Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Republican Spin Machine

In an earlier post, Ahsan made this rather astute comment:

It really is striking how much our opinions of the present day Republicans are suffused with fear - fear of their ability to manage and dominate the political discourse of the day. Mind you, I'm not saying it's an *irrational* fear, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Almost every single political event is analyzed through the prism of: how are the Republicans going to spin this? They are so good at what they do, and have such an intellectually and professionally lazy mainstream media to do their bidding, that even brazenly stupid GOP moves are fraught with danger for the Democrats.

So, lets take a look at some brazenly stupid, illogical and immoral recent GOP moves. I do not know whether the following items mean the Republicans are delusional, passionate, Machiavellian or downright evil. I do know that they mean that the Republicans are going to be formidable opponents this fall.

First up, how Sarah Palin's teenage daughter got pregnant out-of-wedlock and earned praise from right-wing groups:

Key evangelical leaders rallied to Sarah Palin's support Monday amid news that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, was having a child. Before, they were excited about her, with the Down syndrome baby," conservative, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist said. "But now with this, they are over the moon. It reinforces the fact that this family lives its pro-life values."

Many have argued that Joe Biden serves only to highlight Barack Obama's inexperience. It takes a special kind of logic to claim that Sarah Palin's nomination will also highlight Obama's inexperience.

You know how the GOP delayed its convention because of the devastating hurricane about to hit the US? Well, you can screw New Orleans once again because this hurricane is all about John McCain.

Rich Lowry:

It's sort of gross to talk about a natural disaster in terms of its political effect, but it's what everyone is doing.

There are a couple of political upsides to what's happening here: 1) It's President Bush's night that's being cancelled; 2) It creates a drama around the convention that wouldn't have existed otherwise (although the Palin pick had juiced things up considerably); 3) McCain is able to showcase his non-partisan leadership in the course of what is an actual event, as opposed to the stilted stagecraft of a convention.

Jennifer Rubin:

Due to Gustav, neither George W. Bush or Dick Cheney will be able to attend the Republican Convention on Monday. It would be impolitic to say this is a blessing for McCain. But it is.

Election victories are not entirely determined by the relative merit of the candidates. They are also the result of unexpected events, little bits of luck, and good strategic decisions.

All links come via Roy Edrosso


Ahsan said...

For me, the biggest success stories of the GOP spin-machine this election season thus far are:

1. Making the guy who actually had to work to get an Ivy League education who married the woman born on the South Side of Chicago into "elitists". The married-into-inherited-fortune John McCain is one of the people. (It has to be said that the King of this move was George W. Bush: no one who led a more privileged and pampered life has ever managed to appear as folksy as him, including Bill Clinton).

2. Making Obama's popularity and the enthusiasm that he generates BAD THINGS with the whole "celebrity" logic. In this warped view, the more people that come to your rallies and speeches, the worse it makes you look because, hey, you must be like Britney Spears if you can get 80,000 people to listen to you in a stadium.

3. Convincing the average American that fighting the Vietnam war as a soldier is sufficient proof of one's ability to be President, four years after arguing THE EXACT OPPOSITE when it was Bush v. Kerry.

AKS said...

I was actually thinking of Ahsan's comment as well and the thing that struck me was not just the effectiveness of the Republican spin machine but the lack of a political ideology that could counter 'Reaganian conservatism.' The American political landscape has not been as dominated by a singular ideology as it is now. And I'm not saying that all Americans agree with this, not at all, but those who do disagree have nothing to rally behind. Perhaps an Obama presidency will change that.

I also see parallels between what's happening in the U.S. and what's happened in Pakistan (and perhaps all of the 'Islamic world' ). It's getting much harder to carry out a debate because one side is aided by an 'infallible God,' therefore nothing they say can be challenged.

Take Palin's daughter's pregnancy for example, she's become a 'strong Christian' for not having an abortion. The Democrats are finding it hard to challenge this notion and point out the glaring fact that abstinence just doesn't work. If it was Biden's daughter, or worse still Obama's daughter, Rush Limbaugh and the gang would've called her a whore by now and stated that this was proof that the Democrats wanted to convert America into a brothel.

{CPM - copy paste material} said...

i read this really interesting article in newsweek, which was also in slate asking what an obama defeat would mean for america, coming as it would when americans would have the most obvious chance ever to change their ways after 8 years of just about everything going to shit.

his answer was that it would be seen by the rest of the world as a nation in terminal decline.

and i think that is precisely why the republican spin machine is so ferociously good. its because everytime americans are confronted with the possibility of owning up to their excesses and doing something about it, they get insecure and seek for someone reassuring them that all their fucked up-ness is actually ok.

step in the GOP.

Ahsan said...

Yeah, if it were one of Obama's daughters pregnant out of wedlock at age 17, you wouldn't stop hearing about "baby mamas" and the most ferocious personal attacks.

Asfandyar said...

I know a lot of politics is built on hypocrisy, but these guys just take it to a ridiculously new level :|