Sunday, January 22, 2012

Kleiner Mann, Was Nun?

Gingrich Appeals To The Lowest Common Denominator

The New York Time's editorial this morning:
Newt Gingrich won the primary by a decisive margin of 12.5 percentage points, and there is no mystery about how he did it. Two-thirds of voters interviewed in exit polls said they made their decision on the basis of the two South Carolina debates, where Mr. Gingrich exploited racial resentment and hatred of the news media to connect with furious voters... He had a much better sense of the raw, destructive anger at President Obama swirling around a highly conservative and combative state, and he reflected it back to voters everywhere he went.
Mitt Romney is the candidate of the old-line GOP, the party who represents the status quo of the wealthy, and corporate America.

When the Rethugs rule, the rich get rich. Business goes its own way with little regulation or enforcement of laws. And when internet, or Real Estate and derivative Bubbles burst, the poor get laid off; fuck 'em.

Mitt Romney is a candidate that understands all this in his bones, and can be counted on to be a good, genial empty suit for the media. That's all "The President" needs to be, as far as the GOP is concerned.

(The Democratic Party represents the interests of the wealthy and corporations, too... but their price for maintaining that class structure has been concessions in the form of social legislation.

(Under Democratic governments, the rich still get rich -- but at a much slower pace. And in exchange, All The People get Medicare and Social Security; fairer tax codes; legislation to ensure more equal treatment in society and the workplace; standards for cleaner air and water, meat and produce, medicines, and consumer products; and, more regulation of a predatory Market and Financial sector.

(This limits business, and the wealthy. They don't like it. They don't give a damn about The People, who are only good as serfs employees, or consumers. They'd prefer a Gilded Age world without bothersome limits or barriers to their desires -- and Republican politicians embody this social Darwinism more nakedly and completely than the Democrats.)
It was Mr. Gingrich who pulled the race into the gutter, where he found considerable support. He repeatedly called Mr. Obama “the greatest food-stamp president in American history,” and lectured a black questioner at Monday’s debate about the amount of federal handouts to blacks, suggesting their work ethic was questionable.

On Thursday, in the derisive tones of a radio talk-show host, he said Mr. Obama’s cabinet looked like Mickey Mouse and Goofy. At that night’s debate, he lashed into the moderator for asking a perfectly reasonable question about his ex-wife’s allegation that he wanted an open marriage, saying it was typical of an “elite media” that was trying to protect the president by attacking Republicans.
Newt Gingrich is despicable, precisely because he so openly panders to the worst of human instincts -- hatred and fear; the cherished Rightist belief that 'white, working Americans' are victimized by immigrants and other racial groups; and now, that 'christians' are victimized by a secular world. He does this because he wants to win. Period.

If you've watched Newt in the Rethug debates, he speaks in the voice of a high school political science teacher. When compared to the barking of a Rick Perry, the scratchy whine of Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, and then watch Romney stumbling, as if to say "I'm A Smart Guy Too!", Gingrich's verbal ability makes him appear Presidential. If I were a conservative, I'd be impressed enough by that political simulacrum of intellect.

It's been observed that Newt can't be the candidate of the Old Boys who run the GOP. As Speaker of the House, he made too many enemies within his own party. The Old Boys may have been willing to put up with the arrogance and corruption of a Tom DeLay, but only because he was so much like them. Gingrich isn't; his I'm-The-Smartest-Kid-In-The-Room attitude makes them feel inferior.

And while the Old Boys have always seen lying and extramarital sex as just another Perk of Village power, by sleeping around, Gingrich made himself and the GOP vulnerable. The Democrats (in the hated person of The Clenis, no less) were willing to exploit it, and forced Gingrich to muzzle himself voluntarily in the 1998 mid-term elections (Newt -- who was thumping the current Mrs. Gingrich having an extramarital affair just as he called for Clinton's impeachment, must've found an exquisite amount of Schadenfreude in the Clenis' predicament).

Gingrich may have been the 'intellectual engine' of the 1992 Rethug takeover of the House, enough to be elected Speaker, but he was no Dennis Hastert. The Old-Boy GOP leadership never felt comfortable around him. Gingrich was not (like Reagan) The Genial Dad. The Old-Boys like figureheads who reflect their self-image back, mirror-like -- proof that despite the damage they do to America and around the world, they really are good people.

