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Confessions of a Tea Party Casualty
August 3, 2010 4:37 PM   Subscribe

After winning six congressional elections since 1992, Representative Bob Inglis (R - SC) is now a politician without a party, a policy maven without a movement. And in a few months, he will be without his present job. The reason? "It's a dangerous strategy to build conservatism on information and policies that are not credible...[Obama] is no socialist."
posted by contessa (75 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
All sides seem to be screaming for political purity, the GOP "base" is wielding the axe like a banshee though.
posted by edgeways at 4:44 PM on August 3, 2010


"It's a dangerous strategy to build conservatism on information and policies that are not credible."

Smart guy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:47 PM on August 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


furiousxgeorge:
"It's a dangerous strategy to build conservatism on information and policies that are not credible."
Smart guy.
Clearly he has no business being in politics, then.
posted by hincandenza at 4:49 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


What makes people believe demonstrably false nonsense? Which country with health care is Socialist? England? A monarchy?
posted by Cranberry at 4:51 PM on August 3, 2010


The GOP is doing an excellent job of positioning itself to be the party of rich old white paranoid people.

The Democratic Party is doing a terrible job of positioning itself to be the party of everyone else.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:52 PM on August 3, 2010 [61 favorites]


^ cranberry: fear, & laziness. & possibly learned helplessness. & stupidity.
posted by yoga at 4:53 PM on August 3, 2010


Edgeways: The fact that Nelson, Bayh, Lincoln and Landrieu faced no repercussions for siding with Republicans to block important pieces of legislation multiple times this year should be enough for you to realize that both sides are most certainly not screamng for political purity.
posted by KGMoney at 4:54 PM on August 3, 2010 [12 favorites]


Clearly he has no business being in politics, then.

And as such was ridden out on a rail.

I have a feeling that the GOP is going to have a tea hangover after November, and not be nearly so successful as they think they will be. Moderates will vote for Inglis. Moderates won't vote for someone with a literal belief in what Glenn Beck says. Those tea partiers are already voting conservative, and the most you can hope for is that some of them might turn out, where before they wouldn't - I don't think that's going to make a difference though.

I think the next big thing in conservatism is going to be 'intellectual', big business conservatives who promise economic recovery on the fatted backs of the rich.
posted by codacorolla at 4:54 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


In a democracy, society eventually gets the government it deserves.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 4:55 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bob Bennett, tossed out in the Rep. primary in Utah; similar story. Why'd he lose? His opponent "loved the constitution more"; and he was there too long.

Interesting parallel in that some of these guys just don't know what to say or do when confronted with Tea Party antics. What can you do? "WHY HAVEN'T YOU IMPEACHED THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE MUSLIM COMMUNIST YET?!?!" "um......"
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 5:00 PM on August 3, 2010


After reading the article, I find it interesting that it doesn't mention TARP, since most of the blogs I've read seem to have pointed to his vote for (And continued support of) TARP as one of the main reasons Inglis lost the primary.
posted by KGMoney at 5:00 PM on August 3, 2010


All sides seem to be screaming for political purity...

Piffle.
posted by DU at 5:01 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Of course, he's wrong. Obama is a socialist. And guess what, I'm a socialist, you're a socialist, Sarah Palin's a socialist. Do you drive on roads built with tax dollars? Socialist! Do you visit parks and libraries paid for with tax dollars? Socialist! Do you depend on publicly funded police and fire fighters to keep you safe? Socialist! Do your kids attend schools paid for with tax dollars? Yup, tiny little socialists!

Go ahead and try and build a society without publicly funded benefits for all. Just don't expect many people to want to live there. I sure as hell don't.
posted by marsha56 at 5:03 PM on August 3, 2010 [22 favorites]


People like to laugh at the Tea Party; and, yes, while they are laughable, they scare the shit out of me. There are two major reasons, and it would be best if their opponents took them more seriously than just being all LOLTEABAGGER.

First, by being so batshit crazy, they legitimize just regular crazy. I mean, when you have people screaming that healthcare = hilter, plain (fucking awful on its own) craziness like Gitmo seems reasoned. This damages the country even if they never gain any real political power. And second, crazies are persistent. It wouldn't be the first time persistent, crazy people gain power they have no business wielding. At one point the neo-cons were considered the crazies and we all know how that worked out.

