An Ohio Tea Party candidate seeking to oust Republican House Speaker John Boehner has released a Viagra-themed campaign ad (video below) that is actually pretty funny. J.D. Winteregg’s ad hits all the top Tea Party talking points. He’s anti-immigration, pro-gun and promises to defund ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood. And for some reason he also felt it necessary to declare his opposition golf.
Winteregg is just one of many Republican fringe candidates taking on establishment GOP figures like Boehner. He doesn’t have much chance of winning, but he can certainly be a major annoyance and, by reminding conservatives of all the things they hate about Boehner, he can contribute to Republican voters sitting out the election in November.
The ad slams Boehner as having “Electile Dysfunction” as a result of being in Washington, D.C. too long. It shows Boehner in videos being chummy with President Obama, a fatal flaw to the close-minded, Tea Party bigots who consider such fraternization to be akin to treason. And it charges Boehner with being spineless for having given in to liberals. Apparently shutting down the government for three weeks, supporting Darrell Issa’s McCarthyite inquisitions, and holding 50+ votes to cripple the Affordable Care Act is an expression of weakness in the eyes of Tea Party extremists.
Perhaps the the best moment in the ad is when the announcer gets to the disclaimer and warns that…
“If you have a Boehner lasting longer than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention.”
With that Winteregg has distinguished himself as the only candidate with the guts to make a dick joke in his official campaign video. And while it may not help him to win the primary, it’s a pretty good bet that he’ll get an invitation to appear on Bill Maher’s show after he loses. It will also get him some attention from the press, which is surely the whole point of the ad. The problem being that it will likely get more play on MSNBC than on Fox News.
And therein lies the flaw in Winteregg’s media strategy. It is not likely to appeal to the conservative media that he needs to rally voters. Consequently, the people most likely to vote for him may never see the ad. Democrats, on the other hand, will love the ad but will never vote for a far-right Tea Partier whose platform consists of nothing but negative attacks on Democratic policies and politicians.
So with this ad Winteregg has demonstrated that he (or more likely his media advisers) has a sense of humor, but he has also revealed that he has no idea how to manage a successful campaign. Which, of course, is also good for Democrats as well as Speaker Boner…er…Boehner.
The Republican Party has been desperately seeking a solution to what they admit are serious problems connecting with the American people. Their sobering losses in 2012 to a president they were convinced had no hopes for victory shook them to their core. The Republican National Committee published an “autopsy” of the election that conceded its failure to appeal to minorities and young voters, among other critical constituencies.
Since the release of the autopsy, it seems that the party has decided to ignore its conclusions and concentrate on what it calls “branding.” So despite the mountain of evidence from their own internal analysis, the GOP still thinks that their only problem is one of poor communication, rather than their strict adherence to policies that voters have rejected.
The latest example of this cognitive disconnect comes with Republicans bragging about their new Internet top-level domain “.GOP,”“Your Street Address in the Republican Neighborhood.” Apparently the missing piece in their path to victory was a website domain like vote.gop. Now that they have fixed that problem, they can rest easy as they coast to electoral success without having to bother with addressing issues like the economy, health care, immigration, or international diplomacy. Commenting on this technological leap forward (that Fox News calls a “potential boon for online organizing”), the RNC said…
“The goal here is to really make investments and be on top of all of the newest in technology to compete with the Democrats and move up ahead of them,” Republican National Committee Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski said.
Exactly! Because having a domain name on the Internet is the bleeding edge of modern communications. It will enable the Party to join such American institutions as “.beer” and “.porn” and “.Walmart.” It has the potential to corral all of the Party’s supporters under a single digital flag. And what could go wrong? Just because anyone will be able to register a domain with the new moniker doesn’t mean that radical fringes of the Republican universe will put sites up on DumpBoehner.gop, or EndSocialSecurity.gop, or KillDemocrats.gop, or SarahPalin2016.gop. And certainly there would no chance of mischievous lefties posting Nazi.gop, or Scumbag.gop, or AmericansAgainst.gop. [Feel to contribute your own suggestions]
It cost the RNC $185,000 to secure this prestigious Internet real estate (plus $25,000 a year). That’s money well spent if it distracts enough low-information voters from focusing on actual issues long enough to steal an election. That is the central goal of the GOP digital initiative. They have even formed a unit called “Parabellum Labs” specifically to advance the state of their technology and to compete with Democrats. But someone should have told them that Para Bellum is Latin for “for war,” and it is also the name that Germans gave to their iconic Lugar pistol.
The GOP really knows how to work branding. Too bad they don’t know how to legislate or govern or develop a platform that people support.
In the state of Texas there is a budding gubernatorial contest that is certain to make waves. Democrats are likely to nominate State Senator Wendy Davis who rose to prominence during a heated state senate session where Republicans sought to ram through a legislative package that would have severely hampered access to reproductive health clinics for women in the state. Davis led a filibuster that, at least temporarily, blocked the legislation.
On the other side, Republicans are leaning toward the current state Attorney General, Greg Abbott, who is an arch-conservative Tea Party candidate with some unsavory friends. One of those friends is aging schlock-rocker Ted Nugent. When news broke that Nugent would appear on the campaign trail with Abbott, the candidate was forced to respond to critics who questioned how he could share the podium with a hostile, foul-mouthed, misogynistic, hate monger, who recently called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.”
This is where Palin comes in with an endorsement for Abbott. But in her Facebook post she didn’t enumerate Abbott’s qualifications for the governorship. She didn’t reel off a list of accomplishments as Attorney General. She didn’t even praise his personal set of values that are aligned so closely to Palin and her Teabaggery. Nope. All she said was…
“If he is good enough for Ted Nugent, he is good enough for me!”
That’s an astonishingly low bar for someone who wants to be governor. But it is about as high as Palin can see. You may recall that her own turn at governing a state ended when she quit midway through her first term after being resoundingly bitch-slapped by America in her bid to move to Washington, D.C. But to cite Ted Nugent’s support as a reason to back Abbott stretches the boundaries of sanity. Essentially Palin is saying that if Abbott is good enough for a draft-dodging, pedophile, who has publicly advocated violence against his political foes (especially women), then she is all for him. Here is an example of the kind of vision that Palin admires in Nugent:
“I vow that I will use our freedom to get these dirty cock-suckers out of the White House. The president is a bad man. The vice president is a bad man. They’re all bad people. If you don’t get that, you’re a dead motherfucker.”
