Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Repackaging the Message

I remember this scene quite well - long ago as it was. As I recall, the year was 1978. I was watching a scene from a TV miniseries called "Holocaust", a fictional telling of the atrocities visited upon the Jews of Europe during the thirties and forties. Somewhere in there was a reenactment of the Warsaw Uprising of the summer of 1944. The Jewish citizens of this imprisoned ghetto revolted against their Nazi captors. At one point the Germans must have realized that their "message" needed a bit of reworking. At a high religious holiday they sent a truck with a loudspeaker attached to it prowling through the streets, cheerfully imploring the inhabitants to "come out so we can celebrate Passover with all of our Jewish friends". The inhabitants proceeded to blow the truck - and everyone in it - to kingdom come.

The Republicans are engaged in a bit of long overdue soul searching this week. They're asking themselves some hard, difficult questions. That's the good news. Here's the bad: For the most part, not to my surprise, they've come up with all of the wrong answers.

According to these geniuses they lost big during the campaign of 2012 - not because their ideas were beyond atrocious (Perish the thought) - but because those ideas weren't "packaged" properly. You heard me right. All they need to do during the 2014 midterms is to market their message a little differently. Yeah, right. I can just hear them now:

"Now don't you worry, folks! Next time 'round, we're gonna make our message a li'l more nigger-friendly!"

Sure, that's the same mistake the Nazis made seventy years ago. They didn't market themselves in the right way. The "final solution" to the "Jewish problem" might have been presented to the public in more of "a kinder and gentler way". Compassionate Conservatism, ya dig? They could have marketed it as a sort of "benevolent mass-euthanasia" that would have put all of those poor "Christ-killers" "to sleep", like some beloved, family pet.  

"It must be just an awful thing to live with such a horrible deed on their consciences. We're just putting the poor buggers out of their miseries!"

Not that I am comparing the Nazis of yore to the GOP of today - not at all. Whenever I see some misguided liberal making such a comparison I usually shake my head in frustration. There's not a Jew, Muslim or Hindu alive today (and only a handful of "Christians") who would prefer the Germany of 1939 over the America of 2012. (You'll notice I excluded the Buddhists from that equation. They can adapt to anything, God bless 'em!) 

But there is something to be said of the Nazi analogy. The Republicans in recent years have been evolving into something perfectly hideous. The America of 2012, with all of its imperfection and dysfunction, is still not that bad a place to live in. I can't guarantee the same about the America of 2022. If the right wing of this party continues on this nutty course, who the hell knows where they'll be at in another decade or so?

Barry Goldwater
Consider the fact that fifty years ago Arizona senator, Barry Goldwater, was the standard bearer of American conservatism. In his day he was known as "Mr. Conservative". So far to the right was he perceived by most Americans, some questioned his mental stability. When he ran against Lyndon Johnson for the presidency in 1964, his slogan was "In your Heart you know he's right". The Democrats had a snappy comeback for that one: "In your guts you know he's nuts".

Fast forward forty-eight years. This country has moved so far to the right, Senator Goldwater's brand of conservatism kinda looks more middle-of-the-road than it did way back then. In fact, at the end of his life he turned his back on the mindless extremism of the conservative movement. And to think that he didn't even live to see the Tea party! Today "liberal" Barry Goldwater would have no place in the Republican party. He couldn't get nominated to run as sewer inspector of Yuma, Arizona. In hindsight old Barry is starting to look pretty good. Really, it's gotten that weird.

There have been some sightings of sanity this week. In an interview on Fox Noise a few days ago. Bill Kristol said that if the party is to remain relevant, it's shouldn't commit ideological suicide by defending a bunch of billionaires. Grover Norquist and Karl Rove have been relegated to the fringes. And I thought I was hallucinating when I read the first paragraph of this article by Evan McMorris-Santoro that appeared yesterday on the Talking Points Memo website:

"They are few, but they are vocal: the pro-same-sex marriage, pro-choice, pro-tax Republican activists. For years, these groups have labored off the radar, trying to convince a party unwilling to listen that it needs to moderate on issues from social to fiscal. But after the Democrats’ decisive victories on Nov. 6, the Republican Underground says its finally time to go mainstream."

