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Tilting at Windmills

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August 7, 2010

THE WISDOM OF A LIBERATED REPUBLICAN, CONT'D.... Regular readers know that I've been fascinated with the plight of Rep. Bob Inglis, a conservative Republican lawmaker from South Carolina. Inglis' congressional career will wrap up -- involuntarily -- later this year, and he prepares to leave, he's sounding a whole lot more reasonable.

To briefly review, Inglis was recently humiliated in a GOP primary, losing by a ridiculous 42-point margin in a district he represented for more than a decade. What precipitated such a defeat? Inglis expressed a willingness to work with Democrats on energy policy; he urged his constituents not to take Glenn Beck too seriously; and he said his main focus as a lawmaker was to find "solutions" to problems. Last year, Inglis said the Republican Party has a chance "to understand we are all in need of some grace." The result: GOP voters turned on him.

In the wake of his defeat, Inglis has been willing to show the kind of candor we don't often hear from congressional Republicans. That's included trashing conservative "demagoguery" during the health care debate; conceded that some of the right's hatred of President Obama in the South is driven by racism; blasting GOP "Birthers," and concluding that the Republican strategy of stirring up the party base is "a bad decision for the country."

As part of his efforts, Inglis also talked to Mother Jones' David Corn about, among other things, just how crazy some Republican activists are, and followed up with CNN's Rick Sanchez this week. The host struggled not to laugh while reading some of the remarks the congressman was confronted with during his unsuccessful re-election bid:

"'I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there's a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a projection of your life's earnings' -- I'm gonna try and not laugh here -- 'and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks. I have this look like, 'What the heck are you talking about?' I'm trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative. So they said, 'You don't know this?! You are a member of Congress, and you don't know this?!'"

Inglis responded: "Well you know, I think that my colleague put it well to me last week. She said that her father used to tell her, 'Leaders can either lead -- or mislead.' And you know, if you're gonna lead, you need to lead with facts. And you need to help people the realities that we face."

In the interview with Corn, Inglis also explained that he believes it's just "a dangerous strategy to build conservatism on information and policies that are not credible." He also said he wanted to win, but wasn't willing to lie, just to satisfy ideological extremism, paranoia, and bigotry.

Looking ahead, Corn asked Inglis about the GOP's future, specifically former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R): "Inglis pauses for a moment: 'I think that there are people who seem to think that ignorance is strength.' And he says of her: 'If I choose to remain ignorant and uninformed and encourage people to follow me while I celebrate my lack of information,' that's not responsible."

In the 21st century, there's no more room in the Republican Party for Bob Inglis. It's a truth that speaks volumes.

Steve Benen 11:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

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Comments

I live in Inglis' district. Unfortunately, the idiotic, racist attitude displayed by many of the so-called "Tea Party" are on constant display here amongst a significant portion of our population. Of course, it is nothing new. The "Tea Party" has simply given a large number of people a new way to channel their hatred in what appears to be a much more mainstream way. And Republicans are going to take advantage of the racial animus in the best way they know how.

Of course, Lee Atwater was from SC, so the nuts have not fallen far from the original tree.

Posted by: Sandlapper on August 7, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Scientist examine facts, then create a theory.

Conservatives create a theory, and then search for facts to prove it.

(see: climate change, evolution, economy, God. . .)

Posted by: DAY on August 7, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

It's an interesting interview, particularly the part where he admits coming to regret his own Obsessive Clinton Disorder. He seems to blame Limbaugh, Fox, et. al., for the problems, but I'm not so sure-- after all, the anti-Clinton stuff happened some time ago. The political dynamic that leads conservatives into wingnuttia still seems unclear, at least to me.

Posted by: MattF on August 7, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

This crap has gotten so bad that I'm almost an outcast in my own family. Not that anything has been said or doe to bring this about - but because I voted for the N____r.

My family is ALL college grads, and Glen Beck is their IDOL.

Sadly, though, there is a sea of people like Inglis that will stay with the Republicans and VOTE for them as always.