And if that doesn’t set your heart to palpitating, how about this (video below)…
“I was in Chicago last week I said, ‘Hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these, you punk?’ Obama, he’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on one of my machine guns. Let’s hear it for him. I was in New York and I said, ‘Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch.’ Since I’m in California, I’m gonna find Barbara Boxer she might wanna suck on my machine guns. Hey, Dianne Feinstein, ride one of these you worthless whore.”
That’s the level of citizenship and patriotism that Sarah Palin regards as so exemplary that she would base her support for the governor of Texas on the favorable assessment of the crackpot who spewed it. It just shows how low these cretins will stoop to garner the support of even the most repulsive wing of their wretched party. We can only hope that the people of Texas are paying close attention and will look to a more respectable source for advice on who should be their next governor.
There really is no bottom to the well of indecency that Republicans dig for themselves. If they aren’t challenging the citizenship of President Obama, they assert that he palls around with terrorists. Now we have a GOP candidate for congress in New York who has made the incoherent leap from Rob Ford, Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor, to his opponent and to Obama as well.
The ad features George Demos who is running against Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop. It begins by asking viewers if they are “tired of politicians?” Behind this narration is a picture of Bishop, Obama and Ford. Demos has an peculiar definition of politicians in that it includes substance abusers in Canada, but not himself, even though he is running for political office.
But it’s the juxtaposition of the repulsive Rob Ford with Obama and Bishop, who have nothing in common with him, that is such a heinous act of character assassination. Demos might have been a little closer to the mark had he used a picture of freshman Tea Party Republican Trey Radel of Florida, who was recently arrested for cocaine possession.
Clearly Demos is more interested in slandering his enemies than in being honest or ethical. His behavior reeks of the bitter, tired politics he pretends to denounce. In that respect, he makes a perfect Fox News-style candidate who projects his own flaws onto his opponents. Although Fox has gone even further to mastering the tactic of labeling Republican miscreants as Democrats.
Last night the Senate finally crafted a bipartisan resolution to raise the debt ceiling and end the GOP/Tea Party driven shutdown. The sixteen days that government was closed had a materially negative impact on millions of Americans. Nearly 800,000 were furloughed from work. Many more were turned away from federal agencies that provide aid and public services for parks, education, etc.
The media will now spend days/weeks analyzing the repercussions and adjudicating winners and losers. While it may be apparent that the Republican Party and its extremist Tea Party wing have suffered a hobbling blow (their favorability has sunk to historic lows), the harm to the public at large cannot be dismissed. Although, sadly, it may be as the media ignores the ongoing strife in favor of reporting on horse-race style politics. Despite the relief we all feel that the immediate crisis was averted, there is still a price to be paid. And it isn’t cheap:
Yep, the shutdown cost America about $24 billion. That is courtesy of the allegedly fiscally responsible Republicans in Congress. Voters need to remember this in November 2014, and Democrats need to repeatedly remind them between now and then. Democrats only need to gain 17 seats in order to take the Speaker’s gavel out of John Boehner’s inept hands. Doing so will improve the prospects for economic recovery, job growth, infrastructure repair, environmental action, and progress on civil rights and income equality.
A change in party control of Congress won’t solve all of the nation’s problems. It won’t end radical Tea Party demands to repeal ObamaCare or for severe cuts to Social Security and Medicare. It won’t stop the birthers and the racists who disparage President Obama and oppose every policy put forth by Democrats. It won’t keep pseudo-patriots from advocating for war at every turn. And it won’t restore sanity to the global financial system that evades criminal responsibilities and exploits average people throughout the world.
However, it will remove from power a gang of nutjobs who hate Obama more than they love their country. It will bring Nancy Pelosi back to the Speaker’s office. It will install Democrats as the chairmen of all committees, replacing corrupt GOP ideologues like Darrell Issa, Dave Camp, and Paul Ryan. And it will put us on surer footing and give us a more productive legislative branch that actually has an interest in governing positively, and in building up America rather than in tearing it down. That’s progress.
House Republicans have succeeded in shutting down the government, a goal they have had for decades stretching back to Grover Norquist’s famous and heartless yearning to shrink it until it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub.
In the course of the debate there has been some dispute about whether the last election was a sufficient referendum on the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Republicans persistently assert that the American people oppose the law and that it should be repealed to conform with their wishes. Conveniently left out of this argument is the fact that the law was passed with a super-majority in both houses of congress and signed by a popularly elected president. It later passed constitutional muster according to a conservative leaning Supreme Court. Finally, President Obama was reelected by a significant margin. And while polls about ObamaCare seem mixed, they rarely take into account that a fair percentage of unfavorable sentiment is actually people who think the law did not go far enough and would prefer a single-payer plan.
Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped the GOP from pretending that the election had nothing to do with ObamaCare and was not an affirmation of the people’s support. These Tea Party history revisionists might want to sign up for ObamaCare so they can get medical attention for their severely short-term memories.
Mitt Romney had made repealing ObamaCare a key factor in his vain pursuit of the White House. He spoke about it on almost every campaign stop. And he did not mince words. Here are just a few examples of his pointed rhetoric:
If elected, I will repeal Obamacare on day one.
What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is, I will act to repeal Obamacare.
I’ve said that on the campaign trail, I think, every single day. Obamacare must be repealed –- in its entirety.
Our mission is clear: if we want to get rid of Obamacare, we are going to have to replace President Obama. That is my mission. That is our work. And I’m asking the American people to join me.
Apparently the American people declined to join Romney on his mission to repeal ObamaCare. Obama won by more than five million votes. And what is abundantly clear is that Romney had thrust the health care law into the forefront of the campaign. Anyone who attempts to dismiss the prominence of it as an issue is deliberately lying (I’m looking at you, Fox Nation). And if these comments by Romney are not convincing enough, he also produced an ad in the thick of the campaign blasting ObamaCare and making this promise: “Day One. Job One. Repeal ObamaCare.”
Just to reiterate – “Day One. Job One. Repeal ObamaCare.” That hardly seems like an issue that was an afterthought in the Romney Campaign. So America was presented with a choice that was focused on this very subject. They made their choice and now they are just beginning to discover the rewards of having made the right one.
That is what is so terrifying to the Republican Party. If they really believed that ObamaCare would be a disaster, they would allow it to proceed and fail, and then they would ride a wave of support into a senate majority next year and the White House in 2016. Instead they are putting up roadblocks, disseminating disinformation, and trying to persuade people not to enroll. Because they know that once people see what the program actually provides, they will not only be excited and grateful, they will lobby their representatives to expand it.
