Unsolicited advice for the GOP

I give a lot of shots in my office.  At my last job the medical assistants did it, but at my current gig (which I love far too much to mind) the doctors give them ourselves.

Understandably, this means I am the proximate cause of a lot of anxiety for a goodly number of children on any given day.  I address this anxiety by telling my patients that I am, no joke, awesome at giving shots.  I do not lie by saying they won’t hurt at all, because it’s not true and I eschew lying to my patients, especially when my lie will be proved false two minutes after I’ve uttered it.  But I do say that it won’t hurt much if they do just as I say and trust me.  This doesn’t always work, but when it does it works very, very well.  Because I am awesome at giving shots so they hardly hurt at all, such that innumerable kids have told their parents they only want me to give them shots in the future.  (This is the very definition of a “mixed blessing.”)

I say all of that as a way of establishing my credentials as someone who knows how to get unpleasant things done as well as possible.  And it is in that same “let’s get this over with so you can pick out a sticker” mindset that I offer some advice to my friends in the Republican Party.

Before I start, I should make clear that I don’t really think the problem I address in this post is the reason Mitt Romney lost on Tuesday.  I think he lost for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is that the President’s personal popularity never really waned all that much.  But the problem sure as hell didn’t help with that whole “appeal to people who aren’t already in the tank for us” effort.

I refer, of course, to the problem of high-profile assholes who are associated with the GOP.  By this, I’m not referring to people like Todd Akin who say epically stupid, polarizing things while running for office under the Republican banner.  Frankly, the national party created as much daylight as it could between itself and him, and I’m 100% sure he will forever be persona non grata within their ranks after personally costing them a cakewalk of a Senate race.

No, I’m referring to people who aren’t actually putting themselves at the mercy of voters, and thus have little disincentive to be horrible.  Two incredibly troublesome examples from this last electoral slog spring to mind:

1)  Donald Trump.  As God is my witness, I do not understand how or why anyone takes this man seriously anymore.  I do not comprehend why there is a “reality” TV show premised on the notion that people of sound mind would compete to work for him.  I cannot fathom how he is treated as anything other than a buffoon by anyone with a functional layer of gray matter.

His rank ass-hattery is bad enough, but donning the mantle of Birther-in-Chief should have made associating with him anathema to anyone seeking high office.  I’m sorry, but there is no way I can see the manufactured controversy surrounding the President’s birth certificate as anything other than barely-veiled racism.  All other explanations beggar credulity, as far as I’m concerned.  It would… surprise me if black people did not feel similarly.  You’d think Mitt Romney would have treated the Donald like he was plutonium-239.

But no!  No, there Romney was in Vegas, letting Trump shill for him.  I don’t know how far the $2 million raised at that event went in the campaign, but it couldn’t possibly have gone far enough to have been worth associating with a man who only managed to get more cartoonishly loathsome as Election Day drew nigh.

2)  Rush Limbaugh.  Oy vey, Rush Limbaugh.  Do I need to repeat myself?  Can we all just agree that calling women who want their insurance to pay for their contraception “sluts” and comparing them to prostitutes is catastrophically stupid and offensive?  That any reaction to such statements that does not say so categorically is woefully inadequate?

But no!  No, here’s what Romney said when confronted with Limbaugh’s remarks:

“I’ll just say this, which is, it’s not the language I would have used,” Romney told reporters after an event in Cleveland. Instead, he said, “I’m focusing on the issues that I think are significant in the country today, and that’s why I’m here talking about jobs and Ohio.”

No!  No, no, no, no!  [Aside: In my head, those words are shrieked in the voice of Daffy Duck at his most irate.]

No.  I don’t care if you’re in Ohio to talk about jobs.  I don’t care where you are or why you’re there or what topic you’d prefer to be discussing.  When confronted with a massively insulting statement that is sure to horrify an astronomical number of women, uttered by a man widely considered to be the mouthpiece of the Republican base, one has no option.  One simply must say something along the lines of “I repudiate every word of that monstrously offensive statement.”  Full stop.

