Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sigh ...

For the GOP, if the tinfoil hat fits...

Feb. 26: Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation, talks with Rachel Maddow about the strange development on the right of embracing the conspiracy-minded fringe instead of purging them to preserve credibility.

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DougJ: Wallace not Goldwater

Jonathan Rauch has a truly superlative piece on how George Wallace is the true god-father of contemporary Republicanism. The side-by-side comparison of Palin quotes with Wallace quotes is striking, but you need to read them all to see just how striking it is, so instead I’ll excerpt Rauch’s thesis and summarization:

Wallace’s national appeal came neither from the racial backlash he exploited nor from his program, such as it was. “It was a deep sense of grievance,” Carter says—a feeling that elites “are not only screwing you over but at the same time they’re laughing at you, they’re looking down their noses at you.”


First, with the important exception of race, not one of Wallace’s central themes, from his bristling nationalism and his court-bashing to his anti-intellectualism and his aggressive provincialism, would seem out of place at any major Republican gathering today.

Second, and again leaving race aside, any Republican politician who publicly renounced the Wallace playbook would be finished as a national leader.

Third, by becoming George Wallace’s party, the GOP is abandoning rather than embracing conservatism, and it is thereby mortgaging both its integrity and its political future. Wallaceism was not sufficiently mainstream or coherent to sustain a national party in 1968, and the same is true today.

I disagree about the importance of race, I believe, to paraphrase Lee Atwater, that the rhetoric on the issue has simply become more abstract. But other than that, this is right on target.

John Cole: Hand Me Down World

These really are just hideous people, any way you look at it:

At yesterday’s health care summit, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY-28) related this story from one of her constituents:

    I even have one constituent—you will not believe this, and I know you won’t, it’s true. Her sister died, this poor woman had no dentures. She wore her dead sister’s teeth, which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit. Do you believe that in America that that’s where we would be?

What was the reaction from leading members of the conservative media?

* On Twitter, Michelle Malkin wrote: “We need trillion-$ Demcare cuz someone had to wear their sister’s dentures! O: “Terrific conversation”

* On his radio program, Glenn Beck stated, “I’ve read the Constitution … I didn’t see that you had a right to teeth.”

* Author and radio host Laura Ingraham told Bill O’Reilly that Slaughter’s tale was “ridiculous” and a “sob story.”

* Fox Nation, the website maintained by the Fox News Channel, labeled Slaughter’s comments “Summit Insanity.”

I don’t know whether to interpret this response as to them just not believing anything that a Democrat says, their being complete assholes, or the fact that all of these folks are so well off that the concept of hand-me-down clothes, let alone dentures, sounds bizarre and foreign to them. After all, there is no poverty in America- all those welfare queens got their big screens somehow.

It really is amazing, though. I didn’t flinch when I heard this story, but then again, I live in an area where people make the calculation to not do anything about a sore tooth until they can justify getting it pulled- because that is cheaper than a root canal or anything else. I know people who don’t check their blood sugar, or who don’t take their meds, because they simply can not afford the equipment or the treatment. And they all work. They all have jobs.

It is easy to chalk this all up to them being assholes, but I really do think a lot of them are just oblivious. That is why we can have septuagenarian assholes like Andrew Malcolm bleating about people in line for food at a shelter having the nerve to own a cell phone. But then again, they just don’t care to know, so I guess that does, indeed, make them assholes.

On the other hand, thank goodness Rep. Slaughter didn’t mention that woman’s name, or you know who would be on her doorstep giving us a play-by-play about her kitchen counters.

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