So remember that the more you hear Republicans slamming ObamaCare and trying to prevent its implementation, the more you know they are running in fear of a law that they themselves believe will be popular and will help millions of people. And if there is one thing Republicans hate, it’s helping people, because – you know – socialism.
The Senate’s most prominent opponent of ObamaCare, Ted Cruz (TX-Teabagger), has been battling ferociously to defund or otherwise dismantle the President’s signature policy achievement. Today he may have finally come up with a winning strategy to defeat the health care law upon which he is so fixated.
Cruz’s new blueprint for overcoming the enormous odds against his obstructionism was articulated shortly after he took to the Senate floor and said “I intend to speak until I am no longer able to stand.” With that pronouncement, Cruz launched into a soliloquy that is still unfolding at this hour.
Never mind that there is no one in the Senate listening, and that no one is watching on CSPAN, and that Fox News is only airing occasional snippets, Cruz is confident that this stunt will turn the political tide in his favor. And forget about the fact that his Senate colleagues are embarrassed and irritated by his antics, and that he is rambling incoherently, and that there is no chance that he will affect the legislative process or change anyone’s mind. And, finally, set aside the reality that his phony filibuster is scheduled to end due to Senate rules that are already in effect and will require him to shut his mouth for a scheduled vote on the bill he is pretending to delay.
None of that is significant when weighed against the underlying brilliance of his scheme. By threatening to go on speaking for an indeterminate amount of time it is possible that just the grating sound of his voice, and the annoying ignorance of his arguments, could result in unprotected bystanders caving in to his demands just to get him to shut the hell up. Having to endure his monotonous blabbering is a form of torture that might be too much to bear.
This legislative hokum will prove to be a real test of the mettle of members as they attempt to withstand the unyielding pain and suffering of exposure to Cruz’s rhetorical weapons of crass discussion. But if they can survive the assault, Cruz will be effectively rendered impotent – at least until he spots another television camera.
[Update:] We made it! Cruz finished his rant without crushing us with his droning blather. Interestingly, Majority Leader Harry Reid advised Cruz that he could continue speaking an additional hour, but Cruz declined. Perhaps it’s because he had a previous engagement to appear on the Rush Limbaugh radio program. Priorities, you know. And naturally, the Lie Factory Fox Nation lived up to their reputation with this bullcrap:
For the past couple of weeks there has been a flurry of fretful reporting about a threat by Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus to ban CNN and MSNBC from the GOP primary debate schedule. Priebus is disturbed by currently non-existent projects about Hillary Clinton that he is certain will characterize her favorably.
Today Priebus made good on his threat by shepherding a resolution though the RNC’s annual meeting that declares that they “will neither partner with these networks in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor.”
Fun Fact: How many GOP primary debates did the RNC sponsor in 2012? Answer: Zero
There were twenty debates held and not a single one was sponsored by the RNC. However, every debate on Fox News was sponsored by a state Republican Party affiliate. Also notable is that MSNBC held a debate co-sponsored by the Reagan Library, and CNN held debates co-sponsored by Tea Party Express, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.
There is, however, a small problem with the Priebus declaration. The RNC has no power whatsoever to prohibit any debate by an network. Sure, they can pass resolutions that make grandiose claims to authority that they don’t have, but reality trumps their hubris. The truth is that any network can announce its intention to produce a debate. They can invite candidates to participate. The candidates are free to accept or reject any offer as they see fit. Chances are, the second and third tier candidates will accept virtually any opportunity to promote themselves on national television. Subsequently, the frontrunners will be reluctant to let their competitors have the stage to themselves. So the debates will go on with a full cast of characters.
Priebus’ threat, therefore, is an impotent cry for attention. He is not empowered to force his will on the people who are vying to be the next leader of the free world. In a best case scenario he may be able to influence the number of debates, which is a goal he has previously articulated. After all, it is fairly obvious that the more Republican candidates are exposed to the American people, the more they will embarrass themselves, and the more votes they will lose. The GOP has a distinct interest in limiting their exposure, and that is what Priebus is aiming for.
The hypocrisy of Priebus’ resolution is apparent in the fact that he is only nixing CNN and MSNBC, even though there have been reports that Fox may be producing the NBC project. Priebus cannot extend his toothless ban to Fox or there would be no cable news networks available to host a GOP debate. But there is no reasonable explanation for why Fox would be given a pass (other than their role as the GOP PR division).
Fun Fact: What do you get when you remove the vowels from Reince Priebus’ name? Answer: RNC PR BS
The full text of the resolution cites campaign donations by the head of NBC’s entertainment division to Hillary Clinton, but the head of Fox News’ parent corporation has done likewise. Also, the News Corp political PAC, News America Holdings, has given more to Democrats than Republicans in each of the last four election cycles. So if producing Clinton documentaries and donating to her campaign warrant prohibition as debate hosts, then Fox clearly qualifies.
Finally, there have been recent calls for the RNC to recruit right-wing loyalists as moderators for their debates. The names mentioned most frequently include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. In response, Levin has said that he is ready and willing, despite the fact that he has previously said that he will do whatever he can to prevent Chris Christie from becoming the GOP nominee. As for Limbaugh, he told his radio dittoheads that he is “too famous” and would “overshadow” the candidates. That’s a telling remark in itself, as it demonstrates just how diminutive is the stature of the GOP field. Perhaps the GOP should nominate Limbaugh.
This tussle could not be better for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. If the RNC is successful in limiting the number of their debates it will have effectively cut off millions of Americans from learning about their candidates (although, as noted above, that might a good thing for the GOP). But even worse is the prospect of debates led by staunchly conservative radio talk show hosts. Priebus and company think that friendly moderators will help avoid the antagonistic questioning that he presumes would occur on other networks. But to the extent that that is true, it will also result in the candidates being woefully unprepared for the full-contact combat they will eventually encounter in the general election. What’s more, the rightist Taliban, as represented by Limbaugh et al, will be more likely to force candidates to stake out extreme positions which they will be unable to “Etch-a-Sketch” away after the primaries. The wingnut media are notoriously committed to the sort of ideological purity that voters find repugnant.