All of this dovetails nicely with what Tod wrote in one of his typically-insightful pieces, and especially with a brilliant follow-up comment by DRS.  If Republicans hope to make inroads with people who do not already comprise their aging, racially-homogenous base, they absolutely cannot be associated with this kind of nonsense any longer.  If one of your top surrogates says outright that a respected former GOP Secretary of State has endorsed the President because they’re both black, you absolutely must find the biggest, fastest bus to throw him under in front of as large a number of cameras as you can assemble.

So that’s my advice to anyone who wants to run for President as a Republican in the coming years.  No more Limbaugh, who is almost certainly still going to have a following in the run-up to the next primary season.  No matter how much his approval may help your chances, do without it.  Let’s all hope the media will have learned to ignore Trump by then, but surely some other blowhard eager to use controversy to promote his brand will have come along to take his place.  Ignore him, no matter how many cameras might point at you if you stand next to him.  Don’t appear in the same zip code, much less the same ballroom.  And if someone you’ve already associated with makes a blatantly racist (or sexist, though you can maybe still skate by if it’s just homophobic) comment, you should click on the DRS comment link and (mutatis mutandis) regurgitate it on camera.

Trust me, it will hardly hurt a bit.

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. The third one to chuck under the bus is Ann Colter. I cannot describe the contempt I have for that person.

    • I toyed with the idea of mentioning the mantis-like Ms. Coulter. But I think, in fairness, she isn’t given nearly the credit within Republican circles that Limbaugh and even Trump enjoyed this cycle.

      • You give her too much praise calling her ‘mantis like’ – she’s a soulless lich.

        • Actually I’m not sure that’s fair to liches. Liches have souls after all, that’s what their phylactery is for.

    • I think Russell identified the correct two parties.

      Trump is the unconstrained Id of the right. He lives for conflict, one-upsmanship, and sleazy derision of the other side. Interestingly, he was a Democrat 10 years ago, because he fits so well into the current emotional ecosphere of the bitter right. And, to be honest, as a registered Democrat, I don’t miss him.

      Limbaugh is more problematic. He’s the ATP of the conservatives: he lends them energy and conviction and righteousness. I kind of understand why he is so influential on the right: he is a very talented entertainer, and sells them what they want to buy. He is king of the bubble: he helps assure his listeners that they live in a world of absolute moral certitude, surrounded by weaklings and usurpers and traitors. And my gut tells me that without him (and his acolytes, like Mark Levin, and Michael Savage), the core constituencies would fall apart.

      Coluter? Forget about her. She’s just a niche entertainer, exploiting a market opportunity.

      • And filthy misogynist Bill Maher gives $1 million to Barack Obama with no hell to pay.

        I agree with Dr. Saunders insofar as anything the GOP does [or doesn’t do] will be successfully demagogued by the other party with the assistance of a media that will trumpet any and all missteps. But I think that if every Limbaugh and Trump were purged, the slime machine would just dig up somebody else.

        • Yeah, that last sentence is probably spot on. Crapball political pundits generate like mid-level drug dealers. There’s always people looking for more grist for the mill, as you like to say, on both sides of the aisle.

          Although Limbaugh and Trump probably ought to burn out for the reasons the good Doctor gives here. For the sake of the GOP. Too much baggage.

        • It’s funny. No matter what Republicans do, Democrats are worse.

          So why did they win?

          • Mr. Morat, I didn’t say Democrats are worse on these things nor would I because I don’t believe it.

            The GOP is the Caesar’s Wife Party, but since nobody’s perfect, it’s a losing proposition. Some one of these days you’ll get me, Mr. Morat. I’m not the mirror image of anything, or anybody.

          • If you think winning elections is a sign that that party or candidate is better than the opposition at anything other than winning elections, you have a deeply, deeply flawed understanding of democracy.

          • Brandon, I expect Tom to miss my point. He’s Tom. I figured you might get it.

