Dumb and Dumber


Okay, this is even dumber than the Peter Suderman argument in my last post:

[If] as the growing media narrative contends, the Republicans have devolved into a rump party of half-sane white southerners wracked by racial anxiety, why does it keep rewarding anti-racist anti-populists at the top of its presidential ticket (including, notably, the ticket that ran against a liberal Democrat black candidate), while rejecting every dime-store Tancredo with prejudice? When does this allegedly mainstream Republican pathology begin showing up in the numbers, or in the personages of those who lead the party?

That’s Matt Welch, in reaction to an article Joe Klein wrote.  Personally, I don’t know that I would go so far as to say the GOP is just “half-sane white southerners wracked by racial anxiety,” though it’s undeniable that it is wracked by racial anxiety.  I don’t even know if Klein went that far, not having read his article.

What I do know is that Welch’s paragraph, above, must have been written from an alternate universe.

The party base in question notably did not reward the party’s last presidential ticket.  They were not excited by a McCain presidency, did not think he was conservative enough in general, specifically hated his position on the racially charged issue of immigration, hated his opposition to torturing people, didn’t like it when he told them Obama wasn’t a secret Muslim, and did not turn out for him.

The only reason he came as close as he did was Sarah Palin, who most definitely is a populist in the very worst tradition.

That couldn’t possibly be any clearer from their post-election arcs within the GOP.  McCain remains not terribly popular and has been relegated to obscurity; Palin is devoutly beloved and a rock-star within the GOP.

Welch has a point inasmuch as McCain did win the GOP primary over people like Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee.   That’s why I think calling the GOP a “party of half-sane white southerners” oversimplifies things a bit.  That segment of the party has an iron grip on platform and policy, but it’s also true that there’s still a patrician segment of the party, and that segment controls most of the money.  That’s why McCain won the nomination; he was the compromise candidate.  The only people who really stirred passion in the base were Huckabee and Paul, but the money people hated both.  The money people wanted Romney, but the party base hated him.  McCain was chummy with the money people, so he was able to raise money early, middle, and late, which Huckabee and Paul couldn’t do, and he was okay-ish with the base.  Rudy Giuliani could say that, but he was a total dunce on strategy.  Fred Thompson could say that, but just wasn’t much interested in the job.

Returning to Welch:

When does this allegedly mainstream Republican pathology begin showing up in the numbers, or in the personages of those who lead the party?

Well, let’s venture beyond presidential politics to congressional politics, shall we?

How many moderate Republicans have lost their seats in the past, oh, 10 years because they were labeled a “RINO” and lost the primary to some extremist whackadoodle?

Conversely, how many whackadoodle incumbents have lost a GOP primary to a moderate?

How many seats has the GOP lost in Congress because that whackadoodle then lost to a non-insane Democrat?

How many moderate Republicans have simply retired from their seats because they couldn’t stand the party’s dominant ethos anymore?

How many moderate Republicans are left in Congress?

How many non-white Republicans are there in Congress?

Who has the party chosen to lead it in Congress?  (Hint: of the top 4, all are very right-wing and only one isn’t from the South.)

Venturing outside politics, who are the GOP’s media leaders?  Are they moderates or frothing populists and racists?

To prevent a long story getting still longer: it’s just patently stupid to imply the GOP is not dominated by its extremists, by white southerners, and people who appeal to racism as a matter of course.  Asking when such people will start showing up in the party leadership is like asking when water will start running downhill.

If Jay Leno asked a million random Americans on the street to name a moderate (politician or otherwise) who’s influential within the Republican Party, not one person could name one.

Res ipsa damn loquitur, fer cryin’ out loud.


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2 Responses to “Dumb and Dumber”

  1. Sandi Says:

    Amen and hallelujah to all of that. Now, having reviewed the facts, why the heck is it that we can’t get a damn health care reform bill passed again? 🙂

  2. urbino Says:

    Heh. See my previous posts, I guess.

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