Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pardon Our Venting. Mood Under Construction.

Your basic page under construction GIF, for comedyI've been chatting with Twin about the Man Who Will Be Senator Forever Since You Bastards Wouldn't Give Him The Presidency He So Richly Deserved After All Of His Service And By The Way Have You Forgotten THAT HE WAS A POW, and well, why should Twin have to absorb all of my bile, even if he did ask for it? So here is your chat transcript (leaked from GangOfJournolist12).

Originally Posted by TwinSwords

Key graf:

"... McCain has noticeably veered right on issues ..."

[TPM link]

Originally Posted by bjkeefe

Yep. Been noticing this for a while now.


Originally Posted by TwinSwords

So, even if the tea party candidate loses, we end up with a Republican Party that's to the right of where it was before. Right? Or is McCain sui generis? Or another possibility, is McCain not really moving to the right, but only paying lip service to the tea baggers?

Originally Posted by bjkeefe

My first reaction when I saw the poll numbers and how far he is ahead of Hayworth was: So why did you have to lurch so far to the right, Mr. So-Called Maverick Who Puts Country First? Fuck you, your craven careerism, and your junkie's need for the spotlight.

But you know what? Ever since the early 2000s, when it became clear that McCain was laying the groundwork for another run, after getting beaten on his right by W, I have had no respect for him expect [corr: except] in a Machiavellian sense: (1) he knows he owns the Villagers, (2) no matter how far right he campaigns, he knows he'll be able to get a good chunk of low-info voters and bonehead "I hate the divisiveness" centrists, precisely because of (1), (3) he knows he will never be able to get most of the left, no matter what he does, due to the (R) after his name, so he's figured out a working strategy that has kept him in office since 1982.

As to how much more St. John will stay to the right once safely ensconced for another six years, well, I would ask, how much further could he go? I can't think of a single damn thing he's done to buck the party line on any issue of any importance since McCain-Feingold and some decade-old talking points on immigration reform.

I wanted Hayworth to win because I figured he'd be easier to beat in the general, and that if he got past that, then he'd be an better face of the GOP to go after once he was in office. I am sick beyond words of the phoniness of John McCain and how so few in the MSM will ever call him on it, and that's not even taking into account his disgraceful choice of St. Sarah for a running mate.

P.S. I wanted to double-check that 1982 date, and while Googling, I happened across this more tempered view (via someone who belongs in that previous paragraph): Dick Polman's "The tragedy of John McCain." A good read, that may help you understand where the bug up my ass came from, should you care, and worth it for other reasons, as well.

(pic. source)

As it happened, Twin took a break from the back and forth above (due to "work" or some shit) and then when he came back, to see my message requesting his permission to share the above, he had in mind a new line he wanted to pursue. Since this is my blog and I wanted to have the last word, because that's how I do I'd like to encourage others to jump in, I have posted Twin's next response in the Comments. Pile in! Or on!


Brendan said...

The following was sent to me via PM by TwinSwords.

Okay -- the stuff I'm about to write probably won't fit your blog theme so you probably won't want to include it in your post.

First of all, you have correctly anticipated that my original point in sending the McCain story from TPM was to illustrate that the effect of the tea party is to continue -- indeed, accelerate -- the Republican Party's (and, consequently, the nation's) decades-long trend of moving further and further to the right.

Did you happen to see any posts in the leftosphere recently about the Republican Party platform of 1956? It really illustrated dramatically the change that has taken place in this country over the last 2 or 3 generations. And even given these already dramatic changes, the tea party movement is now taking the country significantly further to the right. In some cases tea party insurgents are knocking off Republican incumbents (Florida, Nevada, and elsewhere), and in the rest of the cases, as in Arizona, they are radicalizing the incumbents so that even if the incumbents win, they are committed (rhetorically, at least) to more extreme forms of conservatism.

I thought we had reached an intolerable extreme under Bush/Cheney, with their draconian police state policies, attacks on the regulatory structure, economic policies intended to enrich the rich while undermining unions and middle class incomes, and on and on and on. And now it turns out that the Bush/Cheney administration was considered almost socialist. The new standard for the Republican Party is substantially to the right of even Bush/Cheney.

The reason I return to this point is that for a year or more you and I have been discussing the impact of the tea parties and the conservative trend towards extremism. My position, as you've characterized it, is that these are the "end times" for the US, politically. Your position, as I've understood it, is that "the more right the Republicans move, the better it is for us." But I really disagree. Not only are the teabaggers pulling the Republican establishment to the right, but they are setting the national agenda and dragging the Democrats to the right along with them. All in all, I don't see anything positive or favorable about it, and I think these trends are deeply alarming and serious cause for concern. We're just a few steps shy, now, of dropping the "proto" from the fascism and ending up with a kind of state like Franco's Spain or Pinochet's Chile -- not identical in every respect, but in many respects.

I continue to hope that you're right and I'm wrong, but I don't see any evidence that this is working out to our advantage. I guess we'll know more and be better able to judge the real impact of the teabaggers following the November elections. Right now it looks like it's going to be a major route of our party, which is going to have a significant impact on how far left future Democratic politicians are willing to tread.

Brendan said...


As you note, we've had this core disagreement for some time now: whether we're doomed to have a government that continues sliding ever more to the right (your view), or whether the sliding to the right by the GOP provides its own constraint, in that ultimately, the country as a whole will reject their wingnuttiness and be fine (my view).

There are some ways in which we could say the country (or its ruling class, at least) has moved right, at least semi-permanently. Comparing the GOP of today to the GOP of Ike's day is one of them.

On the other hand, as long as we're defining those two points, I'd observe that the Democrats over the same time span have rid themselves of a big chunk of what we could loosely call their conservative wing. The Dixiecrats and their descendents are pretty much all Republicans now, for one. And for another, consider some specific issues, like a woman's right to make her own medical decisions, and civil rights for gays and lesbians. Most of those who would deny such rights have also left our big tent, and good riddance.

To your point about teabagger insurgents knocking off Republican incumbents, I would say I am not too worried. As with the thought of Hayworth replacing McCain, I don't see much difference, and to recall a good line from 2008, it doesn't matter how furiously a wingnut pulls the voting lever, it still only counts as one vote.

To the extent that some incumbent Republicans manage to stave off a primary challenge, but do so only by going even farther to their right, well, two things that I've already said. (1) How much farther can the typical incumbent Republican move to his or her right, at this point? Who among them in office right now has even the slightest interest in working with Obama for the betterment of this country? Besides none of them? And (2) the more extreme the GOP looks, the more casual voters start paying attention and start getting nervous.

I won't be at all surprised if the GOP picks up a lot of seats in 2010, but I think that's going to be far more due to the crappy economy than it is to some permanent groundswell of teabaggery. I don't see any hope for their long-term staying power when all they've got to sell is unfocused anger and race-based and other phobic uneasiness. And further, most of them are old, and as far as I can tell from glancing at polling data from time to time, the kids are still all right. And so are the new citizens, by and large.

The only way the GOP can get back to holding power is to change their agenda and their style to something more palatable to the inherent decency of the middle 80% of this country. Right now, people are fretting about personal economic concerns, and it's natural that a lot of them have little more to suggest than "throw the bums out." Of course they tell pollsters they're not happy about the course the country is on, or Obama's job performance, or whatever. But they for sure aren't gonna like the new bums any better, and they'll probably like them even less.