            But I’ll simplify it: Tom’s reaction to every criticism of the the GOP is “Democrats are worse”. Not even “Yes, that’s true and we should fix that AND Democrats are worse”. Just pretty much “Democrats are worse” with a nice implied side of “So shut up, hypocrite”.

            Which is particularly amusing given the loss he just suffered, the poll denialism he so recently engaged in, and his deep obsession with Benghazi that reminds me far, far, too much of the speculation that Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster murdered.

          • Chris Stevens had found the truth about Vince Foster’s murder written on Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate.

        • ” if every Limbaugh and Trump were purged, the slime machine would just dig up somebody else.”

          Did you mean to say that the base of the conservative movement would dig up somebody else?

          If so, I agree.

          • This. Maher’s an asshole, but the Democrats don’t compete for his approval and calibrate their positions and statements according to his views. The influence of Rush and others like him on the right is major. The influence of Maher on Obama is roughly nil.

        • I’d also point out that, although Maher is occasionally offensive in how he talks about women (and I do not condone that one iota) he is pro-choice, for equal-pay, and is entirely pro-women on every issue. So women are hardly likely to be turned off the Dems by his connection to the Dems. (Which is a weaker connection than Trump’s to the R’s, as Trump held events with Romney, and Maher just donated. Limbaugh is the biggest influence on the right, which is certainly not true of Maher and the left. Stewart has a zillion times more influence, but the left has no Limbaugh, thank God.)

          I’d also point out that what Maher says is not as offensive to women or to black people as Limbaugh’s greatest hits.

  2. Good golly doc, you need some kind of a warning with that header picture. It’s like he’s coming right at me in 3D, cackling like The Penguin or something.

    Seriously, I just scrolled up there again, and it really bothers me. Like he’s invading my personal space.

    Interestingly, I am sure that 90% of this comes from knowing who it is and having a dislike for them (that is, if it was just “generic rich golf cigar guy stock photo”, I am almost sure it would not have the same visceral effect on me – I might even see it as comedic.)

    The visual/emotional link is powerful.

  3. Great post, doc. If I had one tiny quibble, it would be where you might have quibbled with me – or, perhaps, where we’re saying the same thing differently.

    On the issue of Akin and why I think his nomination was itself a nail in the coffin,I’ll quote Amy Sullivan over at TNR:

    “I heard a lot last night and this morning about how the Mourdock and Akin defeats show that Americans don’t like inflammatory rhetoric about abortion or that Republicans need to do a better job recruiting more normal candidates. But those two men weren’t inflammatory. Akin’s comments about rape were stupid, but not intentionally inflammatory. And I’ve explained why I think Mourdock’s remarks reflected a consistent view for someone who believes that life begins at conception.

    It seems to me that abortion rights supporters are missing the point and the opportunity here. It’s not unusual for GOP politicians to oppose rape exceptions. But they haven’t previously had to defend that position—at least not on a big stage. When they are forced to explain themselves, as in the case of Akin and Mourdock, it’s not their words that alienate voters, but the idea of forcing women to carry to term a pregnancy that began in rape. Americans can hold mixed positions on abortion in tandem—many continue to believe that abortion is morally wrong but should remain legal. Likewise, voters can support abortion restrictions while at the same time opposing the idea that a rape victim should have to carry her rapist’s baby.”

    In other words, I think when your party doesn’t understand that nominating people who are hardcore anti-abortion in cases of rape and incest will cost them far, far more votes than it will garner, it’s not much of an excuse to say that you didn’t know before hand that they were going to say the thing you nominated them to say – even allowing that they said it in a way that was not very artful.

    • The reason I didn’t quibble or include Akin in the post is that I am 100% certain that the national GOP would have happily invited the entire Greyhound fleet to drive over him if they could have. But since he was the fairly-elected winner of the primary, they had little alternative but to beg and plead and wheedle for him to drop out. Once they’d washed their hands of him (and, admittedly, a few high-profile supporters did inexplicably come back to his camp before the end), I think they found him as dismaying as the rest of us.