A week after 9/11 I told a friend of mine that the attack would either be the greatest thing that happened to the US or the worst. (I think of the teabagger movement as just a continuation of the pro-torture, militarized christianity, "liberal" bashing we saw all decade, just with a bit more racism and faux fiscal conservatism dressing.) I said 9/11 could either make the US go through period of self-reflection and self-improvement, a reassessment of its place in the world, or it could drive the US so far down the crazyhole that it will be impossible to undo the damage. It's pretty obvious what route we went down, nobody can stop this shit now, and I was young and naive to think there was any other way it could go.
posted by milarepa at 5:11 PM on August 3, 2010 [22 favorites]


As far as I can tell, the word 'Socialist' as used in the modern US is simply a scare-word that means "anything that involves the government doing something".
posted by Urtylug at 5:11 PM on August 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


As far as I can tell, the word 'Socialist' as used in the modern US is simply a scare-word that means "anything that involves the government doing something".

No, it means, "He's black."
posted by milarepa at 5:13 PM on August 3, 2010 [35 favorites]


Y'know what, the crazier the Tea Party acts, the more they're going to alienate reasonable conservatives like this guy, who probably outnumber the nutcakes despite what the hype would have you believe. and that's a good thing. They'll either become Democrats or form a third party.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, it means, "He's black."

It was used quite extensively against Hillary & Bill back in the previous healthcare attempt, so I don't buy that (not arguing there's no racism in the movement, but Socialist is used as a general anti-liberal label).
posted by wildcrdj at 5:16 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


In a democracy, society eventually gets the government it deserves.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:55 PM


In a Republic, society eventually gets the government that the highest bidder chooses for them.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:17 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


As far as I can tell, the word 'Socialist' as used in the modern US is simply a scare-word that means "anything that involves the government doing something".

To be fair, antisocial-ists are fine just fine when the government kills almost anyone. But even then, I guess they'd prefer that to be a private industry.
posted by DU at 5:22 PM on August 3, 2010


I turn on the tap, and clean, drinkable water comes out of it every single time.

It's the most amazing thing.
posted by mhoye at 5:23 PM on August 3, 2010 [13 favorites]



It was used quite extensively against Hillary & Bill back in the previous healthcare attempt, so I don't buy that (not arguing there's no racism in the movement, but Socialist is used as a general anti-liberal label).


Yes, that's true. I guess it just means, "We lost! And he's black!!"
posted by milarepa at 5:23 PM on August 3, 2010


You know, it looks to me that the crazier they act the more successful they get. I don't see anyone saying "whoops, too crazy!" in the near future.
posted by Artw at 5:28 PM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Clearly Bob Inglis is the socialist here.
posted by elder18 at 5:30 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why should we feel badly for him? Ah yes. It sounds like he's one of the last of the old-school, ethical Republican politicians. Folks who stood for more than just extremism. Except he wasn't. He was part of the Gingrich crowd, and he brought this on himself by encouraging an "fuck the elitist, sex-crazed educated, feminazi liberal democrats" environment in which the Tea Party was able to flourish and grow.

As much as I disagreed with their faux-Conservative politics, I once respected Republicans for not being hypocrites. Wrong-headed, yes. Exclusionary, yes. But until Newt Gingrich and his ilk came along, deep down I never really believed they had decided that if they couldn't run the country, they'd destroy it for the rest of us.

But this is what all of the Limbaugh, Coulter and Beck Republicans have hoped for. Prayed for. Worked for. Begged for. A wave of righteous anger from the idiot masses that will irreparably split the country into extremist camps, trapping the passive moderates between them.

Bob Inglis helped make that happen.

A long time ago, he apparently decided to be part of the problem. He didn't seem to give a fuck about moderation and bipartisanship when his ass was in a position of power, did he? So now he's out.

So excuse me if I don't shed a fucking tear for him. He doesn't deserve them. I'll shed a few for us, though. We have to live with his legacy.
posted by zarq at 5:32 PM on August 3, 2010 [47 favorites]


At least the Gingrich era Republicans got some shit done with Clinton in between trying to destroy him.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:35 PM on August 3, 2010


..encouraging an "fuck the elitist, sex-crazed educated, feminazi liberal democrats" environment...

...irreparably split the country into extremist camps, trapping the passive moderates between them.

IRONY OVERLOAD
posted by DU at 5:37 PM on August 3, 2010


As far as I can tell, the word 'Socialist' as used in the modern US is simply a scare-word that means "anything that involves the government doing something for anyone except me
posted by dilettante at 5:39 PM on August 3, 2010 [16 favorites]


At least the Gingrich era Republicans got some shit done with Clinton in between trying to destroy him.

The irony is, he now looks like a moderate compared to today's Republicans.
posted by zarq at 5:41 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, it looks to me that the crazier they act the more successful they get. I don't see anyone saying "whoops, too crazy!" in the near future.

