Here’s an Idea for the GOP: Stop Lionizing Stupidity

Republicans will start winning elections again by telling Americans they should be proud of acting stupid.”

Yes.  Yes indeed.

In a related vein, when Bubba Jo Suggs and Nathan Bedford Forrest Jr. show up at your CPAC workshop on racial diversity and proceed to sing the glories of the Confederacy, crow about “White Culture” and the threat that minorities pose to the White Race, and pine for the days when the Peculiar Institution kept all them grateful banjo-playing darkies fed and housed, you don’t allow them to throw your workshop into chaos and direct most of your ire at the horrified African-American lady in the house.  You throw these Klan Klowns out and make clear that there is no room whatsoever for this filthy bigotry.

Finally, speaking of stupid:  the GOP should really get around to reconsidering how the whole “refusing to admit that Iraq war was a catastrophically bad idea” thing is not helping them win votes with a huge demographic of people (strangely the age group forced to fight it).

Now I’m all for sticking to principle in the face of unpopularity.  But the basic rule of thumb is that you stick to your guns when you are right and the crowd is wrong, not when you are proven multiple times to have been disastrously and stupidly wrong and your critics are right.

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  • Dr. Eric

    The Republican Party will soon be as relevant as the Whig Party.

  • ivan_the_mad

    I read about that CPAC debacle earlier and just shook my head. I don’t know whether to label some of those assertions historical revisionism or plain stupidity; appreciation for history is one thing, but glorification of a cause that was inextricably connected to an intrinsic moral evil is another. It is encouraging to see that there was some more respectful discussion after the rabble had their say. Galupo ought to be heeded, but I doubt he will be. I fear the GOP’s descent into jingoism and cheap sloganeering is not complete. It is too early to tell whether efforts at reform, such as Ron Paul’s, will bear fruit or prove ultimately quixotic.

    What conservatism needs is to stop doubling down on stupid and recover its intellectual heritage. More Kirk, less Kristol; more MacIntyre, less Malkin.

    • Angsgar

      “Reform of Ron Paul”?!?!? Ron Paul who’s camp consists of open ne0-confederates?

      No Ron Paul is very much part of the GOP’s stupdity problem.

      • ivan_the_mad

        Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

        • Angsgar

          LOL Are you denying that many of Ru Paul’s associates were neo-confederates? What else do you deny?

          • ivan_the_mad

            I do not deny a spectacular failure of comprehension on your part.

  • InsaneSanity

    With respect to the CPAC meeting on racial diversity, would Jesus throw the prostitute or tax collector out of one of his gatherings? You cannot change minds by throwing those you disagree with to the curb, no matter how much you disagree, and if you read the end of the article, there was conversation and hope. “They left as friends” should mean something.

  • Seamus

    My first thought: Lo, I hope this does not mean that Mark Shea hangs out at The Anti-Christ Talking Points. Maybe he’s bookin’ for an Utne Reader Award.

    My second thought: The term “banjo-playing darkies” would not automatically come to the mind of the unsophisticated hick that Mark is trying to associate with the GOP. It would, in fact, take a sophisticated hick to realize that the black banjo tradition all but vanished from America by 1930. Your average GOP hick only associates the banjo with white Appalachia, Buck Owens, and Steve Martin.

    My third thought: Lets not give any advice on how the GOP can win. They’re nothing but a bunch of racist, Econoline-driving gay-bashers with no fashion sense. And a twisted sense of the Gospel.

    • Allan

      How exactly is your third point any less insulting, offensive, and bigoted than what those guys said at the meeting? Every Republican is racist? Are there any known cases of a Republican assaulting a homosexual? And is the De,ocrats’ sense of the gospel less or more twisted than the Republicans’? Seems being a bigot cuts across party lines, Seamus.

      • Seamus

        Sorry Allen

        I said that tongue- in-cheek, but it came out tongue-in-butt-cheek. It was an attempt to twist the nipples of the anti-GOPers, like Mark Shea, who also claim to be anti-Ders, in their sanctimonious Nietzschean claim to have gone “beyond” right and left.

        Pope Francis would have voted for Romney, if, etc., as we all know.

