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Decline the Nomination
April 10, 2004 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Frustrated Republicans: President on vacation while Iraq burns got you down? Feeling loyal to the party, ideas, or repulsed by the Dems? Agonizing over voting Bush to stay true? Sign the petition, Maybe you won't have to. And Dems, if you can promise to be open minded in November you can sign as well. via Blogging of the President
posted by daver (16 comments total)

 
Before the cries of Iraq/News/Bushfilter come on, allow me to offer this weak defense. We've heard a lot of Dems bashing Bush, this is the first time I've seen a grass roots movement afoot aimed at changing the 'pubs.
posted by daver at 4:05 PM on April 10, 2004


Here's the Johnson quote

I'm not allowed to sign this (and online petitions have no real power), but maybe those unhappy Repubs should just sit home in Nov. (or vote Kerry?) It's clear Bush isn't listening to them or us. ; >
posted by amberglow at 4:18 PM on April 10, 2004


This is a movement? Don't they have online petitions to get like Buffy the Vampire Slayer online?

Here's a freerep article on Republicans against Bush

OF course the gay Republicans against Bush

Another Republican against Bush

Not much for Republicans against Bush, why? Well from talking to my Republican friends, while they concede that the war thing isn't going good and that the reasons for it were probably fabricated -- they think it is still fundamentally right to get rid of someone like Saddam because he was "a bad man". I point out that there a lot of "bad men" in the world and that Saddam recently hasn't been a "bad man" against anyone recently, that we could have focused better. They then use the "showing a message to the world" argument, etc. The only way to unseat this kind of belief is a massive failure in Iraq, and the spread of terrorism. Only then will they see that getting rid of Saddam led to even more fanatical leaders in Iraq and a resentment of the US leading to more terrorism against us. To which they still might suggest more military action.

Though with that kind of logic you could probably deconstruct democrats as set in their ways (if Iraq had really stopped terrorism and the people were happy, they'd still be complaining about inane things).

So my point is, "hey look at this, Republicans AGAINST Bush" is kind of an anomaly. It's a bad argument as to why Bush may be wrong it what he does and this seems just as a way to complain about things Bush has done.
posted by geoff. at 4:28 PM on April 10, 2004


this is the first time I've seen a grass roots movement afoot aimed at changing the 'pubs.

Ha. Are you serious?

While there make sure to join some of the other 'grass root movements', including Bring Megaman X3 to North America!

Funny stuff.
posted by justgary at 5:38 PM on April 10, 2004


The only way to unseat this kind of belief is a massive failure in Iraq, and the spread of terrorism. Only then will they see that getting rid of Saddam led to even more fanatical leaders in Iraq and a resentment of the US leading to more terrorism against us.

Are you saying that it would be good for that scenario to play out because it would convince hard-headed republicans of their wrongness?

I hope you're not saying that.
posted by palegirl at 5:45 PM on April 10, 2004


I've been thinking a lot about the Johnson thing, lately, and the potential parallels for Bush. How bad would it have to get and how obvious would Bush's lameness have to be (or, I should say, how much more obvious) for him to decide to make his exit in advance of the convention?

Or for the party to decide that he needs to be shunted aside.
posted by alms at 5:55 PM on April 10, 2004


I would say that I would be more inclined to vote for a Republican not affiliated with Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/etc. then I would for Kerry. I generally think the pragmatic branch of the Republican party is the best choice for the next 4 years... that being said, there's no way I'm voting for Bush.
posted by cell divide at 6:33 PM on April 10, 2004


The Howling Wilderness of Pseudoconservatism

Trust me. It's a darn fine read.
posted by crasspastor at 6:53 PM on April 10, 2004


that is good, and damning.
posted by amberglow at 7:01 PM on April 10, 2004


Are you saying that it would be good for that scenario to play out because it would convince hard-headed republicans of their wrongness?

No, no, no. See I go onto say that would probably not even sway people. My point was that people are set in their convictions and their denial level is very high. They find security in aligning themselves with a group and will conform their logic to still maintain alliance to the group ("Well Saddam was bad anyway").
posted by geoff. at 7:50 PM on April 10, 2004


Republicans for Kerry?
posted by homunculus at 8:39 PM on April 10, 2004


I thought Ralph said he hoped all the frustrated Republicans would vote for him.
posted by mwhybark at 9:09 PM on April 10, 2004


Interesting link, crasspastor, although his unironic use of 'Amerika' in the first paragraph is pointless and sophomoric. Still, useful.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:34 PM on April 10, 2004


crasspastor - There are interesting resonances between this read ( excellent - thanks ) and Peter Loewenberg's legendary and seminal essay "The Psychohistorical Origins of the Nazi Youth Cohort" - which literally marked the birth of the field of psychohistory.

