Sunday, January 22, 2012
Bring on The Rat Bastard, If That's Who You Want
During the last presidential race, I read a Nate Silver post on the supposed 'Palin effect'. He pointed out that while McCain's choice of her as her running mate was meant to fire up the conservative 'base' and almost certainly would, it would just as certainly fire up the liberal base as well; because her psuedofolkishness and proud ignorance reminded us of GW. Bush; the great devil who both ruined the nation and unified the left in a way that no one would have ever thought possible before it happened. The apperance of Palin on the stage murdered whatever chance of complacancy on the left there may have been;. Everyone from the center-right leftwards was hell for leather bound to not be governed by the likes of that again. And in rousing the right-wing base the GOP discovered that; in spite of their famous delusion of seeing themselves as the eternal American norm, this base was actually just as badly outnumbered by people with sanity and lives as every other hardcore political base.
This sort of mistake is one that chauvinists are essentially prone to. They are generally fixated with the idea of being the only people on Earth who are not cowards, the only ones with real courage of conviction. They habitually assure each other that they're beliefs are so obviously correct that even there opponents secretly know themselves to be wrong and are acting out of some secret evil agenda. They also have a lust for conflict that is often slatteringly intense and will justify this lust by telling themselves that longing for battle is the only alternative to helplessness in the face of attack.
And so you have the differing narratives, in how the two opposing parties go about the game of wrangling votes. Republicans seek to rally the base, Democrats seek to win over independents. Much of this to be sure is a matter of demographics. (Dyed in the wool conservatives still outnumber died in the wool liberals; at least as long as the post-civil rights, Reagan thermidor generation continues to walk among us. ) But it is also largely a matter of mindset and personality. Democrats view winning in democracy as a matter of winning you over. Republicans just want to beat.... them, you, us. Line it up in the Woody Hayes T and shove it down your throat to show you who's in charge.
That seems to be the problem that Mitt Romney has with the 'Base'. He's a flip flopper, a politician acting like a politician, heaven forbid. He'll give them what they want; policy wise, but it's long past obvious now that they've never really cared about that. What they want is a Big Man to reaffirm the social supremacy of their own identity. That's what the various alternatives-of-the-month to Romney have offered them. Newt Gingrich seems now poised to cement himself as The alternative because he makes this offer in a more theatrical, invigorating way than anyone else. It has always been so. No one has ever been better at using the language of God and apple pie to offer nihilism. The appeal of Gingrich, both as the old Speaker and the current presidential candidate, is that he offers war. War against modernity; war against them, war that is somehow, through some force of Real American will, both constantly triumphant and never ending.
For nearly four years now talk radio has assured 'The Base' that the way to avenge the humiliation of losing their sacred entitled power was to rally; themselves. Stand strong on the bedrock, non-negotiable conservative positions (all of them, naturally) find a candidate who will stand strong and fight, and America will come back home to you where she belongs. Because everyone knows that your enemies are weaklings and some unnatural failure to really fight on your part is the only possible reason you could ever lose. So simply display this power of yours to its utmost and all of those urban smart-aleks and welfare-sucking brown people will cower back in their drug dens and coffee houses where we belong. This is what Gingrich offers.
Romney, to be sure, still has the advantage. Yet it is looking more and more like old Newt is the one that conservatives really want, the one who rallies the base. He's been described on youtube as 'the only candidate who can beat Obama' and other things among those lines. Yet just like in the days of Palinmania the common clay of the new West seem to be forgetting that we liberals have our base too. And let no one doubt for a second that we too would be just as motivated as they by the emergence of this amatuer Nazi charlatan pig as the Republican nominee for president. We lefties tend to pride ourselves on not being hateful. Still we have our human failings, and among the prominent living figures of the American right I can think of five who are truly, viscerally hated by American liberals; Cheney, Bush, Limbaugh, Kristol, and Newt Goddamn Gingrich. If you dare provoke us with the spectre of this man who has poisoned our discourse and personally slandered the name of any fellow American who doesn't happen to be Republican then I tell you that we will fight to keep this strutting capon from ever holding anything like real power ever again and I tell you that we will win. If this outhouse parasite does indeed turn out to be who you want then by all means bring him the fuck on. If you want to use this election to wage the culture war that you're too stupid to realize you already lost long ago then I say Glory Glory Alleluia, motherfuckers.