If you’ve read my last two politically-minded posts, you’ve more or less read this one. I’m sorry. Thankfully for all of us, the election being over means I actually have to think of things to write about. Read the full article (and give it a “like”, it’s trucking along so far) here on AskMen
Growing up, the world was a different place. Reagan was still giving Americans patriotic rage-boners even years after he left office. Being a republican wasn’t necessarily “cool”, but more a status symbol. It told the world that you were doing well enough that you didn’t have to worry about the poor, even if you weren’t doing quite so well that you were obligated to. The democratic party, on the other hand, was a dumping ground for the effete, the wishy-washy, the uninitiated, and hippies. Bill Clinton came along, and though technically a democrat he was the southern, Rooseveltian kind who hid his moderate liberalism under a cloak of abusing his power to pork a bunch of 4’s and low-5’s, something for which all rich white men can agree to reach across the isle. When I was young, voting democrat wasn’t about being poor or even a minority; it was essentially admitting to the world that you were incapable of helping yourself. If you were in a position to vote republican, it meant you were in a position to bully the other side with your evidenced success, and in some cases for certain people, racism, misogyny, and homophobia.
Fast-forward to 2008. Historically, the nation was willing to turn a blind eye to social woes if the alternative promised economic prosperity, but eight years of a bloody war nobody wanted and a spiraling financial collapse had finally made the republican party as attractive as prison rape. From then on, republicans could no longer defend their reluctance for social progress with prosperity, because there was none. It became awfully hard to defend your party on the basis of policy when factions of it were having more difficulty with the meaning of the word “rape” than Clinton did with the word “is”. Metaphorically speaking, republicans had their one remaining leg swept violently from underneath them by a big, mean, linebacker of a democrat. After kicking your ass, that same physical specimen, fresh off an organic vegan meal and crossfit workout, would probably call you a “fag”. Then he and his friends would laugh at their own irony, because your assailant just came back from his own gay honeymoon.
Democrats are the new bullies, though to be fair it’s been a long time coming. But as lazy and baseless as it used to be to dismiss any democrat as an “effeminate queer looking for a handout”, so too is it lazy and baseless to dismiss any republican as a “misogynistic homophobe trying to bring us back to the 1950’s”. But that’s what happens. While there was once a time when the best a democrat could do when faced with a chest-thumping, money and flag waving republican was to concede that they have divergent viewpoints, the left can now take the offensive. Now, anyone with conflicting views on things like women’s issues or immigration is accused of “hate speech”. Anyone who didn’t vote for Obama this go-round must, obviously, be a racist. No, seriously:
So if you’re a Republican who actually thought this was going to turn out differently, here are a few pointers for your party going forward:
1. Minorities and women can vote. I know you just assumed their masters would keep them at home, but somehow they escaped and voted against you, so maybe not shit all over them next election. They’re very crafty.
2. Math wins every time. Even if you call people who use it a faggot, Dean Chambers, you fucking moron, it still exists in this place called reality where facts live. You should visit sometime.
3. Stop saying things like “failed social experiment,” or at least have the balls to say what you really mean which is, “This is what happens when you let a nigger be president.” Also, for the record, what happens is he wins the popular vote again because Americans like his policies and white men are the minority now.
Let’s put aside for a moment that besides Dean Chambers’ comments on Nate Silver being bigoted and archaic, they were a sad, antiquated attempt to disguise the fact that anyone who’d taken a high school stats class could more or less agree with what Nate Silver was doing at his blog. The quote is from a site that I normally love for its funny celebrity coverage, but they had to throw their political two cents in, and why wouldn’t they? If anyone argues, they can just use the same rhetoric with no adverse consequences. Nevermind that women have had universal suffrage for nearly 100 years and kinda sorta had to have something to do with past republican victories. Nevermind that math didn’t “win” the election so much as predict it, or that predicting victory for a popular sitting president isn’t the toughest call to make. Nevermind that saying “white men are in the minority now” in this context suggests that that minority doesn’t deserve its own political views, which is exactly what republicans are accused of. Calling someone a racist is as pedestrian and acceptable a slur now as calling someone the n-word was 100 years ago. It’s impossible in 2012 to assume that a republican is anything but everything that’s wrong with the world, the same way it was with democrats in the Reagan era.
