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"We All Lament the Difficulty We Have Persuading Americans"
July 26, 2013 10:14 AM   Subscribe

"Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner — has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for "a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation," according to documents obtained by [David Corn and] Mother Jones." Photo Gallery: Meet Groundswell's Major Players. Also: Groundswell's Secret Crusade to Crush Karl Rove // (Via)

The Week: "A right-wing JournoList?": "In 2009, Politico introduced the world to JournoList, an online forum started in 2007 by Ezra Klein to allow a group of mostly liberal journalists, columnists, and academics to chat and compare notes off the record. In 2010, The Daily Caller effectively killed JournoList by releasing some of its leaked archives. (Gawker posted more of the archives — 264 pages — in June.)"

Media Matters: Fox News Contributor Briefly Ran Groundswell's "Campaign To Discredit" Fox Analyst Rove

Politico: Groundswell's 'journalists'

Salon: The right’s dumbest plot yet: Groundswell. "Forward thinkers Ginni Thomas and John Bolton make their own super-cool, secret, far-right organization"

Virginia "Ginni" Thomas previously on MeFi: The Power Couple and Justice Clarence Thomas v President Barack Obama

The author of this piece is David Corn, who previously released the infamous 47 percent” video of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (previously on mefi) and the leaked recording of a Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and his campaign discussing Ashley Judd.
posted by zarq (75 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yeeeessss- infighting over ideological purity. As a veteran of left-wing politics, let me tell you that it always turns out well, and makes your movement even stronger!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:16 AM on July 26, 2013 [95 favorites]


One of the more amusing features of American politics is how both sides are constantly convinced they are losing.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:18 AM on July 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


Wow. Just took a look at the "players gallery" link. Not a one of them didn't have what they call in technical terms, "crazy eyes."
posted by stenseng at 10:25 AM on July 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Isn't this just more proof that the right is incredibly good at getting itself organised whilest the left spends more of their time getting themselves disorganized.
posted by adamvasco at 10:26 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]



One of the more amusing features of American politics is how both sides are constantly convinced they are losing.

I don't think that's the case. A refrain I frequently hear on the left is that just a few years from now, all of the conservatives will have died and then they win. I've been hearing it for 30 years, and it's never been true yet - in fact, I've watched my peers from High School become more reactionary and douchey year by year.

The right, on the other hand, suffers from Perpetual Victim Mythology (PVM) - everything is an assault on them and their values, from "Happy Holidays" to "press 1 for english" to gay marriage - and so it gets dressed up in this "Onward Christian Soldiers" rhetoric that paints them as the martyrs being fed to lions while the Roman Leftists cheer.

I think this leads to the left not working as hard to move the mountains they would like to see moved, because the rationale behind those efforts is self explanatory and giving time and money and effort seems so pointless and unecessary. If the morons would just stop/think/learn/die then the left wouldn't have to expend this effort and they could get on with having gay muslim abortion marriages while eating meat on Fridays.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives are winning. They own the Bobblehead shows, the network news, and most of the papers. The left has been feckless in selling their product, and making succinct counter arguments and they've been getting their asses kicked electorally as a result. The conservatives will never see this - again, PVM requires constant regression.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:28 AM on July 26, 2013 [45 favorites]


The Republican party does not need to spend millions of dollars on PR firms in an effort to tweak their message. They just need to stop being racist, sexist and homophobic. The problem is not the message delivery, it's the message.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 10:28 AM on July 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


Since JournoList was mentioned, let's not forget the Daily Caller and other right-wing mouthpieces seizing the opportunity to portray it, falsely, as some kind of left-wing media conspiracy.

While the JournoList served to provide confirmation bias for the right wing's phony "liberal media" meme, the so-called "Groundswell" project seems to be specifically geared as a message coordination effort among Republicans.
posted by Gelatin at 10:29 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't this just more proof that the right is incredibly good at getting itself organised whilest the left spends more of their time getting themselves disorganized.

For the moment, no. This seems to be the "circular firing squad" that the left often gets accused of rustling up. Remember, at the moment they're attacking each other over immigration (again), threatening to shut the government down (again) unless Obamacare is repealed or defunded, and holding the economy hostage over the debt limit (again). These have not, historically, been things that boded well for them in past.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:30 AM on July 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Republican party does not need to spend millions of dollars on PR firms in an effort to tweak their message.