So if the RNC wants to proceed with this self-defeating initiative, they will have the full support and cooperation of their pals at the DNC. Nothing would please Democrats more than Republicans digging themselves ever deeper holes of extremism. The outrageous statements and gaffes that occur at the “official” RNC events would still be broadcast on the other networks afterwards. So Priebus’ efforts to limit the damage would be futile, and even counterproductive. As would his admonition that disobedience “may include severe penalties for candidates that participate in unsanctioned debates.” That’s right – Priebus plans on giving the reprobates a good spanking. Wouldn’t that look great on a candidates permanent record?
In what may be the most under-reported story of the year so far, the media has virtually ignored the shameful response by the state of Texas to a Department of Justice challenge of voter discrimination in the state.
In June, the right-wing majority in the Supreme Court struck down a key provision in the fifty year old Voting Rights Act of 1964. In doing so they sanctioned efforts by racially biased state governments to discriminate against minority residents and other voters they want to suppress.
Attorney General Eric Holder moved quickly to mitigate the harm caused by the decision. He directed the Justice Department to seek a court ruling to require Texas to get permission from the federal government before making changes to their voting laws under a different section of the VRA.
Last week Texas responded to the DOJ filing with an astonishing admission that the intent of their voting reforms is to discriminate. They masked the ultimate purpose in a political argument, but the result is unarguably racist and unconstitutional. Rick Hasen of the University of California at Irvine caught the offensive passage in the Texas filing:
“DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats. It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.”
The argument by the state of Texas is that they are deliberately discriminating against Democratic voters, not minorities or other protected classes of citizens, and they regard that as permissible. The first problem with their argument is that it is questionable to assert that it is constitutional to “make partisan districting decisions.” Any overt attempt to suppress the voting rights of any citizen is challengeable and potentially in violation of civil liberties.
More to the point, the claim that they are only aiming their discriminatory activities at Democrats is disingenuous and unsupportable. The redistricting maps proposed by the Republican-controlled Texas legislature cut obviously across racial boundaries. The clear intent is to segregate blacks and Latinos into the fewest number of districts possible, denying them equal representation. These maps were struck down by federal courts as blatantly discriminatory, but now the state can re-introduce them with the blessing of an atrociously reasoned Supreme Court decision.
There is simply no way to pretend that the statement made in the filing defending the constitutionality of discrimination against Democrats is anything other than a defense of discrimination against minority communities in Texas. Given the demographic breakdown of the district mapping, it is absurd and grossly dishonest to assert that the “effects on minority voters” are “incidental.” What the state of Texas is doing is racism, pure and simple.
So where is the media coverage of this outrageous admission made in an official court document? None of the television news networks has reported on it. None of the major national newspapers has published a story about it. A few Internet news outlets have done some commendable reporting on it, but their reach is minimal at this point.
Without the establishment media informing the nation that this sort of institutionalized racism is going on, it will continue unabated. And if there is one thing that this proves other than the fact that racism is still deeply ingrained into some of our government systems, it’s that the conservative complaints about media are wholly without merit. Liberal media my ass!
While it is still more than three years before the next presidential election, Fox News is desperately spinning polling results in order to diminish the broad popularity of Hillary Clinton.
In an article on Fox Nation (the notoriously dishonest Fox News community site), a poll conducted (pdf) by Monmouth University is given a thorough, four paragraph, analysis by conservative fabulist Michael Barone. The conclusion he draws from his careful examination of the poll data is that Clinton’s showing is “underwhelming.”
It takes a seriously determined feat of self-delusion to make that assessment. Clinton is shown to be beating every prominent Republican matched against her in the poll. She is ahead of Chris Christie 43-39; Marco Rubio 47-36; Jeb Bush 47-37; and Ted Cruz 48-32. She has the highest favorable rating (52%) of anyone in the field, including a net positive in the survey’s “red” states. The GOP’s Tea Party all-stars fare considerably worse: Rand Paul, 34%, Rubio, 33%; Cruz, 22%. And, not that this will be any factor in 2016, but Sarah Palin’s unfavorability soars over everyone else at a whopping 61%.
This tendency for Republicans to mis-read polling seems to be a permanent part of their character. During the 2012 campaign they famously embraced what they called “unskewed” polls, but were actually perversions of polling data that proved to be astronomically wrong. Facilitated by Fox News, these defective analyses produced a reality shock when President Obama was handily reelected. There was a near mental collapse on the right who didn’t think that such a thing was possible, despite all the legitimate polling that predicted it. Even Karl Rove persisted in an embarrassing on-air denial as the race was called for Obama.
After the election, the GOP and Fox News resolved to reexamine their perspectives on strategy, analysis, and reporting. However, it now appears that they have sunk back into their old habits of self-deception and disinformation. It’s fair to assume that this psychosis will produce the same results in 2014 and 2016 as they did in 2012. If you can’t face the reality of a situation, you can’t respond to what is actually taking place. And Fox seems determined to maintain their aversion to reality which, as Stephen Colbert has revealed, has “a well known liberal bias.”
This is just too funny. RNC chair Reince Priebus has sent letters to the heads of CNN and NBC to protest their plans to produce projects about Hillary Clinton, who is a possible candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. Priebus is very upset and is issuing an ultimatum to the networks that will surely cause them to lose sleep – due to their uncontrollable fits of laughter.
What isn’t so funny is a political party that thinks it has the right to demand that entertainment producers bend to its will. In fact, it’s an open assault on freedom of expression. It would be one thing for the RNC to decline to work with a network that it believes has a partisan slant against them. But it is something else entirely to threaten a network in order to force them to alter specific programming.
Priebus begins his missive by whining about the perceived bias that has been a part of the GOP gospel for decades:
“It’s appalling to know executives at major networks like NBC and CNN who have donated to Democrats and Hillary Clinton have taken it upon themselves to be Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives.”
Appalling indeed! I’m sure that Priebus is just as disturbed by the million dollar gift that Fox News (News Corp) gave to the Republican Governor’s Association, and all the other right-wingers at Fox who have donated to Republicans, including News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch. And there is no network that has so brazenly acted as a partisan campaign operative than Fox News, the PR division of the GOP. Priebus’ letter to Fox must still be in the mail. In the meantime, he is making his position to CNN and NBC crystal clear:
“If they have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC’s Summer Meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote stating that the RNC will neither partner with these networks in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates they sponsor.”
Oh my. If CNN and NBC were unable to acquire any of the GOP primary debates they might be forced to schedule interesting and entertaining programs instead. That’ll show ‘em.
