Excuse me, but my refrigerator is running

While never pleasurable, listening to Republicans talk these days has gotten to, not to put too fine a point on it, be the kind of thing normal people would climb out a bathroom window to avoid.  Happily, it never happens, because Republicans are no longer on speaking terms with the normal, and haven’t been since Katie Couric made a rug out of Sarah Palin.  Tina Fey said she would “leave the earth” if the Republicans won the election, presumably in jest.  Republicans took her at her word, and have.  The change has been gradual, of course, but it’s now so glaringly obvious that it bears some comment.  First, it was the slow but steady spam-filtering of the emails hyperventilating about Bill Ayers and fist bumps.  The erosion that continued as the conversation turned to Acorn, Socialism, birth certificates, and concentration camps has now carved such a deep gully that, in addition to a rush for the exits by what few normal Republicans that remained, the right has simply dropped both its pants and its dignity, and now performs its self abuse in public.  Like dogs.  Dogs everywhere see no problem; humans are understandably embarrassed.

Racism, once coded in terms like “states’ rights” and “inner-city crime,” are now openly turning to attacks on a broadening group of fellow humans, and when they sound too unseemly, reticence is cast aside in favor of calling the swarthy victims “racists.”  You’d think such a silly, insultingly dumb tactic had ever worked, given the strikingly overconfident way it’s been used, and continues to be.

You’d also think, given the thudding and inexorable demographic trends that show that bashing minorities, be they Muslim, Latino, or gay, is tantamount to shouting “Herpes” in a crowded orgy, politically at least, that the Repubs would want to be careful enough to at least phone Frank Luntz for a few synonyms.  Nah.  Too late for that.

Somewhere in the frantic money chase that consumed the Republicans and their supporters for the last decade, everybody got so busy stuffing their pockets that no one gave the vaguest thought to laying the groundwork to sell the same crap again, an omission which would have been even more disastrous had not the Democrats so quickly taken up the fight, with all the campaign contributions that brave stance entailed, and sidestepped any real and needed correction.  Trouble is, the pesky problems persist, and even have the temerity to get worse each day.

For Democrats, who still have a lot of leeway to blame their predecessors, the situation isn’t that bad.  Hiding in the basement for seven years wasn’t exactly impressive, but in this case nothing was better than something.  For Republicans, though, they’re in something of a pickle.  Having made their careers in the glory of lies, lies, and more lies, they’re finding to their considerable chagrin that a lot of people who lost their futures, livelihoods, and cash money kind of think they suck, hence that 20% registration rate.   But rather than look to that other 80%, they’re looking to take that 20 down to fourteen by Sticking To Their Principles.  They know as well as I do that there’s a certain number of Americans who are either so rich, so dumb, or so full of hate that it doesn’t really matter how idiotic, bigoted, or crazy you sound, if you stand for Family Values, God himself cleans up after your parade.  What’s less clear is what, exactly, you plan to do with that little group.  Have potlucks?

On some level, you have to hand it to them.  It is undoubtedly tiresome having to answer questions, produce data, and effect results to prove you’re right, and if a quarter or so of America thinks that that’s just a bunch of commie propaganda anyway, why bother?  There’s still money to be made, even in exile.  Look at Murdoch.  Fox News “soared” in popularity after the 2008 election, but now has every viewer it will ever have, and each night another one hits 85.  We now know the absolute top number of reality-indifferent Americans, and every one of them is watching Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, who have adjusted their “message” accordingly.

We’ve reached a point where unless you’re a cop involved in a domestic dispute in a trailer park, a judge dealing with greedy heirs, or a psychologist dealing with deep sociopathologies, chances are you simply will never meet, much less be forced to listen to, a Republican, unless you’re watching television.

We ought to count our blessings for that, anyway; that’s why Al Gore invented the mute button.


  1. dirigo says:

    I know you’ll love this, hag.

    In today’s Financial Times, their lead editorial warns of a return of fascism in Europe, citing Italy’s history as the germinator of it, with Mussolini and the rest.

    The editorial headline warns of “Burlesque cronies” – an obvious allusion to the current leader of Italy.

    I wonder if that can’t be “stolen” and applied here and there to our own homegrown neanderthals.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    Everyone knows that burlesque cronies are the worst kind. We’ve seen more than our share this side of the pond lately. Do you have Thom Hartmann out there? He has a lovely series about Burlesconi, with opera background music, about buying all the media and running for king. Like we do here, but in such a sneaky and comparatively boring way. It’s quite cute; and aside from you Dirigo, I know of no bigger Berlusconi “fan.”

  3. Jim White says:

    Geez, I had to listen to Republicans for a few hours yesterday when I was in the waiting room getting my truck serviced. The TV was on Faux News and so I got their breathless reaction to the “trashy” Obama pick for the Supreme Court. They were very obvious in asking their first few “guests” how each thought the nomination could be blocked.

    The strange thing is that there are actually some stories in other parts of the M$M pointing out how much damage the R’s will do to themselves if they follow through with a full-fledged assault on Sotomayor. If their own pet media is telling them how badly they are screwing up, is that like someone’s dog abandoning them for the neighbor’s house?