That knocked me out when I read it. I had no idea that these "underground Republicans" even existed. They've sure done a good job of hiding themselves all of these years. I knew about the "Log Cabin" wing of the party, but with the exception of gay rights, they march in lockstep with the GOP in every other area.

If that party is to survive, it  needs to clean house. That's not going to be as easy as it sounds. When a Democratic president signed the Voting and Civil Rights Acts into being back in the sixties, the racist Dixiecrats who had controlled the Democrats since the nineteenth century took vengeance on their party by fleeing - en masse - to the Republicans (where they were welcomed with open and loving arms). Today their ideological (and racist) heirs control the "Grand Old Party" (Why do they still call it that?). They like to tell us that race had nothing to do with their flight. "It was all about economics" they say with straight faces. Bullshit. It had everything to do with race. Stop the pretense.

It's either going to be one thing or the other: This is the beginning of a new (ENLIGHTENED?) era for "the party of Abraham Lincoln" - or it's the beginning of the end. The Republican party was formed in 1856 because the Whigs had become irrelevant to the political dialogue of the day. One wonders if history will be repeating itself. We shall see.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here's a link to the TPM article quoted above:


There'll be a hot time in Elephant Town Tonight!


At 9:52 AM, Blogger Yellowstone said...

At a time when I was apart of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) a new war was blooming. We were all jacked up about dropping that big piece of armor on some third world country in SE Asia. The hole in the earth that weapon would create could be the "size of Rhode Island!", it was said.

As gun-ho as I was, I was a vocal supporter of Barry. 'Peace is our Profession' was our motto - but we were, nevertheless: SAC Trained Killers.

A bumper sticker I pasted on the car: "AuH2O" created a silence and a pause for reflection among my troops. Until one day the base Provost Marshall met up with me and quietly removed the sticker from my car.

Barry was a guy I admired, the first guy I voted for, would meet in DC, and fly with to his home state where I was stationed.

He is/was a great guy. I'd vote for his philosophies again . . .

At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Andrew Como said...

I am having talks with Michael Bloomberger to outlaw Twinkies from being eaten in New York since we know what is best for you.

It will be legal to own Twinkies but will be a crime once they are bitten.

We have observed that Twinkies are very popular with the pot smokers in Goshen, and we will be creating our first regional Twinkie Police agency there to enforce the new 1,000 page "Eating Twinkies Is A Crime" law.

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Bruce Krasting said...

I think it is important to look at who owned Hostess. This was one of those dreadful "Private Equity" deals that was so much of the discussion during the election.

So who is behind Hostess?? None other than Dick Gephardt. You can't get more Democratic than good old Dick G.

I like the fact that the Dems are just as ruthless as the likes of Bain Capital. I doubt that marxists like Paul Krugman would even bother to note this fact. He thinks that the Dems, and guys like Dick, can do no wrong......

At 11:46 AM, Blogger ANR said...

The GOP do not take defeat very well. Rememember two short years ago in the 2010 midterms when Obama talked of "shellacking"? Obama showed humility, can the GOP do the same?

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous h4x354x0r said...

Also, I think the Union movement has a brilliant opportunity here: To buy up Hostess' assets, and allow local worker cooperatives to produce brand name products. They could improve the product quality, and... in the process hopefully make them just a tiny bit less unhealthy too?

If Unions could pull this off, prove they can pick up the pieces and run an American business right, it would definitely put the FEAR OF THE MASSES into the ruling class like Karl preached.

This would also make the pot smokers in Goshen very happy to know their Twinkies will not be taken away!

Just sayin'...

At 12:34 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

ANR, the answer to your question is NO, the GOP is completely incapable of showing humility. At this point in time they are still in a state of denial and spinning every way they can to explain why they lost. Most disgusting is the fact that many of them are now turning on Gov Christie for his acceptance and praise of President Obamas response to Sandy. While I am no fan of Christie, I admire the fact that he showed concern for the people of his state and put aside partisan politics in order to get help for them, something that is lost on most of the GOP.

Tom, thanks for your brief but kind words about Buddhists. As one myself, yes we do adapt rather well.