I'm not sure how successful they actually are. I think that Fox is making them appear successful, but I don't know anyone - not even my Dad, who is a dyed in the wool fiscal conservative that watched Rush on cable for a while - who self indentify as Tea Partiers. In fact, most people I know openly mock them. I've, at most, heard half hearted solidarity with their ideals, but no open support. I honestly think the mid-terms are going to go very poorly for them.

A long time ago, he apparently decided to be part of the problem. He didn't seem to give a fuck about moderation and bipartisanship when his ass was in a position of power, did he? So now he's out.

He doesn't get a free pass from me, but he at least pretended towards contrition for hounding the Clintons. This reads like a savvy politician who knows a short-lived trend when he sees it, and is trying to stage for the next big thing.
posted by codacorolla at 5:42 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


What worries me the most is that we Americans don't act with foresight. We don't see something coming and prevent it, we respond vigorously after the fact. What will it take for us to realize the danger of this kind of rabid, lunatic, racist, anti-information dogma crusade? Do we have to be taken over by this party before the rest of us wake up and pay attention to what goes on in this country? Do we have to live under some oppressive ultra fundamentalist religious regime before we think "man, who let the assholes in here?" we've already got one state passing racist immigration laws, lunatics running for executive office... When do we all start paying attention and start working to prevent the catastrophe these people and their backers are working to create?
posted by shmegegge at 5:45 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least the Gingrich era Republicans got some shit done with Clinton in between trying to destroy him.

Yep. Stuff like this and this and this.
posted by contessa at 5:47 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


What worries me the most is that we Americans don't act with foresight. We don't see something coming and prevent it, we respond vigorously after the fact. What will it take for us to realize the danger of this kind of rabid, lunatic, racist, anti-information dogma crusade? Do we have to be taken over by this party before the rest of us wake up and pay attention to what goes on in this country? Do we have to live under some oppressive ultra fundamentalist religious regime before we think "man, who let the assholes in here?" we've already got one state passing racist immigration laws, lunatics running for executive office... When do we all start paying attention and start working to prevent the catastrophe these people and their backers are working to create?


Wait...lemme reread. Are you sure you weren't talking about the Bush Administration?
posted by milarepa at 5:50 PM on August 3, 2010


The thing is though, right, Nelson, Bayh, Lincoln and Landrieu as much as they have infuriated plenty of people (myself included) the normative practice has been there was nearly always crossover votes on both sides of the aside, I would argue that this is the way it should happen and the current GOP has broken the system and it is hard for the Democrats to counter because, yeah while the GOP is mainly white and older that doesn't mean everyone else agrees with one another. And so, as hard right as the Rs have gone, many progressives want the Ds to do the same in the other direction to try and balance the shift. But the Democratic party is the everyone else party right now, not just the progressives, so they really can't functionally do that as a group. I really dislike the Nelson, Bayh, Lincoln and Landrieu group but in a regular functional system they have a place. What is missing is we don't have a regular functional system right now and I'm not sure anyone really has an effective way to combat it. (actually as much as I resisted it in the past I think overhauling the filibuster may be a step in the right direction). So we yell at Nelson, Bayh, Lincoln and Landrieu (and they deserve it), but THEY aren't the problem, not really, the Republican Senate leaders and the radical Republican base is.

So, yes I still say all sides are yelling for purity, but the GOP base is more effective in getting it. AND I think it harms us terribly.
posted by edgeways at 5:50 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Republicans will vote Republican. The way they win elections this year is not by persuading Moderates and Liberals to vote Republican. They win by persuading us not to vote at all - or to not vote Democrat.

There's a saying about how good is the enemy of great. This is usually used to suggest that we shouldn't settle for good because it prevents us from getting great.

I would argue that, in Realpolitik terms, great is, in fact, used as the enemy of good. In this case, great is the enemy of "considerably less shitty than if the Tea Bag led Republicans gain a lot of power."

We have just a few months before the election and there are a ton of disaffected progressives who want to punish the Democrats for watering stuff down. Guess what! Punishing the Democrats this year means that we may well be looking at a few years with Representatives Paul and Angle, under the leadership of Rep Bachmann, launching birth certificate probes and trying to impeach Obama for being foreign born.

So, I ask you, who would we really be punishing by allowing that to happen?

We shouldn't let a view of what would be perfect or great blind us to the world of shit we invite by not getting out there and making sure these evil, ignorant people don't get elected anywhere.

If you are a progressive and can't get worked up in a positive way about your candidate, keep in mind that if move to the Tea Party right of Republican, our next wave of Democrats will have to play even more conservative to get things done or to get elected.

Essentially, if you're hoping to punish the Democrats by allowing Tea Baggers into office, you're first and foremost punishing yourself.

Act in enlightened self-interest even if it is without enthusiasm.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:51 PM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


IRONY OVERLOAD

The progression is fairly simple to understand.

