Monday, February 22, 2016

Why Fox News and the Republican Party Has Made Donald Trump's Run Possible

In reviewing this article, I found myself slightly agreeing with its premise:

but I think that the reason for the Republican Party possibly ending up with Donald Trump as a nominee needs a little more fleshing out.  Here goes.

As I mentioned here: there are a lot of reasons that some people like Donald Trump.  One of the reasons people like Donald Trump is also a primary reason that other people like Bernie Sanders -- each man tells the voters that their lot in life is not their fault and is caused by someone else.  In the case of Trump, he blames the failure of his supporters' lives on the usual GOP suspects -- Obama, minorities, immigrants, the politically correct eggheads.  Sanders, of course, blames the failure of his supporters to advance in life on the wealthy.  His campaign commercials could not help but make you feel better about yourself -- "Are you doing everything right and yet cannot get ahead?"  The subtext here being, of course, that YOU are not getting ahead because fucking millionaires are suckling at the government teat, and, otherwise, you'd be rich.

Folks on both sides of the political spectrum can now watch TV and say, "Geez, you know what?  I used to think that it was because I never studied and got all Cs and Ds in school.  But you know what?  It is the fucking _______________ that are holding me back from becoming a nuclear scientist!  F them, I am voting for {Trump/Bernie)."

Now, helping out Trump and Sanders in this pitch is the fact that they are running against simply awful opponents.  Hillary Clinton is easily one of the most unlikeable politicians in the world.  She is not optimistic, she is not enjoyable.  She has an awful grating voice and style.  She is not attractive.  She is unwilling to ever admit a mistake, and she will run 5 miles to take credit for anything positive that ever happened, whether she had anything to do with it or not.  She is not someone you want to win ANYTHING.  I will probably end up voting for Hillary, but I will not be happy about it.

Trump, on the other hand, gets to run against an awfully motley crew as well.  Is there anyone less compelling than (the late) Jeb! Bush?  Low energy.  Elect me because my brother was an awful President?  Marco Rubio - Rick Santorum could not identify ONE accomplishment of Rubio's and Rick was endorsing him!  Pro-amnesty anchor baby?  Yep, just what GOP voters crave.  Ted Cruz - my lord.  Unless you believe in a theocracy, how can you vote for Ted Cruz?  He is basically a real life version of the lying peddler Mr. Haney from Green Acres.  Ben Carson - believes the pyramids were used for grain storage, appears always ready to doze off.  Thinks it is a good story to note how he used to stab his best friends (only to be thwarted by a belt buckle).  Only John Kasich is a credible candidate, and should probably win the nomination, except he looks like your retired uncle who is late for a meeting with his lawyer and threw on the first jacket he could find.  (That plus he had the gall to suggest that the government maybe should protect poor people and the mentally ill).

So, maybe it is possible that if every other choice were not so awful that Trump would struggle more.  But, alas, we will never know.  So let's examine Trump's approach and see why it appeals to GOP voters weaned on Fox News.

1) The country is falling apart, everything is shit.  ("Make America Great Again!") -- Try to watch 45 minutes of Fox News.  This message is CONSTANTLY repeated every single day on Fox News.  Obama sucks, he is killing us.  He is awful, he is the worst, we live, basically in the Dark Ages and instead of a Renaissance we will get Darker Ages.  It is repeated every freaking minute of the day. 

2) Say ANYTHING you want to say without regard to whether there are facts to support it.  This has long been GOP/Fox News orthodoxy.  Barack Obama was born in Kenya.  He never went to Columbia.  He was a poor student.  He killed Antonin Scalia.  There is no such thing as global warming.  Guns don't kill two year olds; their inability to properly operate the gun does.    You cannot trust scientists/professors/eggheads.  What do they know?  They are losers, not cool beer drinkers like you.

Against this background, which has lasted 20+ years, the GOP now wants people to EXAMINE statements made by Donald Trump?  "I will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it."  How do we know that is possible? -- because he says so and only eggheads tell us the opposite.  "I will cut off the internet to all terrorist."  Um, well, how do you know they are....and how would you???  Blah, blah, blah, Trump says he can do it - I believe him.  Are you eggheads in the party gonna tell me that you have "facts" to the contrary.  Oh come on!  Fox News has warned me about that for 20 years.  Believe us, not "facts."

3) Say Things Completely Contrary to Things You Have Said in the Past, Even the Recent Past, Even Yesterday.  This is the world of Mitt Romney and John McCain and Scott Walker and Rick Snyder.  So, sure, McCain used to be a rather liberal Republican, but TODAY in 2008 he is a hard-core conservative.  Sure Mitt Romney created Romney-care, which became ObamaCare, but TODAY in 2012 he is a rock-ribbed health care haters who understands how awful it is.  Sure Walker and Snyder ran as common sense conservatives who would help increase union jobs and improve people's wages, but once ELECTED they decided to just become hateful right wingers who destroyed good paying jobs and their states' economies. 