Let’s face it, the RNC has never been thrilled about putting their candidates in situations where they might face fair questions about their records and policy positions. They herd them onto Fox News where they can expect softballs and gushing praise. During the 2012 campaign right-wingers like Hugh Hewitt and Breitbart’s John Nolte were counseling the RNC to ban debates hosted by what they believed to be unfriendly media. Sarah Palin was advising Republicans to “speak through Fox News.”
The best thing that could happen to the Democrats is for Republicans to sequester themselves in the bosom of Fox News. It would limit their exposure to the broader electorate and the independents they need to win. It would also insure that their candidates were unvetted and unprepared for the real-life battles of a campaign. If they spend the primary season being fluffed by Fox, when they eventually face the general election they will be surprised by sharp criticisms from which they were shielded in their chummy primary.
One positive aspect of this strategy is that fewer voters, and a more narrow, conservative subset, would see the primary telecasts. Considering how often the GOP candidates in 2012 embarrassed themselves, that could be a benefit. Of course, those segments would still be looped on every other news broadcast the following day, so the benefit would be short lived.
By giving CNN and NBC the cold shoulder, the RNC increases the likelihood that only voters who have already decided to vote Republican will see the debate in its entirety. And while that limits their exposure to gaffes, it also limits their opportunity to make an appeal to undecided voters. Since Priebus has already promised to hold fewer debates in the future, the GOP’s visibility to anyone outside their circle shrinks considerably. The result is that GOP primary voters will be more partisan, more extreme, and more out of pace with the general population. That’s a recipe for a Republican nominee who will lead the party to a massive defeat.
Ironically, the motivation for the Priebus ultimatum is the prospect of a couple of Hillary Clinton projects being released several months prior to the 2016 election. That was precisely the issue that sparked the Citizen’s United Supreme Court ruling that now permits corporations and individuals to make unlimited, anonymous donations to political campaigns. At the time, Republicans were fiercely supportive of the Citizen’s United production and its release just a few weeks prior to an election. Now they are just as fiercely opposed to it.
What’s more, Priebus accuses the networks of producing a “political ad masquerading as an unbiased production.” How he arrived at that conclusion he doesn’t say. He has not seen either production or spoken with the producers. He has no idea whether they will be complimentary, derogatory, or neutral representations of Clinton. He is making a wholly uninformed assumption and using that as the basis of his attempt to bully the networks.
So let the RNC snub CNN and NBC and any other “lamestream” media that they are afraid of. Let them take their balls and go home to Fox News where their cult-like disciples will embrace them with enthusiasm. It will only result in there being less of their obnoxious blather littering the television landscape and a better chance of them losing in November of 2016. Nice work Reince.
[Update: Priebus took his whining to (where else) Fox News last night and reiterated his silly ultimatum. Meanwhile, both CNN and NBC have refused to cave saying that it is “premature” to judge the projects that are not even in production at this time. Priebus gave an 8/14 deadline for the networks to comply. Here’s hoping he is dumb enough to follow through.
The fortunes of the Tea Party have declined considerably since their founding a couple of years ago. Majorities of Americans view them unfavorably and they have caused some notable electoral losses where otherwise a conservative Republican was expected to win.
A new survey by Pew Research reveals an even more troubling future if you’re an aspiring Republican. The survey indicates that most Republicans want to see their Party change. As a group there is some ambiguity about the direction of the change with some wanting to shift further right, and others wanting to become more moderate. However, when looking at the Tea Party, the favored direction is crystal clear. They want Republicans to be more conservative and less willing to compromise with Democratic colleagues.
In addition to the starkly partisan bent of the Tea Party, the survey also shows that they regard themselves as more likely to vote, particularly in primaries. That’s incredibly good news for Tea Partiers – and Democrats. For example, polls show Sarah Palin as the favorite for the Republican nomination for the senate in Alaska. However, the same poll shows her getting crushed by Democratic incumbent, Mark Begich.
On almost every issue – immigration, abortion, marriage equality, guns – the Tea Party is decidedly more right-wing. They advocate the most conservative policies across the board, and are the least accommodating to negotiations with Democrats. The problem this presents to the GOP is that their current batch of representatives have actual records that contain evidence of legislative bargaining. That is anathema to the Teabaggers. Consequently, they are more likely to back opponents in Republican primaries to oust the offending members.
Stalwart conservatives like Lamar Alexander and Mitch McConnell are already drawing primary challengers. Tea Partiers are blasting them as liberals who are in league with President Obama’s mission to destroy America. It takes a pretty hefty serving of delusion to accuse McConnell, who declared that his highest priority was to make Obama a one-term president, of being a progressive partner to the President.
Should the extremist faction of the party prevail, they will create opportunities for Democrats to swoop in and grab a seat they would not have otherwise had a chance to win. Just ask Senators Claire McCaskill and Joe Donnelly, or even Harry Reid. And the Republicans in congress are already setting the stage for defeat. They have the lowest favorable ratings in history, and they are responding to that by threatening to shut the government down, wasting time with meaningless votes, and performing in ridiculous pseudo-scandal hearings.
The most obvious differentiating characteristics of the Tea Party is that they are older, whiter, more devoutly Christian, and more likely to be men. That puts them at odds with the general population. Therefore, while they may enjoy some primary victories, the general elections will be more problematic. They are out of sync with the electorate both demographically and ideologically.
Last year Democrats defied the odds and toughed out some unexpected wins. In a year that many predicted would be bloody for them, Democrats gained seats in both the House and the Senate, and of course, Obama won reelection. Some of the credit for that goes to Tea Party Republicans who simply had no chance of carrying their races. And now they seem hell-bent on repeating that performance. Democrats should be prepared to send thank you notes to the GOP in November of 2014 if this trend keeps up.
The Republican Party seems to be on a frantic mission to destroy their reputation with every constituency of voters in America, other than the Taliban wing of the Tea Party Christianists.
The GOP is currently engaged in nationwide battles to give government control over women’s bodies. They are exploiting every opportunity to suppress voting rights for African-Americans and other minorities. They oppose immigration reform that would eventually offer a path to legalized status for Latinos, some of whom have lived their whole lives in the United States. They obstructed the enactment of measures that would have prevented the interest rates for student loans from doubling. And, as always, they work feverishly to protect the wealthy from paying a fair tax rate, while allowing the rates to increase for those less fortunate.
So let’s see…who did they leave out? They got women, African-Americans, Latinos, youth, the poor and middle class. Who is left for Republicans to piss off?