The right wing pushes further and further to the right. The moderates respond at first by staying moderate. Then some of them break off and move further to the left. Why? They realize that they can get more attention from voters by taking diametrically opposing positions, thus raising their own volume, so to speak.

So the right engages in personal attacks and vilifies the moderates and left-wing in order to solidify support. Casts the left as dangerous, bad "Others." Right wing fearmongering runs rampant after 9/11.

The left sees that this tactic works (as do negative campaign ads) and responds accordingly.

The right then acts in lockstep and tries to shut down debate, eliminate proper representation and basically force their will on everyone.

In politics, those who scream the loudest typically get the most attention. So we now have a loud left and right wing, thanks to the right wing's initial actions. Yet the left is still left behind, because they're really not good at being organized extremists. They're still trying to be inclusive. So they lose.

Irony Overload, indeed.
posted by zarq at 5:55 PM on August 3, 2010


Yes, that's true. I guess it just means, "We lost! And he's black!!"

It gets worse. This is the latest email forward I received from the teabaggers in my family. Apparently Obama is a racist, too.

Sigh.

Is it just me, or are all the email forwards right-wing? I don't recall ever receiving a wacky nutbar left-wing email forward from any of my friends (most of whom are liberal).
posted by Fleebnork at 5:59 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Of course, he's wrong. Obama is a socialist. And guess what, I'm a socialist, you're a socialist, Sarah Palin's a socialist.

This word you keep using, socialist, I do not think it means what you think it means.

I think the next big thing in conservatism is going to be 'intellectual', big business conservatives who promise economic recovery on the fatted backs of the rich.

In 1964, the Tea Party was called the John Birch Society. The JBS were right wing zealots, nationalists, staunchly anti-communist, and predominately if not exclusively white.

Barry Goldwater, the father of the modern conservative movement (a Senator from Arizona), could not bring himself to distance himself from the JBS. He was destroyed in the 1964 election by Lyndon Johnson and the U.S. entered the period of the Great Society. Bob Novak chronicled this era as "The Agony of the GOP" (still available in hardcover!)

Johnson was one of the most progressive president ever elected in the U.S. His Great Society introduced sweeping reforms - sensitive to attacks from the right as being "weak on defense" the idiot Johnson put 500,000 troops into South Vietnam and sacrificed the rest of his political agenda to that adventure.

The great achievement of William F. Buckley was convincing the GOP to reject the JBS, but to remain basically conservative. Just four years after the defeat of Goldwater, in 1968, Nixon won a landslide election against the feckless Hubert Humphrey.

History is just repeating itself.

So yes, it is reasonable to expect a resurgence of the "intellectual" conservative movement and a GOP rejection of the Tea Party.

America is a center right country. William F. Buckley understood this, Nixon understood this, and above all William J. Clinton understood this. Obama seems to be clueless - and in my own opinion - increasingly incompetent.

The Democratic Party is doing a terrible job of positioning itself to be the party of everyone else.

This is spot on, but it is also unavoidable. The Democrats are winners by default. If the GOP can clean its house and again become a center right party, it's 1968 all over again.
posted by three blind mice at 6:02 PM on August 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


The irony is, he now looks like a moderate compared to today's Republicans.

Um Gingrich is right there in the middle of outlandish behavior when it comes to today's repubs.
posted by Max Power at 6:04 PM on August 3, 2010


Well, 1994-era Gingrich.
posted by zarq at 6:05 PM on August 3, 2010


They're still trying to be inclusive. So they lose.

I'm not so sure of this. But I suppose we'll see the theory tested, come November.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:05 PM on August 3, 2010


By the way, DU...

A similar progression led to the rise and subsequent ubiquity of reality "humiliation" television and "outrage" talk shows like Jerry Springer. Various producers began to realize that the more they showed the public an outrageous spectacle, the more ratings they attracted. So folks like Donahue and Sally Jesse Raphael began their careers as serious talk show hosts, but as the years dragged on and their audiences grew bored. So Phil and SJ and their contemporaries began to focus on subjects their audiences could watch with entertained disdain. Schadenfreude. Springer, Downey Jr and Maury created a veritable art form out of that.

Human nature: the loud outrage gets attention.

This isn't to say that the Republicans are responsible for women in bikinis eating squid eyeballs on television, or incestuous paternity test showdowns on Springer. But psychologically, there are parallels to Ann Coulter's fact-free, homophobic, dominionist and racist rants, and the responses they spawn.
posted by zarq at 6:11 PM on August 3, 2010


There's a saying about how good is the enemy of great.

