Thursday, October 22, 2009

Harnessing the Crazy

Politico's got a post about how increasingly crazy conservatives are becoming, and how Republicans might be able to tap this crazy energy in a positive way to woo moderates back into the party.  And yeah, this is about the same as my plan to harness California wildfires in order to produce usable ice from water in the Pacific Ocean.  All I've got to do is figure out how to efficiently remove the salt from the water and make it so fire creates ice instead of destroying it, and we'll have solved two problems at once: No more fires and ice for everyone!

That makes about as much sense as this:
“We need more voices,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, one of the party’s up-and-coming leaders. “Our party’s challenge has been that we need to be more inclusive — we need to attract the middle again. ... When one party controls all the levers of power in Washington, they’re going to try and villainize whoever they can on our side. It gives us an opportunity now to try and harness the energy and point it in a positive direction, so that we can attract the middle of the country to the common-sense conservative views that we have been about as a party.”
So Republicans need more voices, and they're going to do this by harnessing an "energy" that insists upon excluding anyone who doesn't agree with them completely, so they can attract non-conservatives by pushing an agenda that is entirely conservative.  Right.

The Surge That Wasn't

Yet somehow, Politico's Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen imagine that this can actually happen.  A movement which has "energy" created by attacking anyone who doesn't agree with it can somehow be used to attract people who are being attacked by this energy.  And in order to hide the impossibleness of this plan, they largely ignore the fact that the "energy" conservatives have is making them less popular.

For as much as the article posits a reality in which Republicans have a large base that they're trying to expand, our reality shows that they have a shrinking base which continues to get smaller.  Yet it's only towards the end of the article that they bother mentioning this.  And even worse, it's couched in this strange section:
On the one hand, the GOP seems to be surging a bit as it sharpens its attacks.
On the other hand, the party’s image more broadly remains in the dumps.
Seems to be surging?  Remains in the dumps?  No, all evidence suggests that they're going backwards.  Poll after poll show that Republicans are less popular than they were at the beginning of the year, with many polls showing them down 10-points from already horrible numbers.  And even the examples they gave show that Republicans might be doing slightly better than they were compared to Democrats, yet are doing worse over all.

And how do you surge a bit.  Either it's a surge, or it's not.  And seeing Dem numbers drop slightly while Republican numbers stay low or drop isn't a surge.  Somehow, our best political minds can't comprehend that Democratic numbers can go down without Republican numbers going up.  And since Obama and Democrats are slightly less popular than they were before, it's assumed that Republicans must be doing better.

And to make this fit Politico's thesis here, they have to call the slight dip for Dems as a "surge" for Republicans, while referring to the dropping Republican numbers as them staying steady.  But the truth is that Republicans set themselves up for a mudfight since the year started and are dragging down both sides in the process.  And because Dems started out in the better position, they remain in the better position now.  This really isn't difficult, people.

Squaring the Circle

And overall, the article is simply absurd.  There is no upside to conservative craziness, as any effort to woo less crazy people only infuriates the crazies, which only makes them more crazy.  Hell, I'm sure there are quite a few conservatives who will openly chaff at the idea that they're not in the middle of the political spectrum.  Remember, there are people who think Limbaugh is the voice of America and truly believe that Bill O'Reilly is an open-minded independent.

For them, there is no far-right.  Only a far-left, which begins at Dan Rather and moves down.  I wish that were a joke, but it's not.  Mainstream newspapers like the NY Times and Washington Post are considered far-lefties, Fox News is biased towards the truth, and Limbaugh is a moderate-conservative who represents a wide swath of America.  And in this world scheme, a "moderate" is someone with conservative beliefs who doesn't attack liberals enough.

So how can people who truly believe that Obama is an evil commie foreigner possibly be used to attract anyone who isn't already insane?  You can't.  And so the premise of this article posits an impossibility.  Not only can Republicans not harness crazy energy to woo non-crazies, but they're still actively purging the non-crazies from the party,  And put that way, Politico's entire article was a reality-free joke which is yet more proof that they're undeserving of the political platform they've been given.

No comments: