Flotsam and Jetsam Republicans

Were I a card-carrying Republican, I’d burn my card and pull the drapes. The current set of people who now call themselves Republicans appear to me to be the flotsam and jetsam of shipwrecks from bygone days- a collection of debris washed ashore- fairly useless stuff, cluttering and scarring the landscape. Recall that my parents were proud Republicans who would not recognize the riffraff now absorbed as swill into their party.


Dana Milbank, writer for the Washington Post, brought this set of chaff to my attention this AM in an article titled, Embracing misinformation on Obama. He referred to a recent poll of Louisiana Republicans about the destruction from Hurricane Katrina. The result of the poll is breathtaking and terribly frightening: Twenty-nine percent of them said that President Obama was responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.

This was slightly more than the 28 percent who said President George W. Bush was to blame. An additional 44 percent thought it over but just weren’t sure. Remember, these were Louisianians not North Dakotans.

So you must be wondering why people living in the state hit hardest by that hurricane would blame it on a man from Illinois who was in his first term in the Senate? Why?  [ fill in your answer ]

Milbank agrees with the hypothesis I have penned often on this blog: ignorance and propaganda. He doesn’t mention racism, but I would. He says, “The Katrina question is consistent with the many surveys finding an appalling amount of misinformation embraced by the electorate.” He continues, “Seven in 10 Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. One in five thought that Obama was Muslim. In another famous poll, Americans were three times more likely to be able to name two of the seven dwarfs than two Supreme Court justices.” Milbank goes on, “A Pew poll last year found that 30 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of conservative Republicans thought Obama was Muslim and 43 percent of Republicans thought Obama was born in another country.”

Why would Republicans express such ignorance? Why?  [ fill in your answer ]

Obama conspiracy theories have flourished in the Deep South, says Milbank, where wealth and educational levels are both low. This makes sense: Where voters are least informed, they are most susceptible to misinformation peddled by talk-radio hosts and the like. Propaganda. The Deep South. The Bible Belt. The ‘good’ Christians. Amen! The states with the lowest educational scores. The former Confederacy. The former Jim Crow Laws.

“Obama derangement syndrome is running pretty high right now among a certain segment of the Republican base,” Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling. said. “There’s a certain segment of people who say, ‘If you’re going to give me the opportunity to stick it to Obama, I’m going to take it.’ ”

So what has gathered this pile of floating refuse into today’s Republican Party? Why did it accumulate there?  Because that party has opened its floodgates to anyone who isn’t left-of-center. Any flotsam and jetsam.  It’s all about numbers. Ideology and principles be damned.  Just numbers. Anyone will do.


9 thoughts on “Flotsam and Jetsam Republicans

  1. Isaac Asimov
    “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.””

  2. Allow me to expand on many who believe in aspects that just ate not true.

    This latest political Tea Party Conservative movement’s origins is from the John Birch Society’s “Minute Men.” A branch off of the Klan in the 1960′s.

    The true and real Boston Tea Party of 1773, where the colonists, were not in a compromising mood. They were still angry over the Boston Massacre, which had occurred 3 years earlier, and they were ready to boycott British goods.

    They were the liberal aspects of the time who decided as a protest to destroy private property. I give you examples below:

    MYTH 1:  The American Revolution was a rebellion against “Taxation without representation”, similar to the modern day Tea Party tax revolts.

    THE TRUTH: Actually, the Boston Tea Party was ultimately a protest against a corporate tax cut, whereas the modern Tea Party movement is in favor of tax cuts.

    The original Boston Tea Party was a protest against the British East India Company (BEIC) for receiving huge corporate tax cuts.  By the 1760s BEIC was dominating trade from India to China as well as in the Caribbean.  They controlled nearly all commerce to and from North America with the help of those tax cuts along with subsidies and special dispensation from the British crown.

    MYTH 2: The founding fathers wanted limited federal government

    THE TRUTH: Actually the Founders were a diverse group, often times with opposing viewpoints. For instance Hamilton and his Federalist Party believed in a strong federal government and a powerful executive branch.  George Washington supported this view as well.

    At the same time Jefferson and his Republican Party (which bears no relation to the modern GOP) supported strong states’ rights and a weak federal government.  Madison supported this viewpoint as well.

