Monday, October 26, 2015


Ben Carson went on Meet the Press yesterday and said one of those things he says:
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson compared abortion to slavery in an interview on Sunday, insisting women who are raped or victims of incest should not be allowed to terminate their pregnancies. “Think about this,” Carson said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “During slavery -- and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say but I’m saying it -- during slavery, a lot of slave-owners thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose. And what if the abolitionists had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery but you guys do whatever you want’? Where would be?”
The New York Times would have you believe that Carson is leading in two new Iowa polls and tied in a third in spite of statements like this, not because of them:
Mr. Carson’s support has not been dimmed by his statements on the unsuitability of a Muslim to be president; his linking of gun control and the Holocaust; and his likening of President Obama’s health care law to slavery. On the contrary, 57 percent of Republicans in the [Des Moines Register] poll rated as “very attractive” his comparison of the health care law to slavery, and 73 percent said his opposition to a Muslim as president made him more attractive.
And we've been through this, of course with Donald Trump -- who also says offensive things and is still leading everywhere except Iowa.

What's going on? Yes, the things Carson and Trump say fire people up, but what do they have to do with suitability for the presidency?

Well, you have to think about what the GOP's crazy base wants. The base wants Republicans in Congress to smash the status quo right now, despite the fact that this is literally impossible, because the GOP doesn't hold the White House and doesn't have congressional majorities big enough to overturn vetoes.

But when Republican base voters perceive tyranny in America, they don't just perceive it in government. They think the culture is tyrannical. They see the culture -- the "politically correct" culture, in their words -- as a liberal-fascist dictatorship, just like the Obama presidency.

The difference, in their eyes, is that Carson and Trump actually are striking serious blows against this fascist dictatorship. Congress hasn't found a way to repeal Obamacare or crush Planned Parenthood or permanently block the next debt-ceiling increase or make gay marriage illegal again, and that makes GOP base voters furious at all the party's politicians because, dammit, they ought to be able to do something -- but Ben Carson can say "Nazi, Nazi, Nazi" and get away with it, and Donald Trump can say that undocumented immigrants are feral rapists and get away with that, and that, to Republican voters, is a real blow against the liberal-fascist power structure.

So to you, to me, to the non-conservative media, and even to the Republican mainstream, it looks as if Carson and Trump have never demonstrated that they can be at all effective in government -- but to the base they are demonstrating it, and the rest of the candidates have demonstrated nothing but helplessness, because they've never undermined totalitarianism.

I suppose there's more to the Trump/Carson phenomenon than this. But I think this is the foundation.


Theo said...

It's interesting that Carson would bring up slavery (a "politically incorrect" word?!) in relation to slavery. On an unrelated comment on a different blog, I came upon this article, "The History of Abortifacients", which quoted a 1705 book about Surinam:

"The Indians, who are not treated well by their Dutch masters, use the seeds [of this plant] to abort their children, so that their children will not become slaves like they are."

Although I don't think Carson would accept slavery as an exception for abortion.

Bill Featherston said...

No. My theory is that the republicans have given up on the democratic process itself, you know- all that voting nonsense that encourages 'those people' to have a say in those things that affect them. They want a Strong Man to take control and crush the opposition, restore the constitution to what they believe it was prior to when 'those people' (women, minorities, immigrants, liberals, dirty hippies, etc.) hijacked it, and lead them back to their privileged and mostly imagined status.

That's it. That's all. Trump's success shows they have never cared about smaller government, deficits, unions or any of those other republican tropes - if it hurts 'those people' then they're for it. Give us our own tyrant and we'll be happy they say. Anyone as crazy as them will do.

Redhand said...

@ Bill Featherston. I agree.

flipyrwhig said...

Trump's success shows they have never cared about smaller government, deficits, unions or any of those other republican tropes - if it hurts 'those people' then they're for it.

"Smaller government" means "cutting off Those People, whose lives are too cushy."
"Deficits" means "spending too much on Those People, whose lives are too cushy."
"Unions" means "leaders of Those People, helping them act lazy and live lives that are too cushy."

It's all one thing: the government gives welfare to Those People and we're the unlucky saps stuck with the bill. This 96% of why Republicans are Republicans. 3% care a lot about abortion (which relates to the too-easy lives of Those People also), and 1% are just filthy rich greedy asswipes.

Unknown said...

I think about the level of craziness in the support for Trump and Carson a lot. I'm a psychologist. I'd start with 9/11, which stimulated an unprecedented level of fear in people, some of whom got over it. But other people, whether they could talk about it or not, experienced great vulnerability.

And in the aftermath of a great vulnerability, we often feel shame -- that we were so "weak," that our vulnerability is on display, etc. Hence the need to go to war, to jack up the fighting defenses. But the war! Iraq was a debacle. Instead of helping the public handle their fear, the war made George Bush and the Republican politicians suspect in the hearts of average, everyday Republicans.

They could not be trusted to make the world safe. This is their "sin," their failure. But until Trump mentioned how 9/11 happened on Bush's watch, there was not enough public discourse by ordinary Republicans, discourse which admits that they were abandoned and misled.

In the meantime the citizens (who were still fearful and disillusioned by the failure of the Republican leadership) kept these two conflicting forces within their own thinking: Only The Republicans Can Govern/The Republicans Cannot Govern. Like sharp knives inside themselves, these paradoxical beliefs clash ... and make them even more crazy.

Along comes Trump, who makes fun of the other Republicans. I'm saying that you cannot underestimate the emotional relief and comfort these citizens feel when someone says the Emperor has no clothes. They need the aggression turned onto the Republican leaders. They want them punished. Everything else is a side show, including their attacks on Obama. They can get mad at Obama, and spin stories about his imagined qualities, but they only get real, palpable emotional release when someone attacks the Republicans. It softens the intensity of the clashing knives in their heads. This emotional release is why people line up to hear Trump.

Notice that Carson's followers make a lot of his braininess and his "gentle" manner. And yet he's saying many of the same things about Muslims. He gives the fearful citizens a pass for being fearful, but his so-called gentleness provides a cover for the wish for more aggression.

Both Trump and Carson help people hide from themselves, from their own complicated, unthoughtful aggressions.

Ten Bears said...

As if change in the status quo were a bad thing.