Speaking of celebrities, while I’ve touched on their uselessness before, the internet really gave them a forum in which to express their unsolicited political views. Some celebrities, if you want to call them that, delighted in clogging everyone’s twitter feed with political mudslinging:
That’s Rob Delaney, a usually funny stand-up comic and Twitter junkie. Other “celebrities” were a little rosier about the whole thing. Take for instance Brenda Song, famous for being on the Disney Channel, co-starring in the Facebook movie, and being a total smokeshow:
I assume she meant “that” we love, but whatever, she kind of just proves my point. Celebrity endorsements for politicians used to be at best a chore and typically inconsequential. It was never a big deal, because while republicans have never been cool, at least it used to be that no politician was cool. No celebrity wanted to hang out with Jimmy Carter or John Kerry, let alone be seen doing it. But Obama is different. Obama is cool. Barack Obama hangs out with Beyonce and Jay Z, the epitome of a cool, talented celebrity couple. Mitt Romney hangs out with Clint Eastwood and an empty chair. I don’t know the extent of the influence celebrity endorsements have on voter opinion, but it’s hard to foresee a time when the average American is going to flat-out ignore the leanings of their celebrity role models in favor of doing their own research.
When Obama ran in 2008, while his record was more substantial than many people on the right claim (he voted “present” less than 3% of the time as a state senator, and never as a US senator), it wasn’t what anyone would call objectively substantial. But it didn’t matter. In 2008, when the economy was circling the drain and everyone’s vote for president was “anyone but Bush”, Obama was the perfect candidate for a restless nation searching to make the intangibles tangible, enthralling us with wordy, vague-yet-hopeful metaphors. This time around, there really wasn’t a scenario where he could lose. If the economy happened to be doing well, the landslide nature of his victory would have been historic. If the economy wasn’t doing so well, as was the case, it was up to the challenger to prove to the public how he’ll turn the ship around. Because that’s not so easy a thing to do and Romney was either unable or unwilling to try, he was dead in the water. And barring some catastrophic mishandling of the economy, that’s the way things are going to go. The democrats will always offer the progressive social views modern Americans want, they’ll downplay the economy when necessary, and if they’re smart, they’ll deliver that packaged as the coolest guy they can possibly find. One key (or at least the most publicized) aspect of Obama’s economic “plan” was “Um….. Charge more money?” If that doesn’t speak to how easy he knew he’d have it, I don’t know what does.
Unless things change, the republicans are never going to win another election, at least not in my lifetime.
That change, of course, will come in the form of a republican candidate who shares America’s social values while maintaining the more defensible aspects of the conservative core. I think we’d have known by now if gays were going to destroy the fabric of the American family, but immigration? That’s a place we can have actual, substantive ideological discussions. It’s fine (probably essential) to be religious, but pretending that a baby born of rape is a “miracle” isn’t going to be a hit with anyone. The candidate would have to be young enough to be considered attractive (or at least passable) in our youth-driven, pop-culture addicted society, and he’d have to be someone whose record and history don’t result in his immediate dismissal by the lower class and minorities. Not even a white, southern, middle-class male really wants to vote for someone he sees as a Wall Street fat cat. In both of the past two elections, after the republican loss pundits and party members alike claimed that the republicans need to “re-evaluate their party”. It’s not even about the party, it’s about their electorate. Namely, who they are, what they want, and what they believe in today, not 40 years ago.
That electorate is also part of the problem. A democratic primary candidate is free to tiptoe as far towards the center as he wants and only be as liberal as he needs. Republicans, on the other hand, have to battle it out in a race to the bottom to see who can ignite the kind of core voter who participates in a republican primary election. They’re forced to avoid the center, and the near-misses by Rick Santorum and Rick Perry are proof that it’s almost impossible to go too far to the right. Once the election comes around, contrary to popular belief, the two-party system actually results in less fanatical polarization. For the republican candidate to have a shot, he has to creep back towards the center, which the opposition will hammer him on, relentlessly. Abortion, gay marriage, and other questions that shouldn’t even be a presidential candidate’s domain create a trail of ideological flip-flops that are hard to dig out of, and all to appease a portion of the electorate that will vote for the candidate wearing the red tie no matter what. A candidate with a sincere, consistently moderate social stance would fare much better, but the core right won’t let them see daylight. Just look at how many presidential nominations Ron Paul’s won, for instance.