      This post isn’t for the base (in several senses) voters who gave him the nod. No doubt they would write me off outright, loudmouthed homo that I am. This is for otherwise-sane nominees who don’t have to associate with the likes of Limbaugh and Trump, but choose to for increasingly-shaky reasons.

    • Want to hear something bizarre? Ann Coulter made a very similar point. I needed a stiff drink this evening because I… sort of… kind of… agreed with Coulter.

      If only I’d known about this. I wasn’t agreeing with Coulter. I was agreeing with Amy Sullivan.

    • Scalzi nailed it, as did the good doctor.

      I don’t share Erickson’s political ideologies, but I too was impressed by his post-election debrief. It remains to be seen whether his prescription to double down on hard right policies will restore the GOP’s national viability, as he himself admits, but I genuinely appreciated that he didn’t paint the GOP as victim, which seems to be the most popular post-election theme on the right.

  4. I’ve said it elsewhere and I’ll say it here again.

    Same-sex marriage is a pro-family policy. It creates families. The GOP needs to understand this and embrace it as an ethos. I can hardly think of a more pro-family policy than one that expands the definition of what a family is.

    Military adventurism is not conservative. It is neoconservative, which is a different ideology. It is fiscally irresponsible. Advocating support, love, and good treatment for the members of our military (which includes getting them expensive and deadly weapons) does not necessarily mean putting or keeping them in harm’s way, no matter how willing they are to serve in that capacity. Bring ’em home and celebrate them as the heroes they are.

    And recognize that you’ve lost the public trust on fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. Say the mea culpas and float the policy proposals necessary to earn the public’s trust on that issue again.

  5. On Donald Trump, this is a good article:


    I thought this paragraph while insulting is also revealing. The Romney staff found Donald’s appeal perplexing but acknowledged that it existed. According to a source interviewed:

    “He played very well with blue-collar-type Republicans, and the campaign saw that,” said one source in Trump’s camp. “If you have no education, and you work with your hands, you like him. It’s like, ‘Wow, if I was rich, that’s how I would live!’ The girls, the cars, the fancy suits. His ostentatiousness is appealing to them.”

    So it would seem that Donald Trump appeals to a very specific kind of aspirational voter. They don’t want to be rich like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and John) Kerry (not as rich as the other two but certainly seen as brainy) because those people are complete dorks and a bit not-fun with their money. They like Donald for everything you ranted against above and want to be like that.

      • Eh maybe as a rough descriptor.

        I grew up comfortably upper-middle class. My parents grew up resoundly middle class and my grandparents grew up very poor (children of immigrants who spent their 20s in the Great Depression and WWII). I am hardly old-money noblesse oblige but not part of that nouveau-riche style either. See below for further info.

        • I was thinking more in terms of the attitudes associated with them, and being a little flippant.

          Nouveau-riche means crass and tasteless conspicuous consumption.

          Noblesse oblige references rich people (like, for example, Buffet or Gates) who believe that having lots of wealth entails an obligation to use it to contribute to society. It’s not ideal – it can create a more paternalistic relationship between those who are super-rich and those who are not – but it’s obvious distinct from Trump as you noted.

  6. There are plenty of wealthy liberals. As far as I can tell, they live much less ostentatiously than the Trump-Palin kind of rich. Maybe they buy nice clothes and go on fancier vacations than the average American but they are still rather subdued compared to Donald.

    To me this makes perfect sense, I never understood the excesses of club culture especially bottle service. Why anyone would pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a bottle of booze that normally costs 30 to 100 max is beyond me. Plus I find clubs to be loud and obnoxious.

    Now if I had a lot of money: I could see myself collecting rare books.

    But a lot of people love bottle service and they don’t see the point in having money if you are going to be restrained and decorous about it. Why be a billionaire if you are going to use it on a nice library? Get some chicks man, be a wild and unrepentant fratboy.