    MYTH 3: The Constitution demands strict and literal interpretation

    THE TRUTH: As was the case with the issue of federal government, there was much dispute over how to interpret and apply the Constitution and one cannot overlook the fact that the Constitution was only ratified in the first place with the understanding the Bill of Rights would be added later.

    Jefferson and his Republicans promoted a strict interpretation of the Constitution while Hamilton and the Federalists endorsed a liberal reading of the Constitution.

    Hamilton and his Federalist Party espoused a strong federal government, led by a powerful executive branch, and endorsed a liberal reading of the Constitution; although he resisted the label at first, Washington clearly belonged to this camp.  Indeed Washington and Hamilton’s embrace an expansive view of the interpretation of the Constitution runs diametrically opposed to that of the Tea Party who tend to embrace the theory of originalism, the viewpoint that any interpretation of the Constitution must take into account and abide by the original intent of the Founders.

    MYTH 4:  created a “Christian Nation” founded upon “Christian Principles”. (This is one of my favorite)

    THE TRUTH:  One need look no further than to Thomas Jefferson to understand the false nature of this claim.

    “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. “

    -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

    And one cannot forget that Jefferson strongly advocated the separation of church and state:

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State. “

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

    Another founder, John Adams, was a Congregationalist who later became a Unitarian. However, he deliberately avoided creed-based dogmatic religion.

    The Treaty of Tripoli, introduced to the Senate by John Adams and ratified by unanimous decree, was signed by Adams in 1797 and includes the following passage for any doubters out there:

    “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

    – The Treaty of Tripoli, signed Nov. 4, 1796, effective Jun. 10, 1797

    Now back to current day events with regards to the reactionary extreme conservative Tea Party. Karl Rove has set up a Super PAC to keep controversial conservatives from winning Republican primaries and the Senate leadership has established a “buddy system” to keep Tea Party congressmen in line (“buddy” as in “you should probably vote the way we tell you to, buddy…”). These Teabaggers are to get in line, assimilate, or be purged from the Party. But the most important changes are taking place at Fox where heavyweights Sarah Palin and Dick Morris are out as contributors. A lot of this is post-election house clearing suggests that the GOP establishment is blaming the 2012 election loss on the Tea Party and the impolite Right.

    So in summation, the days of the Reactionary, Racist, hate driven based Teabaggers’ 15 minutes of fame is now over…..and good riddance of this disgraceful moment of this countries history.

  3. I hope your right, Engineer, that the Tea Party “is now over…” However, I
    have my doubts. I see everything, lets say, below the Mason-Dixon Line
    as Reactionary, and throw in the Great Plains States with Idaho, Wyoming,
    and Utah. Even in Indiana Michigan, and Ohio Reactionaries are in control.

  4. Highly recommend all read FRIEDMAN’S opinion piece in today’s NYT
    onour Syrian intervention. He proposes “arm and shun” as a response,
    instead of “shock and awe” II Obama style…..

  5. Speak up, M_R. Do you stand with President Obama on an “invasion” of Syria, or do you stand with most other liberals
    who do not stand with him on this issue?

  6. Stand? I’d rather sit if you don’t mind. I will be standing for 2.5 hrs this weekend helping to educate The People on the benefits of Obamacare.

    Regarding your question, I don’t care.

    BTW, isn’t some type of military action customary for the 2nd term of our presidents? Wouldn’t want to break with tradition.

  7. I see, your like that Sen. Markey of MA, your PRESENT. After living in
    Texas, Colorado, and Montana I learned the following saying, “Stand
    hitched”. Taken from horses standing at the old hitching post.
    In the present situation re Syria either we are true to our beliefs
    not withstanding who the person is threatening that belief, in this case war,
    or we are not.
    Btw, did you happen to read my comment below on the use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima and Nagasaki? 500,000 killed immediately, and many more dying the slow and painful death of radiation, not even a military
    target but against the old, infirm, women and children. How short Kerry’s
    memory is.

    1. Thanks for equating me with Sen. Markey. I’ve been a fan of his all throughout his long tenure in Congress.

      Re the a-bombings, it was despicable, period!

      What does this have to do with John Kerry?

  8. Kerry has sold his mouthed humanitarianism to the neo cons. Kerry and
    McCain are surrogates for the President and are joined at the hip in
    calling to make war on the sovereignty of another nation. “not a dime’s
    worth of difference” on this issue!

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