Monday, August 15, 2016


Over at The New Republic, Brian Beutler draws our attention to a blame-shifting column published earlier this month at the Daily Beast by a Republican consultant:
In the spirit of spreading culpability for the GOP’s meltdown as thin as possible, The Daily Beast recently served up a new theory that lays blame for Donald Trump at the feet of liberal commentators.... The argument is that overheated liberal denunciations of past Republican standard-bearers desensitized conservative and independent voters to the kind of criticism that should’ve been reserved for a uniquely menacing figure like Trump.

“He was frequently called a ‘bully,’ ‘anti-immigrant,’ ‘racist,’ ‘stupid,’ and ‘unfit’ to be president,” complained Karol Markowicz in a piece that received wide acclaim on the anti-Trump right. “I’m referring, obviously, to the terrifying Mitt Romney.”
Yes, that's right -- Trump is our fault because we mocked Romney in language so strong, so hurtful, so out of proportion, that Republicans permanently lost the ability to make independent value judgments.

This argument is flawed in many ways, but here's the principal flaw: If this is the effect of insults in politics, then why haven't Democrats chosen a sociopath in every presidential election cycle of the past quarter-century? After all, going back at least to Michael Dukakis in 1988, every Democratic nominee has been smeared relentlessly with words far worse than "stupid" and "unfit." Yet Democrats haven't nominated whoever would be the equivalent of Trump on the left.

Bill Clinton was accused of murder, rape, and drug dealing -- and Democrats responded to the trauma of hearing that by nominating stolid old Al Gore. John Kerry was accused of treason -- and Democrats responded by nominating calm, cerebral policy wonk Barack Obama. Obama was called a terrorist sympathizer, a fake citizen, and a gay drug addict, and Democrats responded to that by nominating ... another policy wonk who's the embodiment of her party's Establishment.

Hey, Karol, how come we don't fly off the handle when you insult us?

Oh, sorry -- Ms. Markowicz informs us that our candidates aren't subjected to a insulting attacks at all:
Lest you imagine all presidential candidates get this kind of media treatment, well, not quite. Barack Obama wasn’t stupid when he said there were 57 states. He wasn’t racist when he listened to Pastor Jeremiah Wright’s sermons for 20 years. He wasn’t insane when he said he would lower the oceans. He wasn’t unfit when he said he would end the Iraq war on the very day he took office. He continually got the benefit of the doubt that Republicans never get from the press.
I didn't make this quote up -- Markowicz is actually saying that Obama faced no harsh criticism in the 2008 campaign.

I won't go all the way through her list, but I'll take one of the less obvious examples: It's not just that Obama was mocked (by Andrew Malcolm, then an L.A. Times columnist, among others) for a slip of the tongue in which he said he'd been to 57 states on the campaign trail in 2008 -- he was also accused by Pam Geller and others on the right of actually referring to the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. That notion that "57 states" was an OIC reference was so persistent that Congressman Louis Gohmert brought it up on the floor of the House in 2011.

Somehow, after that, this year we didn't nominate a overgrown toddler with rage disorder. Is that kind of restraint really so hard, Republicans?


UPDATE: They're still busting on Obama for that slip eight years later.

At least she didn't say it was a coded shout-out to Muslims.


Victor said...

Maybe Obama confused the number of states, with the varieties of Heinz ketchup:
"What does the “57” stand for in Heinz’s famous slogan, “57 Varieties?”
While riding a train in New York City in 1896, Henry Heinz saw a sign advertising 21 styles of shoes, which he thought was clever. Although Heinz was manufacturing more than 60 products at the time, Henry thought 57 was a lucky number. So, he began using the slogan "57 Varieties" in all his advertising. Today the company has more than 5,700 products around the globe, but still uses the magic number of "57."

Yeah, Obama faced NO tough questioning, or derision, in 2008 and 2012.

Victor said...

And yeah, I know Obama prefers mustard on his burgers.

Victor said...

And the MSM, and (DUMB)FUX "news," paid no attention at all, to his ordering that burger with Dijon mustard.


Unknown said...

Of course all that criticism of Obama wasn't harsh. It didn't stop him from becoming President, now, did it? Ipso facto.

Hamilton said...

The primary voters who chose him are INNOCENT!

Racist libs
Muslim president
Political correctness = REAL racism

CF2K said...

Aw, lookit, an acronym that paints the people who refuse to continue to pretend that racism doesn't exist as the REAL racists.

Raymond Smith said...

You read it then it seems to only take a few sentences for one to realize that the writer is pulling his supposed information from RW blogs and Fox Propaganda. It is amazing just how much BS there is in GOPLAND. Where all of these RW people live in and you know that there is just so much BS that everyone of these people have to walk around in hip waders.

KenRight said...

Which is not to say that people who say racism does exist aren't (usually minority) racists themselves.
Then there are those who say it's impossible for other than Euros to be racists.
Then there are those who say it's ok for Clinton play tribal politics, but not ok for Trump to do so.
With hypocrites like these, who needs racists?

Anonymous said...

IIRC "57 states" was a slip, not for "50 states," but for "56 primary contests": 50 states plus DC, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, and Democrats Abroad. If you count superdelegates as their own primary of sorts, that'd be 57 contests.

Victor said...

May I suggest a new moniker for you?


Ten Bears said...

Ken, I would be happy to let whomever it is that's paying you just what great job you're doing.

The Politician said...

"If this is the effect of insults in politics, then why haven't Democrats chosen a sociopath in every presidential election cycle of the past quarter-century?"

The thing is, and you and I and everyone else here knows it, is that that's exactly what Republicans think the Democrats have been doing. It doesn't matter what the reality is. You call Obama a socialist? Poof! Now he's a socialist.

swkellogg said...

Sociopaths always externalize blame. Why would one expect less from a sociopathic cooperative?

Dark Avenger said...

Ken Wrong aka the Notorious Ken Hoop on Typepad, thanks for showing white supremacist is an oxymoron.