Actually, I think you're possibly misquoting Voltaire:
Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.
translation: The perfect (or the best) is the enemy of the good.
posted by hippybear at 6:15 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Given the references to Gingrich in this thread, I feel this is as good a time as any to share my secret shame: Like Gingrich before me, I am writing a dissertation on Belgian history. Gingrich is, I hope, smarter than he appears when he says things like those max power quoted, which I suppose shows his dedication to Republican fear- and warmongering.
posted by dhens at 6:29 PM on August 3, 2010


Diversity Is In The Eye Of The Beholder: A Day At Uni-Tea
posted by homunculus at 6:39 PM on August 3, 2010


They'll either become Democrats or form a third party.
posted by jonmc


...and.....drag the Democrats to the right. Bad ploy.
posted by nevercalm at 6:43 PM on August 3, 2010


America (well, 40%+) has gone batshit insane. My hope is that Canadians finally get a clue, lest we end up following all y'all to crazytown.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:50 PM on August 3, 2010


Also, doesn't FEMA have a bunch of facilities for impounding undesirables by the tens of thousands? Time to announce a Glenn Beck TP event at one of 'em.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:53 PM on August 3, 2010


What makes people believe demonstrably false nonsense?

Outrage may be the most corrupt and destructive of human emotions. It allows us to wallow in id-fueled filth, tapping into the basest and most ignorant side of our nature, while assuring us that what we're doing is defending sense, reason and morality. It allows us to hate and call it noble. It does not encourage questions.

You give a person a reason to be outraged, a reason to call hatred principle, and most times they'll take it and beg for more. Someone later can show them facts that contradict the nonsense they've swallowed, and studies have shown it actually reinforces their belief.

Human reason is an incredibly fragile and easily manipulated thing when confronted by human desire and emotion. Stunningly so. Everyone here, you and I included, can be derailed without much effort. You just have to know which buttons to push.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:55 PM on August 3, 2010 [9 favorites]


I read the article, and it was sort of interesting, but then I closed the tab and went on with life. Except there was this last line that started bugging me, and it started bugging me more and more:

And when he thinks about what lies ahead for his party and GOP House leaders, he can't help but chuckle. With Boehner and others chasing after the tea party, he says, "that's going to be the dog that catches the car." He quickly adds: "And the Democrats, if they go into the minority, are going to have an enjoyable couple of years watching that dog deal with the car it's caught."

Are you kidding me? No, really, are you fucking kidding me? "An enjoyable couple of years"? If schadenfreude was my goal, I should have laughed my way through Bush's tenure, starting each day with a song in my heart and ending each day dancing a jig. I should have voted McCain/Palin to ensure that I had adequate wacky hijinks for the future. Unfortunately, schadenfreude is not my goal: effective and efficient governance is. I prefer it when people do not indiscriminately blow up the institutions I depend on. When people start disassembling things, it makes me want to weep, not sing. There are consequences to these actions! It's not a game! There is no schadenfreude in the idea of watching extremists destroy things, there is no fun, and there sure as hell is not any goddamn enjoyment.
posted by sldownard at 6:58 PM on August 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Diversity Is In The Eye Of The Beholder: A Day At Uni-Tea

"The more liberals talk about race, the more they show who the real racists are" is one of the more psychotic things I've heard, even from a teabagger. Apparently being incredibly racist isn't nearly as racist as pointing out that someone's incredibly racist.
posted by kafziel at 7:22 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone here, you and I included, can be derailed without much effort. You just have to know which buttons to push.

Eponysterical?
posted by dhens at 7:26 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


translation: The perfect (or the best) is the enemy of the good.

That's what I thought too, but it turns out Joey is right - though it's a pretty vapid formulation when you turn it round like that.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:35 PM on August 3, 2010


GOP will eat itself.
posted by furtive at 7:57 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was the time of preparation for the second great trial of the opposition. The air in the legation had become peculiarly thin. Photographs and portraits disappeared from walls overnight; they had hung there for years, nobody had looked at them, but now the light patches leaped to the eye. The staff restricted their conversation to service matters; they spoke to each other with a careful and reserved politeness. At meals in the legation canteen, when conversation was unavoidable, they stuck to stock phrases of official terminology, which, in the familiar atmosphere, appeared grotesque and rather uneasy; it was as though, between requests for the salt-cellar and mustard-pot, they called out to each other the catch-words of the latest Congress manifesto. Often it happened that somebody protested against a supposed false interpretation of what he had just said, and called his neighbors to witness, with precipitate exclamations of 'I did not say that', or 'That is not what I meant'. The whole thing gave Rubashov the impression of a queer and ceremonious marionette-play with figures moving on wires , each saying their set piece. Arlova alone, with her silent, sleepy manner, seemed to remain unchanged.

