Republicans, Racism, Religion, and Revulsion


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.

To wit:

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 primaryIt’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 RepeatThough 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.

4. Newt

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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Comments

  1. jamessweet says

    You said it.

    I suspect Gingrich may be a genuine sociopath. Sure, the rest of the field are immoral assholes, but even the most greedy immoral bastards among us have something they tell themselves when they go home at night that makes it all okay. They need to believe they are good people, even if the evidence is strongly against. I don’t think Newt has any such need.

    Ron Paul: Yep, that’s right. I partly understand the enthusiasm for him, because he’s spot-on right on a couple of issues in a way that most mainstream politicians won’t even touch. But most of his ideas are insane and dangerous.

    Romney does sort of stand out from the rest as a lot less vile. I think my country could weather a Romney presidency without too much damage. The other candidates, no way. Luckily, they are unelectable.

    I am so excited about Newt’s recent victory in SC. I desperately hope he takes Florida. If he does, the GOP is in deep shit.

  2. says

    I don’t find Romney’s complete lack of convictions or his obvious disdain for non-grillionnaires (that is, people who can’t afford grillz) to be “less vile”, just a different brand of vile. He’s a political coward who is happy to betray anything except his own greed in the pursuit of power. Considering the damage that he and his ilk have already done, while he may be the lesser of several evils he is still monumentally evil. Ed has a piece about what may happen if Gingrich wins FLA. It’s incredibly amusing to contemplate.

  3. Brownian says

    I am so excited about Newt’s recent victory in SC. I desperately hope he takes Florida. If he does, the GOP is in deep shit.

    I wonder at this strategy. I mean, this is a country that elected GWB twice. Maybe at one time, there was such a thing as a candidate too stupid and vile to elect. Thanks to the man American wanted to have a beer with, the country seems to have decided that stupid and vile are virtues.

    But don’t take my word for it. Watch for the tent pole in Harper’s pants every time he looks south and begins taking notes.

  4. Brownian says

    The other problem with this strategy is that it’s hardly about just about the US “weathering a Republican presidency”.

    How many Iraqis paid for the American voters’ mistake in 2000 and 2004? Who gets to die if Gingrich wins because Democrats are in love with overestimating the sense of their slack-jawed fellows?

  5. says

    Newt has a 60% unfavourable rating nationally. Obama is still a net positive. Newt simply cannot win in a general, unless he uses voter fraud or something CATASTROPHIC happens during the election. Plus, Obama hasn’t even started campaigning yet (not really, at least). Everyone seems to forget how friggin good the President is on the campaign trail. Plus this time there aren’t any Bill Ayers/Rev. Wright stories to drag him down, and he killed bin Laden.

  6. Trebuchet says

    Brownian:

    I mean, this is a country that elected GWB twice once.

    Fixed that for you.

    Crommunist:

    Plus this time there aren’t any Bill Ayers/Rev. Wright stories to drag him down, and he killed bin Laden.

    I’m afraid you’re wrong about that one. The same old stories are still there. And they give all the credit for Bin Laden to Bush.

  7. says

    The stories exist, but everyone’s already heard them and dismissed them. Also I don’t know who this “they” is that credit Bush, but nobody I’ve seen outside the actual Republican party repeats that line.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    Brownian @ # 1.2: … a country that elected GWB twice.

    A country that allowed Shrub’s handlers and accomplices to steal its national election twice, more precisely. A country in which enough legitimate votes were cast for Dubious that the elections could be stolen, yet worse.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Some commentator somewhere, noting that we have a quartet of surviving Repub candidates, dubbed them the “Fantastic Four” but didn’t follow up on the metaphor.

    But it sticks in my brain, because (with all due respect for Stan Lee & Jack Kirby) it fits so well:
    * Mr. Fantastic, the gray-templed man of infinite malleability: WM Romney
    * The Human Torch, that hot-headed and immature fireball: R. Paul
    * The Invisible Girl (before she developed her force-field projection powers): R. Santorum
    * The Thing: N. Gingrich

    Which leaves Victor von Doom’s role to be played by you-know-whom, but that doesn’t quite match up: after all, Dr. Doom issues no food stamps.

  10. marismae says

    I love this post. Especially the part about Gingrich; I could almost swear I seethe angrily just like a Sith Inquisitor on SWTOR every time I hear of his latest statement.