I disagree. Republican supply side policies are unpopular, and after the drubbing the middle class has taken since Reagan's time -- while the top 1% have reaped the benefits -- the public seems to have little faith that the answer to everything is more tax cuts for the rich. Even a plutocrat like Mitt Romney had to pretend his policies were about creating jobs.
posted by Gelatin at 10:33 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Groundswollen: White Racial Panic, the Hapless and the Helpless
So basically perhaps the top three phrases associated with the right or the GOP or conservatism signal ‘racism’. In fact, those words themselves communicate racism. According to conservatives themselves. At least give them credit for recognizing the scope of the problem.

But note the solution: rebrand the Tea Party as ‘Frederick Douglass Republicans’. I’m not even going to get into the misspelling. But think about this, a lily-white group, driven to a significant degree by fears about the growing population of non-white voters and the cultural and political changes that’s likely to bring (okay, look, I’m being generous) and naming them the ‘Frederick Douglass Republicans’. That should work splendidly.

I can’t help but note that a couple weeks after this late February meeting was when we saw that epic racial tolerance event at CPAC when the event leader called on conservatives to call themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans.” The whole event descended into chaos as a group “disenfranchised whites” rose up in opposition to the premise of the gathering and sidetracked the conversation into whether blacks should thank America for their ancestors’ enslavement.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:35 AM on July 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


The conservatives are winning, because they know how the game works: Overstate your goals to the point that they sound completely insane, and then agree to a 'compromise' that gets you exactly what you wanted all along. Works every time.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:36 AM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


obscure simpsons reference: "The Republican party does not need to spend millions of dollars on PR firms in an effort to tweak their message. They just need to stop being racist, sexist and homophobic. The problem is not the message delivery, it's the message."

Speaking as a publicist, it's both. They have positions on a wide range of issues, and need to control the conversation just as much as they need to modify their message. It's perfectly possible to be anti-immigration (for example) without sounding like a racist. Yet that's how they come across when they broach the topic, because they don't know how to convey their message properly.
posted by zarq at 10:37 AM on July 26, 2013


The post-meeting memo suggested Twitter hashtags to push: #CantTrustObama, #PoliticsOverPublicSafety, #SequesterLies.

These all sound like they were taken from Colbert Report news segment headings.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:38 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, no, it's OBUMMER threatening to shut down the government over Obamacare, per Ravin' Mark Rubio.
posted by emjaybee at 10:39 AM on July 26, 2013


And we all know how well attempts at using hashtags have gone for these guys recently.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:39 AM on July 26, 2013


The Right-Wing JournoList
So if these people are baldly hypocritical (or engaged in a parody of what they thought JournoList represented), am I a hypocrite as well for writing about this? I don’t think so. I’m not ripping direct quotes wildly out of context to claim a vast conspiracy aimed at manipulating news. And more to the point, I don’t have a particular problem with like-minded people who are involved in or who write about politics talking to each other off-the-record. General message-coordination happens on the Left and Right all the time without this sort of mechanism, simply because like-minded people tend to focus on the same topics and make many of the same arguments. If the Groundswell people share the lamentable delusion that writing the same words in a headline or story (or in source material supplied to journalists) adds immeasurably to their power, let them waste their time doing that. So far as I know, that sort of cicada-like grinding away at a cookie-cutter message never much happened via JournoList, and was very alien to the rowdy and argumentative spirit of the enterprise.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:41 AM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


One memo that circulated among members declared, "We must reclaim the language and put 'a face' on our messages; tell stories. Write articles on 4th grade level!"

Oh man, that explains this: The New House Republican Web Strategy: Just Add BuzzFeed

I guess the face they wanted on their messages was a Maru gif?
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:42 AM on July 26, 2013


Bulgaroktonos: "One of the more amusing features of American politics is how both sides are constantly convinced they are losing."

Seems to work for the Religious Right (growing up that was all we were told over and over... The world must be saved, we're under attack from secular forces, Madeleine Murray O'Hair ruined America! Nobody believes in Jesus! We must hold the fort and keep fighting!)

