Thursday, September 4, 2008

The modern Republican party

Watch the first 45 seconds of this clip of Rudy Giuliani last night (that's all I'll ask you to endure):

There you have it. At a convention that is supposedly about "service", watch everyone laugh at the very idea of community service. What kind of fucked up world view is this?

My reaction to Sarah Palin's speech (and Giuliani's and Mitt Romney's as well) is this: What a bunch of cynical, divisive, dismissive, hateful, sarcastic, and condescending partisan jackasses.

Palin's speech had a lot of red meat, so it's not surprising that the wingers liked it. But for those who aren't dyed in the wool Republican hardliners, it was a terrible speech. I think most people were wondering just who the hell she thinks she is, going after Obama's experience the way she did. Sorry sister, but you don't have such a great record to brag about yourself.

Couple other reactions I'd like to post. First, Chris Hayes:

But one of the (many) attacks Palin leveled last night was part of a broader GOP push against Obama's years as a community organizer. I even heard Newt Gingrich on Fox the other day claiming that Obama was "wandering around the south side." You know, like a homeless person, or something.

I suppose it's not surprising that Republican politicians aren't enthused about community organizers since often they're the ones who are getting their ass kicked by them. (Just ask Rudy.) Also, I'm assuming they didn't read The Nation's forum on just this topic in the last issue.

But this kind of hits me where I live, since my dad is a community organizer, so lemme spell this out: the difference between a community organizer and a politician is that a community organizer can't tell anyone what to do. They have to listen. So they can't order books banned from a library to indulge their own religious sensibilities. They can't fire someone because they didn't follow orders to fire an estranged family member. They can't ram through a $15 million dollar sports complex that leaves their local town groaning underneath the debt. Unlike politicians, they don't have any power other than the power of people who want to see something changed.

Decades ago, before the ADA and a raft of other legislation, schools had essentially no requirements to provide decent education for special needs children. Then a movement of parents, engaging in - gasp - community organizing changed that. And they continue to fight day in and day out for educational equity for children like Sarah Palin's.

Too bad Sarah Palin just spit in their faces.

Well said. Now, John Cole:

So I had a chance to read Palin’s speech this morning, and I have to say that I found it surprising for even me. As someone who used to travel in Republican circles and gleefully spread the bullshit (you can check the damning archives for your own self) when I thought I was on the “right” side of issues, and who has now come to loathe everything about the modern Republican party, even I was taken aback by the cynicism of the speech. It was cynical on so many levels, and when the cynicism took momentary pauses, bitterness, sarcasm, and condescension took over.

Whether it was the flat out lies about the bridge to nowhere (such contempt for the audience, to brazenly repeat this after days of her actual position on the bridge out there for all to see), or the distortion of Obama’s record (the no major legislation nonsense), or just the nasty lines dismissing community organizers (and yes, they are trying to Ghettoize the term), I can’t help but wonder if this is really the face of the future for the GOP. This is what they want to portray? How could they be so foolish as to confuse contempt for toughness? How could they be so tone deaf as to load up
an unknown’s introductory speech with lines that appear to have been stolen from Ann Coulter? This was really the best way to introduce Sarah Palin to the country? Through this churlish stemwinder? Do they really think that what middle America really wants is a schoolyard bully in a skirt? And why did they downplay her ultra-right Christian conservative “values?” Why was that not in the speech more prominently?

I suppose it will thrill the dead-enders in the blogosphere and shore up the base, but I simply can not see how it is going to play well to the independents and undecideds. America learned not one thing about Sarah Palin last night other than that she is a willing foot soldier for more of the same. There was no way forward. There was no sense of understanding of the challenges. There were no solutions. There was only divisiveness, nastiness, and sneering, which somehow is acceptable because it was delivered by someone in a dress (“See how tough she is!” they will all exclaim). Thank goodness the McCain campaign chose this path, because Palin could have been an effective weapon with the right message. Now, with their own words that they wrote for her, they have turned her into more of the same. While I am disgusted with them, I am also relieved that this is the path they have chosen. This will be rejected by the American public.

Again, I ask, this is the face of the GOP future? Thank goodness I got out when I did. The only thing missing from last night was a mention of the nattering nabobs of negativism. We have been down this road before as a country. It is a dead end.

If this is the future of the Republican party, I'd say it's a good future for Democrats. More likely, I think this is the last gasp of Rovian wedge politics.

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