Demonizing the Republicans

Kathleen Parker gives some good examples of demonizing your opponent:

So why do Republicans hate art, the elderly and children?

Hint: Same reason parents hate their children when they say, “No.” We could just leave it at that, but this is too much fun.

The demonizing of Republicans for trying to seriously address our desperately ailing economy surely begs for a new metaphor. The GOP has become the army of Mordor, fat-gobbed predators who feed on children while destroying all that is beautiful in their relentless pursuit of greed.

Or so one would infer from the fiery rants emanating from the bowels of Capitol Hill and Hollywood.

“Why are the Republicans trying to kill the arts?” Chris Matthews on “Hardball” asked actor Kevin Spacey, who was in Washington to protest cuts to the arts. Elsewhere, actor Tim Robbins compared proposed cuts to an “old miserly man snatching a crayon out of a baby’s hand.”

He hoped that “more adult minds will prevail.”

Indeed.

Everyone is calling for adults these days. President Obama insisted that Congress “act like grown-ups,” adding that we don’t have time for games. I’m not sure where these adults are going to come from since almost no one seems to want to be one. Meanwhile, the vocabulary of evil and apocalyptic imagery has punctuated criticism of the GOP’s proposed 2012 budget, not to be confused with the 2011 budget.

It is helpful at this juncture to recall that Democrats failed to produce a budget last year, despite controlling the White House and both houses of Congress. But back to the end times:

Jonathan Chait at the New Republic declared the proposed GOP budget “wildly cruel,” while Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) projected a biblical “no room at the inn” scenario with “lights out, doors wide open and the drumbeat playing as people are being rolled out of nursing homes in wheelchairs, with crutches, some on beds.” . . .

Gamesmanship can be entertaining when the stakes are small. But as the president correctly noted, the economy is not child’s play. As painful as the truth is, we can’t continue to live beyond our means. Every category of spending will have to take a hit, and we’ll have to figure out how to make the sucker float with a minimum of suffering. In the meantime, we might relax our reflexes just a tad and give hysteria a rest.

via Demonizing the GOP, losing the budget battle – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    The idea that everyone shares in the discomfort of belt-tightening is a crock. Austerity for the many means prosperity for the few, because cutting services makes it possible to give the wealthy more tax cuts, or to just keep the tax cuts they’ve already received. With the additional benefit that they don’t have to pay for fixing the economy they wrecked in their wild pursuit of greater riches. (The non-rich will continue to pay for that.)

    So what’s the best, reality-based metaphor for Republicans who give to the rich by taking from the non-rich in the name of fiscal discipline? And are rewarded, in a number of ways, for doing so? The tough cop on the take.

  • Tom Hering

    The idea that everyone shares in the discomfort of belt-tightening is a crock. Austerity for the many means prosperity for the few, because cutting services makes it possible to give the wealthy more tax cuts, or to just keep the tax cuts they’ve already received. With the additional benefit that they don’t have to pay for fixing the economy they wrecked in their wild pursuit of greater riches. (The non-rich will continue to pay for that.)

    So what’s the best, reality-based metaphor for Republicans who give to the rich by taking from the non-rich in the name of fiscal discipline? And are rewarded, in a number of ways, for doing so? The tough cop on the take.

  • Gary Held

    Tom, well said. Yes, the nation needs a steaming, hot cup of fiscal reality, but I see more and more how Republicans are trying to rig the game. They’re going to ensure the rich are protected. And as far as thinking about the long-term best interests of this country, they really don’t give a damn about the arts.

    And btw, I used to be a staunch Republican.

  • Gary Held

    Tom, well said. Yes, the nation needs a steaming, hot cup of fiscal reality, but I see more and more how Republicans are trying to rig the game. They’re going to ensure the rich are protected. And as far as thinking about the long-term best interests of this country, they really don’t give a damn about the arts.

    And btw, I used to be a staunch Republican.

  • SKPeterson

    What exactly is the rationale for arts subsidies? The rich vein of irony tapped by Spacey and Robbins about requiring government funding for the arts is laughable upon the billions of faces of George Washington that Hollywood generates every year. Although, one could make a plausible argument that Hollywood has done more damage to the arts than the possible withdrawal of public monies would do.