Does anyone actually say "Hey, we won!" If somebody is winning, they're worried they're going to get lax, so they have to keep telling themselves they're losing (unless, I guess, you're Mitt Romney on the day before election) to keep up the effort. It's a constant state of alert, traumatization of the foot soldiers of political warfare. The frontline shock troops going out to capitols across the US and arguing against their opponent politicians whether it be Tea Partiers arguing against Barney Frank, or Student TAs fighting against Scott Walker and his Republican pals...

Constant state of siege is the M.O. that works. Nobody wins by resting on their laurels.

Nobody ever wins. Period.
posted by symbioid at 10:44 AM on July 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Obamacare, you can tell how liberal the media from how often the refer to the infamous memo Bill Kristol wrote during Bill Clinton's previous attempt to create universal health care.
the Clinton proposal is also a serious political threat to the Republican Party. Republicans must therefore clearly understand the political strategy implicit in the Clinton plan--and then adopt an aggressive and uncompromising counterstrategy designed to delegitimize the proposal and defeat its partisan purpose.

...It will relegitimize middle-class dependence for "security" on government spending and regulation. It will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.
The memo suggests states plainly that opposing universal healthcare is purely political for the Republicans, yet the so-called "liberal media" keeps pretending that Republicans are arguing in good faith* about it and other subject.

*As if the fact that Obama adopted a Heritage Foundation proposal didn't itself give the game away.
posted by Gelatin at 10:44 AM on July 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


Why can't we persuade?

Maybe if you start looking at issues rationally rather than just trying to sell oppositionist talking points and guilt-by-association conspiracy theories to "LIVs" you could get some traction?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:45 AM on July 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


*As if the fact that Obama adopted a Heritage Foundation proposal didn't itself give the game away.

Exactly. Somehow Romneycare, the conservative market-based alternative to single-payer plans becomes socialism when it's called Obamacare. It's actually pretty impressive the way that conservatives can pivot on a dime rhetorically like that. You had to kind of admire Romney's ability to run against his own plan last year.
posted by octothorpe at 10:53 AM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, the Conservatives are winning. They own the Bobblehead shows, the network news, and most of the papers. The left has been feckless in selling their product, and making succinct counter arguments and they've been getting their asses kicked electorally as a result. The conservatives will never see this - again, PVM requires constant regression.

Actually, they're not winning because of their media ownership or the fecklessness of the left in selling a product. They're winning because for now they can rig the game via voter suppression (under the guise of combating widespread fraud that doesn't exist), redistricting, and procedural assholery. The real question is whether this will work as a long-term strategy or not. There's a good possibility it's already backfiring on them, as it did in the 2012 elections, and if the regression gets racist/sexist/homophobic/xenophobic/etc enough to permanently define the party in the eyes of the public as a whole, then there may be a serious backlash.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:55 AM on July 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


The whole event descended into chaos as a group “disenfranchised whites” rose up in opposition to the premise of the gathering and sidetracked the conversation into whether blacks should thank America for their ancestors’ enslavement.

Weird, it's almost like the party has spent decades wooing white racists.
posted by goethean at 10:59 AM on July 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


there may be a serious backlash

May be? All of these articles are from today's Post, coincidence? The backlash is here, but the twist is that it's internal.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:00 AM on July 26, 2013


The left has been feckless in selling their product

Isn't this at least in part because the left has ideological objections to both "selling" and "products"?
posted by nickmark at 11:02 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Weird, it's almost like the party has spent decades wooing white racists.

Remember the "rebranding" project that the GOP supposedly started earlier this year (previously on MeFi)? You know the one, where they claimed they'd totes be cool with chicks, homos, coloreds, Mexicans of all nationalities, and the takers? Just think about how well that's gone so far this year.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:08 AM on July 26, 2013


zombieflanders: "Just think about how well that's gone so far this year."