  7. I don’t have a single criticism of your advice. The GOP would do themselves a huge [channeling Trump: YOOOJ!] favor by heeding it.

    But I don’t think they will. At least, not until they’re fully convinced that the vote loss they’ll suffer by alienating their base < the vote gain they'll enjoy by taking you up on your suggestions.

    Reagan worked awfully hard to secure that base vote, and the GOP has worked extra hard ever since to keep it. I think the party needs more than just a couple of years in the wilderness to give it the ooomph it needs to make that kind of sea change. Nevertheless, I'm genuinely rooting for them. We need [at least] two viable parties, and I remain unconvinced that a well-organized third party with a necessary broad coalition is anything more than dreams of the disillusioned.

    • The problem is that the stars of either party are perplexing to the other.

      Democratic and left-leaning people can’t stand Trump and Limbaugh but large segments of the right lap both of them up like manna.

      The Democratic equivalents are Pelosi, Maddow, Frank, etc.

      There is too much of a disconnect going on between everyone!

        • They aren’t EXCEPT for:

          1. Democrats love them.

          2. Republicans hate them.

          Perhaps Alan Grayson would have been a marginally better example?

          • Maddow, Pelosi, Frank, even Grayson are not the Dem’s version of Trump and Limbaugh: The Donald and Rush are particularly prominent and exceptionally incendiary partisan voices who are not pols.

            Better examples might be, say, an Ed Schultz or Jesse Jackson Sr. or Al Sharpton.

            Thing is, it’s nigh impossible to find any prominent, incendiary Leftie voice who has the same kind of pull with and power over the Dem party and Dem pols the way that Trump and, especially, Limbaugh do over the GOP. To my mind, the entire exercise is just one more manufactured false equivalency used as a means to try and make sense of a nonsensical GOP and its loyal electorate.

    • KT,
      PA’s republican party wants to go third party. You can bet what Massachussetts’ Republicans are saying too (naturally behind closed doors).

      I remain convinced that something third party like will happen. And soon. Democrats have gotten too big, and the republican coalition is electoral poison.

      • A couple of states do not a national third party make.

        Don’t mistake me, I’ve no argument against the rise of a viable third party. I’ve just been around too long and seen too much to believe for a second that it’ll actually happen. To my mind, the more realistic course worthy of my energies is reform of the existing, successful parties. There’s plenty of precedent for party reform in our nation’s history; that we know how to do.

  8. Political scientists will be in over their heads trying to analyze the Romney campaign and What Really Happened? It’s time to call in the anthropologists.

  9. “No more Limbaugh, who is almost certainly still going to have a following in the run-up to the next primary season.”

    Hillary is already the early favorite for the ’16 campaign. Of course, Limbaugh will be front and center… however, he will find the dynamics quite different from the “Hillarycare” days

    • I keep hearing this Hillary ’16 meme. Frankly, I’m hard-pressed to think of another single thing that could more damage Progressivism in general, the Dem party specifically, than putting eggs in that particular basket.

      Make no mistake, I’ve ever been an HRC supporter and I respect the hell out of her for too many reasons to bore y’all with.

      But she has repeatedly and unequivocally stated that she’s done in politics. Crikey can you blame here? Give her the dang retirement she’s earned already! If she were to win the ’16 election she’ll be 70 in her first year in office. In ’08, plenty of folks, including myself, opined that John McCain, nevermind his other shortcomings, was just too damn old to enter his first POTUS term at the age of 72.

      I’ve zero illusions about the Clintons — lord knows they’re not perfect people nor perfect politicians — but I do love them. I voted for Bill. But let them go already. It’s not like they’re Republicans and shun public service once they’re out of political office. (I know I know, cheap shot.)

      Plus, the Dem party is hardly so bereft of energetic and inspiring up-and-comers that they’re resigned to clinging to the Clintons. Warren and Grayson come immediately to mind.

      • Tester, Webb, even Franken. Or how about Heidi from ND?

        We do have women in this here party. Smart as tacks, and good campaigners too.