    • cocktailhag says:

      I do wonder what the hell they could possibly be up to, and I have been hinting at this on UT, too. Honestly, once Andrea Mitchell gets embarrassed, isn’t it time to go to rehab? My only take, and I think it could be right, is that the “don’t bother” memo has not reached everybody yet. The other, which is even better and just as likely, is that the freakiest elements of the right are bathing in so much love now (Fox and hate radio) that their quarter-minus, but 100% devoted audience does make bank. Viagra and Depends are ready when the condo and RV ads fall away.
      As an Obstinate American myself, I do see their point, but I couldn’t imagine their marginalization.

  4. heru-ur says:

    An interesting post.

    I have a few quibbles. One, the idea of “states rights” may well have been used as cover by all sorts of racists in the past. Does that invalidate the idea that the central government was formed as a union of equal states? Do you want no constraint at all on the central government other than self-imposed constraint? (how is that working out by the way?)

    Another quibble is that the Democrats, even if somewhat better than Republicans at this point, are no panacea either. If you will recall LBJ, I rest my case. Besides, the neo-cons came from the Democratic Party and are migrating back as we speak. (are we speaking?)

    Oh well, you have heard this out of me before, Democracy promotes group warfare. Large government loves that because it means all are looking to, guess what, big government to rectify all wrongs.

    We look in the mirror and see the enemy.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I certainly agree that Democrats aren’t much to write home about, and nearly as compromised as Republicans to the war/financial machine. I would like a smaller military and a dramatically scaled back global footprint, of course, but I also think it’s shameful that we have no healthcare, no national rail system, pathetic support for education and the arts. Our bloated military is all we have.

  5. Karen M says:

    Great post, Hag!

    Robert Lovato at HuffPost writes that “Sotomayor’s Confirmation Hearings Will Be a Trial of the GOP.”

    As she faces what is already expected to be a host of hostile questions from the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in her confirmation hearings, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, should remember one thing: that it is not she who will be on trial, but the Republican Party.

    Rather than allow herself to be put at the center of another racism and sexism-laden political circus around the qualifications of a candidate who brings more real-life prosecutorial and actual judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in the last 100 years, Sotomayor should consider another strategy. She — and we — should instead view those hearings as nothing less than a trial to determine whether the GOP is ready to make restitution for its role in a number of judicial and political wrongdoings perpetrated in the Bush era. Those wrongdoings include unleashing unprecedented and dangerous political attacks on Latinos, and breaching the political and electoral contract the “new GOP” said it wanted with Latinos, one of the country’s most important voting blocs.

    The Sotomayor hearings will determine whether members of the Republican Party are ready to renew fundamental principles of justice and the rule of law. [bold mine]

    There’s more… click on link above.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I just read that piece; great find, Karen. The poor Republicans and the racists they’ve cultivated all these years just can’t help themselves anymore. Their eliminationist ideology has turned inward; it’s a force that can’t be stopped, and I couldn’t be more delighted, politically, but at the same time sad as an American. Growing up, I really thought racism would wither and die in my lifetime, as its benighted practitioners tipped over. Nope. Talk radio came along, and under the guise of “free speech” against “political correctness,” racist speech, feelings, and even activities were able to come out of the closet, as it were. It’s profoundly disheartening.
      Then, John Yoo pops out of the woodwork to say empathy is a bad thing, and I feel better.

  6. omooex says:

    Nicely put. I’m taking the “yelling herpes” quote home. Its quite clear that the Republicans have so alienated everyone but the stupidest racists, that their only hope for survival is to cater to the hard-core heads and hope a life raft comes soon in the form of some paradigm shifting national disaster or extinction level event. Don’t forget they have God on their side–its not such a long shot.

    • cocktailhag says:

      And when God and the military industrial complex get together, shit does demonstrably happen.
      Thanks for stopping by to read; obviously I had you on my mind a bit when you were forced to endure a full-court troll press lately with nincompoops calling you “racist.” That has to be the dumbest meme I’ve ever seen tried, but it shows they know their audience.
      My father, a criminal-lawyer and oft-elected District Attorney in Eastern Oregon, (now retired; my parents divorced, thank god, in 1969) has turned into such an unabashed bigot in his old age that he drew dozens of aghast complaints from people at my Mother’s funeral. He was always an asshole, but twenty years of talk radio has turned him into a stupid asshole, which is much worse.
      He’s also 82. Is he the future of the party? Good luck with that.
      You’re welcome to the herpes joke. Usually I do hookers and BJ’s, but I was in a mood.

  7. dirigo says:

    Jim White sent me a UT comment, in which the writer uses part of Portia’s famous speech to Shylock (in The Merchant of Venice) about mercy: “The quality of mercy is not strained … ”

    To me, the question of Shakespeare’s relevancy comes up all the time, and I can often hear groans and see eyes rolling if such a discussion occurs. But, humor me.

    Two (not just one) slants in the news make the relevancy of Shakespeare very much a live talking point.