Pfft. Scott Walker is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.
posted by zarq at 11:13 AM on July 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


Remember the "rebranding" project that the GOP supposedly started earlier this year (previously on MeFi)? You know the one, where they claimed they'd totes be cool with chicks, homos, coloreds, Mexicans of all nationalities, and the takers? Just think about how well that's gone so far this year.
Honestly, a lot of their recent "rebranding" attempts along these lines seem like they resulted from discussions that began with sentences like "Alright, people, we have to come up with a new name for the wetbacks that the wetbacks won't mind."
posted by Flunkie at 11:13 AM on July 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


You know what Napoleon says about a 30-front war, right?

Nothing. Because Napoleon's dead.
posted by chavenet at 11:15 AM on July 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


obscure simpsons reference: "The Republican party does not need to spend millions of dollars on PR firms in an effort to tweak their message. They just need to stop being racist, sexist and homophobic. The problem is not the message delivery, it's the message."

Speaking as a publicist, it's both. They have positions on a wide range of issues, and need to control the conversation just as much as they need to modify their message. It's perfectly possible to be anti-immigration (for example) without sounding like a racist. Yet that's how they come across when they broach the topic, because they don't know how to convey their message properly.
posted by zarq at 1:37 PM on July 26 [+][!]


On further reflection, I see your point. Perhaps I'm naive about American politics, but it seems to me that the Republican party would have so much more electoral success if they actually changed some of their policies rather than merely engaged in these disengenous PR tactics designed to fool people. But they probably know their target audience well, and there probably are large numbers of undecided voters who can be fooled. Rand Paul gave a speech at Howard University? I guess he's not racist afterall!
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 11:15 AM on July 26, 2013


A 30-front war? The fuck? It's gone beyond left and right in the trenches. It's down to common sense vs. sheer, glittering insanity. The right doesn't even have an ideology at this point, if an ideology is still considered to be a comprehensive vision. They're like pissed off kids, angry because that bad black man got another 4 years in the WHITE house, and they've got sticks and matches, determined to destroy everything in front of them except their own wealth. But even that may be in jeopardy, because like the line from the lovely Joni Mitchell tune says, "Who you gonna get to do the dirty work when all the slaves are free?".
posted by PuppyCat at 11:16 AM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of the more amusing features of American politics is how both sides are constantly convinced they are losing.

Particularly when your partner has Supreme as part of his job description.
posted by srboisvert at 11:16 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


nickmark: "The left has been feckless in selling their product

Isn't this at least in part because the left has ideological objections to both "selling" and "products"?
"

No. To be blunt, that part of the left is barely part of the national conversation.
posted by chavenet at 11:19 AM on July 26, 2013 [18 favorites]


They're winning because for now they can rig the game via voter suppression (under the guise of combating widespread fraud that doesn't exist), redistricting, and procedural assholery.

This is key. To the extent that conservatives have "won" anything over the last few elections, it's largely because of what elected conservatives have stopped others from doing, not because of what they've done and certainly not because of what conservative pundits and opinion-makers have said or written.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:19 AM on July 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Honestly, a lot of their recent "rebranding" attempts along these lines seem like they resulted from discussions that began with sentences like "Alright, people, we have to come up with a new name for the wetbacks that the wetbacks won't mind."

Apparently they think "drug mules" has a much better ring to it. And before anyone jumps in to point out that Steve King is getting rebuked for that comment by Boehner et al, here's a reminder to follow what they do and not what they say:
When King pushed a measure to deport Dream Act kids in June, it was Boehner and the House Republican leadership that brought the measure to the floor, and it was the House Republican conference that actually passed it.

When King demanded the House GOP rejected the bipartisan Senate reform bill, it was Boehner and the House Republican leadership that declared the Senate version D.O.A.

In other words, I'm glad the Speaker of the House sees Steve King's bigotry as "hateful" and "ignorant," but I'd even more glad if the Speaker of the House weren't letting Steve King win the policy fight.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:20 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's perfectly possible to be anti-immigration (for example) without sounding like a racist. Yet that's how they come across when they broach the topic, because they don't know how to convey their message properly.