        • Allan

          Ah, gotcha. Although, I’m starting to also lean to the “every party sucks” side of things. Although individual politicians can have some merit, for the most part it seems like even conservative parties only talk social conservative values to get the votes, then forget it all when/if they get power (as is currently the case in Canada). Then all the politicians, liberal or conservative, sticks their heads in the trough and grab as much of our tax dollars for themselves as they can, while spending the rest on big projects to get re-elected, without regard for what’s actually good for the country. Modern politics has gotten very discouraging for the conservative Christian.

    • Mark Shea

      Ah. Ritually impure sources always make the facts they report untrue. Thank you for that umpteenth assertion of the genetic fallacy.

  • The Deuce

    The sad thing is, you could take the statements made by the racists at that meeting, reverse the racial interest groups referred to within those statements, and nobody would bat an eye:

    For instance, change Terry’s statement to: ““It seems to be that you’re reaching out to voters at the expense of young black men,” Terry said, adding he “came to love my people and culture” who were “being systematically disenfranchised.””

    Now it sounds like a typical, run-of-the-mill statement you’d hear at any Democrat shindig. When you have blatant double-standards like that, where some people are given carte blanche to express sentiments that are recognized as obviously tribalist and racist coming from others, and when you combine it with the effects of de-Christianization that Mark described in his previous post, you’ve got a recipe for intractable racial resentment that makes this sort of thing inevitable.

    • Benjamin

      Except for the blatantly obvious fact that a big chunk of white people for for Democrats (approx. 42%) while the GOP is whiter than mayo-on-wonderbread.

      • The Deuce

        That’s interesting, but I’m not sure what you think it has to do with the point I just made.

        • Benjamin

          If the Democrats were really anti-white racists, which you seem to be insinuating, they wouldn’t have 42 percent of the white vote unless white people are exceptionally stupid. Meanwhile the GOP can’t get large numbers of non-whites to vote for them (especially blacks but increasingly hispanics and Asians) which suggests there is something real to the charge that they’re racially insensitive at best and actively courting white resentment at worst.

          • The Deuce

            Ah, I see. You decided to see nothing but “Democrats are anti-white racists,” got mad, and ignored the actual point that I was making. That explains the non-sequiter.

            • Benjamin

              You were engaging in lazy false equivalence. The GOP has a problem with minority voters because they’ve been playing the game of stoking racial resentment ever since Nixon and the Southern Strategy.

              The Democrats do not have anywhere near the same kind of problem with white voters and have never actively tried to alienate whites from their party.

              • The Deuce

                And now you’re being a lazy partisan. Neither party has, or ever had, an active policy of trying to get particular racial groups to *not* vote for them.

                Furthermore, you’re continuing to ignore my point, which has zilch to do with the percentages of each race in each party.

                • Benjamin

                  I’m not a Democrat. And yes, the GOP explicitly engaged in a strategy of giving up on black voters and actively courting white racial resentment starting in 1968. It’s well-known. Even the GOP Chairman admitted it to the NAACP in 2004 and apologized for this “Southern Strategy”.

                  There was an effort to abandon it under Bush but now they’re regressing.

                  • The Deuce

                    “It’s well-known.”

                    Ah, well, that settles it then. And you continue to ignore the point and to frame this as an argument about the two political parties.

                  • Claude

                    It’s well-known.

                    It certainly is!

        • Beadgirl

          There is also limited good in trying to make a simplistic one-for-one analogy with regard to racial statements, for the simple fact that the historical experience of white people is not the same as that of blacks, or latinos, or asians, or [insert group here]. Context matters hugely when it comes to race/ethnicity. So does language, for that matter, for good or ill. Speak of honoring your Irish culture, and no one blinks, but they will give you the side-eye if you start talking about “white” culture, because of the way previous groups have used that phrase to not just honor their own background but to denigrate, if not outright destroy others. On the other hand, “black culture” for example means something different and far more narrow in this society (although it should not, since the so-called “black experience” in this country can be just as varied as the so-called “white experience”).

          Finally, crying out “minorities/liberals/democrats can be racist too!” does not address the fundamental problem of many (not all) minorities, like me, feeling completely ignored and insulted and devalued by the GOP. I’m fed up and pissed off by the GOP as a whole’s attitude to race, ethnicity, and immigration.

          • The Deuce

            Speak of honoring your Irish culture, and no one blinks, but they will give you the side-eye if you start talking about “white” culture, because of the way previous groups have used that phrase to not just honor their own background but to denigrate, if not outright destroy others.

