Saturday, September 30, 2017

The People's Front of Republicanism

Another in my long-running series on Republican Detachment Disorder.

These days you can't throw yourself down a flight of stairs without landing in the front row of the ongoing comic opera that is The People's Front of Republicanism as they belligerently insist that the Republican People's Front aren't real Republicans.

From Michael Gerson's disquisition in The Washington Post on the rise of Roy Moore which acts as if Moore had just precipitated out of thin air instead of -- just like Trump -- being the perfectly logical and predictable destination of Mr. Gerson's Republican party based on where it has been plainly going for the past 40 years --
No, Moore is not really a theonomist. The boundaries of his worldview, it turns out, almost exactly coincide with those of the Breitbart agenda. Moore’s study of divine law has led him, in the end, to the shabby, third-rate gospel of Stephen K. Bannon.
-- to the going's on at my own state capitol --

-- it is clear that the "No True Scotsman" protocol is in effect party-wide.

I even listened to the latest episode of "With Friends Like These" to see if  the assertion made to me by Ana Marie Cox was actually true:

I listened very carefully.  I made many notes.   And I reached several conclusions.

First, upspeaking the end of your sentences a couple of times to indicate a slightly increasing level of dubiety does not rise to the level of not letting Mr. Steele off the hook.  Not even close.

Second, if you think slightly upspeaking the end of a couple of sentences actually means you are holding a Republican accountable for the nonsense they're peddling,  maybe that explains why we Liberals lose so goddamn much.

Third, according to Mr. Steele, the reason he is a Republican is that, back in 1977, while living in a home with a dynamite mom (I have a dynamite mom too, so at least we have that in common) and pictures of JFK, MLK and Jesus on the wall, he researched the party and discovered that Harriet Tubman was pretty cool.  So he decided that he wanted to join the Republican it existed in 1893.

Beyond that, the simple, irreducible truth is that Mr. Steele has made a very comfortable life for himself fronting for a party of racists, con men, theocrats, gun nuts, xenophobes, imbeciles, misogynists, demagogues and assorted other malfunctioning humans and he will go right on doing so as long as A) the checks clear and, B) he can continue to hold himself suspended in a dissociative state of denial, dissembling and dismissal.

So here we go...

Like virtually every other Republican I know, Mr. Steele hides the indefensible absurdity of his political position behind a welter of vainglorious bullshit (rush transcript from Ms. Cox's podcast) --
Steele:  I've run into the racism.  I've dealt with the bullshit.  All that.  But I also look at what I have been able to do in the party.  I also look at what I have been able to accomplish.  And the voice that I can try to represent on some critical issues at critical times.
-- and Both Siderist nonsense in which, again, like virtually ever fucking Republican in Christendom, he keeps attributing distinctly Republican malice and depravity to "Congress" and "politicians" and "the voters" and "the people" and "us" and "the country".

And, conversely, Mr. Steele inclusively absorbs distinctly non-Republican actions and attitudes into the category of things "we" are doing.

"We" had this march on Washington. "We" elected a black president.  And so "we" dumbed ourselves down about being post-racial, and "we" don't want to talk about "it".  

Not since "A Rose for Emily" has the second-person plural voice worked this hard:
Steele: This is what happened to Hillary and the Democrats. They were so concerned with the polls and the statistics and "the country" was, like, we're not feelin' her.  We're not feelin' that.  We're not over here where you think we are. 
See, according to Mr. Steele, polls don't count and numbers are meaningless because "real people" lie to pollsters all the time.  In fact, black people will vote in large numbers to cut their own economic throats "just to fuck with you."  Because Political Correctness!

But what about factors like the GOP's massive, coordinated, well-financed program of voter suppression?
Steele:  You say voter suppression on the Republican side.  I say voter control on the Democratic side.  It works on Both Sides. I'm beyond excuse-making.  I want to get to why things don't work the way we want it to work.
And of course, inevitably, this...
Steele: The president is much more of a Democrat than he is a Republican.  He's not a Republican. He's certainly not a Conservative.
It went on and on like that, most of so howlingly, predictably preposterous in all the ways that all Republican Detachment Disorderlies are howlingly, predictably preposterous these days that any of it could have been easily knocked to bits and vivisected, live, on-stage, if that had been Ms. Cox's goal.  