""The Psychohistorical Origins of the Nazi Youth Cohort," perhaps Loewenberg's great masterpiece, is a carefully reasoned, carefully argued, beautifully written essay which unfolds with logical precision and surprises again and again with telling facts and examples. The hypothesis is simple: youth was the key to Nazi success, and much of Hitler's support came from those who had suffered massive physical and emotional deprivation as children in the last years of World War I. The first years of The Great Depression recalled the earlier trauma, and Hitler came to unconsciously represent the absent fathers and mothers of the war years. "French and British families undoubtedly experienced the sense of fatherlessness and desertion by mother as much as did German and Austrian families." But two additional factors made a crucial difference: for central European children, "extreme and persistent hunger bordering in the cities on starvation," was the first; the second was the fact that German and Austrian fathers returned in defeat and were unable to protect their children in the tumultuous post-war years. It was reinforced by the sociopolitical order being overturned: "The Kaiser of Germany had fled and the Kaiser of Austria had been deposed." Naturally, fathers and father figures were both wanted and idealized. Loewenberg dips into literary sources to help prove his points that Hitler offered himself as a fantasy object. "

Compare "Werther's" take on the psychological rigidity and infantalized quality of American "pseudoconservatives" - and their obsessions with strength and martial virtues (though this group is characterized by a lack of actual military service) and their desire to be rescued by a strong leadership (father?) figure.

Now, on the surface, America of the 1950's through the 1970's - when the currently rising generation of these pseudoconservatives grew up - shared little in common with Loewenberg's "Nazi youth cohort's" experiences growing up amidst the deprivations of WW1 and post WW1 Germany.

On the surface.

But, looking a bit deeper, note this : Americans (though this may be changing) and especially suburban Americans are have been noted for their sense of emotional deprivation. Children most everywhere in the World are typically raised with much higher degrees of social interaction than are American children ; and the "nuclear family" - as a quintessential American institution - would be considered a bizarrely impoverished social unit for the raising of children, by most peoples of the world ( and in most recorded throughout human history ).

American suburban children tend to be raised amidst exceptional material privilege and notable social and emotional deprivation. This varies, of course. But - as a general rule - the social fabric underlying American child rearing is thin and growing thinner. And fathers are noticeably absent.

I see some interesting resonances and similarities between the childhood experiences Loewenberg's "Nazi youth cohort" and those of American suburbanites. Food - sufficient nutrition - is the sine qua non of child rearing, yes, but Loewenberg's cohort did not starve (although they suffered famine). As factors crucial to childhood development, affection and social interaction closely follow mere physical subsistence. As studies with primates have repeatedly demonstrated - social interaction, from infancy through the first few years at least, is critical to the normal development of primates : and, for humans, even more so.

In fact, for developing human infants, social deprivation inhibits normal brain development, in general, and also - probably - social intelligence.

In the context of these established facts, I have to look at the current seeming inability of Americans - from the naive idealism of the generation which Graham Greene portrayed in "The Quiet American" through to those current adults who are attempting, through force of arms, to bring the benefits of Democracy to a somewhat less than willing Iraqi population and wonder - might there be some organic, childhood developmental deficits underlying the long noted American inability - usually ascribed merely to national isolation, naivete, and ignorance of foreign culture - to imagine or comprehend why the rest of the world seems so resentful and hateful even of American intentions and foreign policies?

Why don't Americans seem to "get it" or the rest of the world to comprehend american behavior (except as intentionally malevolent) ? And why, further, does there seem to be a qualitative difference, even, between the behavior of the neo-imperialist Americans and that of their recent cultural cousins, the colonial empire-nations of Britain, France and Spain? Why do the Americans seem to stand apart so - both in their idealism and in their recent, post Marshall Plan era hamfisted clumsiness at implementing their idealism through actual policies and actions?

And so I turn to Geoff's point, which looks eerily to me like a comment posted on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, during those heated Metafilter debates which preceded the invasion : ".....I point out that there a lot of "bad men" in the world and that Saddam recently hasn't been a "bad man" against anyone recently, that we could have focused better. They then use the "showing a message to the world" argument, etc. The only way to unseat this kind of belief is a massive failure in Iraq, and the spread of terrorism. Only then will they see that getting rid of Saddam led to even more fanatical leaders in Iraq and a resentment of the US leading to more terrorism against us. To which they still might suggest more military action."