Not only the portraits on the walls, but also the shelves in the library were thinned out. The disappearance of certain books and brochures happened discreetly usually the day after the arrival of a new message from above.



-Arthur Koestler
Darkness at Noon
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:15 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


edgeways wrote: "So, yes I still say all sides are yelling for purity, but the GOP base is more effective in getting it. AND I think it harms us terribly."

It does harm us terribly. The sniping from the left is likely to lead to Arkansas' congressional delegation going red. Lincoln may not be the senator I'd like to have, but she's far better than any of the alternatives on the Republican side. FSM help us if Jim Holt had won the Republican primary.

three blind mice wrote: "America is a center right country. William F. Buckley understood this, Nixon understood this"

Ironically, there are a whole lot of people here in Oklahoma who consider Nixon to have been a flaming liberal, just not so far left he was a commie. Of course, that's always in response to my pointing out that the "Obama agenda" is politically not far from Nixon.
posted by wierdo at 8:19 PM on August 3, 2010


another thing to worry about is the privatization of public services, that's where a lot of this anti-socialism talk is heading. they will argue that the public services we've paid for and enjoyed mutually since its inception (schools, roads, what have you) would be better run by private businesses - which is not the case. The only difference is it changes what used to be an effective and relatively affordable public service, that benifitted no one financially outside its employees, into an expensive one, whose purpose changes from providing a public good into creating profits for a shareholder or businesslord. Said lord contributes nothing, and has no interest in the institution's initial intent outside of its ability to make profits. What's worse if the tax code still forces you to pay for this service, then money that once was strictly for the service now goes into the douchebag's pocket. I guarantee you a push for privatization of public services will be stage 2 of all this anti-socialism talk.
posted by camdan at 9:15 PM on August 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Do you drive on roads built with tax dollars? Socialist! Do you visit parks and libraries paid for with tax dollars? Socialist! Do you depend on publicly funded police and fire fighters to keep you safe? Socialist! Do your kids attend schools paid for with tax dollars? Yup, tiny little socialists!

SOCIALISM DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY! GOOD NIGHT!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:16 PM on August 3, 2010


I remember in high school we went on a field trip to DC. We visited both our Senator and or Representative.

Senator Strom Thurmond came out of his office, pressed flesh, posed for a picture (during which he goosed our 30 something teacher) and went about his way.

Rep. Inglis came out of Congress, pulled us aside and took about 15 minutes to explain the bill he was about to vote on and the reasons he was voting that way. He even went so far as to explain what he felt the ramifications of said bill were, answering most of our silly questions. All this for a small group of high school students who wouldn't be eligible to vote for him in the next election. Couple this with his door to door campaigns throughout Upstate SC where he would just sit and listen to what his district felt was important, regardless of race, wealth or party and you knew he was something rare.

Although most of my views have never been in line with his, I made sure to vote for him anytime I had the chance.

It's a shame that such a classy polititian who was always so ready to work with his constituents was so quickly cast out by a wild eyed witch hunt.
posted by jcking77 at 11:23 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


....and the Democrats still won't be able to beat these morons.
posted by Xoebe at 12:50 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Certainly not in places where people believe what the spew of the right wing noise machine.
posted by wierdo at 12:59 AM on August 4, 2010


Fun fact: It doesn't matter if the Tea Partiers are in the vast majority. They get press. They get name recognition. When the clueless whoever goes into the polling station to "do their duty" and they think, "Well, gee, I'm not a Democrat, I'm a Republican. Let's see, now..." and then they vote Republican. Except the Republican isn't whichever one they want. It's the one who won the primary. The one that the Tea Partiers promoted and rallied behind and worked to get nominated. The one who had the press and momentum to become the candidate. So, it doesn't matter for shit that most Republicans make fun of Tea Partiers. It matters that most Republicans won't care enough to get decent candidates, or to do more than be annoyed when they have to end up voting for a borderline fascist.

Funny enough, this is the status quo with regard to all parties left of and including the Democrats, in the sense that everyone WANTS to actually vote for the party that represents their ideals, and then votes for the Democrats because they "don't want to throw their vote away" (yay democracy!).


Act in enlightened self-interest even if it is without enthusiasm.


If you wanted to do that, you wouldn't be supporting any politician at all.
posted by cthuljew at 1:08 AM on August 4, 2010


This word you keep using, socialist, I do not think it means what you think it means.

If you are using the common sense definition of socialist, you are right and I am wrong.