        (I’d have voted for Hillary, but she was from -new york-. Wrong election to vote for someone backed by finance.)

      • I’m also a die hard Hilldog supporter and I’d endorse this sentiment. Hillary has indicated that she’s done. I’m fine with taking her at her word.

  10. My personal inclination would be to add the entire Fox News network which I think poses far more danger than Rush or Trump. It’s unblievable how many conservatives I know that still depend on them for most of their information about the world.

    • I mostly agree. Although, Trump is more or less part of the Fox News world (plenty of guesting and coverage if not an official slot) and Limbaugh really isn’t. That said, I’ve started to wonder if Limbaugh isn’t in way more trouble than is Trump.

      Here’s where I disagree: I don’t think Fox News — or Trump or Limbaugh for that matter — is the real “danger” here. These … entities exist because there is a demand for them. As long as we remain a capitalist society with a well-protected First Amendment (and I’m not arguing otherwise), whatever it is that drives that demand is where the danger lies. And that’s probably a much bigger conversation than this particular thread is prepared for.

      • It is a danger, sure. But if the Europeans mostly ignore their fascist/racist factions, I don’t see why we can’t as well. Now that they aren’t enough for electoral victory…

        • Well, we certainlycan ignore them. To the extent that any danger exists, it is in the fact that a whole lot of folks do not ignore them. Which was more or less my point.

          Fwiw, I’m starting to wonder if perhaps there’s a trend toward ignoring them. I hear Limbaugh’s ratings are down considerably. The results of this election might help push that overall trend along, if it’s real.

      • There’s a real asymmetry here.

        Limbaugh is incredibly successful, probably the most successful radio personality ever, and he git that way by being a complete a-hole. O’Reilly is the most successful TV political commentator over the pas decade, and maybe of all time, and while he’s not as doctrinaire as Limbaugh, his persona still has plenty of a-hole. Hannity’s an a-hole, Coulter is an a-hole, Jonah Goldberg does his best to be an a-hole. They all make nice livings out of it, are invited to things like CPAC, and are well-regarded voices in the conservative movement. FOX has become one of the top cable networks largely by giving these a-holes a place to congregate.

        There is no shortage of a-holes on the left: Maher, Olbermann, Schulz, etc, and they have MSNBC as a home, but there are big differences. None of them have anything like the audience Limbaugh and O’Reilly have, MSNBC is a comparatively shoestring operation, and no mainstream liberal organization takes any of them seriously.

        So, my question is, why is the clown show so much more important on the right than the left?

        • It’s been a long day and I’m up way too late already (Atlantic Time Zone here, no DST) so I’ve absolutely no business jotting down what I’m slaphappy enough to think is a coherent thought or two … but here goes. Livin’ on the edge.

          Perhaps Sam’s recent post has buried in it the answer to your question. I mean, a-holeishness is a nonpartisan characteristic. Anyone can be an a-hole, as you note. But characteristics like self-deception, self-victimization, seem to correlate to some degree to rightwing thinking in the US. So maybe they simply more easily buckle under to their a-holes and lend credence to what their a-holes say than do lefties. Being an a-hole can be persuasive in some crowds. Something about truth having a liberal bias … perhaps the converse works, untruth has a non-liberal bias? (I can’t bring myself to blanketly refer to today’s Republicans as conservatives. Some of them are, bless their little RINO hearts.)

          One of the reasons I’m up so late is I can’t drag myself away from all the it’s-not-our-fault hand wringing, and the doubling-down on Tea Party extremism, that permeates the right’s post-election commentary. It’s … stunning. The delusion just doesn’t end. Heck, even George Will thinks Romney lost because he just wasn’t likable enough. That’s the crux of the GOP’s defeat? OMG.

          Perhaps some of the worst hand-wringing is colored by the immediate sting of loss and sour grapes and might become more reasonably self-reflective given some time. I really hope so. I’m old enough to remember a Republican party–have been a Republican–when it was not like this.