    One is the statement recently recorded on the Keith Olbermann show, when Lawrence Wilkerson, the former aide to Gen. Powell, in discussing torture, suddenly burst out and said, “It’s so Shakespearean.” Wilkerson has said in another interview I watched that he is basically trying to cleanse himself by speaking out as he is.

    The other is the reaction on the right to Obama’s statement that Sotomayor has “empathy,” suggesting she will be a judge who rules with some emotional awareness. Judging by the right’s reaction to this, you’d think having a sense of mercy would itself be a crime.

    Thus, the entire speech from Portia:

    “The quality of mercy is not strained;
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
    ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
    The throned monarch better than his crown.
    His sceptre shows the force sof temporal power,
    The attribute to awe and majesty,
    Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
    But mercy is above this scept’red sway;
    It is enthroned in the heart of kings;
    It is an attribute to God himself,
    And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
    When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
    Though justice be the plea, consider this:
    That in the court of justice none of us
    Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
    And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
    The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
    To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
    Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
    Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.”

    The Merchant of Venice, IV,i

    I read some analysis of the Shakespeare era recently which suggests that a small group of people may have been responsible for, not only Shakespeare, but the King James bible. The question of “Who wrote Shakespeare?” rages and rages. There was a man called William Shakespeare, and it is plausible at least that there could have been a kind of “committee” – including members of Shakespeare’s theater company, and other notables, who had a hand in both works. The King James is the King James. But in the analysis I’m referring to, it was suggested that the whole of Shakespeare, with its template of modern characters (post-medieval), there was the suggestion of a new way to think and live, that this was what was intended by presenting the drama of Shakespeare, with people in it who could point to a new way of thinking and behaving, with, but not limited to, a great deal of mercy, and a new level of: emotional awareness.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Fascinating idea Dirigo, and one I’ve always wondered about. That Bard was a slippery one. Too bad that “out, damned spot” got so popular here lately.

    • Interesting that in the modern age, even the idea of wisdom in a single voice is discounted. Does it sound good? Very well, then, a committee must have conceived, produced and directed it.

      A well-funded committee, it must have been, too, to have produced such copious amounts of wisdom. One which no doubt met at Davos every year, under the eye of the Queen herself.

      As for me, I’ll go with Puck’s assessment: Lord, what fools these mortals be!

    • Another idea, while I’m at it. Cheney would no doubt take great comfort in having Portia as his advocate. Were I his judge, though, I might observe that repentance is an essential pre-condition for mercy, or should be, if there’s to be any justice at all.

      • dirigo says:

        Cheney has no sense of fault, guilt, remorse, or anything else that indicates awareness of what Sotomayor is being reamed for by the GOP.

        The “undisclosed location” he operates from is in his head.

        • dirigo says:

          Sen. Levin in the last day has called Cheney out big time.

          “The game’s afoot … “

  8. dirigo says:

    Many Shakespearean characters are, as samples of human evolution, working their way through the fog of superstition that they live in, which many clerical characters use within their influence as members of royal courts.

    The greatest of all of these is Hamlet, who is struggling against his breeding and royal prerogatives, while trying to get justice for his father. Hamlet represents, more than all the other Shakespearean characters, a totally new consciousness forming itself into action.

    “To be, or not to be … ”

    What are the president, Sotomayor, and the senators going to do?

    Each of the “players” in the confirmation drama will “play their parts” as each one understands their role.

  9. dirigo says:

    A bit more on emotions and power, and the abuse of it (a comment on “Caesarism”:

    “The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins
    Remorse from power; and to speak truth of Caesar,
    I have not known when his affections sway’d
    More than his reason.”

    Julius Caesar/II,i

    Could Sen. Levin be concerned about an abusive (lacking in remorse) power mindset?

    Is there abuse implicit in the attack on Judge Sotomayor’s “affections”?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Hmmmm. When thinking of the Bushies, I’ve always leaned more to Greek drama (comedy and tragedy) for clues. Then as they get more crazy, like you I turn to Shakespeare.
      That piece from Brutus speaks volumes about the RWA mindset, unfortunately. Their connections, pretty much inextricable, of power/money/virtue not only justify the means, but even the ends, regardless of how catastrophic.
      Nice work if you can get it. I’m rich, powerful and perfect; each because of the others.

      • dirigo says:

        I’m stunned (leaving aside the ugliness and bad taste) by the way these cronies have gone after Sotomayor, especially considering the size of the Hispanic vote – the largest minority vote of all.

        It’s nuts

        • cocktailhag says:

          Success has a way of papering over problems. Armed with the daily propaganda of hate radio and FOX, the right only had to support Bush against all enemies, and could kind of cut loose with their racist stuff in relative obscurity. But failure always brings recriminations, and righties are now turning their ire as much on minorities (as usual) as on each other, and I confess that I love it. Good fricking luck with that, assholes.
          The sane people have truly left the building.

  10. dirigo says:

    And then there are people who are right where they ought to be.

    I just read a piece about how officials in Queens, N.Y. are debating the future of a walk-up apartment there where it’s said Jack Kerouac lived and started “On the Road.”

    The story says he lived there with family in the early forties following brief service in the Navy. It’s said he was treated in a psych ward and then given an “honorable discharge with indifferent character.”

    Way to go, Jack!