However, I was trying to use the Tea-Party definition of Socialism: "The government takes my money and gives it to people I don't know and don't trust and don't like", and in so doing pointing out to them that they themselves are the beneficiaries of this kind of "Socialism" and that their lives are improved when this kind of "Socialism" is expanded and are harmed when "Socialism" is curtailed.
posted by marsha56 at 1:33 AM on August 4, 2010


Clearly he has no business being in politics, then.

Good old contempt for democracy. The founding plank for totalitarianism. Where would Hitler and Mussolini have been without their useful idiots decrying politicians and politics at every turn?
posted by rodgerd at 2:52 AM on August 4, 2010


three blind mice:

Re: 1968. Despite what looks like a sea of blue on that map, Nixon's victory was hardly a "landslide." He won the popular vote by less than one percentage point (43.42%-42.72%), and his margin in the electoral college came from narrow victories in three big states: California (47.82%-44.74%), Illinois (47.08%-44.15%), and Ohio (45.23%-42.95%). In each of those states, George Wallace's share of the vote was at least twice the difference between Nixon and Humphrey. I don't think it's a huge stretch to say that if things had gone just a little bit differently, Humphrey would have won.

Still, history could certainly repeat itself. If a Goldwater analog (Palin, say) goes down in flames in 2012, a Nixon analog could sweep in in 2016 to save the GOP. But who in the world would that be? Are there any prominent, respected Republicans who are still untainted by teabaggery (as Nixon was untainted by Goldwaterism), and who could plausibly win the nomination in 2016? I can't think of any. And any Republican who hopes to rise from obscurity Obama-style will likely have to pledge allegiance to the Tea Party or face their wrath.

The Republicans will probably have a certain amount of success in Congress this fall, but after that, once people get a good look at this new breed and what they stand for, the GOP could be in for a long, cold winter. (And that doesn't even take into account all the demographic trends that will compound their problems for decades to come.)
posted by Silune at 3:15 AM on August 4, 2010


Inglis voted for TARP. TARP was obviously very very bad for South Carolina. Fair enough.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:43 AM on August 4, 2010


GOP will eat itself.
Perhaps.
The great fear, though, is that it will eat itself as desert, after first wolfing-down the rest of the country as the main course.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:34 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bah. Dessert. Damn sticky keys.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:45 AM on August 4, 2010


"...I don't know anyone...who self indentify as Tea Partiers. In fact, most people I know openly mock them." - - codacorolla

You know... I'm probably gonna be roasted at the stake for showing some sympathy for a few TP'ers around these parts.

A couple that I am friends with actually self-identify as Tea Partiers, and it's something of a curious thing to me. They bear next to no resemblance at all to the Tea Partiers that we see in the media. They are educated professional people, in their early 30's, who work in a typically liberal industry (he's a creative director, she's an editor). They aren't religious at all. They are, generally, very very cool people.

I, on the other hand, am about as screamingly liberal as you can get. Hell, I'd vote socialist in a heartbeat. Real socialist, not Obama-socialist. I disagree with a lot of this couple's political leanings, though we do have some common ground on things like privacy issues, "war on drugs", excise taxes, and the like. The big thing, though, is that not only are they completely consistent and reasoned in their views (even if I disagree with them, they can back up their opinions with reasoned stances), but they are very accepting of other views. I actually *like* talking politics with them because, even when we completely disagree (which is not infrequent), we all can recognize that reasoned differences in ideology are what make our political system work (when it does work right).

That all said, they have lamented several times about the current state of the "Tea Party" and what it has become. We live in different cities now, so it has been a couple of months since I have been in touch -- they may have dissociated entirely from the movement by now.

But yeah... I much prefer talking politics with this couple than with my other liberal, or (gasp!) conservative friends. Believe it or not, it's usually less dogmatic and more amicable -- regardless of differences.
posted by kaseijin at 7:34 AM on August 4, 2010


It's a shame that such a classy polititian who was always so ready to work with his constituents was so quickly cast out by a wild eyed witch hunt.

I felt the same way about David Dinkins when Guiliani was first elected in the early '90's.

I'd met Dinkins during the final round of the Lincoln Douglass Debates here in NYC. He was scheduled to give a speech at the event, stepped up to the podium and... just stood there, skimming through his prepared notes. Didn't say a word for over a minute.

Here's what he said next, paraphrased:

"I have comments prepared. I didn't write them. And it strikes me that I'm attending an event where many of you have distinguished yourselves by speaking and thinking on your feet and not from a script. So I'd like to speak for myself this morning, and if you'll bear with me I'm just going to wing it and with luck I won't bore you all or look too foolish."

He then spoke for about half an hour about the history of the debates and Abraham Lincoln, overcoming adversity, our potential and the value of what we were doing by embracing and honing skills which would serve us as adults, the importance of educating ourselves and urged us to always try to learn new things and keep an open mind. He didn't talk about himself, condescend or self-promote. He simply spoke earnestly and truthfully. He also made himself available to us afterward if we had questions.