I'm betting on far worse before anything better.

Posted by: Mark-NC on August 7, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I live in the district as well. I have often disagreed with Inglis, but I know that he is a thoughtful man. The good news is Trey Gowdy who beat Inglis riding the tea party wave, is also a thoughtful man - he just played the politics.

Posted by: scarolina on August 7, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

I just checked the back of my Social Security card. I cannot find the number of the bank that bought me when I was born. Does this mean no bank thought I had enough potential to buy me?

I suddenly feel so worthless!

Posted by: jpeckjr on August 7, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

People are acting and reacting as if the ignorance and bigotry of the Tea Party is something novel.

The Republican Party has always been so, at least since the Reagan era. Tea Party is just another name for these people.

Now that the Republicans have achieved their first goal - to bring to USA the third world level of inequalities in income, wealth and opportunity - they are on with their second and more cherished one - get rid of all this nonsense about Civil Rights and Separation of Church and State.

Everything is going according to plan. Nothing earth shattering here.

Posted by: gregor on August 7, 2010 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

All Republican candidates need to be sked if they think the American people are collateral for the banks and what the numbers mean on the back of the SS cards. They should be forced to fish or cut bait on all this right-wing nuttiness. Either lose the votes of the nuts or lose the votes of the swing voters who decide elections.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on August 7, 2010 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK
"'Leaders can either lead -- or mislead.' And you know, if you're gonna lead, you need to lead with facts. And you need to help people the realities that we face."

and:

I have this look like, 'What the heck are you talking about?' I'm trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative.

Hmmm. Way to tell other people they need to do stuff you didn't have the guts to do yourself, dude.

Posted by: Redshift on August 7, 2010 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

A politics that turns mavericks into puppets

Inglis also explained that he believes it's just "a dangerous strategy to build conservatism on information and policies that are not credible."

When you touch the devil you can't let go...
And when you can't let go the race is to the bottom...
And the race of people at the bottom is a mutant electorate capable of only hating...

Inglis is large to point this out.
And larger yet to note nothing of value is gained on that arc of empire.
And largest of all to make this a moral argument of leadership and country...

More countryman and mavericks like Bob Inglis please...

Posted by: koreyel on August 7, 2010 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Rep. Inglis is reaping the whirlwind. Let's not feel too sorry for him.

Posted by: hornblower on August 7, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party has an interesting (and sick) interaction going. The leadership gets their jobs by stirring up the crazies in the base. But then they can't keep their jobs unless they keep catering to the crazies.

The result is that the Republican leadership cannot govern sensibly because if they try, the stirred-up base that put them into the leadership quickly replaces them. Used to be political leaders could stir up the crazies in their district or state and get elected, then go to Washington and operate in the backrooms and act sensibly.

But the media has gotten so intrusive that this is no longer possible. The media has essentially provided a short leash to keep their tame Washington crazy politicians on. (See King, Boehner, Coburn, etc.) The media itself is fragmenting so that the days of getting wealthy by running a local newspaper or TV station are nearly over. So they are firing most reporters and demanding that the rest make short fragmentary reports with no analysis. This can only be done by using leaks, so reporters keep their jobs by catering to leakers. Which include the crazy politicians, of course. There is no funding for investigative reporting and there probably has never been a big audience for it. Loss leaders disappear quickly in declining industries.

So now we have the crazy party and the semi-sane party up there in Washington working together to destroy the economy and start new wars just so they can keep their leadership positions which were given them by the crazies.

Inglis is just stating what someone who has escaped from the grasp of the crazies has to be thinking - if he retains any sanity and has no hope or expectation of returning to the fray.

Oh, and if rationality does not guide our politicians, what does? Non-rational emotionality based on hot-button issues, of course. Because that's what the base responds to and keeps the politicians in their jobs. While is is socially impermissible to say so, Racism is a very important part of the American culture's non-rational emotional core. Not the only part, but in America it remains a big element.