But Mr. Steele is a dear friend of hers.  The man she called for coffee and consolation the day after President Stupid was elected.  So she let one slow pitch after another glide over the plate untouched.

I promised Ms. Cox (whose podcast I listen to fairly regularly even though she doesn't listen to mine)  to hear her out before critiquing her efforts.

I have now kept my promise.

In summary, my opinion of Mr. Steele was not budged one iota from where it was back in the Olden Days when Lower Manhattanite would make mock of Mr. Steele's hi-larious hijinks.  

Republican Detachment Disorder: Michael Steele, Patient Zero

While some scientists believe that Republican Detachment Disorder is a Trump-era affliction, in fact, the RDD pre-dates the rise of Il Douche by many years.

For example, back in 2010, between excursions to bondage-themed strip clubs and lecturing George Stephanopoulos that government jobs aren't real jobs, Michael Steele -- the RNC's "Break Glass in Case the Democrats Elect a Black Guy" desperation-hire -- was faced with a vexing demographic problem:  98% of African-Americans hated the Republican party.

And like his predecessor (Ken Mehlman, a closeted, self-loathing gay American who fronted for the virulently anti-gay party) Mr. Steele (a self-loathing African-American who fronted for the racist party.  Are you noticing a pattern?) was forced by the existence of well-documented historical fact (man, those were the days) to acknowledge the existence of something called "The Southern Strategy".

Steele: African-Americans 'Really Don't Have A Reason' To Vote GOP

Appearing Tuesday at DePaul University in Chicago, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said that the Republican Party has not given African-Americans a reason to vote for them.

"You really don't have a reason to, to be honest -- we haven't done a very good job of really giving you one. True? True," said Steele, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Steele said how the Republican party had been founded as a pro-civil rights party, with Frederick Douglass among its early members. However, Steele explained, the Republican Party has alienated those voters: "For the last 40-plus years we had a 'Southern Strategy' that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South...
However, Mr. Steele quickly added that the GOP's racism had ended long before his time:
...Well, guess what happened in 1992, folks, 'Bubba' went back home to the Democratic Party and voted for Bill Clinton."
And yet based on the long, grim-faced sad I just saw Mr. Steele having on MSNBC this morning (no video available yet), like herpes, all of the seething racism that powers the GOP and somehow magically disappeared during Mr. Steele's time as a party leader...

...has magically reappeared now that he has left!

How amazing!

You see, RDD appears in many forms.

Sometimes it is of the relapsing/remitting Michael Steele variety in which party loyalty (and unhinged Liberals bashing) appears and disappears depending on who is footing the bill.

Sometimes it a mass pandemic event like the "Tea Party" in which millions of life-long Republican racists who were eager to get a jump on hating the Kenyan Usurper from Day One without having to answer a lot of embarrassing questions about all the shit they had been talking for the previous eight years, all burned their "Bush/Cheney 04" lawn signs, put on funny hats and swore on the lives of their children that they had never even heard of Dubya.  Just look at their fucking tee-shirts!  These good ol' boys are obviously Constitutional Conservative Christian Libertarian Independent Patriots, so why would you come 'round here callin' 'em Re-publicans.

What are ya, ignernt!

See like all Republican cowards tragically afflicted with RDD, the madness into which the GOP has been steadily descending for the last 40 years is never, ever about them.  Never about the things they said and did, the abominations they countenanced, the beasts they helped tinker together and turn loose.

The blame is always laid at the feet of some other group of irresponsible Republican elites waaaay over there.

Some other group of craven Republican bigots who let us all down.

Oh, and the Kenyan Usurper.

Who pals around with terrorists and works tirelessly to destroy Murrica.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is accusing President Obama of intentionally weakening America at home and abroad. 

“It’s now abundantly clear: Barack Obama has deliberately weakened America,” Rubio said early Monday during a speech on national security at the American Legion in Hooksett, N.H.
And Hillary Clinton, of course.

