Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 15, 2010

'WHERE ARE THE ADULTS?'.... The Politico item on yesterday's primary results was interesting, if for no other reason because it offers a sense of the deep frustration within the Republican Party establishment about the decisions of its base.

[T]he Delaware results, in particular, were a shock to Republicans who were previously able to find some plausible explanation for why one of their incumbents or top candidates had taken a loss. Castle, unlike Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Robert Bennett, went after O'Donnell aggressively, exposed some damning information about what Rove called her "checkered background," and hadn't been the target of notable dissent within the state party.

But voters shrugged their shoulders.

"People didn't care," lamented one GOP strategist involved in the race, referring to the reaction to reams of oppo research on O'Donnell.

Well, no, they didn't. But that's largely the result of the Republican Party telling its most loyal voters not to care about substance, and to prioritize ideology above all.

If nothing else, the 8 primary election defeats suffered by NRSC-favored candidates this year indicates the lack of a unified command structure within the GOP now. It has, in effect, become an uncontrolled and ungoverned party in which the powers that be in Washington are mere bystanders.

"Where are the adults?" one strategist wondered.

I know this one: they're gone because you drove them out of the party. The adults were labeled RINO sellouts who compromised instead of fighting.

The only real surprise here is that Republicans are surprised. Frankenstein didn't like his monster very much, but he still had to live with the consequences.

Steve Benen 9:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Quoting a brilliant friend of mine from an email this morning:

"It is the screaming to life of a reactionary, anti-intellectual movement. Like all such groups it is half-filled with venal charlatans, half with self-deluded believers, who are fully united in avarice and fueled by their hatred of anything the Id cant understand, like compromise or tolerance or self-sacrifice to serve the common good.

"Dimly aware of their defective nature because of the contrasting mirror that progressive ideals provide, they seek to break that mirror by denouncing it as an insidious evil. They invent new origin myths with which to justify their agenda and reinterpret cherished values into their opposite a la Orwell.

"So from Beck and the Dominionists we hear the myth of a righteous 'Black-robed contingent' of preachers who REALLY were behind the writing of the Constitution, necessitating it and indeed the entire history of the American Revolution be reinterpreted as a religious undertaking aimed at keeping secularism and godlessness at bay. The Tea Party tells us that our Founders wanted no real federal government at all, and apparently dreamed up an elaborate institution filled with checks and balances solely to run a Navy and guard against anyone getting taxed or having their gun taken away. The new religious fundamentalists and market fundamentalists and cultural fundamentalists, like their forebears the National Socialists before them, want to use these myths to rebuild a glorious past that never existed."

Posted by: Frank on September 15, 2010 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

But it's a success for Fox. The political discourse is poisoned, but money is made.

Posted by: sjw on September 15, 2010 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Remember when they said proudly that Palin would be a force in the repub party, they were right, she helped McCain lose an election and has gone on to endorse all the crazies to help them unseat moderates in the party. The repubs should be careful what they wish for.

Posted by: js on September 15, 2010 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Frank - Kudos to your friend, that was quite nice.

Posted by: Rathskeller on September 15, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

I have a friend who is a dye-in-the-wool Republican (you should hear our arguments). He's also a recovering right-wing zealot. He worked as a lobbyist and staffer for Republicans. And he was a storm trooper for the Reagan Revolution. Now, he's not so sure. Bigotry is a double-edged sword once you come out of the closet.

Heightening the tensions is a revolutionary precept but it exacerbates an ordinary human problem. We can dream impossible dreams but we still have to live in the real world. When you choose the dream over the world, you're not functioning at an adult level. You've traded dreary responsibility for utopian certitude.

Reaganites drank the Kool-Aid and opiated their party. That party is now fully addicted. You don't send it to a 12-step program. You don't walk it back to Eisenhower. That party must now obey the logic of its own inebriation. Rove and company knew what they were doing. They just didn't know that they were the first victims.

Posted by: walt on September 15, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I'd stick with the fact that the establishment GOP went out of their way to encourage the myths in their discourse, eg. birtherism, Obamacare, etc. Not surprisingly, this encouraged the wingnuts and discouraged the "normal" GOP voters. As a consequence, no statement made in the past or present was too outrageous for the base. There's still an actual chance that we'll have Senators Angle, Miller, Paul and O'Donnell. Don't get complacent.

Posted by: KenZ on September 15, 2010 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

What a laugh: Dem bloggers kindly warned the Repub establishment that this would happen, but the warnings were spurned.

Posted by: Bob M on September 15, 2010 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

zealot |ˈzelət|
a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.

-And zealots of all persuasions ignore the ample evidence that their beliefs are wrong, wrong, wrong, and continue to go to church or temple or mosque on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

And to the polls on Tuesday. . .

Posted by: DAY on September 15, 2010 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

The Politico item on yesterday's primary results was interesting, if for no other reason because it offers a sense of the deep frustration within the Republican Party establishment about the decisions of its base.

Come now, Politico would have us believe the GOP establishment is "deeply frustrated" with its base? That's like a parent giving a small child a box of matches and a gallon of gasoline then being "deeply frustrated" that they lit the house on fire.

Posted by: Oh my on September 15, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

The corporate masters are losing control of their beast. I wonder if these 'new republicans' will eventually be corrupted by the old overlords or if they will turn on them.