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real question is would Goldwater recognize the Democrat Party of today?

It seems that the democrat party is all about diversity in skin color but not in view points. Abortion is a great example of this failure to be diverse. Is there a list of liberal democrats who are not pro choice?

AuH20 would be called a libertarian today. He would be opposed to the massive federal govt incursion into our lives. President Reagan thought the same way. We as a nation have given up our 10th Amendment Rights because in part, the democrats have been successful in labeling anyone who holds to that Amendment as being a racialist. Yes there is some truth to that claim, but not after the civil War. The Civil Rights Act passed only because republicans voted for it. Al Gore's dad, did not for example vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Their were a lot of democrat presidents since the end of the Civil War including FDR, who had complete control over the Federal govt for 12 years. But did nothing to stop the racial war against black Americans.
It has always surprised me that in the quest for freedom from govt rules, liberals have not embraced the libertarian position. Libertarians believe as many liberals democrats due, in legalization of pot, of gay marriage. But allow that the state you live in must decide not the federal govt on those issues
But does the liberal today really want freedom from govt rules on a national basis? If liberals want diversity wouldn't they also want the there to be states where the rules governing gay marriage differed from other states? Allowing people to move and live in the state that best reflects their view on what govt should allow and not allow.
Freedom to choose? Same could be said for pot and govt funded birth control. If one state's voters wanted that to be free to all, then it would happen and the voters would be willing to pay in taxes the cost of providing same. Currently we have lost that liberty to move to or from the state that best reflects our view points.
Think about this, if govt provided health care/insurance is so important, to so many people, why is Mass. NOT the most populated state in the Union? The only reason that is not the case is liberals are not really for diversity of thought, like Senator Goldwater was. Today's liberal seem bent on stamping out any view from any source that does not match theirs. (example? the hatred for and desire to close FOX news because it does not report the news with the same slant as MSMBC. Freedom of the press anyone.)

Diversity under Obama does not include white males. One would think a liberal would want diverse views on issues to be heard if for no other reason than as a balance to their own position. Is that liberalism today, no opposition allowed? I'm sorry to say but it sounds more like totalitarianism than liberalism.
Will the liberals do any thing about this?

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Modusoperandi said...

Anonymous "Is there a list of liberal democrats who are not pro choice?"
Liberal? Probably not so much. A more liberal stance would be "pro-life in my uterus, pro-choice in yours".
Here, let me google that for you.

"Libertarians believe as many liberals democrats due, in legalization of pot, of gay marriage. But allow that the state you live in must decide not the federal govt on those issues"
If Civil Rights mean anything, they don't, can't, vary from state to state. Your Civil Rights shouldn't be built on the shaky foundation of your neighbour's approval. Those aren't rights; they're privileges.

"Today's liberal seem bent on stamping out any view from any source that does not match theirs."
Moo ha-ha!

"(example? the hatred for and desire to close FOX news because it does not report the news with the same slant as MSMBC. Freedom of the press anyone.)"
I, a liberal, don't want it closed. I want it to have no customers. That doesn't take Big Liberal Big Government interference, that takes an informed citizenry.

"Diversity under Obama does not include white males."
Odd. He's surrounded with them. Must be using them as cover for his liberalness, probably.

"Will the liberals do any thing about this?"
What, have more "white males" who think that healthcare doesn't include ladyparts, that their voice is somehow more important than the voices of ladyamericans who carry the ladyparts that will face the consequences of the War on Women (which I'm told is not happening, no matter how many utero-centric bills pop up in the Legislatives, both state and federal), or that gay marriage somehow impacts them negatively? We've got lots of those. And they're losing, slowly. Makin' a heck of a racket while they do, too.

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CNSNews.com) – Fresh off his reelection, President Barack Obama is asking his supporters to complete a survey that asks the people being polled to check off which “constituency groups” they identify with – there are 22 groups listed but not one for “whites” or “men.”

The post-election survey, distributed through www.barackobama.com to “take this organization forward,” includes the question, “Which constituency groups do you identify yourself with? Select all that apply.” It then lists 22 groups.