    As to the rich, they shall be with us always. And what this nation needs is a good dose of austerity on the part of the middle classes, who need to go back to saving and then buying, not buying on credit and defaulting*. The best way to punish the rich is to quit buying into their constant litany of “buy, buy, buy and on credit, please” which is promulgated by the protectors of the rich, Democrat and Republican.

    *I must admit I do find it rather darkly humorous that the firms that routinely use bankruptcy laws to avoid paying their debts, fight tooth and nail to deny the same legal privileges to consumers who owe them money. Hoist upon their own petard and all that.

  • SKPeterson

    What exactly is the rationale for arts subsidies? The rich vein of irony tapped by Spacey and Robbins about requiring government funding for the arts is laughable upon the billions of faces of George Washington that Hollywood generates every year. Although, one could make a plausible argument that Hollywood has done more damage to the arts than the possible withdrawal of public monies would do.

    As to the rich, they shall be with us always. And what this nation needs is a good dose of austerity on the part of the middle classes, who need to go back to saving and then buying, not buying on credit and defaulting*. The best way to punish the rich is to quit buying into their constant litany of “buy, buy, buy and on credit, please” which is promulgated by the protectors of the rich, Democrat and Republican.

    *I must admit I do find it rather darkly humorous that the firms that routinely use bankruptcy laws to avoid paying their debts, fight tooth and nail to deny the same legal privileges to consumers who owe them money. Hoist upon their own petard and all that.

  • LAJ

    It can be a good thing for the government to support the arts, but in this country the support is sometimes going to artists who do evil rather than good in their art.

  • LAJ

    It can be a good thing for the government to support the arts, but in this country the support is sometimes going to artists who do evil rather than good in their art.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I dunno what Kathleen Parker is complainin’ about.

    As a conservative, I do in fact want to kill women and let babies die, and make old people eat cheap Chinese dog food.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I dunno what Kathleen Parker is complainin’ about.

    As a conservative, I do in fact want to kill women and let babies die, and make old people eat cheap Chinese dog food.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom and Gary
    Funny, I see complaining about Republicans, but not one word about Democrats who don’t pass budgets (and when they do they have $1 trillion dollar deficits) and who still control the White House and the Senate. Oh, and by the way who receive more in campaign contributions from “the rich” than Republicans and have for quite some time.
    I am not particularly enthralled with Republicans either, but you are really barking up the wrong tree.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom and Gary
    Funny, I see complaining about Republicans, but not one word about Democrats who don’t pass budgets (and when they do they have $1 trillion dollar deficits) and who still control the White House and the Senate. Oh, and by the way who receive more in campaign contributions from “the rich” than Republicans and have for quite some time.
    I am not particularly enthralled with Republicans either, but you are really barking up the wrong tree.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    But to be serious, I think the demonization attempts are becoming more and more transparent these days with such easy access to alternative sources of information (the Internet, say) and with less of a stranglehold on distribution of information by the traditional media.

    So when the demonizers make such outlandish claims about their opponents motives, it just looks silly and petty.

    Would to God that these were just the death throes of a dying ideology, but my hopes aren’t high in that regard.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    But to be serious, I think the demonization attempts are becoming more and more transparent these days with such easy access to alternative sources of information (the Internet, say) and with less of a stranglehold on distribution of information by the traditional media.

    So when the demonizers make such outlandish claims about their opponents motives, it just looks silly and petty.

    Would to God that these were just the death throes of a dying ideology, but my hopes aren’t high in that regard.

  • DonS

    Scapegoating is the oldest political ploy known to man. When you have failed politically, you need to find someone to blame. It’s not that politicians have treated the hard earned money of other people as their own candy shop, it’s that those “rich” other people won’t give up more of it. It’s not that politicians, in their endless quest to gain and hold power, have created a huge government employee class that retires at age 55 and spends more time in retirement, at nearly full guaranteed pay, with inflation escalators and lifetime medical care, than it spent working. It’s that the “rich” are pillaging the country and now refuse to fix it. It’s not that power-hungry politicians have strangled the productive sector with regulation to the point that they have to go offshore to compete. It’s that those filthy “rich” still aren’t giving the government 100% of their income, which belongs to the government anyway.