Sam Brownback said his tax cuts would boost revenue for Kansas -- it didn't?  Well, it was never intended to!  Come on.  Geez, you guys.  tax cuts obviously don't increase revenues.  Silly voters - who told you that?  "You did."  Who are you going to believe, me, or the things the Democrats play to you of me saying on videotape? 

4) State a Ton of Things With No Specific Examples -- Illegal immigrants are flooding into the U.S. lately - false, but still stated.  Obama is not deporting any illegals -- false, but still a thing.  50% of your paycheck goes to welfare for illegals.  Welfare queens driving Cadillacs.  Michele Bachmann - HPV vaccines cause mental retardation.  Tom Emmer - Minnesota waiters often make over $100,000 a year.  "Got any specific examples?"  Well, no.  I don't need them, everybody knows that.  I heard a story from a guy who was told that..... 

5) The Media Is Biased Against Conservatives and Cannot Be Trusted.  When a Republican says just ridiculous shit "Obama is going to declare martial law and stay on for another 4 years" the media might be expected to ask, "Um, what possible facts do you have to support that?" or, back before 20 years ago the media would actually say, "That is ridiculous, that is just false."  The Fox News response (now adopted by the GOP), 'SEE, it MUST be true because the liberal media wants you to THINK it is false!"   This "truth-fier" is the greatest invention of all-time for a political party -- "Obama caused Joe the Plumber not to buy a $400,000 business because Joe would pay $400,000 per year in taxes!"  Well, there are so many things wrong with that statement, where do we start....SEE!  It MUST be true if they are fighting so hard to disprove the statement!

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I do not share today's general Democratic Party hatred for Ronald Reagan.  We were desperate for some pride as a country, having lost virtually all of our pride when Carter was President, and Regan brought that pride back.  Sure he built up a deficit with his tax cuts and huge spending increases, but for 8 years we were generally better off.  When he saw how horrible his budget busting ways were, 6 years in, he worked with the Democrats to raise taxes and get things a little more reasonable. 

Reagan believed, generally, in the facts.  Sure he had his own opinion of what the facts meant, but he didn't just say stupid shit and make people believe that his lies were facts.  Even when Iran-Contra blew up in his face, he sort of 'fessed up; saying it was important to trade arms for hostages and he should have known better if he was paying more attention.  (It was a lie, but a slight one and he really didn't think anyone bought it -- he was just too lovable and popular to punish for his misdeed - like your old dog who poops in the entryway one day out of 300).

George H.W. Bush was a smart guy - he could be kind of pompous, but, again, you got the feeling he did what he thought actually was best for the country and listened to facts and logic.

I don't know what happened to the Republican Party thereafter.  Maybe it was Gingrich and his scorched earth efforts to hurt Bill Clinton?  Maybe it was the success of GW Bush's bullshit "compassionate conservatism" claim, which told political operatives, "Hey, look, maybe we need to just lie to win?"   Who knows?  But the Republican party since 2000 might as well have renamed itself the We Support Idiots party,  Look, there is nothing wrong with trying to cut your own taxes if you are super wealthy.  It is a little mean-spirited, but heck, go for it.  But the Poor Wing of the party???  My lord.

Sarah Palin?  Is there anything more awful than the idea that the Republican Party nominated a person for Vice President who took 5 years to get through 4 different colleges, perhaps distracted by the need to bang Glen Rice and  who just generally does not know anything about anything important connected to running a country?    Perhaps that is where the safety rope to sanity broke?  When the GOP and Fox News had to support that idiot.  Is she qualified?  Well, certainly.  Don't believe what anyone says, she is great, she is awesome.  She will really do what is right for YOU! 

Who does that Palin love sound like?  It sounds like Trump.  "Trust me.  Things will be great.  Greater, greatest.  How do I know?  Cuz I know - it is on my hat!"  Trump has at least done SOMETHING with his life and graduated from impressive schools.  While a blowhard, he is not a moron.  So, when less than 8 years ago the party and Fox News were all in favor of Sarah Palin, their protestations against Donald Trump fall more than a little flat.  Is there a difference between saying inflammatory conservative things and not meaning them (Trump) and saying similar things and being too dumb to understand them and why they make no logical sense (Palin)?   Not much of a difference. 

Anyway -- this item kind of got away from me, so take it for what it is worth, because I am not editing it.

1 comment:

Al Swearengen said...

I sense that you're holding back. Please tell us what you really mean, HM.