How the GOP’s rebranding became even less popular than the GOP
If you’re ever feeling masochistic, take a look into the comments of a post on Breitbart.com. You’ll see gems like this one from “Patriot”:
We have quit. Mitt won hands down & we did nothing. Whats left to do? Become a terrorest against our own country?
( “terrorest” must be the superlative form of “terrorist.”)
Fueled by instances of actual black people actually voting in Maine and Mitt receiving zero votes in urban precincts in Cleveland and Philadelphia, Breitbots are questioning the validity of the election. This is despite the fact that in 2012 President Obama won with a higher share of the popular vote of any candidate since 1988—except himself in 2008.
They just can’t accept the reality that Barack Obama’s re-election was much more resounding than George W. Bush’s.
Maybe people on the left can understand this.
In 2004, when the exit polls didn’t match the results of the voting machines in Ohio and long lines sent many voters home without casting a ballot, it was difficult to accept the results of a much, much closer election. But generally we did. (Though the lingering suspicion about the results fuels much of this ‘Anonymous Stopped Karl Rove From Stealing The Election” stuff we see this year.)
But what’s even more delusional than the comment from “Patriot” is the headline of the story it’s commenting on: “NORQUIST: NEW, LARGER ‘TEA PARTY SECOND WAVE’ COMING”.
Grover Norquist is a figurehead for the billionaires who are committed to the belief that taxes on the rich should never, ever, never pay the tax rates they did back before we had booming deficits. He’s used the same way the Tea Party was used in 2010 to make a plutocratic agenda seem populist. And just like the Tea Party, he’s delivered huge multiples on the investment of his patrons.
But what made the Tea Party work so well up until 2010 was the mix of four explosive factors that no one who isn’t a Breitbart.com commenter would ever expect to happen again:
1. The economy
We were losing 700,000-800,000 a month until the Stimulus kicked in. The shock of that kind of job loss and the huge pool of frustrated human capital would require another eight years of George W. Bush in the White House.
2. The shock
Compound the devastating economic news with the shock of the first African-American president and you had kindling for an overreaction from the national born with the “birth defect” of slavery. Of course, that you had a maniac on national television saying that the president’s health care plan was “reparations” did not help.
3. The Fox Effect
Fox News decided in 2009 through earlier 2010 to go beyond simply spouting propaganda for the GOP—it actually did most of its organizing. Protests were ginned up and advertised on the channel. Fox personalities engaged in fundraising for the group. This continued until Rupert Murdoch had to directly answer for it in the press. The channel has since revamped its positioning a bit and proved that actually has more credibility than Karl Rove when they refused to cede to his demands not to call Ohio on election night.
4. Focus On Economic Issues
With a populist attack on debt just as government spending was needed to save the economy, the Tea Party effectively limited the president’s options with an alternative philosophy that made visceral sense. Pretty quickly voters figured out that this was all a smokescreen for tax cuts and a fundamentalist Christian view of social issues–in other words, Republicans.
On election night, we found out that Mitt Romney, Wall Street and everyone who watches Fox News all had the one thing in common: they’d been fooled into thinking Mitt Romney had a chance of becoming president.
Now will they be fooled into thinking the Tea Party can save them again—even though the group’s favorable rating is 32 percent compared the GOP’s 38 percent?
The real question is: Are the people who fund the GOP as delusional as the poor middle class dreamers they convince to fight for a billionaire’s agenda?
Or is this just more of that happy talk Republicans spew when they can’t admit they’re losing.
[Image by Chris Savage]