The R's have long used divisionism and political treehouse ideas to rally people around their cause ever since the Reagan Administration. Reagan, an actor who knew how to connect and convince an audience, used simple messages that people wanted to hear even if they didn't make any sense, such as spending our way out of the debt or government being the problem, not the solution (it always seemed odd to me that someone campaigned so hard to be in charge of something he felt was so detrimental, but whatever). He continued this message in smaller ways, too, with killer trees, welfare queens, and ketchup as a vegetable becoming mini slogans. The news would report them to say how preposterous they were, but those messages appealed to enough Americans to elect him twice.
This continued with Bush and his infamous "No new taxes" line. After eight years of the Clinton rock and roll Presidency, Shrub stepped up, offering the counterpoint to the antics. But then came 2008, the first election the Digital Generation could participate in. Suddenly, numbers increased with people who were the product of the diversity that had been created and nurtured and fought for tooth and nail in defiance of rigidly defined social roles. Before, being white, Protestant, and male were the greatest things one could aspire to. Now, there were so many people that weren't that they heard this bullshit and said, "What's wrong with us? Fuck you!"
Longtime readers are aware of my beliefs that the R's threw John McCain under the bus rather than risk him being elected. If you look at the business pages when he was the frontrunner, businesses were trying all sorts of mergers, buy-outs, and acquisitions in those days, and Congress was trying to get spending measures approved. McCain was saying he would tighten the reigns on businesses and spending, and he clearly meant it, or the weasels wouldn't have been in such a panic. That ended when Obama became the frontrunner. Here was a guy who wasn't going to turn off the spigot of money. Many of the statements about McCain the R's were fighting in those days, they suddenly went quiet about. Even Faux News, which never met a right wing conspiracy theory it didn't like, left McCain twisting in the wind. The R's didn't fight Obama because they didn't trust their own to let them keep their pork barrel projects.
The R's, however, made a mistake. The last thing they expected was that Obama would get a second term. After all, the guy hadn't even finished his first term in the Senate, and I suspect there was a lot of racism in their criticism as well (most of you are probably going, "No shit, Peter, ya think?!?"). The R's didn't really worry about who their nominee in 2012 would be because they figured the voters would be so angry with Obama, as poll number showed, they'd be more than happy to be rid of him.
The R's made a critical mistake, however -- voting in protest wouldn't work this time. Most elections, you aren't voting for a candidate so much as voting AGAINST a candidate. Just as there were people voting for Obama because he was black, there were people voting against him because he was black. The R's went after more divisionism, letting the fact that they had a white candidate speak for itself.
Among the divisionism they tried was Obamacare. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- we, the people, did not view Obamacare the way everyone says we do. People like me who opposed Obamacare liked some parts of it, like no refusing coverage for pre-existing conditions. Those who supported Obamacare didn't like some parts, like the individual mandate. This was a law that we weren't interested in fighting for or against, but a law we wanted fixed. And yet, the D's and the R's reduced it to either supporting it completely or gutting it completely. This is not a representative government.
The result was Mitt Romney. And Mittens wiped out because the R's overplayed their hand. They didn't present a better alternative, they just presented an alternative, figuring Obama had so incised voters that people would flock to them just to get rid of him. Unfortunately, Mittens was clearly a worse choice -- anybody who wants to bring back the reproductive laws that killed his sister-in-law in a botched illegal abortion procedure cannot be trusted to respect the will of voters, full stop. The divisionism, the isolation, the appealing to voters based on a sense of social entitlement? Those days died with Romney's campaign. And God looked upon His work and saw that it was good.
But it wasn't over. The R's are having an identity crisis. The old guard is dying out, and the newer generation wants to see equality. Using minorities such as blacks, women, and gays as political boogeymen is not only wrong, but they don't believe it. One force wants the R's to join the Century Of The Pacific while the old guard wants to go back to days that they can never return to.
The old guard was starting to think that maaaaaaaaaybe they needed to change a little bit. And then a publicity stunt with the Duck Dynasty cast happened. Everyone knows the story -- the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family made a bunch of stupid fucking statements to GQ magazine about how being gay is a sin (I've studied Christianity. I say gays are part of God's plan. And if you had MY security clearance, you would, too). A&E said the interview was not sanctioned by them, but that's bullshit. Ad rates for DD shot through the roof, enabling them to make even more money on the show as people united behind the family for just believing what they believe despite society telling them otherwise. Fight the power!
This emboldened the old guard to think that maybe those voters who were like them (well, maybe not completely like them, they didn't have status, but definitely better than the rest of the public) were still out there, and the public support and ratings increase for DD seemed to bear that out. And this was what got the Arizona discrimination law in motion.
I have heard from people who said they read the proposed law, and my opposition to it was proof that I hadn't read it. Wrong bongos, I have read the proposed law. It's actually an update to an existing law from the 1990's. Only a few lines are changed, but they were changed enough to allow people to discriminate and be shielded by the law. This actually proves the law was intended to discriminate -- they could have easily made an addendum to those few lines that would have clarified that the discrimination people feared would not be allowed. Ten minutes, up and down vote, everything is fine. But they didn't. They defended the law as it was written, insisting it was just an update. They were trying to enfranchise discrimination.
I firmly believe that every member of the Arizona Leg, and the governor, too, should be impeached and charged with treason. "But, Peter, the gov vetoed the bill!" Yeah, after days of hemming and hawwing, and even saying she had plenty of time to decide if she would sign the bill or not. Instead of going, "No, rewrite this, you shitheads," she debated it, and it wasn't until the outrage grew too great that she finally found her spine and did the right thing. Bill supporters went on the news, and if you listen to them, it sounds like they are apologizing to their voter base and please don't vote us out. There was lots of talk about the state's reputation, loss of business, loss of tourism, but not one said, "it was a bad bill, we fucked up."
That was last week. This week, a return to the mentality. For those that don't know, CPAC is going down right now. That's the Conservative Political Action Committee. So you can expect this to be a place where shit flows from politicians' mouths. And among them was Ben Carson. Us longtime pundits knew what was coming -- Carson doesn't like gays. He was to give a commencement speech at Johns Hopkin's University just this past April when he did an interview making anti-gay marriage comments, and he got so much hate mail, he bailed. But here? He was among friends! And he made sure to say what he thought!
"As you know, I am not a fan of political correctness," he started. I have to say, a black man saying this to a crowd of conservatives is pretty damned ironic. "I still believe a marriage is between a man and a woman."
Carson says the problem is with "ideologues" and the only people who can stop them are the American people (psst...hey, genius! Those ideologues ARE American people!). "Of course, gay people should have the same rights as everyone else, but they don't get extra rights. They don't get to redefine marriage."
This is, of course, the biggest fallacy in the quest of marriage equality. It's not a question of extra rights, it's a question of the same rights being extended to those who are gay. Because a gay marriage is not even considered common law, rights of inheritance, power of attorney, and other such things do not automatically transfer without a lot of legal wrangling that costs a lot of money. People who get drunk and wake up married in Vegas have more authority than two guys or two gals who have been together for twenty years. There are no extra rights here, just the same rights being kept away for bullshit reasons.
Carson's speech drew applause and support. Thankfully, this is the R's lunatic fringe (they voted Randroid Paul as their favorite, need I go on?), so the push for marriage equality continues. The most recent volley happened just yesterday, as four couples are filing suit against the state of Indiana to allow gay marriage.
If this keeps up, we will go from a two-party system to a one. And it will be the because the R's suicided.