            Yes, that’s the primary reason why people look askance at racial tribalism by white people in particular while accepting it from everyone else, but that doesn’t make it less of a double standard. If it is allowed to go on forever, more and more white people are going to see it as a scam where everyone else gets to gang up on them and they’re not allowed to hit back, and will adopt the tribalistic rhetoric that is routine among racial minorities.

            Finally, crying out “minorities/liberals/democrats can be racist too!” does not address the fundamental problem of many (not all) minorities, like me, feeling completely ignored and insulted and devalued by the GOP

            This wasn’t meant to be an advertisement for the GOP. I’m merely pointing out how trends in our culture, and politically-motivated double standards in our “permitted discourse,” are bound to make increased racial resentment inevitable if we don’t put a stop to them.

            • Dan C

              You have oblique criticism. I think you mean to say: it is wrong for African-Americans to organize cohesively, act unified, and praise their culture.

              You have trouble with racial resentment you do not think you own.

              What is it you propose? I am having trouble with obtuse concerns I cannot get a grip on, and then the criticism of every one else.

              Say what you think.

              • The Deuce

                I have trouble with racial resentment and racial tribalism period. Is that clear enough for you?

                • Dan C

                  I find in this sensitive matter that managing my own race problems and resentments is plenty. Worrying about someone else’s is just too much. I also find discussing and asking other people of different races honest questions without angry agendas often yields good dialogue.

                  Interestingly, the perpetually-aggrieved and over-venerated, professional Catholic, William Donahue makes a good living with less antagonists than African Americans.

            • Claude

              Oh, the poor persecuted white man, victim of a double standard! Hand me my teensiest weensiest violin.

              But it is precisely such resentment that the GOP exploited with its Southern Strategy, as Benjamin explained above, and continues to cultivate today.

              • The Deuce

                In other words, you don’t deny that flagrant racial tribalism is allowed and encouraged in our political discourse for the “right” people. You just think it’s justified because of the so-called “Southern Strategy,” and because you yourself apparently harbor some degree of animosity toward white people.

                Well, sorry, that won’t fly, no matter how much you rationalize it or think that the “poor, persecuted white man” deserves it because of things other white men did in your politicized take on history. I mean that as a practical matter. You can’t expect to go around proclaiming “Racism for me, but not for thee” and expect society to continue playing by that double standard indefinitely, particularly not as white people cease to be a majority, and begin to see everyone else acting in tribalistic fashion against them on one side of the political aisle.

                As Mark pointed out in the previous post, racial tribalism comes naturally towards fallen man. You don’t need to give him an excuse for it.

                If you wish to reduce racial resentment, then you need to oppose it in all quarters. If, on the other hand, you wish to stoke it because you hope your “team” will win, then just keep doing what you’re doing.

                • Claude

                  Well, that was an interesting take on what you think I think, particularly your reference to the Southern Strategy as my “politicized take on history.” Um, no need to politicize the historical fact of the Southern Strategy, designed to appeal to Southern whites’ racism, resentment of Civil Rights, and nostalgia for Jim Crow. This tactic worked quite well for the GOP, which is why the party continues to deploy it. Though in the GOP’s recent panic over its inability to win elections, due in part to its deserved reputation as a cynical exploiter of racism, the party has wildly changed tack. The spectacle at CPAC was a perfect example of the internal contradictions that are destabilizing the Republican Party. Couldn’t happen to a more exhausted bunch of plutocrats.

                  I’m sorry, what is this “flagrant racial tribalism” that you appear to believe is such an injustice to white people? And why do you suppose I have “animosity” toward white people? I myself am white and am quite sure I hold no racial animosity toward myself and other whites. As it happens I spend quite a bit of time in black communities and have rarely felt even s smidgen of animosity directed toward me as a visual reminder of a race that often barely disguises its fear of and contempt for non-whites. The fact is white people enjoy all the privileges of membership in the dominant culture, while everybody else does not. So, no, I don’t feel sorry for white people and their imagined persecution by “tribalists.” As Beadgirl rightly pointed out above, the rhetoric of white pride has woeful connotations that only the insensible would insist is mere cultural assertion.

                  • The Deuce

                    This tactic worked quite well for the GOP, which is why the party continues to deploy it.

                    This isn’t about the Southern strategy, much as you want to change the subject, but I would like someone to cite some evidence beyond “everyone knows it” if you’re going to keep asserting that it was a real, planned-out strategy. Please, point me to a Southern strategy paper, in which major politicians laid out their plans to deliberately lose the votes of racial minorities.

