Thursday, February 13, 2014

No One Could Have Predicted

That aggressively recruiting millions of bigots and imbeciles into your party in order to win elections would ever have any downsides.

From TPM:
Republicans Lash Tea Party Groups As Money-Hungry Cynics

It's hard to overstate the animosity that House GOP leaders feel for outside tea party groups these days.

Republicans are bashing conservative activists as a bunch of cynical, money-hungry opportunists after they attacked party leaders for surrendering on the debt limit Tuesday.

"$$$$$$$," emailed one senior Republican aide, who was granted anonymity to respond candidly to the conservative groups.

"Every once in a while," the aide said, "I see a Fire Boehner sponsored tweet, think it's the Dems, notice it's one of them, and realize they are working harder on behalf of liberals than anyone at the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee]."

Within the House GOP, there was a mix of disappointment and resignation, but no overt rebellion against Speaker John Boehner. But outside tea party outfits seized on the fundraising opportunity at GOP leaders' expense. "John Boehner must be replaced as Speaker of the House," declared Matt Hoskins of the Senate Conservatives Fund in a email asking for donations moments after the news broke. The Club For Growth was outraged: "[W]e thought it was a joke. But it's not," said Andy Roth, the group's top congressional lobbyist. "Something is very wrong with House leadership, or with the Republican Party."
From Buzzfeed:
Someone’s Been Sending GOP Lawmakers A Bizarre Threat Over The Debt Ceiling

House Republicans have been getting a weird email in recent weeks: a threat over the debt ceiling vote that’s been sent to the lawmakers’ closely guarded personal email addresses. “It’s got to be another member. Probably one of the crazy ones,” one GOP lawmaker said.
From (Lawd help me) The Washington Examiner:
Senate Conservatives Fund levels harshest attack yet on Mitch McConnell

On Tuesday, the Senate Conservatives Fund called for the ouster of House Speaker John Boehner. Now the SCF, originally founded by Sen. Jim DeMint and run by a close DeMint associate, has launched the harshest attack yet on its No. 1 target, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In a new ad based in part on supposition, misleading reporting, questionable assertions and a single (erroneously cited) poll, the SCF likens McConnell's leadership of the Senate to Internal Revenue Service harassment of conservatives.

Since I am a bad, lazy Liberal blogger I will not bother to link to any of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of posts I and other bad, lazy Liberals have written over the years warning that this day was coming, because frankly, why bother?  The same people who never listened to anything we had to say about anything before will go right not listening, and will go right on being shocked!shocked! when the next, inevitable day of reckoning arrives.

No reference to a children's stories I adapted back in 2005 this time, or my clear, succinct and poetically accurate Dr. Seuss explanation of the Tea Party from back in 2010.  Not even reminder that as far back as 1964, people like Rod Serling were warning that the GOP was making pact with the Devil.

Instead I will indulge myself only slightly with this call-back to one of the many, many predictions made over the years by America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Nostradamus over the years foretelling the demise of the crazy, stupid Liberals and the rise of capable, competent Conservatives:
Competent Conservatives, Reactionary Liberals
JAN 15, 2001
We seem to be entering a period of competent conservatism and reactionary liberalism. George W. Bush has put together a cabinet long on management experience and practical skills. But liberal commentators and activists, their imaginations aflame, seem to be caught in a time warp, back in the days when Norman Lear still had hair.
And this now-mostly-forgotten-except-by-bad-lazy-Liberal-bloggers exchange from election night 2010 (h/t Crook and Liars) between revered Beltway statuary David Gergen and disreputable, potty-mouth Matt Taibbi on the true nature of the then-ascendent Tea Party movement (except, of course, as longtime readers know, There. Is. No. Tea Party.):
Every election year since 2004, Rolling Stone has David Gergen and Peter Hart dissecting the election results, and this year they add Matt Taibbi to the mix. Taibbi (shown in a recent video) says what he thinks about the teabaggers and Gergen is horrified:
Gergen: If it were not for the extra boost of enthusiasm the Tea Party provided, I imagine the Republicans would have won only 40 to 50 seats, instead of the 60-plus they gained. But the Tea Party also makes it harder in the future for Republicans to maintain a coherent party. Matt is right that they will have a large voice in the nomination process in 2012. But one cannot discount that someone could arise, as Reagan did in the past, who can bridge the differences within the party and keep people united.

