Ten Miles Square


October 16, 2012 9:02 AM A GOP Gaffe, and the Hack Gap

By Mark Kleiman

I’m not sure how I missed this when it came out:

“The demographics race we’re losing badly,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

It ran in the WaPo. It’s a gaffe in Kinsley’s sense: the inadvertent statement of something true. The Republican Party is the party of angry white guys (and their angry wives): not just angry in general, but angry at people who aren’t white (plus atheists, of course). And they are losing the demographic race, both because there are more non-whites and because under-30 whites are, on average, much less racially angry.

Imagine if Dick Durbin had said something equally tin-eared; the whole country would have heard about it. But Kevin Drum is right (as usual): the Red team simply has a better, and more shameless, echo chamber. Yes, every party has to accept the defects that go along with its virtues, and liberals simply don’t get as much of a charge out of agreeing with one another as conservatives do. But that doesn’t make it any less of a disadvantage at this moment of the campaign season.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.


  • R on October 16, 2012 9:29 PM:

    Might it be a bit tin-eared to put "and their angry wives" in parentheses here? It's not obvious to me that every single wife feels the same way her husband does. In fact I know a former state senator, a Democrat, who attributes his election in part to his visiting farm homes during the day to talk to the "wives" while the husbands were out in the fields. Surely there are some wives of angry white men out there who think that contraception isn't evil and believe in equal pay for equal work.

    But yes, clearly some angry white men are running scared at this point. Lots of white men I know, however, welcome the demographic changes to come.

  • Ronald on October 17, 2012 10:43 AM:

    It is partially the right wing echo chamber, but there is a bigger reason. Republicans attempt to bend facts to what their version of 'reality' is, Democrats accept the facts, and attempt to change their reaction to those facts.
    It is far more introspective than the Republicans seem capable of.

  • trog69 on October 21, 2012 9:36 PM:

    Ronald, Bob Altemeyer has already told us why they do not accept our version of reality. The Authoritarians pretty much nails it.

  • Notation64 on October 29, 2012 4:17 PM:

    If you pay attention to Graham, he's smart and sane, unlike most in his party. This was not a gaffe, but an acidic criticism of the party.