To understand social dynamics - whether at the village, town, tribal, or national level - requires a type of holistic or systems thinking which is essentially the same as that cultivated by ecologists. Human social groupings have a complex ecology which is governed, more than anything, by emotions. Most humans who have the privilege of being raised, from childhood, within functional communities learn to think, I suspect, in terms of this ecological calculus of how communities and other social groupings behave and react. This awareness is an outgrowth of social intelligence.

But to Americans and - especially - American suburbanites, this mode of awareness, or thought, seems somehow foreign and unintuitive. And so it is of no small irony that advertising (which, as a field, was born in America) and propaganda have been so heavily studied by Americans! - For these fields address, in part and in the abstract, a type of intelligence and awareness - of group mind and group dynamics - which may now no longer come naturally to a generation of Americans weaned on alienation and cathode-ray tubes.
posted by troutfishing at 8:21 AM on April 11, 2004


Troutfishing, interesting discussion, but as a lens for understanding why people support Bush (enough people, I believe, to re-elect him in November) it is pretty inadequate.

You're still on far better ground than something you put me in mind of: Thomas Frank's piece in the current (or almost-current) Harper's, which was a long and well-argued, but neverthless utterly, completely, benightedly clueless, analysis of why people in the "Red States" (or red counties, if you will) vote Republican.

Much of what you say about the parochialism and need for father figures of American voters is doubtless true -- but it fails to distinguish Americans, because it's true of people everywhere. In my experience, American parochialism pales in comparison to the parochialism of, well, anywhere else. It's Americans, after all, who easily uproot themselves and travel thousands of miles for better jobs and careers, who in a large proportion are immigrants from foreign countries or children of them. Your typical French or German voter might have a nominally more cosmopolitan politics, but his life as it is actually lived is xenophobic and chauvenistic in a way which would astonish and appall an Ole Miss fratboy.
posted by MattD at 5:31 PM on April 11, 2004


MattD - I don't mean, at all, to characterize all people who intend to vote for Bush with this broad brush. Bush voters will have motives as fantastically varied as those who will vote democratic.

Sure - I agree with your point about the omnipresence of parochialism and xenophobia. But my somewhat frenzied brainstorm was about a more specific phenomenon, a sort of psychopathology which can result (Peter Loewenberg argues) from childhood emotional isolation and deprivation - rather than being an argument which concerned parochialism or xenophobia.

And this theory doesn't, of course, mean that people almost everywhere around the globe and in widely varied cultures aren't immune to the lure of authoritarianism. Far from it. But, for Loewenberg, his line of analysis was a way of trying to explain the peculiar intensity of Nazi fascism. I haven't chewed over my extension of Loewenberg's argument to American culture, and so I'm not convinced myself of the extent to which it's justified. It's very speculative at this point - but I do think there's at least some truth to it.

I specifically advanced the whole argument in reaction to crasspastor's posted link, to the essay entitled "The Howling Wilderness of Pseudoconservatism" linked to above, and - in particular - to this part of the argument laid out in that piece :

"A good friend and long-time Republican put it this way: "Your average enthusiastic movement conservative is basically so adolescent and emotionally fragile that he does not see political activity as a contest of principles. He needs a white knight who comes riding in on a horse in order to redeem America."

The truth of his observation is illustrated by the fact that precisely when many of Ronald Reagan's principles are being abandoned, his deification is reaching its zenith.

It is a matter of record that an Indiana Congressman has seriously stated as a justification for putting Reagan's image on the dime the fact that the bullet extracted from the former president in the 1981 assassination attempt was the size and shape of a dime!

Likewise, Republican huckster Grover Norquist is spearheading a movement not only to carve Ronald Reagan's image on Mount Rushmore, but to have a Reagan monument in every county of every state in the union. Apparently, a $500 billion deficit, a "war that will not end in our lifetimes" (so says the Vice President), and an immigration crisis are not sufficient to engage the attention of GOP cognoscenti like Norquist.

This leader worship extends to the current claimant of the imperial purple. The American Conservative Union may yammer perpetually about out-of-control spending, but the critique is curiously disconnected from the president himself - the person who is supposed to be in charge of that spending. Perhaps career bureaucrats are holding the president hostage. Let Bush be Bush! All these arguments, of course, are merely a variation on the shopworn theme: "if only ze F├╝hrer knew!" "

posted by troutfishing at 6:52 PM on April 11, 2004


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