The solution? I’m far from a political scientist, but it seems like the democrats have the right ideas: Mobilize young, socially liberal, fiscally unaffected voters. Reach out to minorities. The democratic success doesn’t lie so much in convincing people to vote for them so much as it does in convincing them to vote period. Relying on the same conservative core to carry an election is like trying to get blood from a stone. Instead, when it comes to the primaries, the primary republican objective should be to not only present candidates with views and records more in line with the modern voting public, but to actually make a sincere effort to start a dialogue with that voting public. That’s not to say they can ignore their core completely, because even if we disagree with some of their values, that doesn’t make them invalid as people or voters. I’m just saying that the democrats haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to California, and that seems to be working out ok for them. But campaigning in a swing state to the same crowds with the same stump speeches isn’t working. If the voters the democrats are able to mobilize truly care about the electoral process, they should have just as much interest in the republican primaries as they do in their own, provided we give them candidates that make them think rather than turn them off.
Until that happens, I’ll continue to vote republican unless compelled otherwise. I just don’t think it’ll matter much.
Just as a reminder, election day is tomorrow, and anyone eligible should get out and vote in support of their favorite candidate. Of course I know who I’m voting for, but on the grand scale it doesn’t matter. Either candidate winning means I win too, because regardless of who our next president is one key victory is for certain: Barack Obama fans will finally have a reason to shut the hell up.
Being a young conservative is never very fashionable, and living in D.C. makes me rarer than days when Metro has no elevator outages. I’m not especially or fanatically conservative, and really the only things I skew hard-right on are economic issues. Otherwise, I’m squarely in the middle, or even a little left. Abort your babies! Marry your same-sex partner! I’m all for it, but that doesn’t stop every single ham-fisted bleeding edge liberal from looking at me like I just shat out an octopus when I say that I tend to vote republican. Without fail, whoever the person is will go on to use an obscene number of words that essentially boil down to “I love Obama because I think he’s cool”, as if I were the one to broach the subject. And I never am. I’m of the opinion that my political views are nobody’s business but my own, and would prefer it if everyone felt that way. Instead, anyone who isn’t a close friend feels it’s their duty to “save” me from… something. Whatever bad thing it is that happens when you vote republican, I guess.
The biggest reason I’m anxious for the Obama fanatics to shut it is the condescension. Young, white, affluent liberals are the most smug, condescending group of people on the planet. When I meet them and the subject comes up (because it always does), their response is usually something like “how could someone young and smart like you possibly vote republican?”, as though half of the country’s political ideology is some horrible mistake that no one’s caught on to but them. Some of them will attempt to “educate” me as to why what I believe is so catastrophic, like this fellow here:
And if you agree that women should have control over their own bodies and gay people should be able to marry, yet you begrudgingly accept that your party must appeal to people who virulently despise the notion of reproductive freedom and gay marriage in order to get them to vote for their economic policies, that is condescending nihilism, pure and simple, and I don’t understand how you walk around with that leaden hypocrisy in your chest all day. I wonder how history will view people who readily accepted that devil’s bargain, using closed-mindedness as a wedge to force people to accept their own poverty in the name of someone else’s profit.
Whoa there, guy-who-starred-in-the-worst-All State-commercial, that’s a lot of big words to tell me what an asshole I am. This comes towards the end of a piece where he promises not to patronize anyone, and then patronizingly goes about telling us how he “chose” to be a conservative because it was a way to stand out from his friends, but now he has seen the light. Except no he hasn’t. Choosing a political ideology because it seems hip or cool isn’t the same as actually agreeing with it, so don’t expect a pat on the back when having a hip liberal poster child as a presidential candidate makes it cool for you to go ahead and outwardly believe what you’ve believed on the inside the whole time. DC Pierson is so smug that even New England Patriots fans think he’s a little too much.
If I hear one more Obama trumpeter go on about how they’re voting for him because of his human or women’s rights “platform”, I’m going to shoot myself. My favorite is when they accuse my conservatism of not supporting equal pay for women, which is probably the most infuriating part. Laws to ensure equal pay? Guess what, those already fucking exist. The reason women make less than men on average is because women tend to be less aggressive when negotiating raises, promotions, and hiring offers. Birth control? No one is going to take away your goddamned birth control. There’s just an argument over who pays for it. How can I say I support gay marriage while voting for a party that opposes it? Well, I’m not gay, so as insensitive as it may sound that puts gay marriage pretty far down on my list of things to give a shit about. I’m concerned about the debt we’ve accrued and our dependence on foreign investment, and I believe the best way to cull that involves a smaller government that spends less. That’s all. Apparently, that also makes me a bigot, a homophobe, a racist, a misogynist, and religious fanatic by association.