The problem isn't that they are anti-immigration and that is making them seem racist (They aren't anti-immigration, the republicans are still pushing for a higher H1B quota, and they want a guest worker program). The problem is that they are racist, but they're trying to cloak that in other policies like immigration reform, voter id, food stamp cuts, drug testing, etc.
posted by Garm at 11:21 AM on July 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


Anyone have a convenient list of what those 30 fronts are?
posted by ckape at 11:24 AM on July 26, 2013


zombieflanders: "redistricting"

This has been a huge issue in many states over the last 10 years. Texas, Michigan and New York have been notorious for partisan redistricting that wins state legislature elections for candidates that would otherwise have lost, and eventually biases the passage of legislation.
Democratic Congressional candidates won nearly half the votes in Virginia but only 27 percent of its seats, and 48 percent of the vote in Ohio but only a quarter of its seats.
...
In the nation as a whole, Democratic candidates for Congress won 1.1 million more votes than Republicans, according to a tally of the popular vote kept by David Wasserman, the House editor of The Cook Political Report. But Republicans maintained their control of the House — making this one of a handful of elections in the last century where the party that won the popular vote for Congress did not win control of the House.

posted by zarq at 11:26 AM on July 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


I watch your circus from outside the goldfishbowl.
This week I am on the inside. Because I am here unfortunately I have TV in my life.
It never ceases to amaze me how banal 95% of TV news / information is and how parochial.
The rest of the world hardly exists. Ditto the newspapers apart from about 4 or 5 coastal based ones.
The left in the USA is centre right by most other peoples view.
As to the left shooting themselves in the foot, I give as a recent example the NSA surveillance curtailment bill defeat being lauded as a victory, because you know....we almost won.
Meanwhile, fear, terrah, brown people, pry my AK 47 / Glock from my cold dead hands, stand your ground blah blah blah.
$14 Trillion or some equally ludicrous number on overseas wars to benefit the military industrial complex and nobody else, and all your politicians buy into it.
posted by adamvasco at 11:40 AM on July 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile: North Carolina just passed the country's worst voter suppression law.
"Rick Hasen of Election Law Blog called it “the most sweeping anti-voter law in at least decades” The bill mandates strict voter ID to cast a ballot (no student IDs, no public employee IDs, etc.), even though 318,000 registered voters lack the narrow forms of acceptable ID according to the state’s own numbers (pdf) and there have been no recorded prosecutions of voter impersonation in the past decade. The bill cuts the number of early voting days by a week, even though 56 percent of North Carolinians voted early in 2012. (pdf) The bill eliminates same-day voter registration (pdf) during the early voting period, even though 96,000 people used it during the general election in 2012 and states that have adopted the convenient reform have the highest voter turnout in the country. African-Americans are 23 percent of registered voters in the state, but made up 28 percent of early voters in 2012, 33 percent of those who used same-day registration and 34 percent of those without state-issued ID.

And that’s just the start of it. In short, the bill eliminates practically everything that encourages people to vote in North Carolina, replaced by unnecessary and burdensome new restrictions. At the same time, the bill expands the influence of unregulated corporate influence in state elections. Just what our democracy needs—more money and less voting!

"I want you to understand what this bill means to people,” said Representative Mickey Michaux (D-Durham), the longest-serving member of the North Carolina House and a veteran of the civil rights movement who grew up in the Jim Crow South. "We have fought for, died for and struggled for our right to vote. You can take these 57 pages of abomination and confine them to the streets of Hell for all eternity."

Here are the details of everything bad about the ball, via North Carolina Policy Watch. It’s a very long list:

* The end of pre-registration for 16 & 17 year olds
* A ban on paid voter registration drives
* Elimination of same day voter registration
* A provision allowing voters to be challenged by any registered voter of the county in which they vote rather than just their precinct
* A week sliced off Early Voting
* Elimination of straight party ticket voting
* A provision making the state’s presidential primary date a function of the primary date in South Carolina
* A provision calling for a study (rather than a mandate) of electronic candidate filing
* An increase in the maximum campaign contribution to $5,000 (the limit will continue to increase every two years with the Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
* A provision weakening disclosure requirements for ”independent expenditure” committees
* Authorization of vigilante poll observers, lots of them, with expanded range of interference
* An expansion of the scope of who may examine registration records and challenge voters
* A repeal of out-of-precinct voting
* A repeal of the current mandate for high-school registration drives
* Elimination of flexibility in opening early voting sites at different hours within a county
* A provision making it more difficult to add satellite polling sites for the elderly or voters with disabilities
* New limits on who can assist a voter adjudicated to be incompetent by court
* The repeal of three public financing programs
* The repeal of disclosure requirements under “candidate specific communications."