But whites and men are not on the list – women are, as are African Americans, Arab-Americans, Latinos and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Frankie said...

Just like there were American concentration camps on US soil in WWII to imprison Japanese-Americans now Obama has tax concentration camps of hard working Americans who are robbed of their wealth to fuel the Obama crime syndicate.

47% of Federal Tax Payers have fallen in love with Marxism/Obamaism/Liberalism - increase your family's standard of living without earning it; just vote Democrat at the elections to get your goodies.

America is now run by crime-boss Obama. The tax code insures that his voters don't pay taxes yet get tens of thousands of dollars of goodies each year from their Don.

How long will the tax concentration camps imprison the producers of America?

Sadly until America declares bankruptcy - 20 or so more years from now.....

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Frankie said...

There are no adults in Washington. Obama is no leader and is a fantasy person fabricated by the Progressives and the Media. Raising revenue $160 billion on "the rich" is not going to fix a $1 trillion deficit and a $16 trillion debt.

What is the problem? Entitlement spending.

What is the Progressive solution? Start another entitlement called Obamacare.

We are on the eve of fiscal destruction. The path this country is on is not sustainable with the math challenged Progressives who are slowly boiling us to death!

At 10:37 AM, Blogger De_Bill said...

"47% of Federal Tax Payers have fallen in love with Marxism/Obamaism/Liberalism - increase your family's standard of living without earning it; just vote Democrat at the elections to get your goodies."

Do you really believe that every single unemployed person, retired senior citizen, handicapped person, disabled vet, and service member serving in a combat area votes Democratic?

Or are you just too uninformed to realize that while the other people included in the right's '47%' don't earn enough or own enough to pay income tax on stocks, savings, or capital gains, they pay payroll taxes and social security taxes on the wages? (sometimes on 2 or more jobs, just to make ends meet.)

Get another argument, the recent election proved not enough people are dumb enough to buy that one.

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Frankie said...

"Get another argument, the recent election proved not enough people are dumb enough to buy that one."

Get real Bill. The majority of the people who voted for Obama are dumb moochers who are just smart enough to know who will throw them the most free fish. Why go fishing with the DemocRats in charge? These people have been multiplying like rabbits unfortunately for those pulling their wagon.

You sound like another math challenged Progressive who believes the Stimulus failed because the spending wasn't large enough like the liberal buffoon Paul Krugman.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger De_Bill said...

You sound like another Faux News fan who's buying their sadassed excuses.

Gee, that really settled that argument, didn't it?

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous James said...

Hey Frankie, have a good Thanksgiving, from a far left Liberal DemocRat.

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Liberals Are Sexy said...

Happy Thanksgiving from London. Here for a few weeks for a wedding and visiting friends.

Republicans are in denial about what just happened to them. Pointing fingers everywhere. So nice to see. So deserving. Couldn't happen to a nicer group of people. Having a great time talking with locals about politics in the US. Very astute here.


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Rev Al Sharptoon said...

Looks like Jessie Jacksoon Jr. has been caught with blueberry pie all over his face!


Alls I got to say is when you steal bluberry pie from the people, you bess hit the road jack and don't come back no more!

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Benghazi will be ignored by the same media who went into weeks of feeding frenzy about how the Romney's traveled with their dog, and a prank haircut Mitt gave to a fellow student 50 years ago. Obviously, those are the critical issues of our time.

Murdered Americans? Terrorist attacks? Nothing but right-wing hysteria.

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Anonymous: "Benghazi will be ignored by the same media..."

Just like these same media ignored, and continue to ignore, the unrestricted free-falling of WTC 7 on 9/11/2001 at 5:20 in the afternoon -- hours after the twin towers "fell"?

Do you mean those media?

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will liberals do to operate govt. programs and intitlem when they run out of other people's money to spend? Print more? Think Goldwater would support that idea?
A better question for Tom to have asked would have been
"Would JFK fit into today's democrat party?"

Answers please instead of attacks for having asked the question.

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hold it everyone, JG is reporting sighting black helicopters over head, calls for tough legislation?