Well, it should come as no surprise that the masterminds running the Republican machine noticed the crack in their strategic foundation and have promptly dedicated themselves to its repair.
That’s why Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in the senate, jumped into action to attack Hillary Clinton, a prospective candidate for president in 2016, as an old hag, thus insulting the final demographic group that may still have had some affection for the GOP. McConnell uproariously joked…
“Don’t tell me Democrats are the party of the future when their presidential ticket for 2016 is shaping up to look like a rerun of the ‘Golden Girls.’”
Let’s just set aside the fact that “The Golden Girls” was a successful and popular sitcom that ran for seven years, with a cast of mature women who had active lives professionally, socially, and romantically. America’s seniors, who already have some cause to reject the Republican agenda that has sought to dismantle Social Security and cut funding for Medicare, can’t be too thrilled with being portrayed as useless fossils who should be consigned to history’s dustbin. Now they have been directly assaulted as has-beens, in the words of Karl Rove, who said of Clinton and her peers that “we’re at the end of her generation and that it’s time for another to step forward.”
For the record, Hillary Clinton is 65, Karl Rove is 62, and Mitch McConnell is 71. In January of 2017, when the next president is inaugurated, Clinton will be a year younger than Ronald Reagan was when his term began.
McConnell had better start paying more attention to what’s in his own Depends. He is approaching his thirtieth year in office and has one of the lowest favorability ratings of any sitting senator. He is up for reelection next year and his first announced opponent is the 34 year old Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes. Not exactly what you would call a “Golden Girl,” unless you what you meant by golden was someone with a rich set of skills, experience and support.
It’s hard to understand what the Republican Party is up to by alienating so many voters. Perhaps their plan to is expand their efforts to define corporations and fetuses as persons and give them the right to vote. But if they have to depend on Teabaggers, End-Timers, and NRA-theists, they are likely to find themselves elected only in districts dug into underground bunkers with ham radio reception that only gets Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson.
The race to fill John Kerry’s senate seat in Massachusetts has never been much of contest. Democrat Ed Markey has led Republican Gabriel Gomez from the start and in the few days left before next Tuesday’s election, he has expanded to his lead to up to 20 points in some polls. But that hasn’t stopped Fox News from brazenly trying to manipulate the outcome by juicing their coverage of the race in favor of Gomez.
Having concluded that their efforts to boost the Gomez candidacy with phony polling analysis and swipes at Markey, Fox News is ramping up their game in a last ditch attempt to put their man in the senate. Tomorrow, on Fox News Sunday, they will feature an interview with Gomez, just two days before the election. That’s a pretty generous donation of valuable air time on a nationally televised program. Any candidate would be thrilled to get that much free publicity.
However, Ed Markey isn’t so fortunate. The “fair and balanced” folks at Fox will only be hosting Gomez at this critical juncture in the campaign. In fact, Markey has not been on Fox at any time during this campaign, while Gomez has been featured multiple times. And Fox always allows Gomez to advertise his web site and plead for donations.
The booking of Gomez on Fox News Sunday is just another example of how Fox has established itself as the PR agency for the Republican Party. There is no more reliable ally for GOP candidates, particularly when they are desperate and appear to be trailing badly. And even when the candidate isn’t available, the Fox anchors and pundits are there to lavish praise on them and to smear their Democratic opponents. It’s a valuable service/scam for which the candidate doesn’t have to shell out a single penny.
Last year Fox News suffered some of the most embarrassing episodes of journalistic failure in recent history. They were so determined to orchestrate a Republican victory that they repeatedly shifted their analysis of presidential polling based on whether or not their candidate was ahead. If Romney was leading in any poll, Fox would hype it relentlessly and celebrate the wisdom of the pollsters. But if Obama took the lead, Fox feverishly denounced the polls as biased and unbelievable. They even went so far as to ignore their own polls if the result was favorable to Obama.
Late in the presidential campaign an obscure blogger published what he claimed were “unskewed” polls. He re-weighted the partisan breakdowns on the published polling to presume higher numbers of Republicans in the electorate. After Obama’s decisive victory, Fox News, and the rest of the GOP establishment, were shamed by their diversion from reality. Their audience was furious at having been so flagrantly misled. A humbled Fox then fired and/or benched their most blatant info-manglers like Dick Morris and Karl Rove, and promised to do better in the future.
Well, so much for that promise. This morning’s headline on Fox News blared an utterly false rendering of poll results in the Massachusetts special election to fill John Kerry’s senate seat. The article, with no byline or source (but numerous grammatical errors), stated flatly that “Polls Show Gomez, Markey close in special election race for Mass senate seat.” However, that can only be true if you consider a 9.3 average advantage for Markey as being “close.” The lede paragraph declares…
“The Senate race is (sic) Massachusetts is deadlocked heading into the final weeks [...] Yet most polls show first-time Republican candidate and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez within just several percentage points of Democratic Rep. Edward Markey”
Actually, most polls show Markey with a sweeping lead. The RealClearPolitics average of polls for the race give Markey a 9.3% lead, and some polls have his lead as high as 12%. How Fox takes that data and describes the race as “deadlocked” is beyond explanation. What’s more, in a story that is ostensibly reporting poll results, the polling data is not even mentioned until the twenty-first paragraph of a twenty-four paragraph article. The whole thing reads like a press release from the Gomez campaign if it were written by a functionally illiterate press agent.
What Fox hopes to achieve with this brazenly dishonest reporting is hard to figure. If they think that by manufacturing a fake competitiveness in the race it will improve Gomez’s prospects for victory, they have learned nothing from their embarrassing behavior last year. More likely, they are merely fulfilling their role as the GOP PR agency whose duty is to hype Republican positions and politicians without regard for the truth. And if this is a prelude to how Fox will conduct itself in next year’s mid-term elections, we can expect another season of sensationally skewed reporting that woefully misinforms their gullible audience. Actually, it should be kinda fun.
Continuing to cling obsessively to their anti-Latino bigotry, Fox News latched unto a story in Politico that speculated about an electoral windfall for Democrats if the immigration bill winding through congress becomes law. The Politico story was not particularly well-reasoned (and an article in The Guardian masterfully rebuts it), but, true to form, the lie-factory at Fox Nation took a weak argument and made it even less palatable with their trademark brand of hyperbole and inbred prejudice.