If it's the latter, we may actually see a more consumer friendly Republican't party. Consumer friendly and bat-sh!t crazy.

Posted by: Gridlock on September 15, 2010 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Frank, beautiful stuff.

Conservatives are quite brilliant at eradicating history and creating myths in its place. "Reagan crushed the Soviet Union," for instance. "The US is a Christian nation."

The perfect example is Glenn Beck erasing the memory of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech by standing where he stood, on the anniversary of that day, and reclaiming the date and location of the single most significant event in our nation's history for rich white Americans.

Posted by: chrenson on September 15, 2010 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

--"The corporate masters are losing control of their beast. I wonder if these 'new republicans' will eventually be corrupted by the old overlords or if they will turn on them."

Perfect. Germany in 1930.

I do imagine though the old overlords will retain control of the the tea-partiers' or join with them.

Posted by: Buford on September 15, 2010 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Appeal to and nurture the lowest common denominator and that's what you get Republican Party! I'm having a post deja vu! Hate based politics and the "no doctrine" does have a downfall after all.

Posted by: Troll-Op-ed on September 15, 2010 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK


I disagree. I think the corporate masters are still in charge. They already control the Tea Party through Fox News and the Murdock empire. Via the Kochs and the Scaife's of the world. The Tea Party is the extreme example of a group who vote against their best financial interests. It is the populist extension of the angry white southern male. Watch how the Chamber of Commerce acts. Don't hold your breath until they say negative things about the Tea Party.

Posted by: Mudge on September 15, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

"I know this one: they're gone because you drove them out of the party. The adults were labeled RINO sellouts who compromised instead of fighting."

Also, too: a completely unreported story is what happens whenever a party loses the WH: the party hierarchy is suddenly robbed of a long-serving cadre of responsible leaders, and uncertainty and a bit of party anarchy ensue. With Bush being the GOP for so long, his departure (and the departure of his guys) has left a vacuum that will accept nuts more readily.

If we'd just come through 8 years of Dem control of the WH, this is all we'd be hearing...

Posted by: Jim Pharo on September 15, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Consider how this will effect the behavior of sitting R senators and representatives. Will they be willing to compromise on anything? For that matter, will they do anything vaguely resembling sanity?

Posted by: foosion on September 15, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Frankenstein didn't like his monster very much, but he still had to live with the consequences"

Wait, wait, hold on. I don't remember entirely clearly, but didn't Frankenstein ultimately flee the country and go into hiding in Antarctica?

Posted by: mcc on September 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Let's not give Palin more credit than she deserves here. Do her endorsements make the candidates, or do the candidates make the endorsements? She does fine with the base as long as she endorses the Tea party-type candidate, and in a primary contest with more than one candidate claiming that brand, her endorsement presumably carries a lot of weight. but in instances where she departs from the "party line"--such as her endorsement of McCain, she gets a lot of criticism.

She can't make more McCain-type endorsements without losing credibility with the base, so she is, effectively, as much a prisoner of that base as anyone.

Palin is the principal figurehead for this movement, but she doesn't control, or even influence, it.

Posted by: DRF on September 15, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

If I were (non-crazy) Republican establishment, I would be doing everything possible to sabotage O'Donnell, Angle, Paul, Miller, and any other teatard candidate--purely as a matter of self-preservation.

@mcc: the denouement occurs in the Arctic, not the Antarctic...and without giving too much away, it doesn't go well.

Posted by: Tom Hilton on September 15, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

I think the GOP is in Red Giant stage, where the star looks bright in the night sky but beneath it the star is running out of fuel and will eventually collapse on itself and explode like a supernova.

I believe that explosion date will be in November 2012.

Posted by: Archon on September 15, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

I dunno 'bout all of you, but I'm getting worried.

On the one hand, I'm pleased as punch that the vultures are coming home to roost in the Republican party, feeding on the GOP carrion. I will NEVER forgive the Republicans for what they've done to our country since 1980 (and especially from 2001-2009)!

OTOH, I'm thinking about Wednesday, Nov. 3, when some number of the crazy candidates will have failed. Their base (and boy, are they base!) will be furious, they'll claim the elections were stolen, they'll be looking for someone to blame - and these crazy people, not recognizing they're crazy, will turn their attention elsewhere.

The Republicans may have let the genie out of the bottle, but it's going to be the rest of the country that's going to have to figure out how to put it back in the bottle ...

Posted by: blondie on September 15, 2010 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

The corporate conservatives in Germany thought they could use Hitler and the Nazis for their own purposes to return to power, and were dismayed to discover the reality - when it was too late.

People are thinking of 2012 as being similar to 1933 Germany for choices, but what many are missing is that in 1931, Nazi "crazies" won sufficient seats in the Reichstag to become the biggest single party, and that was what they built the victory of 1933 on.

People need to look at this year's vote as if their lives depended on it. Because they do.

Posted by: TCinLA on September 15, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter GOP - "why won't the rubes do like they are told? This always worked BEFORE!!"

Well, you Republican idiots, you invited the cannibals over to your barbeque. And you promised them good eatin'. Don't be so surprised when you, the host, get turned into the main course.

Posted by: Bokonon on September 15, 2010 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Frankenstein is currently in Alaska, not the Arctic.

Posted by: josef on September 15, 2010 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like 'Mixview' that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you're listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of "neighbors" will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune "Social" is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

Posted by: webhostingbuzz on January 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK



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