    And notice that, while by using the term “rich”, they conjure up images of fat cat multi-billionaires, when they actually define the term in the tax code it actually applies to folks making less than $200,000 per year. Hardly “rich”.

    Here’s a hint — even if we give them all of our income, the problem of overspending and overcommitting future tax dollars will only get worse. Politicians know and care nothing about budgetary responsibility, and the accounting standards they so easily impose on private businesses. Do not feed the beast.

    We need to hold our politicians accountable to the fact that they have utterly failed in their stewardship of precious, hard earned tax dollars. The last thing they need are more of them to waste. Thankfully, I think people are finally waking up to the fact that the greed of our present generation, in its desire to free load on the backs of others, has irreparably damaged the living standards of future generations, who will pay for centuries for our selfishness.

  • DonS

    Scapegoating is the oldest political ploy known to man. When you have failed politically, you need to find someone to blame. It’s not that politicians have treated the hard earned money of other people as their own candy shop, it’s that those “rich” other people won’t give up more of it. It’s not that politicians, in their endless quest to gain and hold power, have created a huge government employee class that retires at age 55 and spends more time in retirement, at nearly full guaranteed pay, with inflation escalators and lifetime medical care, than it spent working. It’s that the “rich” are pillaging the country and now refuse to fix it. It’s not that power-hungry politicians have strangled the productive sector with regulation to the point that they have to go offshore to compete. It’s that those filthy “rich” still aren’t giving the government 100% of their income, which belongs to the government anyway.

    And notice that, while by using the term “rich”, they conjure up images of fat cat multi-billionaires, when they actually define the term in the tax code it actually applies to folks making less than $200,000 per year. Hardly “rich”.

    Here’s a hint — even if we give them all of our income, the problem of overspending and overcommitting future tax dollars will only get worse. Politicians know and care nothing about budgetary responsibility, and the accounting standards they so easily impose on private businesses. Do not feed the beast.

    We need to hold our politicians accountable to the fact that they have utterly failed in their stewardship of precious, hard earned tax dollars. The last thing they need are more of them to waste. Thankfully, I think people are finally waking up to the fact that the greed of our present generation, in its desire to free load on the backs of others, has irreparably damaged the living standards of future generations, who will pay for centuries for our selfishness.

  • Porcell

    Ryan and the Republicans have proposed a spending plan that deals seriously and gradually with the vastly underfunded Medicare and Medicaid entitlements and in the long runs maintains them on a sustainable basis. Compared to Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget, the Ryan budget according to the CBO over ten years saves 6.2 $trillion.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats are demonizing the Ryan budget, though so far they haven’t made a serious proposal to deal with the looming catastrophic debt crisis. Fortunately a majority American people have become aware of the danger of a debt crisis; unless the Democrats come up with a reasonable solution to the spending crisis, they will lose the presidency and a senate majority come November 2012.

    Schumer et al may talk about the extreme Republican budget, though in truth not dealing effectively with the budget is a dangerously extreme position.

  • Porcell

    Ryan and the Republicans have proposed a spending plan that deals seriously and gradually with the vastly underfunded Medicare and Medicaid entitlements and in the long runs maintains them on a sustainable basis. Compared to Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget, the Ryan budget according to the CBO over ten years saves 6.2 $trillion.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats are demonizing the Ryan budget, though so far they haven’t made a serious proposal to deal with the looming catastrophic debt crisis. Fortunately a majority American people have become aware of the danger of a debt crisis; unless the Democrats come up with a reasonable solution to the spending crisis, they will lose the presidency and a senate majority come November 2012.

    Schumer et al may talk about the extreme Republican budget, though in truth not dealing effectively with the budget is a dangerously extreme position.

  • steve

    Tom Hering #1:

    Who is the “they” to whom you’re referring?

