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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Opposition (to Everything) Party

2012 electoral college map
If you know a rightwing blogger, you might want to check in on them occasionally, to make sure they haven't opened a vein. The mood in the wingnut blogosphere -- as it was on rightwing Twitter last night -- is one of comically exaggerated doom. What happened on Fox News, when Karl Rove absolutely refused to believe that the president had won Ohio (and with it, reelection), is surprisingly not the norm this morning. I suppose they're in shock and may begin waving their "unskewed" polls around and shrieking that Obama stole the election once they've recovered a bit. But for now, it's all about depression. Over at, the faithful are being consoled with tales of the popular vote and Obama's failure to gain it, but that particular solace is unlikely to even survive the day -- CNN already has the President at 50% and climbing as of this writing.

So what things should conservatives have learned from last night that they don't seem to be? There are a lot; don't pick fights with Nate Silver over math, don't pick fights with women over rape, don't assume your little Fox News/talk radio bubble isn't lying to you about your chances and making you way too complacent, etc. But the big one is that "divide and conquer" only works when you're dividing off the bigger portion to yourselves.


...“The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who will immediately be looked to as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

But the GOP’s problem is more fundamental than one bloc of voters. For the second consecutive presidential election, the Republican got thumped among women and young voters in the states that decided the election.


“Our party needs to realize that it’s too old and too white and too male and it needs to figure out how to catch up with the demographics of the country before it’s too late,” said Al Cardenas, the head of the American Conservative Union and a longtime GOP leader. “Our party needs a lot of work to do if we expect to be competitive in the near future.”

Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), a prospective 2014 statewide candidate in a state moving sharply to the middle, was just as blunt: “After tonight, the GOP had better figure out that a big tent sounds good, but if there aren’t any seats in it, what good is it.”

The problem is, this would all require the right to abandon some of their most deeply held beliefs. And that's not going to happen. For example, the biggest winners from last night may be the LGBT community -- more commonly known on the right as "GAAAH!! GAY PEOPLE!! RUN!!!!" or "destroyers of traditional families."

And consider why Republicans turned off women and minorities -- because of the very things the rightwing base believes. That "urban voters" (i.e., African-Americans) all rely on food stamps and welfare because they're too lazy to get a job. That Latinos should be stopped and forced to prove they aren't undocumented. That life begins at rape. And working people and the middle class? Michelle Malkin summed up their feelings about them nicely when she sneered, "Romney types, of course, are the ones who sign the front of the paycheck, and the Obama types are the one who have spent their entire lives signing the back of them." This was Mitt Romney's "47%" argument condensed. When you suggest that wage earners are too stupid to be employers and ignore the fact that the majority of the population are wage earners, things aren't going to go real well for you. Siding with Wall Street against Main Street may sell to the endlessly chumpish Republican voter, but that position can't survive for long in the wild. It -- in the form of opposition to the auto bailout and the jobs that consequentially saved -- is what killed Romney in all-important Ohio.

But if I really had to boil it all down to one reason, I'd blame that rightwing media bubble and the feedback loop it generates. Outlets like Fox News don't exist to advance any ideology (for the most part); it's the Republican Party press office and it exists to get Republicans elected. They accomplish this by being extraordinarily reactionary -- everything liberals do or believe is bad, therefore Republicans must be elected to stop them.

The problem here is that being endlessly reactionary is endlessly reductive. If your argument is that everything that liberals believe is wrong, then you wind up opposing some popular ideas. Democrats, for example, like Social Security and Medicare -- so these are socialism and bad ideas that should be fixed through privatization. Why is inserting a pointless middleman into the equation and increasing costs a good idea? Because liberals are bad and shut up, that's why. As Republicans move closer to opposing everything, they find themselves racing toward zero.

No wonder the GOP watches its share of the electorate shrink year after year, month after month, day after day. They're actively kicking people out of it. They've become a party of straight white evangelicals who believe that the rich should get a free ride on the backs of the poor. Because liberals care about poor people and liberals suck. Just like the Earth sucks and people who get shot by wandering neighborhood watch lunatics suck and people who think that rape isn't a Blessed Gift from On High suck and kids who learn stuff from Sesame Street suck.

Maybe Republicans are headed the way of the dinosaurs and, like the dinosaurs, lack the capacity to understand that their own extinction is right around the corner. Or maybe they'll evolve, adapt, and survive.

I'd put my money on the latter -- if it weren't for the fact that evolution was one of those things that evil liberals believe and therefore sucks.


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