Friday, April 23, 2010


The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder thinks Republicans have a problem:

... has the conservative base gone mad?

... Mainstream conservative voices are embracing theories that are, to use Julian Sanchez's phrase, "untethered" to the real world.

I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard.... the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.

It is absolutely a condition of the age of the triumph of conservative personality politics, where entertainers shouting slogans are taken seriously as political actors, and where the incentive structures exist to stomp on dissent and nuance....

... Conor Friedersdorf thinks the problem lies with the conservative movement's major spokespeople -- its radio/net news nexus ... the constant failures of these men to live up to their billing is so offensive, destructive, and ruinous to conservatives. There are plenty of women, too, is all I'll say....

To which Republicans would respond with this Gallup chart:

Accompanied by this text:

The advantage in public support the Democratic Party built up during the latter part of the Bush administration and the early part of the Obama administration has all but disappeared. During the first quarter of 2010, 46% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, while 45% identified as or leaned Republican....

Marc? It's working. Republicans don't care what you think about the intellectual rigor (of even the honesty) of their fulminations. All they care about is winning. And they're about to win in November, big time.

What they're doing is absolutely poisonous to the country -- but, really, if our side could figure out a way to do a reasonable amount of it back to them, maybe it wouldn't be so successful, and maybe the dumbing down, paradoxically, might abate. If we could mud-wrestle them to a draw, instead of getting our butts kicked in the cable and radio ratings and at the town hall meetings, maybe they'd have to try competing in the field of ideas. But we've mostly conceded that they're going to out-mud-wrestle us, and we're crossing our fingers and hoping it won't be a successful electoral strategy. Gallup's poll, and others, suggest it will be. So we'd better get in the mud with them. And then maybe we can rise out of it as a country.

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