                    I’m sorry, what is this “flagrant racial tribalism” that you appear to believe is such an injustice to white people?

                    Where is your reading comprehension? Please point me to where I complained about injustice to white people.

                    And why do you suppose I have “animosity” toward white people?

                    It’s the “Oh, the poor persecuted white man, victim of a double standard! Hand me my teensiest weensiest violin” nonsense. It betrays an attitude that thinks whites, as a group, are due for some comeuppance (and that divides people up and applies standards by race in the first place).

                    As Beadgirl rightly pointed out above, the rhetoric of white pride has woeful connotations that only the insensible would insist is mere cultural assertion.

                    Doesn’t matter. It’s stupid to expect that people are going to forever accept that “black pride,” “Latino pride,” and every type of tribalistic racial pride are fine and dandy, while “white pride” is forever uniquely evil because of things other white people did in the past. It can’t be that racism is okay for some people and not okay for others, or that racism is okay if you’re not in the “dominant culture,” etc. Particularly as whites cease to be the dominant culture (and it’s really only wealthy white liberals who dominate the culture on the national stage, anyhow), you’re going to see more and more racialist behavior from them if it continues to be accepted from everyone else, and they’re not likely to care that it’s “insensitive”. It needs to be discouraged from everyone, first because it’s wrong for everyone, and second because you are setting the stage for worse racial strife otherwise.

                    • Claude

                      Seriously? You demand “evidence” for the Southern Strategy? Here’s an idea: look it up.

                      So you’re offended that I took your lament about double standards to mean an injustice. How would you otherwise describe double standards?

                      Actually there’s a difference between being unsympathetic to whining about white victimization and vengeful animosity. It suits you to make the false equivalence, but you’re wrong.

                      There’s also a difference between cultural pride and racism. It suits you to make the false equivalence, but you’re wrong.

                      If you believe “it’s really only wealthy white liberals who dominate the culture on the national stage, anyhow,” then it’s no surprise you believe that unless the poor white man is allowed to express racial pride, rhetoric that intractably connotes white supremacy, racism and Nazism, it won’t be long before we white people will be languishing under the boot heel of the racist ethnics (“they”). How convenient for your sense of persecution to live in the ahistorical world you apparently occupy.

    • Robert

      Your butthurt really does not become you, The Deuce. By the way, could your fake name be referencing Ann Arbor, my hometown? Let me guess: you attend Old St. Pat’s.

      • The Deuce

        Other than the parts about Ann Arbor and Old St. Pat’s, your guesses were completely on the money.

  • http::// RC

    You and Galupo are just wrong about Palin. Her bit with the Big Gulp was so drawn out, it was obviously comic shtick to make fun of Bloombergism.

    Apparently Palin the performance artist is too sophisticated for snotty Mark Shea to understand. What happened to ‘mea culpa’ Mark Shea? Does he only play this room once a month?

    • Mark Shea

      Of *course* it was comic schtick to make fun of Bloomberg. That’s the point. Pretty much her whole schtick is to take something some Dem says, make fun of it, and do the opposite, to the roars of the mob–even when “doing the opposite” doesn’t mean “Doing something smart in opposition to doing something stupid” but “Doing the opposite stupid thing in from the stupid thing my enemy does”.

      If a Dem says “We should pass a law against committing suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge” that’s a stupid law. It does not help to fight that stupid law by doing “performance art” and jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Bloomberg’s Nannyism is stupid. Advocating everybody guzzle sugar is also stupid. I advocate less stupidity from our Ruling Class.

  • Neil P

    Republicans are losing the black and Hisapnic vote because people tend to vote their income level, and for these groups it means the democrats. As long as people have been polling the Dems have won the Hispanic vote.

    The republicans did worse in 1988 among Hispanics even though Reagan signed an amnesty in 86.

    And contrary to the claim that Hispanics are all hard working pious Catholics, 53% of Hispanic families are headed by single mothers. They have higher illegitimacy rates than whites by far.

    • The Deuce

      Additionally, both of the major political parties in Mexico are members of Socialist International. Hispanics tend to be socially liberal, including on gay marriage, and the younger generations are especially enthusiastic about abortion:

      Conservatives need to deal with reality, and the idea that Hispanics are natural social conservatives who will switch allegiances with just a bit more pandering needs to go.

