‘The modern GOP, simply put, has no moral center’

John Scalzi endorses President Barack Obama:

There are, generally speaking, two reasons to give your vote to someone as president. The first is because you are inclined to vote for that person. The second is that you actively wish to deny another person the presidency. In this case, I am voting for Obama because I wish to do both: Vote for him, and vote against Mitt Romney.

… Look: The modern national Republican party is a hot mess, a simmering pot of angry reactionaries driven by selfishness and willful ignorance, whose guiding star is not governance but power, and whose policies and practices are tuned to build an oligarchy, not nurture a democracy. Its economic policies are charitably described as nonsense and its social policies are vicious; for a party which parades its association with Jesus around like a fetish, it is notably lacking in the simple compassion of the Christ. There is so little I find good or useful in the current national GOP, intellectually, philosophically or politically, that I genuinely look on it with despair and wonder when or if the grown-ups are ever going to come back to it. Before anyone leaps up to say that the modern Democratic Party has problems of its own, know that I do not disagree. But if your practical choices for governance of the country are between the marginally competent and the actively malicious, you go with the marginally competent.

… More to the point, I think the real problem is that the actively malicious, awful and small-minded politics of the modern GOP have to be stopped. The modern GOP, simply put, has no moral center; it pays superficial obeisance to “traditional values” while yearning to implement policies whose highest moral achievement is consolidating wealth for the very few, and is perfectly happy to be as cynical as it needs to be to achieve that goal. If the GOP wins this election, it will simply become further untethered from the common good of the nation, because why shouldn’t it? There is no political reason for it to be otherwise. If mendacity continues to be rewarded, then mendacity is a legitimate strategy of power.

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  • everstar

    That picture of President Obama and Nichelle Nicols will never fail to make my Trekkie heart run around in gleeful circles.

  • depizan

    I don’t really understand what happened to the GoP.  I know _how_ it happened, and I know that a lot of effort went in to making it happen, but I don’t really _understand_.  I understand only too well fearing a political party because of what it says and the stances it takes – and what those things would mean for one’s own life.  But I don’t really understand fearing people because of what _someone else_ says about them.  Are that many people unaware of the concept of lying?  Misrepresenting?  Making shit up?


  •  I don’t really understand what happened to the GoP.  I know _how_ it
    happened, and I know that a lot of effort went in to making it happen,
    but I don’t really _understand_.  I understand only too well fearing a
    political party because of what it says and the stances it takes – and
    what those things would mean for one’s own life.  But I don’t really
    understand fearing people because of what _someone else_ says about
    them.  Are that many people unaware of the concept of lying? 
    Misrepresenting?  Making shit up?

    The GOP was taken over starting in the 1960’s by people who would say and do anything to get power for themselves. A lot of it was race as the party attracted all the bigots who left the Democrats after 1965. A lot of it was Bircherite anticommunism because from the 30’s through the 70’s, the Democrats became associated with “soft on communism” leftism. But ultimately, those forces were allowed to take root by people at the top of the GOP who simply wanted to be powerful and in charge and would take the votes from and support of the demonstrably evil if it put them over the top electorally. And now, those factions rule the party.

    For what it’s worth, the Democrats dodged the bullet. It wouldn’t have taken too many left turns for a left wing demagogue like Huey Long to have taken over the party and then done to the country from the left what Nixon et al did to it from the right.

  • Tricksterson

    “No one  ever went broke underestiting the intelligence of the average voter”
    – H. L. Mencken

    “We’ll never know if that’s true because it’s impossible to underestimate the intelligence of the average voter”
    – Dsve Sim

  • P J Evans

     he has less of an accent that she does, when he speaks like that.

    She was in LA the other day for opening day at the Shuttle. That was good, too.

  • D9000

    Come over to UKia. We’ve got a whole shitload of political perties without a moral centre.

    (I typed that as morel centre. Given the mushroom treatment we get from uk.gov I think it was a Freudian slip).

  • D9000

    Not sure where my subconscious was going with ‘perties’, though.

  • Carstonio

    I like the theory that’s been suggested by others here – privilege based in skin color and gender and religion has been declining over the last half-century, and the people who have been losing that privilege know or suspect that demographic trends will probably make that loss permanent. Seeing an educated black man become president was a tangible sign of that loss, going against much of what they had believed to be true about life, like their world had been turned upside down. We probably can’t help them work through their denial but we can work to prevent them from taking the country down with them.