And should be locked up.

There are no more party insiders or outsiders or victims or naifs on the Right any more.

There are only those who long ago walked away from Omelas or refused to live there in the first place, and those who stayed and profited because deep down they either do not care about the bigotry and sadism that powers their party, or they just plain revel in it.

On the Right there are only collaborators, co-conspirators and quislings now, and as Brother Charlie Pierce notes, Trump bought them all at fire-sale prices:
Last Night Chris Christie Had the Living Definition of a Shit-Eating Grin on His Face

Trump owns them all now.

CLEVELAND, OHIO—Once the deed was done, and folks were filtering out to celebrate the elevation of He, Trump to the toppermost of the poppermost of the Republican Party, it was time for the Volksgerichtshof portion of the festivities. One after another, the establishment pols came rolling out to pledge their undying fealty to the new boss. I'm surprised that He, Trump let them keep their belts on so their pants wouldn't fall down...

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Loony Liberal said...

The mainstream media's idea of holding Republicans' feet to the fire is to eat up Republican talking points like they're a five-course meal at a five-star restautant.

eddie blake said...

"voter control"

WTF is that shit?

is a black guy actually saying that black people are stupid and have been DUPED into voting democratic?!?

that's some strong fucking kool-aid.

Andrew Johnston said...

@eddie blake:

Well, if voter suppression consists of laws aimed at disenfranchising black voters, then "voter control," the equal and opposite evil, must consist of laws aimed at forcing enfranchising black people and making them vote Democratic under penalty of law. Otherwise, the comparison would be ridiculous.

D. said...

Steele: African-Americans 'Really Don't Have A Reason' To Vote GOPGee, and he figured that out 7 years ago!Pardon my guffaws. He's slow on the uptake.

Kent Fisher said...

You've got way more patience than me, Driftglass. I enjoyed the Crooked Media podcasts for a while, but they pretty much only bring on people who don't need any more of platform, and never challenge them. I do still listen to Pod Save the People, but the rest are just a continual disappointment. And the Double-X gabfest seems real cozy with Ross Douthat, someone else who already *has* a big platform, so why do I need him shitting up my podcatcher? Go ProLeft!!

Robt said...

Just taking in everything since 2017 as a stand alone.

Doesn't it all just make you want to be republican and get yourself a MAGA yamika.....Because God.....

Jim Jones said...

I think the interview with Steele and Cox shows a fundamental difference between you and the Beltway establishment.

The members of the Beltway establishment think of the people they are talking to as colleagues and that the situation we are in is a temporary problem that will soon pass and they will have to work with each other afterwards.

You, on the other hand(as you have mentioned on your podcast more than once) that the only way forward is to completely destroy the Republican Party.

Very different perspectives which produce very different results.

trgahan said...

Concerning Axios/Steele/et al.:

Just what do we think all these Never Trumpers!/Conservative, but not Republican/etc. are going to do when there is no Trump? If Democrats retake the White House in 2020, do we honestly think they will remember all these 'uncomfortable' conservations with coffee buddies about needing to work together?

These are the people that, once Obama had stabilized THEIR section of the economy, turned their guns on his administration lead by such Crooked Media BFF's like Rick Tea-Party-Architect Wilson.

Voters who hide behind these conmen have already shown they'd rather have disastrous Bush/Trump administration with obstruction and dysfunction under Obama than have Democrats lead ANYTHING.

Let's have THAT uncomfortable conversation.

jim said...

Off the hook & free as a bird.

The Bannonoid mantra "deconstruction of the administrative state" is suspiciously identical to the one that Steele ghosted into legitimacy at the RNC by his suave sanity mimicry while his party's Window-Licking Demographic took over... the timing of his (& many many of his comrades') sudden angst is amazingly convenient.

"First they came for reality itself..."
Kulturkampf degrades, & Total Kulturkampf degrades totally.

Paul Coppock said...

I think it's the first, not the second, person plural that's doing most of the work here. Plus it's not a "voice."