The ability of so many conservatives to psychologically disconnect the term Racism from its realistic description and effects is a separate issue. But it's an easy disconnect to achieve if you simply never discuss Racism but only use it as an epithet to throw at others.

Posted by: Rick B on August 7, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

"'I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there's a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a projection of your life's earnings' -- I'm gonna try and not laugh here -- 'and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks. I have this look like, 'What the heck are you talking about?' I'm trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative. So they said, 'You don't know this?! You are a member of Congress, and you don't know this?!'"

It's all here:
http://www.apfn.org/apfn/reserve.htm

http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?board=1.0

You know that moment when you first made an independent evaluation of something you were told? Some people have never known that moment.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 7, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

What hornblower said. Inglis sounds sensible now, but he was all for the impeachment of Bill Clinton not too very long ago. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. Let him get a real job somewhere and sound the alarm far and wide that the modern GOP is run by escapees from an insane asylum. Or STFU.

Posted by: KLG on August 7, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

"You can either lead or mislead" --succinct formulation.

The insanity of our current politics, with Republicans driven doubly mad by the end of their expected 1000 year reich [oops, I mean their 'permanent majority'] and by the unfathomable election of a man with black skin are very, very far over the cliff now.

I doubt that any sane person not motivated by immense greed [e.g. the MSM moguls who want to keep their big tax breaks] could ever offer Republicans a respectful second thought

Posted by: jjm on August 7, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Rep. Bob Inglis and his fellow moderate Republicans are responsbile for their own downfall. From 2001 to 2006 they had control of Congress and populated the staff positions in the Bush White House. While doing that they ran up over five trillion dollar of debt, increased the size of the government, created new cabinet positions, treated Americans like criminals at the air port, on the job, and while visiting the capital.

What Rep. Bob Inglis needs to understand that with the changing demographics of the U.S. there will also be no place for him in a Democratic Party dominated by blacks, Hispanics, and urban elites.
And after being complete failures for six years, Rep. Bob Inglis's answer is that the Republicans need to become more like Democrats and give up on being conservative.

When the moderate Republicans supported affirmative action, racial quotas and set asides while supporting open borders, unlimited immigration, and selling U.S. citizenship for a few dollars, of course conservatives are going to be mad at them.

Posted by: superdestroyer on August 7, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Will they ever be able to let go of the hate??? Will they ever be able to see/accept basic facts??

Look at the "birther" army officer/surgeon being court-martialled. He claims he is fighting for the truth, yet rejects all relevant facts because he doesn't "believe" them...As George Will likes to say, "you're entitled to your own beliefs, but not your own facts" (paraphrased), but that is no longer the case in the Republican party. It's sad to see someone who's apparently a fine surgeon and was a good officer become a disgrace to his uniform. And he'll probably consider any punishment "martyrdom", when in fact he is just breaking the law and letting down his fellow soldiers. And the write up in cnn.com presents the birther's claims like a "he said-she said" issue...truly sad...

Posted by: golack on August 7, 2010 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Never underestimate how much damage a small determined minority can do. The Rethugs have demonstrated this time and again, and Inglis is merely one of their latest victims.

Without the platform given wingnuttia by the media their impact would be far less. With the exercise of some critical thinking and reporting their impact would be vanishingly small. Alas we have neither of the two, and thus we are sliding into oblivion.

The mid-term elections are going to be a measure of just how stupid we have become as a country. The Dimocratic response to the Rethug frenzy is like a sneeze in a hurricane. Unless the reality based community comes out and votes in November we will be in indescribable dire straits.

Posted by: rrk1 on August 7, 2010 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

The good news is Trey Gowdy who beat Inglis riding the tea party wave, is also a thoughtful man - he just played the politics.

The problem is Gowdy has to play it one hundred percent their way or he's out on his ear come the next election.

Posted by: woody45 on August 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

My mother used to say to u we tykes who f'ed up: "You made your bed. Now seep on it."

Sadly, Inglis helped make a bed we all gotta sleep in.

I feel so bad for him.