Gingrich isn't really recognized as one of them. In the Old Boy's estimation, he's more out for Newt than for The Party, meaning their status quo. As a result, they've been doing whatever they can to ensure Mitt Romney is the candidate that runs against Obama in the fall.

In response, Gingrich appears to be threatening their control of the GOP by appealing to more radical, extreme conservative voters. He's saying to the party leadership, You reject me? Well, then fuck you. Let's see who runs things. So, the contest for the Republican nomination becomes more about Gingrich's hurt fee-fees than the public good -- no real surprise, in politics. And Gingrich understands how The Village, and GOP politics, works. Power politics, being The Insider, is his metier.

South Carolina was a preview of the kind of campaign Gingrich would run as candidate. Before more moderate audiences, he'd speak in an academic, intellectual way about history and economics and Obama's poor, liberal choices we can't afford. But for another audience, his remarks will resonate: You are all victims of Barack Obama, a Black, n-word; a liberal -- and you know what they're like.

With a nod and a wink, he'll attempt to link Obama with every negative racial stereotype possible. And if he's called out because of it, Gingrich will dissemble and obfuscate, and talk talk talk. And continue doing it. Between appealing to some Republicans as The Really Smart Kid, and others as the voice of victimized, marginalized white America, Gingrich will develop his constituency.

Romney may try using his PACs for waves of anti-Gingrich, negative advertising ahead of other primaries... but Newt could claim to be the victim of Romney's money.

If Gingrich wins enough in the primaries, a nasty televised floor fight at the GOP convention might be the result, and Gingrich knows the Old Boys are already asking themselves if that's worth it. They may decide that unifying the party early behind one front-runner, having more time to repeat anti-Obama messages, over and over and over through Little Rupert's media machine, is better than a long public show of their party's internal divisions.

At some point, if Gingrich has snapped up enough delegates, the Old Boys may reluctantly agree that he's the candidate -- just to maintain as much power in the party as possible. They will want to limit the influence of radicals, Tea Partei and 'values voters', unashamed of their hatred for liberals (and minorities), whom Gingrich knowingly appealed to and made his big win in South Carolina possible.

The Old Boys will tell themselves that six months after the general election, everybody will forget that to defeat Barack Obama, the GOP permitted, even encouraged, a virtual lynching.
[Gingrich's remarks were] just what South Carolina voters wanted to hear, the signal that he would not only challenge Mr. Obama but work to bloody him, to destroy his dignity. As one voter told a reporter, “I think we’ve reached a point where we need someone who’s mean”...

In his victory speech, he even descended into Rick Perry territory by accusing the “elite media” of anti-religion bias. Is that really what Republicans across the country want from their nominee, or is South Carolina, with its history of acute racial tension and contrarianism, simply sending a singular, extreme message?
I'd hope that South Carolina was a one-time thing, that the bulk of America's Republicans are more moderate. I'd hope that the leadership of the Republican party wouldn't attempt the impossible, to turn back the clock of civil rights and racial awareness in America, just to take back control of the White House (Sadly, I do think they're stupid enough to attempt just that).

Little Man, Now What? I'd hope for a Romney candidacy, if I were you -- not because Mitt wouldn't do some pandering of his own; but because the coalition of Rethug voters he would build might be more mainstream, less Batshit crazy, Troglodyte Haley Barbour / Jim Sessions Sesesh-Type Volk. That his campaign might, just might be one step up from the sewer Herr Gingrich likes to swim in.

Romney is a Mitwisser -- literally, "With-Knowing"; someone who has knowledge of an event and so gives consent. He may be a wealthy, disconnected conservative, but driving his presidential campaign with the kind of hate and division that comes so easily to Herr Gingrich isn't his style. More likely, he would let other scum elements in the Rethug All-Star constellation do that for him while he remains 'above the fray'.

Noch Einmal, Mit Schwein: ... and the Mittwisser proves me wrong by asking the musical question, "Can I Dog-Whistle As Good As Newt?", or, "Way Down Upon The Swinee".

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