Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Message To Republicans

Latest Newspaper Column:
A message to Republicans:

I know I've been hard on your party during this election cycle. I've said some fairly harsh things. I've called you divisive. I've called you hypocritical. I've called you incompetent, and even insane.

All of these things, of course, are true.

But, in the end, I really do wish you well.

I really do hope that, after this election, you can rid yourself of your worst ideas and your worst elements. I hope you can get rid of the idea that just because people disagree with you, or just because they live in a certain area of the country or in the wrong size municipality, that they're not only wrong, but that they're not even "real Americans."

During this election, vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin told an audience: "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America." The implication being that those non-small-town, non-pocket areas, i.e. the cities and suburbs where
most Americans actually live, are not "real America."

McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer took up the theme when talking about the contested state of Virginia, asserting that "the real Virginia" was in the McCain-supporting rural counties, not the heavily populated, Obama-leaning areas in Northern Virginia. Honorable John's brother Joe McCain (not to be confused with Joe the Plumber) went even further, calling counties in Northern Virginia "communist country."


When Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann chimed in, calling for the media to investigate the views of Obama and of the people in Congress to find out, "are they pro-America or anti-America?" I began to realize that this "you're a Republican or you're against America" strategy was the actual, if unofficial, Republican Party line.


As the old saying goes, 'Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is on purpose." Even here in North Carolina, Rep. Robin Hayes told a Republican rally that: "Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God." He then denied saying any such thing, until confronted with a video of him saying it, after which he at first claimed he didn't recall it, then said, "It
came out the wrong way."


As an aside, I think any political adviser worth his salary needs to sit his or her candidate down in front of a computer early on and say, "Mr. Candidate. This site is called YouTube. Any stupid thing you say is going to be on video, on this site, and it's going to be all over the Internet within minutes. You won't be able to deny it, and you'll look stupider if you try. So watch your mouth."


It is for this reason, more than any political ideology, that I want to see John McCain and Sarah Palin fail. I want to live in a country where "if you don't vote for me, you're not a real American" is a losing strategy and not a winning one. I want to live in an America where I can disagree with my government's policies, or the ideas of a
candidate, without being labeled "anti-American."


I'm sick of it. And, if the polls showing that McPalin's divisive attacks are turning voters off are any indication, the rank and file of Americans are sick of it, too.


I have, however, seen some glimmers of hope. McCain himself, when confronted with a woman who said she was afraid of Obama because "he's an Arab," said "No." Obama, McCain said, is "a decent family man" and a "citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues." (OK, that first part could be interpreted as implying that an Arab is not a decent family man, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.)


"We want to fight, and I will fight," McCain said on another occasion, "but I will be respectful. I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments, and I will respect him."


Now, it is true, there were scattered boos from the Republican crowd on both occasions, and McCain and Palin did dive right back into the mud within the day, but again, I'll give the benefit of the doubt and interpret that as just indicating there's still work to be done.


Even Gen. Colin Powell, once touted as a potential Republican candidate for president, chose to endorse Barack Obama, citing as one reason his displeasure with the divisive rhetoric of the McCain campaign. Maybe, just maybe, the Karl Rovian politics of the past, aimed at getting 51 percent of the vote and then burning all your bridges by telling the other 49 percent to sit down and shut up or we'll treat you as an enemy
of the State, are in decline.


Yes, Republicans, I've called you divisive. I've called you hypocritical. I've called you incompetent, and even insane. I've made fun of you before, and I'll do it again, because hey, that's what I do. But I don't think I've ever called you un-American. If I have, I apologize.

It's just wrong.


19 comments:

Ali Karim said...

Great post Dusty - the election trail is so surreal watching from the UK, how the heck did Palin come to the front?

She is one scary person -

Just hope rationality wins on election day, but Obama you got one heck of a task ahead of you

Ali

John Dishon said...

So everyone who is a registered Republican agrees with this "un-American" rhetoric the party has been touting? If you're Republican, you agree with every single official party position?

I'd say that kind of general attack is divisive, which would make you a hypocrite.

Randy Johnson said...

To John Dishon, I'm a registered Republican and I agree with J.D. I've noticed that disturbing trend in the last eight years to make it, 'If you're not for us, you're against us."
It was offensive to me when they implicated if you were against the war, you were against the soldiers fighting that war. If you weren't Republican, you weren't Christian was particularly offensive. They never come right out and say the words. But the implication was always there.
People, for the large part, have gotten wise to that BS. But enough remain that it saddens me.

LongHairedWeirdo said...

John Dishon:

So everyone who is a registered Republican agrees with this "un-American" rhetoric the party has been touting?

Only one person spoke those words, and that was you.

Dusty singled out the "worst ideas" and "worst elements", and gave examples. I can't even pretend it takes a stretch to decide he was attacking every Republican... you have to deliberately ignore what he said.