posted by zarq at 11:41 AM on July 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


The right doesn't even have an ideology at this point, if an ideology is still considered to be a comprehensive vision. They're like pissed off kids, angry because that bad black man got another 4 years in the WHITE house

I'll let Glenn Greenwald field this one:

One of the worst myths Democratic partisans love to tell themselves - and everyone else - is that the GOP refuses to support President Obama no matter what he does. Like its close cousin - the massively deceitful inside-DC grievance that the two parties refuse to cooperate on anything - it's hard to overstate how false this Democratic myth is. When it comes to foreign policy, war, assassinations, drones, surveillance, secrecy, and civil liberties, President Obama's most stalwart, enthusiastic defenders are often found among the most radical precincts of the Republican Party.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:54 AM on July 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


When it comes to foreign policy, war, assassinations, drones, surveillance, secrecy, and civil liberties, President Obama's most stalwart, enthusiastic defenders are often found among the most radical precincts of the Republican Party.

Case in point, even just two days ago, the rider attempting to defund the NSA keeping files on all Americans. It was narrowly defeated thanks to a GOP majority.
posted by anonymisc at 12:04 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll let Glenn Greenwald field this one

Which is, of course, none of what is being discussed here. I would love it if he spent a good deal of time talking about the many other problems in the US, particularly around race, but since he doesn't really seem to consider himself part of anything here that doesn't affect him personally and seems to enjoy rather a lot of privilege in his worldview, I'm not going to hold my breath. That's not to say that Greenwald doesn't have a point in that article (he does, and I hope he keeps making it), it's just that he tends to get really myopic on things to the point where it can get problematic unless you call him out on it (e.g. Ron and Rand Paul and minorities, women, and gays), and even then often comes with qualifiers.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:17 PM on July 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Republican party does not need to spend millions of dollars on PR firms in an effort to tweak their message. They just need to stop being racist, sexist and homophobic. The problem is not the message delivery, it's the message.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 12:28 PM on July 26




OK, with a screen name like that, how have you not posted something like this yet?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:19 PM on July 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Write at the fourth grade level."

I guess they know their audience.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:26 PM on July 26, 2013


A faction of the GOP that claims to be even further to the right than Karl Rove is trying to purge... Karl Rove and his money faction.

That's going to end well.
posted by no relation at 12:41 PM on July 26, 2013


One of the worst myths Democratic partisans love to tell themselves - and everyone else - is that the GOP refuses to support President Obama no matter what he does.

"Worst myths?"

I mean, congratulations to Greenwald for realizing that his hobby horse (important as it is) happens to provide a counterexample, but it's not as if the idea doesn't have a significant basis.
posted by weston at 12:45 PM on July 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


A refrain I frequently hear on the left is that just a few years from now, all of the conservatives will have died and then they win. I've been hearing it for 30 years, and it's never been true yet - in fact, I've watched my peers from High School become more reactionary and douchey year by year.

How exactly does this happen? I've seen a lot of the same thing: a turn into got-mine assholery at middle age, and I am wondering what the cause of this is. All I can figure is that it has to do with not paying attention to pundits and mass media at age 20, i.e. having some fairly idealistic values, then taking interest at some point and buying into all the talking points as they come out. Obviously I don't have a very good handle on this, but I think it's a fundamental part of the problem.
posted by crapmatic at 12:50 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Over the past fifty-sixty years, the turn into got-mine assholery was usually accompanied and precipitated by the positions people found themselves in when they hit middle age, namely stable jobs, shrinking mortgages, growing retirement funds, and empty nests.

The numbers of people entering middle age who have those have been falling.
posted by no relation at 12:58 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, with a screen name like that, how have you not posted something like this yet?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:19 PM on July 26 [2 favorites −] Favorite added![!]


