06 May, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Another day, another ridiculous Con talking point:

A friend of mine forwarded a crazy email he received today from the American Family Association, one of the religious right movement's nuttier organizations, urging its membership to call Capitol Hill about the pending hate-crimes legislation. According to the email, AFA Chairman Donald E. Wildmon believes urgent action is needed because the Senate is "poised to give special protection status to pedophiles."

My friend and I joked about why these far-right groups always seem to overreach. After all, what kind of sane person is going to seriously believe that Congress would give "special protection status to pedophiles"? Why not go with an argument that's at least vaguely believable?

Of course, the AFA is just some bizarre religious right outfit. It's so much more offensive when a major cable network repeats the same nonsense.

Discussing the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which defines as a crime acts of violence or attempted violence "motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim," Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Bill Hemmer, and The Fox Nation, have all recently advanced the false claim that House Democrats voted to "protect" or "defend" pedophiles by voting against an amendment to the bill by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) stating that "the term 'sexual orientation' shall not include pedophilia."

In fact, as Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) noted during an April 23 House Judiciary Committee hearing, the term "sexual orientation" is already defined by federal statute as applying only to "consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality," thereby excluding pedophiles, who engage in nonconsensual sexual relationships with children. In providing her reasons for opposing King's amendment, Baldwin said that it "is unnecessary and, I would add, inflammatory in terms of insinuations." [...]

So, we're back to the 80s now? Don't have a single original idea, despised by the majority of the American public, usual attacks not working, so the answer is to reach back in time to the "soft on crime" bullshit? Way to show you're relevant, Cons.

Of course, it doesn't end there. The rabid right has also decided on a new-old line of attack: the President's condiments:

I’m certainly not going to vote based upon a politician’s taste in food, but if mustard is a consideration then I did the right thing in voting for Barack Obama. Some right wing blogs such as Legal Insurrection and Gateway Pundit are upset about the mustard which Obama ordered on his well-publicized outing to Ray’s Hell-Burger. They complain that he ordered his hamburger with Dijon Mustard. One commenter claims that if you play the tape backwards he was asking for Grey Poupon Dijon as if that would be something bad. While I often order more exotic types from Zingerman’s for variety, Grey Poupon is my favorite mustard which is commonly available at supermarkets.

Only the authoritarian right would get so upset about the type of mustard which Obama requested. This goes along with their ideas on politically incorrect lettuce, wine, and cheese.

You know, if you didn't sway the voters by arguing against arugula, freaking out over the President's propensity for Grey Poupon probably isn't going to do much good. After all, it's a pretty mainstream mustard. Don't they remember all of the "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon" lines from those commercials back in the 80s? I don't think most Americans have a knee-jerk reaction of horror at the idea of dijon mustard.

Reaching deeper in their bag of tired old tricks, Cons are returning to the halcyon days of the 90s to argue against health care reform:

Over the weekend, at the first event hosted by the National Council for a New America, Eric Cantor, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney were asked about what Republicans would do to reform the health care system. Cantor answered by criticizing England and Canada.

This morning, Cantor appeared on MSNBC and was asked, "[W]ithout the pretty language, without the big words, can you tell me: what's your health plan, what's it going to cost, how are you going to get it done, how can you work with the Democrats ... in coming up with a health plan that works for everyone?" Cantor couldn't answer this either.

So, it looks like GOP leaders still need a little help coming up with a policy they support. According to the Politico's Mike Allen, however, Republicans have a very clear framework on a policy they hate.

[Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster/consultant,] says Republicans should warn against a "Washington takeover" of health care, and insist that patients would have to "stand in line" with "Washington bureaucrats in charge of healthcare." [...]

Adding a personalized patina to familiar conservative arguments, Luntz also urges Republicans to say that "One-size-does-NOT-fit-all."

And he suggests they steer constituents toward keep the "current arrangement by asking at "every healthcare town hall forum": "Would you rather ... 'Pay the costs you pay today for the quality of care you currently receive,' OR 'Pay less for your care, but potentially have to wait weeks for tests and months for treatments you need.'"


There are, not surprisingly, a few problems with this. First, it's deceptive propaganda. Second, we already have rationing and people standing in line for care under the status quo. Third, Mike Allen reported all of this without so much as a hint of analysis about whether Luntz's arguments had any merit.

And finally, as Greg Sargent noted, it's also terribly familiar:

"[I]f Luntz and House GOPers were hoping this new linguistic strategy would help the party recast itself as ready for today's challenges -- and not trapped in the past, as Dems have sought to portray them -- they have a bit of a problem. That's because the language echoes, to a striking degree, the same language that was used in the infamous 'Harry and Louise' ads to defeat health care reform back in 1993 -- 16 years ago."

America's changed a bit since then. For one thing, most of us have moved on to a new century. For another, most of us realize our health care system is teh suck. But if Cons want to try the same tired ol' arguments, fine. We'll see how that works for 'em.

So what are forward-looking Cons to do? Who's going to save them from tired old tropes and exhausted lines of discredited attack? Limbaugh has an answer:

While the GOP struggles to find someone -- anyone -- to be the leader who'll get them out of the political wilderness, their current leader, and the man who did more to lead them into that wilderness, is starting to make it clear he's chosen the figurehead to replace George W. Bush:

Sarah Palin.

On Monday's Rush broadcast, he dissed the GOP's current "reconnect" efforts, and said they were all missing the boat -- because Palin wasn't there:

If Jeb wants to run around and say that they've got something and we don't have anything -- I mean, the Democrats got something. We have to admit it. If we don't have something, it's the fault of the people that Jeb is meeting with in Arlington, Virginia, not conservatives and not conservatism and not the grass roots!

Ah, the -- what's -- I have to laugh. Specter and all these people talk about how far right the party's moving? It's the exact opposite. This party has muddled its identity to the point that they have to do this tour to come up with a new brand, that they're rebrand the Republican -- why? Because in many places, you can't distinguish it from the Democratic Party.

Something else you have to understand. These people hate Palin, too. They despise Sarah Palin. They fear Sarah Palin. They don't like her, either. She's -- according to them, she's embarrassing. A lot of this is aimed at Sarah Palin. When you -- when you -- when you strip all the talk that the Reagan era is over and we got to stop all this nostalgia and stuff, clearly, in last year's campaign, the most prominent, articulate voice for standard run-of-the-mill good old-fashioned American conservatism was Sarah Palin.

That's right. According to Rush, their greatest hope for a bright new future is Sarah Palin.

That party is soooo fucked.

1 comment:

Woozle said...

Potential headlines for any follow-up on Grey Poupongate:
* Dems to GOP: Don't Get Flustered, Try a Little Mustard
* GOP Mustard for New Attack on Obama
* Pardon Me, Do You Have Any Grey Matter?

I think what's happening here is not so much that the Right is "freaking out" but that they're trying to build up an image of Obama as elitist by using the old word-association myth-building trick (as in "tax-and-spend liberal"). The Grey Poupon "pardon me" commercials were clearly trying to give the brand an aristocratic tang, and "Dijon" -- well, French stuff is aristocratic by definition, ain't it? So that just proves Obama is secretly an elitist, and not one of us reg'lar folks who would use a down-home American-made brand of mustard, like... y'know... French's. [FX: rimshot]