  • Victor

    (((In this case, I am voting for Obama because I wish to do both: Vote for him, and vote against Mitt Romney.)))

    Personally speaking , if I was a good American brother, I would know who to vote for but seeing that Americans are only my spiritual cousins, I’ll simply say that Mr Obama would have been my first choice four years ago but no longer because his spiritual reality cells believe that they are gods and have proven “IT” to U>S (usual sinners) in a couple of Ways NOW! YA WAYs and if ya don’t believe me just look that the alien sign that he’s making with his “Right Hand” Victor!

    Don’t be silly you skitsos! He’s simply waving to U>S gods in the sign of a “V” so don’t be jumping to conclusions sinner vic! :)


  • depizan

     Well, yes, that’s what happened.  That does nothing to explain how that many people can be motivated by fear of, well, the boogieman. 

  • depizan

     And that’s just really depressing.

  • H. L. Mencken did not like democracy at all. And it showed. 

    I would like someone to find this so-called “average voter” before they start insulting her intelligence.

  • Tamed4u

    Open Letter

    To the Republican Party
    Nation Wide

    You have been served!

    We the people, Black men and women, were brought to the Americas
    against our will, forced to feed you bellies and your babies. Made to plant and
    harvest your crops, raise and bear your bastard children. You used the blood of
    our mothers and fathers to fill your coffers with money and your minds with
    attitudes of supremacy. You stole our past when you brought us to this land; we
    will not allow you to steal our futures, you are stuck with us, come hell or high
    water! We serve notice today, this land is our land; our blood and that of
    native peoples holds the soil together! We are free and we will not go back to
    the ways of our fore parents! We will pray and fight you for everything that you
    steal, beat, legislate, or negotiate away from our children.

    You have been served!

  • wendy

    Here’s how: 

    in the late 70’s, a few of the top Reaganauts (the faction’s guiding hands; this was before they and their followers became known as Reaganites) cut a deal with Falwell, Robertson, Shafer and a couple of others. “We’ll get on board with your social issues, if you’ll get your followers to register Republican en masse and vote as one for our primary candidates.”

    Thus was born Supply-Side Jesus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK7gI5lMB7M

    Thus did an entire generation of evangelicals come to believe that feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and healing the sick were contrary to the teachings of their scripture, that right-wing economics and belligerent foreign policy were the True Faith.

    Thus did an entire generation of pragmatic-management Republicans come to believe that disregarding the talents and crushing the ambitions of non-males, non-whites and non-Christians was the path to economic growth and wise stewardship of national resources. 

    Somewhere along the line, the originators of this consciously cynical deal lost hold of the tiger’s tail; the people they’d swayed with their deliberately dishonest rhetoric came to actually believe it, and raised their children to think these were eternal truths. 

  • wendy

    and when I say “a few Reaganuts”, I should be more specific. 

    Ralph Reed. Karl Rove. Lee Atwater. Roger Ailes. Lyn Nofziger. Jack Abramoff. Grover Norquist. 

  • Fusina

     My daughter even recognized her, and gave her kudos for wearing red still. She also suggested that probably Republicans wouldn’t recognize her, on account of disliking Science fiction on account of the word Science being used… Okay, I thought it was funny.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Kung Fu Monkey: I Miss Republicans

    No, seriously. Remember Republicans? Sober men in suits, pipes, who’d
    nod thoughtfully over their latest tract on market-driven fiscal
    conservatism while grinding out the numbers on rocket science. Remember
    those serious-looking 1950’s-1960’s science guys in the movies —
    Republican to a one.

    They were the grown-ups. They were the realists. Sure they were a bummer, maaaaan, but on the way to La Revolution
    you need somebody to remember where you parked the car. I was never one
    (nor a Democrat, really, more an agnostic libertarian big on the social
    contract, but we don’t have a party …), but I genuinely liked them.

    How did they become the party of fairy dust and make believe? How
    did they become the anti-science guys? The anti-fact guys? The anti-logic guys?

  • Nequam

    Oh,  I don’t know if I’d cite Dave Sim for *anything* these days. He went kind of phosphorescently crazy a few years back.