  • steve

    Tom Hering #1:

    Who is the “they” to whom you’re referring?

  • Tom Hering

    “When you have failed politically, you need to find someone to blame.” – DonS @ 8.

    Like teachers and union workers?

    “… politicians have strangled the productive sector with regulation to the point that they have to go offshore to compete.”

    They go wherever they can get away with paying 20 cents an hour. And stay there until the workers start to organize, and demand 50 cents an hour to support their families. Then the “productive sector” picks up and moves to a more impoverished nation.

    “… folks making less than $200,000 per year. Hardly ‘rich.’”

    Are you serious? Half of America earns under $50,000 a year. And a lot of the world measures annual income in terms of hundreds of dollars.

    “… the greed of our present generation, in its desire to free load on the backs of others, has irreparably damaged the living standards of future generations, who will pay for centuries for our selfishness.”

    Maybe what we really need is to stop thinking about the future in apocalyptic terms (typical conservative fear-mongering). And return to the courage, policies, and optimism of America’s progressive tradition. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    “When you have failed politically, you need to find someone to blame.” – DonS @ 8.

    Like teachers and union workers?

    “… politicians have strangled the productive sector with regulation to the point that they have to go offshore to compete.”

    They go wherever they can get away with paying 20 cents an hour. And stay there until the workers start to organize, and demand 50 cents an hour to support their families. Then the “productive sector” picks up and moves to a more impoverished nation.

    “… folks making less than $200,000 per year. Hardly ‘rich.’”

    Are you serious? Half of America earns under $50,000 a year. And a lot of the world measures annual income in terms of hundreds of dollars.

    “… the greed of our present generation, in its desire to free load on the backs of others, has irreparably damaged the living standards of future generations, who will pay for centuries for our selfishness.”

    Maybe what we really need is to stop thinking about the future in apocalyptic terms (typical conservative fear-mongering). And return to the courage, policies, and optimism of America’s progressive tradition. :-)

  • Steve Billingsley

    The courage policies and optimism of America’s progressive tradition such as eugenics and deficit spending.

  • Steve Billingsley

    The courage policies and optimism of America’s progressive tradition such as eugenics and deficit spending.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 11: Thanks to the “courage, policies, and optimism of America’s progressive tradition”, I now see the plan clearly. Continuing in these policies, our effective annual income, after confiscatory taxation and the hyper-inflation of printing money to manage increasing government debt, will be measured in the hundreds of dollars, along with “a lot of the world”. ;-) By then, we’ll probably be glad to have those 20 cent an hour jobs, and manufacturing will return. Ingeni0us!

  • DonS

    Tom @ 11: Thanks to the “courage, policies, and optimism of America’s progressive tradition”, I now see the plan clearly. Continuing in these policies, our effective annual income, after confiscatory taxation and the hyper-inflation of printing money to manage increasing government debt, will be measured in the hundreds of dollars, along with “a lot of the world”. ;-) By then, we’ll probably be glad to have those 20 cent an hour jobs, and manufacturing will return. Ingeni0us!

  • Tom Hering

    @ 12: Ah! If only the eugenics movement had succeeded, and weeded out the kind of people – like Glenn Beck – who now equate eugenics with progressivism. I mean, it makes absolute sense that those old progressives who got beat up by cops and sent to jail because they fought for the interests of the least among us, also worked toward the elimination of the least among us. What argument could be more logical than that one? Surely we ought ignore the fact that supporters of eugenics could be found, back then, among people of every political persuasion. Because acknowledging that would just complicate the rightness of right-wing “thinking.”

  • Tom Hering

    @ 12: Ah! If only the eugenics movement had succeeded, and weeded out the kind of people – like Glenn Beck – who now equate eugenics with progressivism. I mean, it makes absolute sense that those old progressives who got beat up by cops and sent to jail because they fought for the interests of the least among us, also worked toward the elimination of the least among us. What argument could be more logical than that one? Surely we ought ignore the fact that supporters of eugenics could be found, back then, among people of every political persuasion. Because acknowledging that would just complicate the rightness of right-wing “thinking.”


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X