    And Romney – hello Mr. 1%, how not-nice to see you. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people with a fuckton of money who don’t bother me at all. People who at least seem credible when they claim to understand how the 99% live – I <3 me some Warren Buffet, for example. And Bill&Melidna Gates do some incredible charity work. But Romney can't even fake it (like that photo of him 'doing laundry). He's such a disingenuous, arrogant, douche. His comments about 'class warfare' and how he speaks to those involved with the Occupy movement make me ill.

    /rage!

  11. Dianne says

    I mean, this is a country that elected GWB twice.

    Well, yeah, but you (Canada, not you personally) elected Harper three times and with an increasing margin each time.

    Of course, the US is also the country where being compared to Ronald Reagan is a compliment, which makes it hard to beat in the electoral stupidity category.

  12. Brownian says

    I mean, this is a country that elected GWB twice once.

    Fixed that for you.

    Yes, and he still got in, and was legitimised in 2004.

    None of this is an argument for the “O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous” strategy where we’re actually rooting for Gingrich (or Palin) because, as it turns out, snowballs can survive very well in hell if the US Supreme Court wishes them to.

    Of course, Canadians really don’t have any right to judge, since back in May we decided all the differing opinions were just too unweildy so we decided to give a paranoid, totalitarian piece of shit the reins so we won’t have to deal with any more of that annoying democracy for four years.

  13. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    It doesn’t surprise me that Gingrich was married three times. Each time he married someone who didn’t love him as much as he loves himself.

    Incidentally, Gingrich has a genuine PhD in European history. He’s nowhere near as “simple” and “just us folks” as he pretends to be.

  14. Bruce Gorton says

    The trouble with this race is that Obama really shouldn’t win re-election if the US electoral system was actually functional.

    Obama failed to deliver on several of his mandates (Closing Gitmo, increasing government transparency, discontinuing the Bush tax cut etc…) and went against the FDA on age limits on the morning after pill.

    His handling of the economy was weak, and his tendency to seek compromises simply ended up with his successes being just that, compromised.

    Further the Democratic Party has won enemies with Pipa, I am not alone in noting that the Republicans in the Senate were the ones who flipped when the Internet collectively told the US government to get knotted.

    The trouble is, his opposition are fielding lunatics, frauds and idiots.

    Newt Gingrich: So slimy that his political survival essentially rests upon the fact that nothing from him would shock us anymore. Newt ate a baby? Eh, its Newt.

    Ron Paul: I wonder if his office calls him Mo. Aside from the criticisms already raised, I have yet to hear of any case where states rights have been over-ruled where the state wasn’t hostile to the rights of the individual.

    Rick Perry: Ran Texas so badly even he admits that it would take an all knowing, all powerful God to sort his shit out. Prayed for rain, got fire.

    Rick Santorum: Pretty much Rick Perry’s more sexist twin.

    Mitt Romney: Bain Capital.

    So really, the choice is between someone who has been a massive dissapointment, and a bunch of theocratic twits who couldn’t manage a piss-up in a brewery. The Republicans need to lose this next election and lose it badly, but the Democratic Party doesn’t really deserve to win it.

    Are any of the third parties making waves at the moment? Because I would imagine this would be a good time for them to become relevant, at least in Congress and the Senate.

  15. baal says

    My nearly tin foil hat says this year’s crop of republican reps is part of a grand chewbaca defense being used to undermine the American democracy. Other pieces include the attempt (largely successful) to cripple the Post Office and ‘heck of a job’ Brownie.

    Why? To make institution of the American pro-mega corp. theocracy that much easier.

  16. freemage says

    Bruce:

    This. So very much this. It’s actually been pretty much the defining trait of Obama’s rise to power since his days as an Illinois state legislator–his enemies have been so inept, compromised or corrupt that he’s never really had to fight for the support of his base.

    For those not familiar with him prior to the 2008 Dem Primary, a run-down of that path:

    1: Nominated to run for the junior seat from Illinois in the Senate. His initial Republican opponent, Jack Ryan, is slightly behind in the polls already when reporters, doing the usual “vetting”, discover that Ryan’s divorce from Jeri “Seven of Nine” Ryan, are under seal. And there’s a few rumors about why that is. Ryan claims that the seal is there because there was stuff about his autistic son. He gets some sympathy from the public on this claim. However, reporters win the fight to have the records open… and it’s not his autistic son that’s the problem. It’s the claims Jeri Ryan made that Jack took her to sex clubs, and pressured her (to the point she broke down in tears while refusing) to perform sex with him in front of the other club-goers. Illinois voters are fairly tolerant of corruption, but a whiff of sex scandal, and the dude goes DOWN, hard. It was also during this campaign, btw, that Barack gave the speech at the Democratic National Convention, whipping out his oratorical skills in what is still one of his best-remembered moments.