The title, “Immigration Bill Gives Illegal Immigrants Full Voting Rights,” is patently false. No one other than an actual citizen is permitted to vote in this country and the pending immigration bill doesn’t change that. In fact, it contains a provision that explicitly punishes anyone who is not a citizen, if they unlawfully cast a ballot, by precluding them from obtaining citizenship.
So Fox’s assertion that “illegal Immigrants” will get full voting rights is dead wrong. And so is their unrelenting use of the derogatory phrase “illegal Immigrants.” Many news outlets have ceased to use the term that is considered offensive by those to whom it refers. Even the Fox News Latino web site has formally abandoned it.
The gist of the Politico article is that Democrats stand to gain electorally if the estimated 11 million undocumented residents were to become citizens. However, the legislation currently being debated contains a pathway to citizenship that would take thirteen years to complete. A lot can happen in politics in thirteen years. What’s more, there is no indication that all of the 11 million would ever become full citizens (either by choice or due to the stringent requirements in the law), or that those who did would ever register and turn out to vote.
So even if the Fox Nationalists had not overplayed their rhetorical bias in the headline, the facts would still not support their panicky fear of a browner, more Democratic electorate. That prospect is already manifest and is due primarily to the fact that Democrats welcome a more diverse society, while Republicans insult and demean minorities and aspiring citizens.
If the folks at Fox, and their allies in the GOP, are worried about losing future elections due to an expanding voter pool (and they should be), they might try not deliberately alienating the fastest growing demographic group in the nation, rather than trying to obstruct legal citizens from voting with measures that disenfranchise minorities, seniors, students, and the poor. But that would put them at odds with their Tea Party contingent and the confederate dead-enders that are the core of their southern strategy. It’s kind of a rock-and-a-hard-place dilemma for the them. Except the rock is equality and the hard place is their compulsive hatred for anyone not like them.
The Republican Party has been suffering debilitating and very public seizures produced by the results of the election a couple of weeks ago. They are desperately attempting to find explanations for how they could have lost on such a grand scale an election they presumed was in the bag. After spending unprecedented amounts of money, Republicans still had to wake up Wednesday morning with Obama returning to the White House for another four years, two more Democrats in the senate, and nine more in the House. Even with the propaganda power of Fox News, the top rated cable news network, and its frothing companion web site Fox Nation, conservative fanatics were unable deceive enough citizens to vote against their own best interests.
At first the excuses focused on typically lame dodges involving the weaknesses of their candidates. Then they shifted to assertions that it was a failure from not being sufficiently conservative. Eventually they trotted out accusations directed at the allegedly negative, Chicago-style campaigning of the Democrats. And sprinkled in amidst all of this were hysterical wails of imaginary corruption and voter fraud.
Now that some time has passed, the forlorn right-wingers have been able to reflect on these events and discovered the true source of their despair: GOD!
That’s right. The Heavenly Father on whom they had entrusted so much of their hopes had betrayed them. It has become impossible to ignore that God clearly preferred Obama and other Democrats to the roster of GOP loonies that pretended to speak in His name.
Prior to the election, folks like Pat Robertson had confidently declared that God had personally assured them of a Republican victory. Now Robertson has had to backtrack saying that “I thought I heard from God, I thought I had heard clearly from God, what happened?” What happened was that you were unable to distinguish the voice of God from the hallucinatory voices rattling around in your senile head.
And speaking of hallucinatory, Glenn Beck had his own divine prophesies mangled when he spoke of an inner certainty that the Lord was preparing the path for righteous Republicans to prevail:
“I am to the point to where I think that God is trying to make this so clear to us that if it happens, it’s his finger. Because, boy, nothing looks good. And yet, everybody I know who I consider a spiritual giant feels good.”
The day after the election Beck was singing a different hymn when he said “Man, sometimes God really sucks.” But what else can he say when the day before he declared “If [voters are] so dead inside that they can no longer see the difference between good and evil, we have to be destroyed.”
That’s typical of the sanctimonious zealots who believe that they are the only ones with a direct line to God. They exalt themselves and their imagined favor with a deity that their principles mock. They blithely ignore biblical instructions to “judge not, lest ye be judged,” and openly denigrate the faith of others – particularly President Obama, who is wrongly believed to be a Muslim by about one-third of Republicans.
Right-wingers on the Fox News community web site Fox Nation even go so far as to explicitly state that Obama is “God-Less.” This article linked to the execrable conspiracy obsessed Breitbart News.
The spiritual consternation of the right is thoroughly understandable. They had just run a campaign that fervently tried to paint Democrats as socialists bent on imposing a secular, atheist dictatorship on America. They condemned their policies as big-government takeovers that would throw freedom-loving patriots into bondage. They cast Democrats as leaning far too extremely to the left to be acceptable to voters. Yet people voted for them anyway. That could be interpreted in some circles as a mandate for the sort of socialism that the GOP was running against.
What the right missed was that all of the left-leaning agenda of the Democratic Party had far more in common with God’s agenda than the rank selfishness and greed of the GOP. Democrats advocated for health care (healing the sick), immigration (brotherhood), financial assistance (caring for the least among us), income equality and separation of church and state (giving Caesar his due), and deescalation of hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan (blessed be the peacemakers). What’s surprising is that Republicans could oppose all of these things and still think they were doing God’s work.
The funny thing is that they had plenty of signs. The religious right is fond of ascribing meaning to significant events such as natural disasters. Many of them told their disciples that Katrina was God’s wrath on the sinfulness of New Orleans. Why, then, did they not see that God was sending them a warning when Hurricane Isaac slammed down on Tampa, scuttling day one of the GOP convention? Why didn’t they hear God’s message when Sandy battered the New England states just days before the election, giving Obama an opportunity to look presidential?
Now that we know whose side God was really on, Republicans are expressing their bitterness and disappointment with the Lord. That doesn’t seem like a particularly good way to get back in His good graces. But then the GOP was never very good at humility or admitting their mistakes. So what we see now is an escalation of apocalyptic doomsday scenarios that thrust the weak-minded into fearful panics. Leading the way is Fox News who broadcast this cheerful special on Thanksgiving Eve: “Countdown to Doomsday.”
They might make out better if they take some time to study the teachings of their Savior and seek to integrate them into their political philosophy. But then that would just make them liberals, wouldn’t it?
Allen West (R-Whackjob), has finally given up his quixotic legal charades and conceded to Congressman-elect Patrick Murphy of Florida.
In a rambling whine to the press, West complained that the election was fraught with corruption and wrapped his concession in a lame excuse, saying…
“Our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.”
