You may not find it odd that I haven’t yet said anything about the ongoing race for the GOP primary, but I do. After all, I talk about politics all the time, and every media outlet has something about the nomination fight up on an ongoing basis. I don’t know if there’s any particular reason I haven’t felt like writing about it – I’ve certainly been following it. If anyone’s curious about my thoughts on the whole situation, I’ll try to provide them to you briefly.
1. Everyone in the race is the worst human being I’ve ever seen
I have a strong dislike for conservative ideology. I have an even stronger dislike for whatever you call the Republican ideology. The Republican party resembles to me a wholly-owned subsidiary of feckless pandering to the worst and least informed instinct in all of us, and naked avarice. While it has become fashionable to say “well both parties are bought and paid for”, the fact is that the Republican party is far and away the most egregious sinner.
Even knowing that, there have been Republicans who I could at least tolerate as human beings. I liked pre-campaign John McCain, I liked Colin Powell, I think George H. Bush was a tool, but at least a tool who I could empathize with. In this race, we were asked to choose between a lunatic, a naked bigot, a criminally-stupid fop, a misogynistic serial molester, a cowardly plutocrat, an adolescent and the living embodiment of hypocrisy. I’m going to leave it up to you to decode which candidate is which, because really those descriptions could apply to any of them. It’s both depressing and terrifying that these abhorrent people are supposed to typify the best that the United States can offer. Apparently Fidel Castro agrees with me (stopped clocks being what they are):
With the Republican candidates courting Cubans in Miami today, Fidel Castro chimed in with an opinion piece in state-run media saying he was unimpressed, at the very least, with the field. “The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is — and I mean this seriously — the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been,” the retired Cuban leader wrote.
I have, incidentally, left off of this list Jon Hunstman who couldn’t resist the urge to run to the right before (intelligently) quitting, and of course Buddy Roemer whose political ideas I largely disagree with save his approach on campaign finance but who I think is otherwise a decent person.
2. But what about Ron Paul?
Ron Paul (who was ‘the adolescent’, by the way) seems to have convinced a number of people that his ideas have merit. I’m down with decriminalization of drugs. I’m down with reducing the scope of American military intervention abroad. I’m not down with abortion restrictions, gay marriage bans, opposition to the Civil Rights Act, or the whole host of other ludicrous things that get bundled in with Paul’s particular brand of quasi-libertarianism.
This is to say nothing of the things he wrote in his newsletters, said in his speeches, or that he seems to believe about black people. Ron Paul’s racism is not the reason I would never vote for him, but it helps.
3. The Southern Strategy
Those who haven’t really studied US politics (and I am by no means well-educated in the topic) may not know what the Southern Strategy is. Basically, Republicans realized that if they went fully, intentionally racist, they would pick up more votes of racist white people than they would lose of alienated black people. While the Republicans claim that they have since abjured this way of doing politics, one would never know it to watch the current race.
Catholic leaders issued a letter Friday to GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, themselves Catholics, urging them “to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail.”
The letter, signed by 45 Catholic leaders says:
Mr. Gingrich has frequently attacked President Obama as a “food stamp president” and claimed that African Americans are content to collect welfare benefits rather than pursue employment. Campaigning in Iowa, Mr. Santorum remarked: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”
It should not take a letter of condemnation from the Catholic Church for prominent politicians to know that it is wrong to fan the flames of racism to get votes. Of course, one would have to have a concept of right and wrong to see that, and quite frankly I see no evidence whatsoever to conclude that any of the GOP candidates has what we mere proles would call a sense of decency.
It is my fervent hope that I have done a good enough job on this blog that you can parse the racist rhetoric of the GOP without me having to talk you through it, but just in case, take a look at these:
- Racism ‘happens’: Inexplicable events haunt GOP primary: It’s the darnedest thing. Republicans have zero tolerance for anything racist. They’ll tell you so at the drop of a hat. It’s liberals and Democrats who are the real racists. Just ask Herman Cain, he’ll set you straight. After all, if a pizza CEO isn’t an expert on racism, then who is?
- Republican Racism is an Air Raid Siren, Not a Dog Whistle: Race matters to the Tea Party GOP. It matters overtly. And it matters to the white populists of the Republican Party without apology or subtlety. This leads to the following practical question: how do we separate the subtle dog whistle from blaring conservative racism? What are the elements of the racial appeal? How can we identify it so that reasonable folk can neuter and castrate it? Is this even possible?
- GOP’s Minority Outreach: We Talk, You Listen and Repeat: Though Republicans talk a lot about welcoming minority voters it’s clear this is a one-way conversation, with one side lecturing and the other accepting opprobrium with deference. It’s a lesson black conservatives have learned.
- The 10 Most Racist Moments of the GOP Primary (So Far): In keeping with this script in order to win over Red State America, the 2012 Republican presidential candidates have certainly not disappointed. Both overt racism and dog whistles are delectable temptations that the Republican presidential nominees cannot resist. With the election of the country’s first African-American president, and a United States that is less white and more diverse, the GOP is in peril. In uncertain times, you go with what you know. For the Republican Party, this means “dirty boxing,” digging deep into the old bucket of white racism, and using the politics of fear, hostility and anxiety to win over white voters by demagoguing Obama.
The Southern Strategy is still alive and well, and they’ve stopped being subtle about using it. This is our “post-racial” America. Look upon your works, ye mighty, and despair.
I often despair at the fact that I lack the skill with language to fully express my visceral, all-encompassing disgust for the few things for which I reserve the word ‘hate’. This is one of those times. I hate Newt Gingrich with every fiber of my being. If you performed subatomic analysis on my DNA, you’d eventually drill down to up quarks, down quarks, and quarks that are comprised entirely of hatred for Newt Gingrich (they are called Newt Hatons).
I have often been accused of arrogance, to the point where I no longer really see it as an inherently negative attribute. After all, I find false humility more galling than overconfidence, even if it borders on arrogance. If you engage in honest self-scrutiny and realize that you are legitimately good at something, then there is no shame in admitting that.
Newt elevates arrogance to levels that can be reasonably described as atmospheric. The ludicously-high level of esteem he clearly holds himself in is made all the more shocking by how profoundly ordinary he is. People refer to him as this deep, brilliant thinker who is a unique ‘ideas man’. I honestly do not see it. What I do see is a mean-spirited bully who is so engrossed in his single-minded pursuit of power that he is completely blind to his own hubris. The mythology built around Newt Gingrich’s intellect baffles me completely. I would enjoy seeing him debate Barack Obama because of how thoroughly Gingrich would be exposed as the fraud he is, but I would more so enjoy watching him have his mouth filled in with concrete so that he could never say anything ever again.
Anyway, that’s what pops into my head when I think about the GOP race. Please feel free to contribute your thoughts in the comments section. Unless you’re going to tell me how I only dislike Ron Paul because I’ve been listening to the “lame stream media” and that you have a totally informative Youtube clip for me to watch. If you’re planning on doing that, save the keystrokes. I have been aware of Ron Paul for about a decade now, and I come by my distaste for him and his profoundly short-sighted and unworkable ideas honestly.
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