beneath the dignity of the office he holds.”
          Cornyn said, “Migrant workers come to America looking for opportunity and a way to provide a better life for their families. They do not come to this country to hear ethnic slurs and derogatory language from elected officials. The comments used by Rep. Young do nothing to elevate … the millions who come here looking for economic opportunity.”

          To me, that shows a certain amount of “getting it” that defies expectations, which were indeed absurdly low… too low… Their statements weren’t just, “This looks bad… let’s walk it back.” They spoke specifically to the high expectations we should have for elected officials and discussed the impact on the targets of the slur and the lack of dignity showed them. Hell, that is better than some of the responses Democrats have put out when their own have erred.Report

    • Rod Engelsman in reply to zic says:

      Apologizing for being rude is good. Having to be prompted to recognize you’ve been rude puts it into the realm of Kazzy’s posts on social norms; socializing children to norms is acceptable, socializing adults who reveal their outside-the-norm tribal norms I find a bit more troublesome.

      Perhaps it’s telling that this OP came from Kazzy, an educator of small children. It’s the kind of response that he’s accustomed to giving because in his milieu, it actually is the correct response from the adults.

      It’s pretty frickin’ sad that we need to socialize these people like they were pre-schoolers.Report

  7. Rod Engelsman says:

    I don’t see where they deserve anything like praise for just not doing the kind of thing they shouldn’t have been doing all along. It’s like praising someone for not coming home drunk and beating his wife and kids. For once.

    To me, the appropriate response would seem to be quiet acknowledgement followed by a wait and see attitude. Just don’t make a big deal out of it, because it shouldn’t be a big deal. It should be normal, unexceptional, business as usual. The only reason it seems extra-ordinary is because for that crowd it hasn’t been BAU.

    But it would also be inappropriate and counter-productive to say something like, “Ok, great. But what about all those other times, huh? Huh!!??”Report

    • zic in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      It’s like praising someone for not coming home drunk and beating his wife and kids. For once.

      Space Awesome.Report

    • LWA in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      I was about to compare it to Chris Rock’s routine about that, wanting praise for simply not doing evil. But Rod beat me to it.

      Instead, lets remember that it was only couple decades or so ago when Republicans, even in closed doors and private settings would have chastised a member for using that term.

      Although Boehner’s admonishment is a nice sign, it only reflects how far the party has fallen over the past years, and become the sort of party that Reagan and Goldwater would have scorned, and been scorned by.Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to LWA says:

        Maybe someday someone will explain to me why Goldwater, who opposed the Civil Rights Act and apparently out-hawked LBJ on Vietnam, is held up as some kind of paragon.

        The Reagan thing I just chalk up to nostalgia, since I know enough of his words and policies to see what he was. The man who came up with welfare queen in Cadillacs as a political tactic and defined his foreign policy as a binary struggle between good and evil would be perfectly at home in today’s GOP.Report

        • zic in reply to KatherineMW says:

          This left me smiling.

          Playing devil’s advocate (devil, perhaps, being a bit too literal in this case):

          The welfare queens in Cadillacs came from Lee Atwater. Both Atwater and Goldwater apologized and asked forgiveness before they died. Perhaps that’s what’s meant? It’s okay to be bad, just don’t forget to beg forgiveness on your deathbed? Or maybe this only applies to folks whose names include ‘water;’ for it conflicts with Reagan, who forgot to beg forgiveness before his death, a forgivable oversight (the begging forgiveness, that is) considering his illness.

          The GOP has conflicted role-model behaviors on the topic It’s no wonder they’re confused, and no doubt they need to find a way to wash away their sins.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

            After Reagan’s deposition in Iran/Contra, where he conveniently forgot ever-thang about selling arms to our enemies and lying to America about it all, that he would die of Alzheimer’s Disease was sheer poetic justice. If ever there was a man who should have been charged with treason, it was Ronald Reagan.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to KatherineMW says:

          Reagan’s infamous Neshoba County Fair speech was truly outrageous. A strapping young buck buying t-bone steaks with food stamps.

          Reagan opposed the establishment of MLK Day. He turned up at Bob Jones University, a great bastion of white-itude, as has pretty much every GOP candidate since. Romney didn’t visit but the Bob Jones crowd saw past his heretical views and endorsed him anyway.

          Reagan was the very worst sort of racist, what the Germans called Mitläufer, that genteel sort of condescending, the wink ‘n nod and sly words behind a raised hand. Reagan liked being a Good Old Boy. Old he was. Good he was not.Report

        • Not that this exonerates Goldwater of anything, but toward the end of his life, he came out in favor of gays being able to serve in the military.Report

        • NewDealer in reply to KatherineMW says:

          I simply think that left-leaning Americans (basically people in the Democratic Party) and right-leaning Americans (basically people in the Republican Party) have very different notions of freedom and liberty.

          As far as I can tell, right-leaning Americans think of freedom and liberty largely in terms of economic/business freedom and freedom from taxes and regulation. It is a freedom based largely on the myth of rugged individualism. Goldwater’s allegedly noble (but actually shameful) opposition to the Civil Rights Act was not because he supported racism but because he opposed the Federal Government telling people how to conduct their lives. This is something that makes most liberals roll their eyes.

          This came up again recently when a Koch-brother backed Think Tank labeled North Dakota the most free state despite their recently enacted and ultra-restrictive anti-abortion laws:

          Left-leaning Americans generally seem more concerned about the freedom to be free from discrimination and bigotry and fully participate in civil life. And as I pointed out numerous times here and elsewhere, we see no contradiction between a society that supports civil liberty and social liberty and one with a robust and healthy welfare state.

          I think every American politician understands that they have to work with in the same basic framework of democracy and talking about freedom/liberty. It is very rare to hear someone talk about how we need less freedom unless they are some kind of contrarian member of the chattering classes. So we just end up using freedom and liberty to mean two very different things.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

            The Mercatus ranking system is problematic, though so is that Prospect article. (Gosh, I don’t know where I would have gotten the idea that coastal-types look down on the midlanders.)Report

            • NewDealer in reply to Will Truman says:

              Well I don’t know how you can talk about a place being the most free when it is rather not friendly for minorities and enacts extremely restrictive anti-abortion laws.

              It is a rather narrow definition of freedomReport

              • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

                That part is certainly fair (I wasn’t criticizing that, I agree that the list is flawed).

                It didn’t end with criticism of the laws, though. It’s rather dripping with a more general disdain.Report

              • NewDealer in reply to Will Truman says:

                I think the disdain is more at the Mercatus Center and Koch brothers than anything else.

                Though we all read disdain in our political opposites. What you read into the American Prospect, I can read into the National Review, Sarah Palin, Fox News, etc crowd.Report

              • trumwill mobile in reply to NewDealer says:

                Start with the title of the article. Read what it says about the states in question. Even if you ignore the (not invalid) criticisms of the law and of Mercatus, it’s a pretty snotty piece.Report

  8. Brandon Berg says:

    Quick question for those making the “It’s about time!” comments: What was the last comparable incident that was met with a significantly different response?Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Not at all long ago, there was “slut” and “whore” being condemend strongly with “Those aren’t the words I would use.” As far as I know, none of them said anything about Dr. Ben Carson’s comparing gays to child and animal abusers on Hannity’s show, and that was only a few days ago.Report

  9. MikeSchilling says:

    Next step: stop thinking that all wetb…, I mean Latinos, look alike .Report

  10. George Turner says:

    What an earth does this have to do with Latinos? He’s from Alaska. Up there the immigrants (wetbacks) are Canadian, so named because they always work up a sweat clubbing seals.Report