    2: The Illinois GOP then looks for a fast replacement. Since Obama was already beating Jack Ryan, it’s pretty much a case that whoever they bring in is gonna just be there to bloody Obama up for the next REAL contest. None of the IL-GOP wants to fall on their sword for the sake of the party, though–so they bring in Alan Keyes. An out-of-stater, known lunatic and generally hopeless case. Keyes gets 27% of the vote, establishing the baseline of folks who will NEVER support a Democrat, no matter how horrible the opposition is.

    3: Having sailed into the Senate without much testing, Obama avoids controversial votes, and after an incredibly brief two years in D.C., goes for the brass ring. In a field of several candidates, he holds on until there are three: John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and himself.

    Now, I maintain that if Hillary or Barack had stepped back first, the nomination would’ve been sewn up quickly by Edwards. Racism and sexism would’ve seen to that. But because we had both a white woman and a black man in the race, the white man couldn’t quite ride through on privilege alone, and Edwards was lackluster, even before rumors of infidelity started to surface. Once that happened, Edwards dropped out, and it was down to two.

    Now, Hillary was a well-known figure, but she had a problem. She had been in the Senate longer than Barack, so she couldn’t run as the outsider candidate. Instead, she was hedged in, and had to claim to be more experienced. But in order to make the numbers work for that, she had to claim her time as First Lady as part of that experience.

    Which killed her. Too many on the Left remembered the Clinton Administration for: Lani Guinier, Joycelyn Elders, DADT (which was a direct violation of Clinton’s promise on the issue), the failure to raise the anti-pollution marks under the Clean-Air Act, the decision to continue mineral leases that were vastly undervalued… Essentially, the ONLY major promise Clinton kept was his fight to defend Roe v. Wade–and the voters who cared most about that issue were already in Hillary’s camp.

    Oh, and of course, in referring to her time as First Lady, she also reminded everyone about the failed Clinton health bill. So she had to say, “Vote for me, because of all that time I failed and betrayed you!” It… didn’t work.

    4: Now, of course, it was the Main Event. Surely, Obama was going to face an uphill climb in a nation where 5% of the population was still willing to admit publicly that they’d NEVER vote for a black President, right?

    And whereas Hillary’s ‘experience’ claim had shaky credentials, McCain’s was genuine. And deserved or not, he had the “Maverick” cred with the press corps. All the pieces were in place for Obama to actually get into a fight.

    And then Sarah Palin. With one stroke, McCain’s people threw the entire reason to vote for McCain out the window. And it got worse–McCain’s campaign seemed unable to actually form a coherent argument why someone should vote for him. In interviews he seemed to be unsure, even confused. This served to underline his age and potential frailty–an issue when the bombastic and ignorant Governor Palin was going to be in the Number Two slot, ready and waiting.

    So, again, Obama had an easier fight than anyone would’ve expected. Every election contest he’s been in since he was nominated for the Senate has been his to lose–short of the proverbial “dead girl or live boy”, he wasn’t going to end up on the wrong end of any of those contests.

    And now the GOP is doing the Exact. Same. Damned. Thing. This should’ve been a battle between Huntsman and Romney, with Paul playing spoiler. Instead, Huntsman (the only sane and intelligent figure on the stage) was ignored in favor of the string of Not-Roms that were put forward, each more ridiculous and inept than the last. So why should Barack Obama try? Why should he actually risk alienating center-right voters who know damn well that he’s been governing as one of them? The Left has nowhere to go, and the moderates are mostly smart enough to see that the GOP is about one bad day from sitting around and hurling their feces at passerby. Obama kept a few promises–repealed DADT, caught and killed Obama, wound down the wars in time for the election–and really, that’s all he has to do. By the time a nominee is chosen to face him, the race is going to have already been won.

  17. fafhrd says

    That was completely beautiful. I would disagree a little, though, with your description of Hillary, since I don’t think the public at large had such specific and universally unfavorable memories of the Clinton years. I think it was more like, “She screwed up health-care reform and was a shrew, but boy things were better back then, weren’t they?” The fight against Hillary was harder than fits your narrative. I’ll agree, though, that basically all the other conclusions were – and probably will be – foregone. And “the GOP is about one bad day from sitting around and hurling their feces at passerby” made me literally laugh out loud.

  18. says

    You only hate Ron Paul because you listen to the lame street media.

    Now, if you listened to my -medium- she would gladly tell you how wonderful he is. Shes been talking with his great great great grandmother’s cousin who has watched and took an active interest in him since he was a boy.

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