For the people who carry on about hope and change, either the president’s “hope and change” wand has been in the shop for the last four years, or else they don’t understand how the executive branch of the government works. As I’ve said before, Barack Obama isn’t going to magically grant your gay friends the right to get married any sooner than Mitt Romney’s going to make birth control illegal. Yet still, I can’t walk outside my apartment or browse the internet without hearing from a pretentious Obama supporter who’s making their presidential decision based on factors almost entirely outside the realm of the president’s responsibility. Voting for a presidential candidate because he shares the same social philosophy as you is like hiring a CEO because their favorite color is the same as yours.
Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, so let’s start acting that way. There are obvious advantages and validities to both sides; otherwise there wouldn’t be two sides. So enough with the condescension and smugness. My life didn’t change in any appreciable way when Barack Obama was elected four years ago, and I doubt it will change in any appreciable way tomorrow whether he’s re-elected or if Mitt Romney takes the reigns. Whatever happens, people will finally cease to have an excuse for telling the world how in love they are with Barack Obama.
That’s a change I can believe in.
AskMen chose a photo of pres. Obama because why not, but I picked a photo of Patton because I think we can all agree he was about 1,000% more badass than Barry. Or anyone else, really. The article’s about what makes leaders so compelling to us, why we’re almost reflexively drawn to anything related to leaders or would-be leaders. Here’s a taste, a little tease. Just the tip, if you will:
I think much of it has to do with the mystique that surrounds their jobs. Few of us have any concrete idea of what the CEO of a large company actually does on a day-to-day basis besides make lots of money. Baseball managers are perhaps even more enigmatic: Their job appears to consist merely of trips to the pitcher’s mound, talking on the dugout phone and chewing tobacco.
Read the rest at AskMen
Celebrities are well-known for being among the most intelligent and politically acute members of society. Why, if we didn’t have Lindsay Lohan to help guide our voting conscience, where would we be? Thankfully, Kelly Clarkson’s here to further enlighten us. Via Pegasus News:
During the European leg of her tour, the singer toldThe Daily Star: “I’ve been reading online about the debates and I’m probably going to vote for Obama again, even though I’m a Republican at heart.”
Kelly added: “I can’t support Romney’s policies as I have a lot of gay friends and I don’t think it’s fair they can’t get married. I’m not a hardcore feminist but we can’t be going back to the ’50s.”
To be clear, this doesn’t bother me because of the gay thing. Ignoring the fact that “I have a lot of gay friends” is the 21st-century equivalent of “I’m not racist, I have friends who are black”, I think everyone these days have loved ones who are gay, be they friends, family, or their own gay significant other. Gays marrying has no bearing whatsoever on the legitimacy of my own marriage, so what’s it to me if they get married? No, the first thing about this that bothers me is the fundamental lack of understanding of what the fuck exactly it is the president does. Is, or even can, Mitt Romney going to take office and forever deny our gay friends they ability to marry? No, he cannot. No president can. Is Barack Obama, if reelected, able to magically wave his hands and grant marital privileges to all? Again, no. It is, at this juncture, a states rights issue, just like every other marriage-related issue. The only involvement the president could have is with DOMA, either signing it into law or vetoing it’s passage should it ever get to that. And if that does happen, don’t blame/thank the president. Blame/thank the fucking legislature.
The second infuriating thing about this is that it’s another case of a public figure who’s wealthy enough to have the luxury of voting entirely on the basis of social issues. People love to say “I can’t afford to be a liberal”, but that’s almost criminally off-base. There are plenty of people on the right who are well-off enough to base their voting decisions on what Jesus thinks a woman should be allowed to do with her vagina. In either case, I can’t hate on the person’s success. But I don’t have a job and am way more interested in the fiscal issues, so I would appreciate at least an attempt at having some perspective. I understand that most of your fanbase is liberal because they’re young/conservative because they’re religious, but before you shoot off your fat mouth maybe try to give your decisions the same consideration the rest of us do.
Let’s put an end to universal suffrage. Deny celebrities the right to vote.