Before I clicked on the link, I tried to guess what specfic reference you were going with. I also would have accepted this or this or this.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 1:03 PM on July 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I couldn't find the one with Burns at the Springfield Republican HQ which included the big loud Texan, real-estate/PR lady, and Nosferatu.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:24 PM on July 26, 2013


I watch your circus from outside the goldfishbowl.

So, wait, is it a goldfish circus? Or is it a regular circus that's small enough to fit in a goldfish bowl? Or is the bowl enormous enough to contain a regular-sized circus?, because that would be a pretty big bowl.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:26 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Over the past fifty-sixty years, the turn into got-mine assholery was usually accompanied and precipitated by the positions people found themselves in when they hit middle age, namely stable jobs, shrinking mortgages, growing retirement funds, and empty nests.

The numbers of people entering middle age who have those have been falling.


I think most people become more politically conservative as they age not so much because they "got theirs" as because people naturally become less comfortable with change as they age.

Like: the same mechanism that makes many perfectly intelligent older people uncomfortable with new technological devices makes them skeptical of social and cultural change. Small-c conservatism translates to captial-C Conservatism.
posted by pocketfullofrye at 1:42 PM on July 26, 2013



Case in point, even just two days ago, the rider attempting to defund the NSA keeping files on all Americans. It was narrowly defeated thanks to a GOP majority.


Yesss... but its really not a great example of the split, as a slim majority of Republicans voted against it (94-134) and a slim majority of Democrats (111-83) voted for it. It was far from a party-line vote.

Vote breakdown

I mean, yes, if only Democrats had voted it would have passed, but it was actually interesting for how it shows the breakdown against/for such issues within each party (driven by the more left-side of the Democrats and the more libertarian-side of the Republicans)
posted by wildcrdj at 1:46 PM on July 26, 2013


Remember the "rebranding" project that the GOP supposedly started earlier this year (previously on MeFi)? You know the one, where they claimed they'd totes be cool with chicks, homos, coloreds, Mexicans of all nationalities, and the takers? Just think about how well that's gone so far this year. -ZF

Thought they dropped that because of the Trende articles that argue Reps just need all those white folks who don't vote to get into the act.

TLDR: Yes we CAN be the party of white people with no apology.
posted by Max Power at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2013


And here is Ruy Teixeira et al's take-down of Sean Trende.
posted by goethean at 2:35 PM on July 26, 2013


A faction of the GOP that claims to be even further to the right than Karl Rove is trying to purge... Karl Rove and his money faction.

That's going to end well.
posted by no relation at 12:41 PM on July 26 [+] [!]


You mean that's going to ... Groundswell.
posted by chavenet at 2:38 PM on July 26, 2013


And here is Ruy Teixeira et al's take-down of Sean Trende.

And here is Sean Trende's take-down of Ruy Teixeira et al's take down.
posted by VikingSword at 3:19 PM on July 26, 2013


>> Isn't this at least in part because the left has ideological objections to both "selling" and "products"?"

> No. To be blunt, that part of the left is barely part of the national conversation.

Or to be more accurate, the "left" itself is barely part of the national conversation.

There is nothing particularly "left" about the Democrats, given that they are to the "right" of Richard Nixon on pretty well everything. Compared with America before 1990, or with most of the rest of the world, the Democrats are a center-right party - Mr. Obama himself observes that he would have been a moderate Republican during Reagan's time.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:30 PM on July 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


The right, on the other hand, suffers from Perpetual Victim Mythology (PVM)

They also have their eliminationist/apocalyptic side. Now and then they take off the victim mask and reveal the face where they are knowingly, gleefully stomping the life out of their enemies. They relish the idea of actually, really purifying the world of them. During the height of the W years they were even getting specific with some creepy "kill the liberal men and claim the women as concubines" rhetoric. It's the cult kind of thing, where they adopt that persecuted religious minority face in public, but they really just want to disappear into the countryside and set up their own crazy religious persecution nightmare society that some day takes over the world in the wake of flames and death.
posted by bleep-blop at 3:55 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't underestimate the "procedural" wins the right has been racking up. Citizens United, the gutting of the VRA, blatantly unfair redistricting and voter laws, etc. That'll cover a multitude of "bad messaging" - and then some. I think the general public is finally grokking this and the blowback (eventually) is gonna be hard and heavy. But, hey, I've been wrong a couple of thousand times before.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:21 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, if you are not in the military and you use the term OPSEC, you're a dick.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:31 PM on July 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


(They aren't anti-immigration, the republicans are still pushing for a higher H1B quota, and they want a guest worker program).

