Riding the Hate Train

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As we approach the 2012 elections, I have to admit grudgingly sympathizing with the poor Republican contenders on  some level; everywhere you look, one (hilarious) presidential aspirant after another has to deal with the fact that large blocs of their party hates them, for one reason or another.  The reasons, to a sane person at least, often seem a bit unfair:  the party of George W. Bush and Tom DeLay “hate” Newt Gingrich for being a corrupt Washington Insider with a tenuous connection to reality?  The party of David Vitter and Rudy Giuliani “hate” Mitt Romney for (barely) straying from Christianist orthodoxy, fully clothed?  What the hell?

Well, let’s call it what it is, an embarrassment of riches.  Long ago, before Fox News (!) and 24/7 hate radio, conservatives realized that the only reason, given their relative wealth, that they didn’t bestride the world like a Colossus was that their ideas were both dumb and detrimental to most Americans, let alone other humans on earth.  In his infamous 1970 Memo, which led a bonkers, elitist ideologue to a Nixon lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, Lewis Powell spoke for fellow plutocrats in saying that, essentially, the far-too-comfortable rabble has caught on to our scams.  We’d better have a Plan B, but fast.

That plan, of course, was to flood the public discourse with propaganda from think tanks, media outlets, and newly endowed “professors” to spout the plutocrat line, which, as you might expect, wouldn’t be too successful if other opinions were heard.  Thus, the strategy’s practitioners, chief among them Nixon himself, decided that rather than bothering wih refuting liberal ideas, still a somewhat tall order to this day, they would focus on refuting liberal people, whom, duly discredited, would finally shut up once and for all.  The Hate Campaign was born.

This wasn’t the easiest proposition, understandably, given that the poorer and less educated group they were attempting to persuade would undoubtedly be harmed by their ultimate goals.  They had to go for hate, and go big, before anybody wised up.  To this end, taxes, which largely went, than as now, to support the military and (then, anyway) beloved entitlement programs for white people, had to be re-branded as extravagant cash transfers to shiftless Darkies; wars had to be sold as rare opportunities for vicarious triumph to an increasingly marginalized and powerless populace, and respecting foundational civil liberties had to be portrayed as dangerous capitulation to treacherous hordes abroad and at home.

It’s a neat trick, really….  Convincing the dumbest and most resentful in any society that everything, and I mean everything, they don’t like is somehow connected. Once you’ve done that, you’re off to the races.  You see, most people, particularly in the hard times Republican policies invariably create, are left looking around for solutions to what ails them; the key to eliminating such dangerous receptivity is to have the most reasonable, but unwanted, solutions pre-tainted by painstakingly encouraged cultural biases.

With Nixon, this meant a whole lot of industrial-grade hippie punching, and it worked so well at he time that it’s still in wide use despite its often tinny, anachronistic feel.  It may be both dumb and insultingly cheesy to lots of people, but the fact that the hippie’s modern-day equivalents want to, say, protect the environment, reliably creates a massive call amongst rank-and-file righties for more pollution has become, for polluters, anyway, the gift that keeps on giving.  That the (now proven correct) resistance to our retarded, failed adventure in Iraq was advanced by  our younger and less conservatively attired Americans means that Fox News “culture warriors”  will dutifully scream for more wars until kingdom come, sooner rather than later.  And on and on.

As I’ve said many times before, this is a project that has become a victim of its own success.  Hopelessly saddled with a befuddled band of followers whose hate, like a 1960′s Alabama firehose, must constantly be turned  on something, the Republicans are finding that even their own bespoke suits might get unseemly wet spots.  Just mention without utter disdain an idea that at some point a “liberal” might have ever endorsed, no matter how mundane, and the fury is unleashed.  George Bush found this out when he tried to hand his anti-labor supporters an immigration bill, John McCain was similarly chastened when he said, from experience, that torture wasn’t okay, and Ron Paul, who is momentarily leading the polls in Iowa, was nonetheless almost booed off the stage for the impermissible effrontery of talking about pointless, costly wars like they were a bad thing.

In their relentless pursuit of hate-driven infallibility, Republicans have painted themselves into an interesting corner when it comes to sewing up a presidential election….  Their people have been taught, carefully, you might say, to hate so much that they can no longer love.  Even their own candidates.

It couldn’t have happened to nicer guys.

 

17 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    In due time, the Replutocrat party will ” evolve ” into three addle brained codgers arguing over who fed MY peanuts to the pigeons. The scariest character in their debates hasen’t been the embicilic contenders – it has been by far the audience.

  2. michlib says:

    Dang, forgot to login !

  3. retzilian says:

    How do we get a gravatar in this blog?

    Caught up. I just saw a movie that was only so-so (“Ides of March” with George Clooney and Ryan Reynolds) but there was one really good line in it that described the current republicans to a T – it was something to the effect that when the who are used to being in power lose their power, they go batshit crazy.

    We can continue to rely on the irrational behavior of the republicans and watch for a huge landslide in 2012. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will change much in the way of our foreign or domestic policies, but there is some shadenfraud to look forward to.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I think if you have a gravatar in your computer, the blog uses it. (Blanche DuBois voice) “That must have been what happened…” I didn’t do anything, it just appeared, as it has elsewhere.
      I don’t know about the huge landslide, but since today the Wall Street Journal, of all things, predicted something similar, I have hope. Not that kind of hope, though. I’m a sadder but wiser hag.

