After Obama won the last election, I wanted to take the next day off to spend time with my fellow travelers reveling in what seemed to be a new day dawning — a time wherein the competent and paternal African-American president would finally prove to the trailer-park-and-Pabst-Blue-Ribbon set holding the GOP hostage that darker-skinned people, especially African American men, were not the dangerous lawless monsters they have been made out to be by two and one-half decades of the GOP’s vile Southern Strategy.
After Obama’s victory this year, I was less expansive and generous. I wanted to stay home and troll right-wing web sites with snarky exultations meant merely as the rhetorical equivalent of poking a stick in the angry animal cages.
The wingnuts are confused and hurt, and I want them to stay mad. Childish? Perhaps, on some level.
But it’s also strategic. I’m tired of people telling me that I will get more with honey than vinegar with people, because that is only true when the people to whom you are offering the honey have a functioning set of critical reasoning skills. A great many of these people are beyond reason. They are so scientifically and epistemologically deficient that they believe en masse that evolution can’t be believed because “it’s just a theory,” never stopping to consider why we don’t all just float up into space because gravity is, after all, just a theory.
Instead of ushering in a new period of racial and political harmony brought on by a Democratic president who is actually quite conservative when compared to the liberal caricature many tea partiers have made him out to be, the period encompassing Obama’s presidency thus far has, according to polls, actually seen racism get worse.
How does that happen? It happens because the so-called Greatest Generation has come to believe its own fawning press coverage. They really do think they are special and the rest of us are just a bunch of entitled moochers trying to get what is not rightfully ours. What this election and the last have revealed is that they are really the Greediest Generation freighted with a crippling inability to discern fact from fiction. They even scream about keeping the government out of their healthcare even though many tea partiers are apparently too stupid to understand that Medicare and Medicaid are government health care.
Couple this with the fact that rural whites without any college whatsoever are the other leg on which the GOP currently stands, and you have a perfect guerilla organizing opportunity.
If you can’t beat ‘em, use them the same way they are used by their GOP handlers in the Republican commentariat from K Street and Fox News. I want elderly and undereducated white bigots who claim ownership over the GOP to get riled up. I want them to take over state and local Republican committees. As we saw on Election Day 2012, the more in charge they are, the more likely they are to pick in their GOP primaries the lunatic men and women who believe they simply must run ads saying they are not witches, and answer debate questions by insisting that female bodies possess special powers to reject egg implantation after legitimate rape.
Even the once-sage GOP-handlers are going off on bizarre tangents, so completely do they begin to believe their own bullshit. On Election Night after even Fox News had called the race for President Obama, you had Karl Rove suddenly and freakishly concerned about math making sense — insisting, all while he did feverish calculations on camera and talked to himself, that there was just no way that Romney could absolutely fail to win Ohio.
Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly — no paragon of intellectual rigor herself — looked at Rove and asked, “Is this just the math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?”
A featherbrained Fox News Channel anchor had just read Karl Rove’s beads on national television. I decided to go to sleep after that, feeling that all was right with the world. But while trying to sleep I realized: I don’t want Megyn Kelly going off the wingnut reservation. I want her to drink and regurgitate the Kool-Aid.
The next morning I read Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe’s house conservative, wrote in a piece bemoaning Obama’s “dirty” victory, “The last four years changed Obama from the face of ‘hope and change’ to the candidate of ‘whatever it takes.’”
Suddenly I felt better. The GOP had just waged a presidential campaign full of secret whistles ostensibly only to be heard by the white bigot masses who would understand fully what was meant by code phrasing about Obama being “from Africa” and “playing basketball” and being “too lazy” to be president — while Colin Powell endorses Obama because he’s “just like him.” And that was just the less overt stuff not paid for by secretive GOP Super PACs.
If Jacoby, who passes for a conservative intellectual, can write a sentence so devoid of self-reflection and intellectual honesty immediately after the drubbing of his party at the ballot box, I knew that all we need to do is keep helping the GOP fire up the masses who torpedoed it so completely this year.