Well, they're pro-immigration when it allows highly skilled and educated workers to come into the country and work for much less than an American worker will.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:32 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's perfectly possible to be anti-immigration (for example) without sounding like a racist. Yet that's how they come across when they broach the topic, because they don't know how to convey their message properly.

Message padding takes you only so far. At some point, you either want to deport entire families, or you don't. Too many people are directly connected to this situation to just be looking for feel good while deporting people.
posted by effugas at 5:37 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Over the past fifty-sixty years, the turn into got-mine assholery was usually accompanied and precipitated by the positions people found themselves in when they hit middle age, namely stable jobs, shrinking mortgages, growing retirement funds, and empty nests.

I have all of these things including the middle-age. I'm so sick of people who hate others and force policy because of their terror of folks who are not like them. I thought age brought wisdom and understanding. Where has the common-sense demographic gone?
posted by Banish Misfortune at 6:01 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Common sense is not so common." ~ Voltaire, 1764 according to wikiquote
posted by hap_hazard at 6:33 PM on July 26, 2013


"I'll let Glenn Greenwald field this one"

Fine, Republicans just oppose Obama on 999 things out of 1000.
posted by klangklangston at 7:07 PM on July 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Republican party does not need to spend millions of dollars on PR firms in an effort to tweak their message. They just need to stop being racist, sexist and homophobic. The problem is not the message delivery, it's the message.

Be careful what you ask for. If the right did stop being racist, sexist and homophobic, they might become far more dangerous. Thankfully, it seems we don't have to worry too much about that.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:40 PM on July 26, 2013


Gaston Mooney, a staffer for the Senate Republican Steering Committee

This is literally the best name I have ever heard.
posted by naoko at 8:58 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Common sense is not so common." ~ Voltaire, 1764

Common decency neither.
posted by Pouteria at 10:14 PM on July 26, 2013


It's perfectly possible to be anti-immigration (for example) without sounding like a racist.

You will still be one though.
posted by srboisvert at 7:22 AM on July 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


How exactly does this happen? I've seen a lot of the same thing: a turn into got-mine assholery at middle age, and I am wondering what the cause of this is.

I find that a lot of people, around the time they start to leave their 20s, figure out how to intellectualize selfishness, and think that being self-centered is some kind of personal revelation or "maturity".
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:05 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good post. Thanks, zarq.
posted by homunculus at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2013


Mitt Romney's Incredible 47-Percent Denial: "Actually, I Didn't Say That"
posted by homunculus at 2:04 PM on July 29, 2013


Groundswell: A Secret Tape Reveals How It Lobbied Boehner and Issa on Benghazi
Among those present were former GOP Rep. Allen West, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council, Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News, and Ginni Thomas. Catherine Engelbrecht, a founder of True the Vote, led the meeting, and the first order of business was a report on the Benghazi controversy from Boykin and Gaffney.

The pair reported on meetings they had held the previous night with Boehner and Issa. The two Groundswellers had encouraged the lawmakers to set up a special committee to investigate the attacks on the US facilities in Benghazi. Boykin, according to the recording, noted that Boehner had said he wanted the process "to play out" first, apparently meaning that he wasn't yet ready to step up the GOP Benghazi campaign. Boehner, Boykin recounted, had expressed the concern that were he to create such a committee, the media would cover it as a political stunt designed to bring down Obama.

Boykin, a retired general and Christian fundamentalist who caused a dust-up in 2003 when he gave a speech (while still on active duty) saying that his god was "a real god" and Allah was an "idol," told the Groundswellers that he expected the Benghazi matter to blossom into a full-blown scandal: "We've got an ugly baby here and it's going to get uglier." He maintained that "we're going to find...a huge deception."
posted by zombieflanders at 3:50 PM on August 2, 2013


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