  4. loretta says:

    testing to see if my avatar shows up.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Nope. I guess the kind stranger who set up the blog programmed my avatar. No wonder the bill was so big. Maybe you have to go back to log in, and adjust settings. I wouldn’t know; since I’m the proprietress, the rules are different for me.

  5. Ché Pasa says:

    Nicely turned analysis, Hag, of the apocalypse the Rs are determined to bring upon themselves. They really do want things to implode. They’re so tired of being so perfect. I guess the Rapture will take care of any momentary discomfort they might feel as things fall apart…

    Apocalypse in a clown-car, that’s about all they have left. The thing with totalitarian projects like theirs is that they always deteriorate into lunacy, madness, incoherent nonsense. Like they’ve all turned into Rush on Oxycontin.

    Your take on how it got to this point — and what that kind of hate does to squeeze out any hint of rational let alone critical thinking is spot on.

  6. rukidding says:

    Good analysis and use of history, Ms. Hag. Yes, indeed, since the Nixon Southern Strategy on steriods has done it’s evil trick and turned some significant portion of the 99% into know-nothing dunderheads who feel empowered by empathizing with and thinking that they ARE, indeed, the 1% (believe me, I’ve had some tell me that; clueless, even the ones who are well educated).

    It’s been sickening, sad and frightening to witness it unfolding over the decades. I knew the goose was cooked when Reagan won the first time, and somehow the diplomatic hostages in Iran could not be rescued during the Carter Admin. Am I suspicious? Sure. Who wouldn’t be anymore?

    I have been somewhat amazed by how much the US populace can be brainwashed, and in this regard, I include not just conservatives, but also many who tend to vote Democratic most of the time. The goal posts have been pushed so far to the right, that I hear Union members, for ex, spouting out the most egregiously false rightwing talking points direct from the mouth of Rush, who emphatically is not their “friend.”

    I guess turning off the tv, which is mostly the status of my tv, is the main defense against the Big Brother propoganda machine bc it’s clear to me that the tentacles of the infestation of rightwing bs are many, long and deeply intwined across all spectrums of our society.

    Too bad more cannot wake up to smell the coffee, but I hold out some slim hope that the Occupy protests may effect some change. Here’s hoping!

    • cocktailhag says:

      I think the brainwashing has gotten even more ubiquitous since W left. Then, we thought we knew who the enemy was; now it’s everybody. On 99% vs 1% issues, Obama’s Bush lite; on secrecy and the mischief that entails, he’s worse. Yet the media allow him to be called “liberal,” repeatedly, with straight, pancaked faces.
      As usual, this only gives cover for Republicans to eagerly move ever further right, as they’re doing now.
      I ran into a 1%er I know at an Occupy rally, and though he was vaguely sympathetic, he still went on about Fannie, Freddie, and Congress. This guy is a very well-educated liberal, and he’d fallen for that crap.

      • rukidding says:

        I ceaselessly hear the whining about Fannie, Freddie and the canard: “AFTER ALL, these people bought more house than they could afford… and why should they get to just walk away…” OR “People used their houses like ATMs, and now I have to bail them out.”

        These situations are both true, but they are not really what *caused* the crash, albeit they exacerbated it.

        When I ask reasonably: but WHY did the banks GIVE these people loans when the BANKS had to know these people couldn’t afford them??? Aren’t the BANKS more culpapble?? Most people just circle back around to: somehow it is MORE the “fault” of the citizen who GOT the loan, not much at all the responsibility of the bank who gave it.

        I hear it ALL the time for LOTS of people of all walks of life and all education levels. And I hear far too many citizens frickin’ DEFENDING the banks, to add insult to injury… amazing.

        The brainwashing is profound across our society, which is why I say, anymore, that it’s not just traditional conservatives who are brainwashed by the rightwing media (which is ALL of it), it’s nearly everyone.

        I agree with your “take” on the worsening of the situation since Obama, the Trojan Horse, was “elected.” Yes and yes. Obama has provided much cover for the tricks, dodges, gifting and con-jobs of the 1%, which is why I am beyond anger in terms of how I feel about this lying POS.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Being in the remodeling business, I got to watch the boom from the inside: prices soaring, bidding wars, people being told they “qualified” for loans way beyond their reach…. Realtors, mortgage brokers, banks; they were all in on it. Homeowners felt “rich” when they sold their homes, but poor when they tried to buy. “Don’t worry,” said the chorus, “you can make even more when you sell next time.”
          Homebuyers didn’t know better; face it, people buy one or two homes in their lives, while realtors were selling that many in a morning.
          Not only weren’t the banks doing due diligence on purchasers, they weren’t even doing it on collateral. Houses that would have been impossible to finance fifteen years ago were waved through by out-of-state lenders who never saw what dumps they were.
          It was crazy, and the only people not aware were the buyers.
          That’s what makes the claims so laughable. You’ve given me an idea for a new post, methinks…