JD Rhoades said...

I can't even pretend it takes a stretch to decide he was attacking every Republican... you have to deliberately ignore what he said.

Among the worst habits of the worst elements of the Republican Party is this one...arguing with the voices in their heads rather than what was actually said. I don't know if it's dishonest or crazy.

Tom said...

John Dishon, you need another couple semesters of rhetoric. In particular, learn what is meant by 'false equivalency.' Still in your sophomore year, right? And yet you find time to peddle astroturf.

Seems possible the GOP will suffer a schism. Palin will lead the moonbat fantasists, fundamentalists, racists, paranoids and know-nothings, while some adult who knows the difference between Ayn Rand novels and reality will lead the reborn Whigs.

Save us from True Believers in power.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Dusty, you pointed out many (but not all) of the things that led me to leave the Republican party.

John McFetridge said...

Watching this election from another country has been interesting (I'm Canadian).

There are a lot of things to love about America - and it's democratic government is one of them. So, it looks odd to see so many Americans who "love democracy" being so angry about the only democratic institution in their lives.

It's not like any of those corporations that people are always talking about, "freeing from government regulation," are in any way democratic.

America also seems like the only democracy that doesn't feel its government works for its citizens, but rather works against them. Maybe it often does, I don't know, but it is changed often - more often than any other kind of leadership in the country, and people actually have some say in it.

Also, someone said to me the other day that only Americans have a conspiracy theory about everything that happens - 9/11 was an inside job is probably the biggest conspiracy theory and it seems to have real legs.

No one in England would ever think the subway bombings were an inside job, no Spaniard would ever feel the train bombings were an inside job. This attitude towards government seems to be only in America and it seems to have gone far past a healthy skepticism and become something else.

Gerard said...

I will not comment on the column or these replies. I only post here for this:

Moose-a-lini.

It makes me giggle every time.

Caveat said...

This election is bringing out some very ugly ideas and people.

I'm hoping that things don't get worse.

Reputable, high profile Republcans have distanced themselves from hooligan tactics and appeals to the pitchfork-and-torch crowd. Let's hope it works because the slope seems very slippery these days.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

John,

I'm sure they're out there somewhere, but I've never met anyone who really believes the 9/11 attacks were part of a government conspiracy. I do, however, know a couple of people who insist the moon landing was a hoax...

Sarah Shaber said...

Excellent article, Dusty, and so true!
I hope come next Tuesday the era of Karl Rove Republicanism will be over for ever. I plan to self-medicate for the entire day, until the results are in!

Anonymous said...

I am not white, and neither Democrat or Republican. I don't even like McCain, and am nowhere as religious as Palin. But I do find it surprising that you are part of a chorus celebrating the coronation of King Obama, without any thought that he will bring ruin to this country economically, politically, morally. He will surely win next week, and we will all have buyer's remorse from November 5th on.

JD Rhoades said...

You know, anonymous coward, the whole "King Obama," "Messiah," "Lord Obama" sneer just makes you and your fellow wingnuts sound petulant and whiny, like a high school loser bitterly sneering at the popular kids.

John McFetridge said...

"But I do find it surprising that you are part of a chorus celebrating the coronation of King Obama, without any thought that he will bring ruin to this country economically, politically, morally. He will surely win next week, and we will all have buyer's remorse from November 5th on."

Buyer's remorse is the risk you take with democracy. No risk, no democracy. The great thing about it is that if you do regret the choice, you don't make it again in four years.

You know, JD, I think the people who use phrases like, "King Obama" actually really like the idea of a king - they just have a different one in mind.

Tom said...

"You know, JD, I think the people who use phrases like, "King Obama" actually really like the idea of a king - they just have a different one in mind."

Yes, indeed - remember SUMMERHILL? We fear and despise in others what we dislike in ourselves.

These People are adrenalin junkies hooked on telling each other scary stories around their campfire.

JD Rhoades said...

These People are adrenalin junkies hooked on telling each other scary stories around their campfire.

True dat. Check out this compendium of wingnut hysteria:

http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/13419.html

Gerard said...

I never read the politics sub-boardss on the internet gun boards I read. But, someone posted an Obama topic on a WI topics sub-board regarding his birth certificate so I replied.

My reply linked to factcheck.org's article on the issue. What, to me, is a pretty clear explanation and proof of a valid certificate was dismissed. Some people have made up their minds, won't change them for anything, and accept any nonsense as long as it supports their view. I still see chestnuts about the U.N., world government, payoffs from foreign interests, etc.

If you don't like Obama I'm fine with that. But, they should at least have valid and verifiable reasons and not conjecture, paranoia, and baloney.

JD Rhoades said...

Gerard, someone did a study recently that showed that the more actual facts you present to self-identified conservatives showing that something they believe to be true is just wrong, the more they cling to it. Conservatism truly is a form of mental illness.