Last night’s victory really screwed the Republicans. As things were, they were always walking a tightrope with tons of peril all around, and there are all sorts of shoes dropping, but one of the bigger ones is that the Rightwing Comedy Show is coming to an abrupt end.
I hadn’t thought of it until I read Publius’ reprint of an email to Jonah Goldberg, which said “If you gave a s**t, you wouldn't be joking. The Democrats don't when they lose. Oh, for a few Republican leaders with the intensity of the old Newt Gingrich or of Daily Kos.”
But the thing is, that’s all Jonah’s really got. He’s not a real political guy. He’s just a feel-good fratguy comedian. The same for most of the bigtime Republican opinionists. And sure, just as comedians sometimes breakdown to a serious moment, these people weren’t always jokes. But that was their main schtick and it worked. They could say anything they wanted, because they were always a breath away from saying “Just Joking” and attacking their critics for not having a sense of humor. Plus, the humor really helped in getting people to accept the bullshit they were spewing.
Their readers liked it, because it felt so fun. And they never really noticed that they were missing any serious discussion, because they were having so much fun. But it also helped them with the media. It made them look fun. Even when they were being hateful and rude and advocating dangerous policies, it always seemed somehow tongue-in-cheek. That’s how they accepted Ann Coulter; as if they knew what she was saying was wrong, but it was just so much fun. And except for a very few like George Will and William F. Buckley, almost every Republican pundit fits into that comedy-style routine. Even the Great Limbaugh is far more an entertainer than a serious thinker. No matter how serious the discussion was, the main point always was that a good time was had by all.
But now all that’s got to come to an end. Because they just lost and it was fairly thorough rout. And things are now only downhill. And so that’s not when you want your Funtime Sam Fratguy stuff. Now the rightwing base is upset, and they’re not going to take shit for nothing. They’ve been lied to about this stuff for awhile, particularly in believing that they actually were the majority that the pundits pretended they were; and they’ll now want some serious mobilization and intensification.
Imagine them as the hotshot sexist pool player who keeps making wisecracks while playing against a “girl”; only to find himself whooped a few times. It’s not long before he’s got a whole new gameface on and isn’t joking at all. And that’s what we’re going to see from the wingnuts. They never had much of a sense of humor to begin with, and now they’re tired of the charade and want to push matters into a direction that the Bushies always wanted to avoid.
But that’s the exact stuff that will doom them in the mainstream media. It’s like when the MSM got a load of the Schiavo freaks with taped mouths, and didn’t like what they saw. Now they’re going to see the real face of the Republican Party and it ain’t pretty. Yet the more the Goldbergs try to continue their humor schtick, the more they’ll alienate their base. So they’re screwed. The more they push for comedy routine, the more disillusioned their supporters will be; and the more they intensify their anger and partisanship, the more they’ll burn their Beltway supporters. And they’re fairly screwed anyway, as they were always on the wrong side of the equation and used a technique that could only succeed in the short-term.
And that was just one of many tightropes they’ve been walking for years, which we just knocked them off of last night. Republicans have been running a very elaborate con-game for over six years, and now it was just exposed as being the smoke and mirrors it always was. They were fools for thinking they could somehow turn it into a permanent structure, and now they’re going to pay hard for their mistake.