Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Resentment Strategy

This article by Paul Krugman really illustrated the feeling I had after watching the Republican 
Convention. It was a cognitive dissonance I just couldn't put my finger on verbally until I saw this article. I am sure you noticed it too as you looked upon an audience that resembled a cross between a rodeo, a prayer convention, a country music concert, and a retirement home. You were looking at a room full of millionaires who were bound and determined to pretend they were common tobacco spittin' shitkickers who are tired of being victimized by elitist liberals. 

This little optical illusion is getting really hard to buy into these days. Especially in a convention where economics- the single most important issue to the majority of Americans, was scarcely mentioned.

Paul Krugman writes:

 "Can the super-rich former governor of Massachusetts — the son of a Fortune 500 C.E.O. who made a vast fortune in the leveraged-buyout business — really keep a straight face while denouncing “Eastern elites”?

Can the former mayor of New York City, a man who, as USA Today put it, “marched in gay pride parades, dressed up in drag and lived temporarily with a gay couple and their Shih Tzu” — that was between his second and third marriages — really get away with saying that Barack Obama doesn’t think small towns are sufficiently “cosmopolitan”?

Can the vice-presidential candidate of a party that has controlled the White House, Congress or both for 26 of the past 28 years, a party that, Borg-like, assimilated much of the D.C. lobbying industry into itself — until Congress changed hands, high-paying lobbying jobs were reserved for loyal Republicans — really portray herself as running against the “Washington elite”?...............................

Yes, they can.

On Tuesday, He Who Must Not Be Named — Mitt Romney mentioned him just once, Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin not at all — gave a video address to the Republican National Convention. John McCain, promised President Bush, would stand up to the “angry left.” That’s no doubt true. But don’t be fooled either by Mr. McCain’s long-ago reputation as a maverick or by Ms. Palin’s appealing persona: the Republican Party, now more than ever, is firmly in the hands of the angry right, which has always been much bigger, much more influential and much angrier than its counterpart on the other side.

What’s the source of all that anger?

Some of it, of course, is driven by cultural and religious conflict: fundamentalist Christians are sincerely dismayed by Roe v. Wade and evolution in the curriculum. What struck me as I watched the convention speeches, however, is how much of the anger on the right is based not on the claim that Democrats have done bad things, but on the perception — generally based on no evidence whatsoever — that Democrats look down their noses at regular people.

Thus Mr. Giuliani asserted that Wasilla, Alaska, isn’t “flashy enough” for Mr. Obama, who never said any such thing. And Ms. Palin asserted that Democrats “look down” on small-town mayors — again, without any evidence.

What the G.O.P. is selling, in other words, is the pure politics of resentment; you’re supposed to vote Republican to stick it to an elite that thinks it’s better than you. Or to put it another way, the G.O.P. is still the party of Nixon.


upinVermont said...

I read this editorial too.

The whole Republican Campaign is breathtakingly shallow and puerile. I just can't fathom how stupid people have to be to swallow this swill. I was listening to CNN tonight, and it sounded like people were cheering at one of McCain's campaign speeches, saying: "Drill now! Drill now! Drill now!"

Jesus, how callow and juvenile are these people? Is this what Republicans are really reduced too? Don't these idiots realize that any oil we drill will go on the world market?!? - *not* in our gas tanks.

And then, McCain makes the ignorant statement that Nuclear power is safe and clean.


I suppose that's why we *still* haven't disposed of any nuclear waste! None! It's too damned dangerous even for Yuka Mountain!

And where is the press in all this? Why aren't they comparing and contrasting the statements of Rove, pre-Palin and post-Palin, the way John Stewart is?

The Truth. It's not Fair. It's not Balanced. It's not an Ideology.

I'm gonna' make a bumper sticker out of this.

Aaron said...

I like that bumper sticker idea.

Yes, the campaign is a joke. McCain wanted Leiberman, he chose Palin to appease the fundies. He claims to want change and attacks Obama for experience. He selects a woman with the least amount of experience in history who is more like Bush/Cheney than McCain is. And the press falls for all this crap. The press is decried for making an issue out of her family then they cave in and start worshipping the woman the next day to make up for it. Like an ump making up for a bad call later in the game.