Taibbi: To me, the main thing about the Tea Party is that they're just crazy. If somebody is able to bridge the gap with those voters, it seems to me they will have to be a little bit crazy too. That's part of the Tea Party's litmus test: "How far will you go?"

Gergen: I flatly reject the idea that Tea Partiers are crazy. They had some eccentric candidates, there's no question about that. But I think they represent a broad swath of the American electorate that elites dismiss to their peril.

Hart: I agree with David. When two out of five people who voted last night say they consider themselves supporters of the Tea Party, we make a huge mistake to suggest that they are some sort of small fringe group and do not represent anybody else.

Taibbi: I'm not saying that they're small or a fringe group.

Gergen: You just think they're all crazy.

Taibbi: I do.

Gergen: So you're arguing, Matt, that 40 percent of those who voted last night are crazy?

Taibbi: I interview these people. They're not basing their positions on the facts — they're completely uninterested in the facts. They're voting completely on what they see and hear on Fox News and afternoon talk radio, and that's enough for them.

Gergen: The great unwashed are uneducated, so therefore their views are really beneath serious conversation?

Taibbi: I'm not saying they're beneath serious conversation. I'm saying that these people vote without acting on the evidence.

Gergen: I find it stunning that the conversation has taken this turn. I disagree with the Tea Party on a number of issues, but it misreads who they are to dismiss them as some kind of uneducated know-nothings who have somehow seized power in the American electorate. It is elitist to its core. We would all be better off if we spent more time listening to each other rather than simply writing them off.

Hart: I agree. The point here is that the Obama administration would be at their own peril to somehow misread this as a fringe, unacceptable group of people. This is a huge portion of the electorate, and they represent a core within the Republican Party...
To point and laugh is not enough.
But when pointing and laughing is what you have, it's what you do.


CM said...

What an interesting exchange between Matt Taibbi and those toe fools. Not once does Matt say that tea partiers are uneducated or that they should not be taken seriously. But these two fools completely ignore what Matt is saying. It must be frustrating to argue with these fools.

marindenver said...

"They had some eccentric candidates, there's no question about that."

The level of denial going on here is awesome. In a bad way.

RoninMichigan said...

Thanks again DG. I for one have never read this exchange between Mr. Taibbi and the two "elitist". Unfortunately it's par for the course when speaking to conservatives about facts. And Mr. Taibbi's assessment, as well as your own, of the Tea Party has been spot on since day one.

gratuitous said...

What CM said. Taibbi makes objectively factual statements about the Tea Baggers, and Gergen consistently rephrases what Taibbi has just said to knock down a point Taibbi never made. Taibbi patiently declares, "I'm not saying" whatever it is Gergen's trying to stuff into his mouth, and then tries saying it again, like you would with a particularly dense 8 year old. Gergen proves he's denser than that, though.

Me? I'd want to slug Gergen, so it's probably best that Taibbi is there to point out the glaringly obvious, even if Gergen and Hart are immune to such.

Yastreblyansky said...

"the SCF likens McConnell's leadership of the Senate to Internal Revenue Service harassment of conservatives"

You realize, don't you, the two do have a lot in common: both don't exist.

steeve said...

"one senior Republican aide, who was granted anonymity to respond candidly to the conservative groups"

Why the hell would this guy need anonymity? Could it be that he continues to demands the votes of these idiots? Could it be that he knows that his bosses will lose if the maximum amount of irredeemable morons doesn't vote for them?

Nice to see them admitting it to themselves, I guess. Settles that whole evil/stupid thing.

Unsalted Sinner said...

I highly recommend Taibbi's own musings about his debate with Gergen:

Let's just say that a certain NYT centrist makes an unexpected appearance...

Fiddlin Bill said...

Thanks very much for reposting that dialog between Gergen and Tabbi. It's a fantastic example of the emperor's clothes problem. There was a time not so long ago when basically everyone with eyes and common sense would have immediately agreed with Tabbi. They made many movies on this theme in the '40s and '50s. The most obvious is "Face in the Crowd," but "Flamingo Road" and "All the Kings Men" also come to mind. All three of these titles and many many more presume that much of the electorate is easily manipulated. It was a commonplace. And it is--obviously--still presumed by insiders. See, e.g., Mr. Christie. For some reason (hummmmmm??) the media elite these days want to distract the public from this very worrisome feature of our democratic process--that uneducated voters will vote crazy.