Posted by: paulo on August 7, 2010 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Bob Inglis was a canker-sore on rear-end of America for over a decade. Go back and look at his horrible record.

Now suddenly he's some sort of martyr because his own enraged morons have turned on him for insufficient zeal in their outraged conspiracy lunacy?

My own view is "time wounds all heels." The Republican LEADERSHIP INCLUDING Inglis unleashed all this crap on the rest of us with their hell-bent Clinton mania and demagoguery. Now suddenly they are starting to turn around and realize "Gee, this is beginning to bite us in the ass. Whatever are we going to do about running the country if we actually win, when all these crazies will actually expect us to disband the IRS and the Treasury Department -- because the Treasury Seal secretly proves it's all part of a plot to form a world government?"

Seeing as these Congressmen are all motherless bastards with the conscience of snake-oil salesmen to begin with -- or they wouldn't BE Conservative Republicans in the first place, they'll find a way to submerge whatever tiny residual Homunculus of a conscience is left to them and gild their own parachutes, while the American dream tumbles into the abyss.

As far as they're concerned we can always go back to the Guilded Age when men like J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller ruled Presidents and Congress from their mansions and there was no income or estate tax but plenty of child labor. Men like Inglis will be perfectly adapted to that brave new world, like fish in water while the rest of us eat cat-food in our old age after Social Security is privatized.

If the morons in his district really WANT "limited government" they're going to get it with a vengeance! Wait till they see what life was really like in 1910, when business is REALLY unleashed to pillage and kill (as Rand Paul is now advocating in Kentucky where he hopes to abolish all mine-safety regulations).

Why SHOULDN'T we bring back child-labor and abolish all food safety inspections while we're at it? Who needs "big government."

Posted by: Cugel on August 7, 2010 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

the cons talk about dismantling government going back to some kind of european fuedal states..apparently.

but in the last few decades they tend to spend and grow.

so the talk doesnt match the walk

Posted by: Kill Bill on August 7, 2010 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

@ jpeckjr on August 7, 2010 at 11:55 AM,

Check your SS card again; mine has "the number", in small print, on left-hand side, at the very bottom: Form OA-702.I Rev.(I-73). Not sure which part tells the bank that I'm an import (naturalised citizen) and, as such, worth much less as a collateral than a native-born citizen.

BTW... Things may have changed long since but I got my SS card --- simply by applying for it; no identity theft required -- some 15 yrs before I became a citizen...

Posted by: exlibra on August 7, 2010 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

And as for Inglis (is that some foreign way of misspelling "English"?)... He must be planning on emigrating. Like, maybe, to Massachusetts :)

Posted by: exlibra on August 7, 2010 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Inglis can go fuck himself. Now that he has lost power, he "comes clean". He should have known -- and apparently DID know -- for at least the last 20 years that the Republican party was a vehicle for hysterical, non-reality-based, greedy liars.

Poor Bob Inglis -- his own not very distant past came back to haunt him. Boo-fucking-hoo.

Posted by: The Fool on August 8, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

"the cons talk about dismantling government going back to some kind of european fuedal states..apparently." - KB


But... i thought the wingers believed 'europeeins' is faggy, and 'efeminant like' and were all related to Karl Marx somehow...

Posted by: H.Finn on August 8, 2010 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Inglis will lead a movement of former republican lawmakers who switch sides - Dixiecrat fashion.

Call them the sane-icans, logic-ans or whatever, but perhaps the outcome of the tea partiers increasing influence will be that some Republicans with a legitimate following will bolt.

Bob

Posted by: Bob on August 8, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

You have to wonder how in the state where they started a war to protect the right of white people to be lazy, intra-GOP politics got so uniform. Republicans in SC are Republicans for one reason; they're white.

I may have answered my own question.

Posted by: Dr. Squid on August 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

We're moving rapidly toward the day when "Democrat - Republican" no longer means "more liberal - more conservative", but "smarter - dumber".

Posted by: Math Teacher on August 8, 2010 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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