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, Yet more nonsense from you? For all practical purposes, the liberals you describe are a glib portrait of the GOP. Do you seriously not know that Fox Noise is not a news organization, but rather comes under the TV catagory of "entertainment?"Surely in all of your seemingly non-stop trolling of the net you would have run across this factoid?

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of unmitigated tripe! You are exactly why the GOP is on it's way out. You are the problem, not the solution. Your political ideology is no longer sustainable in the modern-day world most of us live in.

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Brick1101 said...

I do enjoy your posts. I learn as much from reading the comments posted as I do from your original writings.
I graduated high school in NYS back in 1970. In my American History class I was basically taught what was to be on the regents which that year which was "Supreme Court Cases". I'm thankful I can today think back to learning "Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka KS 1954" and know the basics behind it all. Sadly there was no foundation in my learning of the Trail of Tears,or The Civil War which was instrumental in the history of our country. Hell, we never even discussed why the US was in Vietnam. At that time the newscasts ended nightly with the daily body count...
My "World History" classes were not much better. The state cut back on teachers in 1968 and my world History teacher was a displaced "fine arts" teacher. We just barely got out of the middle ages by the time finals came due. I knew all about El Grecos painting "View of Toledo" when I was able to see it in person ..but, it came at the cost of learning the causes of WWI and forget about anything after that...
I'm so thankful my family instilled upon me the love of reading and learning on my own. I always cringe whenever I hear a compare and contrast of life today with the Nazi Germany. For a factual record of what it was like to live life under the Nazis I can't recommend enough the diary's of Victor Klemperer: http://www.amazon.com/Victor-Klemperer/e/B001H9Q7AA I found a copy of his first journal at the Strand Bookstore. (Another place that has quite an influence upon my life)
Reading his journals has had a profound influence upon my life. Perhaps what struck me the most was to how horrible/inhumane the Nazis were was when they issued the edict "Jews could not own pets." I can only imagine the despair I would suffer to have my pets killed because of some politician. Being a hated minority in the eyes of the GOP I could actually see that happening with Romney winning... being a Jew in Germany in the 1930's - 1940's it truly was "death by a thousand stings" or by other means in a death camp or gas chamber.
The internet gives people quite a voice to cross over lines unimagined in the past. I'm loath to jump into the political fray screaming who is right and who is wrong.
Wishing you the best Tom.. keep up the good writing....

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waiting for answer, would JFK fit into days democrat party?

At 1:48 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

"Waiting for answer, would JFK fit into [to]day[']s [D]emocrat[ic] party?"

I'm sorry for the delay. Grammar and punctuation aside, it was such an insanely silly question I didn't think it required a response.

"If by a 'Liberal' they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a 'Liberal', then I'm proud to say I'm a Liberal".

John F. Kennedy, 1960

Yeah, Jack Kennedy would fit right in with the today's GOP. Have another sip.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really Tom, how do you see today's GOP not carrying about the welfare etc. that JFK listed? How do you think JFK or Goldwater would react to the current welfare state created by liberals? Support the policy's that created dependence on federal govt, or do something that would start the end of this dependence?
In the long run which is better for the people?
Thinking about JFK's quote "ask not what your country can do for you but ask instead what you can do for your country", how does this fit into today's liberal position of the govt is here to take care of you?
Look, liberalism will win elections as long as they have others peoples money to spend for their promses. But the day will come when there is nothing left to tax, and no one will lend money to us. When that happens, and it will, will the recipients of the promised services from the govt, be willing to or know how to " do for their

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

We see it over and over, again and again. Ignorance, fear, hate and anger + Right Wing koolade = very sour grapes and delusions.

The Guardians Of Plutocracy could never abandon their equation. That would be "change", right?

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,
We see you are back with your lies that you use when you can't answer honest questions about how liberalism will fund its promises to non pultocrates.
Interesting with the election over, you are using more terms from the Russian revolution of 1917 and Karl Marx. As a true liberal, I bet it feels good to be able to come out of the political closet.
When you talk about fear, hate and ignorance of the Right Wing, have you any thing to say about JG's 911inside lunacy and Brick1011 belief of Death camps for Jews of Romney had win?

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Picard said...

Anyone else notice Tim Tebow in the cover picture?


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