          Meanwhile, the Mitt Romney voters who I personally know, just everyday schmoes like me, seem as shocked that Romney lost as Romney himself apparently was. And none of them think it’s a statement on any glaring deficiencies on the GOP’s part.

          I feel like I’m repeating myself too much when I say this, but it’s all truly Orwellian to me.

          • Wow, my post from last night (er, early this morning) is still in moderation? That second link really did me in. Then again, it was awfully rambly. Maybe that’s why.

          • Remember, the good doc is currently doing the new infant sleep deprivation plus just back to work marathon. Such moderation necessarily will come in fits and spurts.

          • I didn’t know that– glad I do now. Lordy, doc has my congrats and sympathies. Sleep deprivation is a killer. (Fwiw, I wasn’t at all complaining, just noticing. No worries.)

        • Probably because it’s the only other ‘grass roots’ power nexus on the right beside the (white evangelical) churches. The left has the unions (public & private sector), the civil rights orgs (of various persuasions), and the African American churches, and others. (both sides are more symmetrical in their think tanks and other bourgeois power nexuses)

          (and mainstream liberal orgs are on MSNBC regularly enough – in fact more so than the regular guest and esp the in-house analysts that Fox normally puts up for any old story).

        • Mike,

          I’m guessing the increased popularity for Rush verses MSNBC is that the Right is so much more homogenous. The Left wants more variety because there is more variety on that side of the fence. Their loyalties are divided among the media. Plus, I’m guessing, they see much more of the kind of news they like from the MSM so less need for partisan pundits.

          • Rush isn’t sui generis. He’s a retread of a commentator few people have heard these days, Westbrook Pegler. At one time, everyone knew his name.

            Westbrook Pegler and Rush Limbaugh are symbols of Conservativsm gone amok, crazed with self-pity and self-righteousness. In his heyday, Pegler, like many another jackass of his sort, enjoyed a considerable degree of notoriety. But rants of his sort are more akin to world records: the poor athlete must go on breaking them to stay relevant. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and even Keith Olbermann must froth and rant ever the louder, day by day, until at last like old broken opera singers, they squawk their last and are put out to pasture. Westbrook Pegler was publicly and ignominiously fired. Pegler came to a very bad end, for his greatness was always at someone else’s expense. Eventually Pegler’s credit ran out.

            Rush Limbaugh represents the end of something. His audience is very old, mostly 65+ and mostly white males. His next bracket is 55+. Rush might do well in a one-way medium such as radio but he’s not hitting the key buyer market, 25-54.

  11. Cripes. I screwed up the tags. Should read:

    Well, we certainly can ignore them. To the extent that any danger exists, it is in the fact that a whole lot of folks do not ignore them.

  12. I agree with your assessment of Trump and that man with the cigar threatening us all.

    But there’s a second bit of nuance here: a party that views constructive criticism as unpatriotic. The purity tests of late are legion. Frum, Bartlett, Sullivan, and on and on. . . conservatives offering up good ideas, good criticism that should have been seriously considered. But any talk outside the approved was anathema. And so the party was left with Mr. Hair and Mr. Cigar, Ms. Lich. The shot all their messengers.

    And I still think there was some conspiracy amongst the FOX news execs to blow this election for Republicans in the name of ratings and revenues for the next four years; much more profitable to have the panicked masses lathered over Obama, and much easier then having to examine ways to become the messenger or see another political season of Republicans Blowing up the World and Fucking the Economy™.

  13. True colors in mass mediated elections is difficult to achieve but America seems to have broken through, and made their choice based upon instinct.

    Why should the GOP be surprised?

    It’s also why they elected Reagan?

    America knows capitalism; they’ve worked in it for 80 years. They know when companies are serious and when they aren’t. They know if the economy is expanding or retracting, and make decisions accordingly. They know when government can help, and when it can’t.

    Americans know when companies are there for them, or when they’ve closed up shop and gone overseas to pander their wares, and hire their labor.

    What does the GOP expect?

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