Getting out our West-to-English dictionary reveals that the translation is: “We didn’t work hard enough on getting out our fraudulent vote.”
There is already much speculation on what West will do next. After being tossed out of the Army (and nearly court martialed) for malfeasance while serving in Iraq, and then being tossed out of congress for being a nut case who called his Democratic colleagues communists, his prospects are fairly narrow. What it comes down to is either a gig at Fox News or a talk radio show. He could also try a congressional comeback in a different district, or take up residency at a think tank. Ordinarily a think tank job would require being able to think, but that wouldn’t be the case for any of the right-wing organizations that would consider West.
Whatever West may chose to do in future, at least he will be unable to cast votes for the loony legislation that the Tea Party caucus in the House has been peddling. Perhaps he could join up with his fellow losers (Joe Walsh, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Linda McMahon, etc.) and form a support group for delusional ex-candidates.
The undisputed champion of political idiocy is still Dick Morris of Fox News. In a play to solidify his standing, Morris visited with Sean Hannity to commiserate about their monumentally incompetent analysis of the presidential election. Attempting to defend his fatally flawed punditry, Morris told Hannity…
“Sean, I hope people aren’t mad at me about it … I spoke about what I believed and I think that there was a period of time when the Romney campaign was falling apart, people were not optimistic, nobody thought there was a chance of victory and I felt that it was my duty at that point to go out and say what I said.”
So Morris abandoned all the reality-based data that had driven Mitt Romney’s campaign into despondency in order to raise their spirits and to deceive the public into believing that Romney still had a chance to pull it out, contrary to what the actual numbers said in the most credible surveys, including those within the campaign. And now conservatives wonder how they could have been caught so off-guard by Romney’s decisive loss. It wasn’t skewed polling. It was the fact that they were deliberately lied to.
“I decided a couple of – a month or two ago to stop dumping on Mitt Romney, for example … Not because I approve of Romneycare, not because I approve of his flip-flops, flip on abortion, but because I may have to be one of those who carries this guy for a couple of months when he’s running against Obama and I don’t want to make my own task harder.”
You see, it doesn’t matter what his actual opinion is about anything, he is only going to comment in a manner that benefits his GOP clients. That’s what Fox News is paying him for.
If you were to look for a political pollster or analyst who spent more time manufacturing a false narrative about the presidential election than Frank Luntz, you would probably give up in despair.
Luntz is a Fox News fixture who appears on numerous programs flaunting his phony focus groups that invariably swayed to favor Mitt Romney. He was also called upon to review campaign ads, some of which were produced by his Fox colleague, Karl Rove. Those reviews always seemed to rate the GOP ads better, which further affirmed his assessment that Romney was the favorite to win. And to top it off, Luntz is a consultant for hire to the Republican Party, so anyone expecting anything like objectivity from him is terminally naive.
Now that President Obama has decisively won reelection with an electoral landslide, Luntz has crawled out from beneath his wretched rightist rock to make what may be the most hilarious, deceitful, and self-serving statement of the whole campaign season:
“The published polls that the Romney campaign and the Republican establishment were trashing day after day turned out to be accurate. [...] This is a bad day for establishment pollsters and it’s something they should be held accountable for. You have to tell your clients the truth. And you have to be accurate. And to miss so many states and to be this far off – Your Fox News viewers ought to be outraged, because day in and day out they were told that Mitt Romney was going to win.”
Indeed, Fox News viewers should be outraged – At Luntz and Fox News! After all, that is where conservative voters were fed the most conspicuously dishonest misinformation about the election and the projected outcome. They are the reason that Romney and his supporters were described as “shell-shocked” when they realized that he had lost. They are the ones who promoted nonsense like “Unskewed Polls” that ironically sought to skew published polling so that Romney came out ahead.
Fox News was so brazenly hypocritical in their reporting of election surveys that they chose to only publish polls that had Romney in the lead. They ignored or disparaged any poll that put Obama on top – even their own Fox News commissioned polls.
If election day was “a bad day for establishment pollsters,” it was a bad day for Luntz, because you don’t get more establishment than him. He was as much a part of the problem as anyone. Just a couple of weeks before the election he appeared on Fox to say that it was time to “take Florida off the swing state list,” because it had swung clearly and irreversibly to Romney. Of course, Florida went for Obama, as did all but one of the so-called “swing states.”
The disingenuous babble on Fox News has only one purpose: advance the political interests of conservatives and Republicans. That fact was illuminated by none other than Luntz himself when he told the Los Angeles Times that his airtime has previously been cut on Fox because “his findings didn’t comport with the outlet’s orthodoxy.” That’s an admission that Fox requires their contributors to toe a partisan line, and Luntz has obviously complied.
For Luntz to come out now and tell Fox viewers that they should be outraged is typical behavior for a propagandist who calls himself the “Word Doctor.” He is a professional flack who counsels his clients to lie by distorting language. It was Luntz who coined the term “government-run health care” as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act (or ObamaCare). It didn’t matter that the legislation was only aimed at health insurance and was not in any way a government takeover of medical services. The phrase itself was awarded the “Lie of the Year” from PolitiFact.
It’s what Luntz does. In one of his more infamous efforts to distort public discourse, he delivered a speech before a group of Republicans wherein he offered a series of rhetorical replacements for words he thought were damaging to the GOP cause. Words like “capitalism, compromise,” and “middle-class.” This screed was served up after first declaring his abject fear of the Occupy Wall Street movement, saying that he was “so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death. They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.” And his approach to countering it was not to formulate a policy response, but to change the wording of the GOP rebuttal in the hopes of confusing the public.
So, should Fox News viewers be outraged? I’ll say. But, sadly, they will probably just sink back into their stupor and continue to believe whatever falsehoods Fox throws at them going forward. Fox is already trying to sell the myth that Obama’s victory was insignificant and comes without a mandate. They are soft-peddling an electoral blowout and the fact that Democrats won even more seats in both the House and the Senate in a year where they were expected to lose seats. They are fostering the notion that the GOP should resist tax increases on the wealthy, despite the fact that Obama ran (and won) on that platform and exit polls show that 60% of voters favor it.
This further demonstrates that Fox is doing precisely the same things that ought to have enraged their viewers, and when they lose these arguments as well, their audience will be similarly shell-shocked. But they are getting exactly what they deserve by being foolish enough to keep watching a network that deliberately lies to them.