When he was done, I would have walked into hell for the man. He could have shown up, spoken for five minutes and left. That's all he was required to do, really. But instead, he took advantage of an opportunity and left a lasting impression -- on me, at least.

He handled a number of crises poorly as Mayor. Even though crime reportedly dropped during his administration, it seemed worse than ever. Dinkins' constituents turned on him and voted for Giuliani (myself included) because he seemed to be an ineffective Mayor who had made a number of situations worse through inaction.

But even though I was ultimately unhappy with him as a Mayor, I respected him tremendously as a person.

I don't know if there's a larger lesson to be learned from all of this.

Inglis may have been a nice guy, a class act and he may have honestly done his best for his constituents. But he didn't stand up against repeated acts and statements made by his party which ran counter to this country's well being when he should have. He didn't fight the status quo, when he must have known he should. I can't respect that.
posted by zarq at 7:54 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


translation: The perfect (or the best) is the enemy of the good.

This is how I've always interpreted it as well, and in that sense it's a perfect explanation for why the GOP has gained so much. Obama is a good president, but he's not perfect...especially in the eyes of idealistic leftists and progressives. Those who were hoping Obama's election would usher in an era of peace, equality, and restoration of recently lost civil rights have been left so disillusioned they may not even bother to vote next November, and that's exactly what the GOP needs to regain power.
posted by rocket88 at 7:56 AM on August 4, 2010


Not roasting at all I promise: I find it somewhat humorous the phrase: ...the current state of the "Tea Party" and what it has become. Here is something that is less than 2 years old and people are pining for the old days where it was... what? A amorphous mass of disgruntled people who had little in common with one another other than disgruntlement?

Give the main Tea Party bigots their due, they seized a pot of molten unease and seemed to have poured ingots of hate from it, everyone else, like those friends, are just so much clinkers to be tossed aside.
posted by edgeways at 8:05 AM on August 4, 2010


Your friends are just real fiscal conservatives kaseijin, such people definitely exist, libertarians for example. There are even fiscal conservatives who support nationalized health care, unemployment insurance, and social security, well especially in Europe.

Fiscal conservatives are facing ideologically impoverishment brought on by a layer of absolutist thinking, ala objectivism, strict constructionism, etc. Too many imagine returning to an earlier less spendthrift time.

In fact, fiscal conservatives candidates simply cannot survive long enough even to get elected under America's electoral system, much less actually hold office. There are always competitors who'll beat them by giving away more pork.

They might achieve some success with massive campaign finance reform, but that's tricky, especially the court opposing it. I'd instead propose switch to single transferable vote (STV), which permits greater variety of candidates. All the pork recipients can easily buy one winner per election, but buying all winning slots in a multi winner election gets considerably harder. Libertarians, Greens, Socialists, etc. would also benefit from STV.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:21 AM on August 4, 2010


"Here's what took place:

I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there's a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a projection of your life's earnings, and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks"
I read rambling weirdness like this, and I start to dream about the fun I could have; I'm a middle aged white guy who lives in a very right-wing neighborhood of a generally blue state, most of my neighbors flew the NObama flags during the elections, and it wouldn't be a stretch to guess that more than a few of them are Tea Partiers. As such, I sometimes think it would be fun to infiltrate their discussions and see how far past 11 I could push the crazy knob;

"He's a Muslim socialist you know. You can't trust him"

"Yeah, and he's going to use the race card to start some kind of urban war, that's why I keep all my doors locked and the security lights set to high sensitivity"

Me: "Not only that, but he's using possum to infiltrate the countryside. Just to keep an eye on people like us."

"What?"

Me: "Possum. They live communally, like socialists. It's some kind of symbol or something, anyway, I hear he's using them as illegal wiretaps by putting microphones in their pouches, because they can just sidle right up to our houses and we never know it."

"There was a possum outside my house last night."

Me: "See. He's going to use what he learns to get his Jewish sugar glider advisors to "predict" which banks need to "get into trouble" next."

"Sugar gliders?"

Me: "Yeah, he likes marsupials, I don't know, probably some Kenyan thing."

"You know, I think I heard Beck talking about some of this last week..."

Me: "I'm telling you, we need to put fox urine in our yards. It's the only thing that will ensure that no possums come to our windows..."

And at the next Tea Party rally we'll see signs like:

"Not Playin' Possum"

"Keep your African Sugar Gliders out of our homes!"

and "Fox Piss Beats Obama"
posted by quin at 9:01 AM on August 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


Look at those fucking lips.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:41 AM on August 6, 2010


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