    • Kenneth

      Does being a single mom disqualify Hispanic women from being hard working or pious in your book? They’re nothing if not hard working, as most will need two jobs to scrape together rent for some miserable neighborhood. Hispanic women probably have some of the highest Mass attendance rates on the planet. To the extent their white counterparts may have lower out-of-wedlock births, it’s not because they’re a chaste lot. It’s because they’re much more diligent about contraception and quick to abort when that doesn’t work out. They also tend to have a better pool of marriage-material men based on high school and college graduation and the fact that the police-prison complex treats Hispanic and white guys much differently.

      • The Deuce

        Hi, Kenneth, I’d say that being a single mom doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman isn’t pious, but I would say that very high rates of out-of-wedlock births in a society suggests that a fair amount of the piousness is insincere. I don’t think your explanation for the difference in out-of-wedlock birthrates can hold up either, because Hispanic women have much higher abortion rates than Caucasian women.

        Keep in mind that while there is a strong current of Catholicism in South America, there is also a strong current of anti-Christian Marxist revolution that competes with it.

      • Beccolina

        There is also, among the young Hispanic women I worked with, a sense of despair and inevitability. These were 12-14 yr old girls. Most of them had an older sister or cousin who had gotten pregnant and dropped out of school. Many had several relatives in this situation. Older brothers and male cousins might finish, but their goal was to work at the meat packing plant, get a cool car, and provide for GF and baby. These girls were surrounded by family that had chosen premarital sex, cohabitation, no job training, etc. They couldn’t see any other way for life to be. You hit puberty, you got a BF, you had sex, you had a baby, you quit school, you work at Wal-Mart, if you’re lucky, because it’s a nicer job than Burger King and McDonalds. A lot of times, the next step is the baby’s daddy leaving for someone else, or the girl herself leaving for someone “Better”. The community needed deep healing, evangelization, and ministering to, not politics and vote-grabbing.

    • Benjamin

      Of course you leave out that Republicans did worse with EVERY group in 1988! Using 1984 as a point of comparison is silly because 1984 was one of the biggest landslides in American history. Bush was competitive with hispanics and won because of that. If they had voted for Bus in the same numbers they had voted for McCain and Romney we would have easily had President Kerry.

      • The Deuce

        1984 wasn’t a landslide for the Hispanic vote, which still only went ~30-35% for Reagan, just like it nearly always does for the Republican.

  • Neil P
  • TMLutas

    A good chunk of the problem is that left wingers get away with continually calling intelligent Republicans stupid. When intelligence is defined as agreeing with the left and stupidity in dissenting with the left’s positions, we’re entering into creepy 1984 territory here and something needs to be done. But the central problem is not with the people who are saying the left is double plus ungood. The central problem is with the writers of the newspeak dictionaries and our acceptance of their cultural authority.

    • Mark Shea

      Which would really be salient if I ever said or believed such a thing.

  • Obpoet

    The Republican Party will win again when it realizes that it is better to support what is right, and lose, than to compromise principles and support what is wrong, and lose.

  • Dante Aligheri

    Unfortunately, here’s what I see happening to the GOP. It seems to me that they are ultimately willing to abandon social conservatives and the Catholic-Christian coalition in favor of fiscal conservatism and social libertarianism. It seems the Republicans really never did like Christian activism but tolerated it while the demographics were in their favor. When that happens, Christians in the United States will be without a party. One might hope that Catholics – especially after the robust economic encyclicals from Pope Benedict XVI and, I suspect, Pope Francis – might attempt to create an alternative party in favor of communitarian/commonwealth economics instead of classical liberalism allied with a robust social conservatism, but for some reason I don’t think this will happen. Instead, I think we are quickly entering a period when Catholics will find it increasingly difficult – yes, more difficult than it already is – to vote at all.

    At the same time, I think social libertarianism and economic conservatism will prove only to hold off – rather to stop – a continuing decline of the GOP. The only hope is that we will see another political shift, resulting in another two-party system alignment.

    At least, those are my thoughts currently. Either way does not bode well.

    • The Deuce

      I don’t think the combination of social libertarianism and economic conservatism will hold off the decline of the GOP at all. I think it will cause the party to lose any sense of a coherent message and crumble rapidly.

  • Obpoet

    Besides, when the 47% become the 51%, it’s an endgame.