  • Victor

    (((Here’s how:)))  I recall being told while growing UP as a Catholic Christian that the more “I” learned about GOD (Good Old Dad) the funnier “IT” would become when and/if me, myself and i tried to understand “IT” more, butt  “I” don’t remember anything about Supply-Side Jesus?Victor! Victor! Victor! There’s so much more to learn and if ya simply listen to Supply-Side Jesus you’ll learn plenty during this year of “Faith”. For example at church today, you were singing, And HE will raise HIM UP and HE will raise HIM UP on The Last ast Day. Victor, did you not hear Supply-Side Jesus singing instead, And He will raise, raise YOU UP, and He will raise, raise YOU UP on the Last ASS Day?Victor! You know that we’re all GOD’s Children and by loving  HIM which stands for “Heavenly Innocent Men”, will not cut “IT” during this Twenty-First Century! So smarten UP and listen to Supply-Side Jesus and instead sing, raise, raise “YOU” UP on the last ass day. By doing this, we can  miss lead, “I” mean, these humans cells might also believe that Adam and Eve may never have existed butt then maybe Adam and Steve, I mean St. Eve would always be a posibility for Supply-Side Jesus cause “Woman” are children of GOD also and Men should stop taking advantage of them NOW! Should they not  Fred? Hey sinner vic! You’re off topic again!Really Victor? :)GO FIGURE? :(Peace 

  • MissMikey

    The other day the thought came to me out of the blue that this country is becoming browner, not just through immigration but also through inter-racial marriage. When I was still working retail it seemed like every fifth baby I saw was racially mixed (I was working at an independent bookstore which may have skewed the numbers some). And then I realized Pres Obama is mixed race and represents the demographic future of this country, which probably explains a lot of the animus against him.

    It’s not just that he’s an educated black man, but he truly represents a world in which old white men no longer have a place and that scares the shit out of them. Of course they vociferously deny that race has any role in their hatred of Barack Obama (after all they hated Pres Bubba (Clinton) just as much), and they would probably tell you how much they love their step-granddaughter or great-nephew who’s mixed, but I have really come to believe that fear of the demographic tidal change in this country is what’s driving alot of this*. I think that’s why the Republican party is in such a spasm of trying to turn the clock back to 1899 because they know that their days are numbered.

    *Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of plain old racism is to blame for the unreasoning hatred of Pres Obama, but I also think that a lot of people are threatened by the coming demographic changes and he is a very public symbol of what those changes mean — a loss of privilege that Protestant white males and females have taken for granted for a very very long time.

  • Carstonio

    While I agree that such men feel threatened by the nation getting browner, I think it’s a mistake to treat that reaction as distinct from racism. It’s more accurate to say that Obama represents a world where old white men cannot count on having social privilege based on their skin color or gender. Fear of the demographic tidal wave of change IS racism. They fear a nonwhite majority taking away rights from a white minority because they know damn well that it’s been the other way around for centuries.

  • MissMikey

     I absolutely agree with you that it is racism, but I know so many people, like my boyfriend’s mom or his best friend that buy into this unreasoning hatred of the President, but deny until they are blue face that racism has anything to do with it.

    I know that I live in a happy liberal white bubble, but I’ve never really understood this kind of disconnect. That one of the whitest black men you will ever meet is hated with so much passion, that people genuinely believe that in 1961 the white mother of a mixed race child supposedly born in Kenya would make sure to put a birth announcement in a Honolulu newspaper on the off chance that he might be elected president one day; that his opponent in this presidential race is openly trading on racist tropes in order to win the election. What made it click in mind was that he represents the future of this country.

    He represents a future in which just being a white person, usually male, is no longer enough. He represents a future in which white people will become the minority. Obviously that is racist, but I think it’s more than that. It represents a loss of control in so many different ways. A loss of control of women, of minorities, of civil institutions.  It is  motivated in part by racism, whether they want to admit it or not, but it’s the same fear of losing control that motivates their attacks on all sorts of progressive ideas such as: women controlling their own fertility so that they can be full members of the economy and society in general, races intermingling, people actually achieving based on their merits rather than skin color, religious choice, or whatever socio-economic community they grew up in.

    In 2008 I voted for the President in the primaries because I thought that Hillary Cinton had too much baggage. I thought that he was a clean slate and could get things done, whereas she was already tarred and feathered with the idea that she was a ballbusting, man hating, lesbian murderer. I thought that the fact that he was a man outweighed the fact that he was part black.

    What I failed to understand is that both of them are threatening in different ways. Both of them represent the fact that the old ways are done, the genie is out of the bottle. Women not only work outside of the home, they are no longer content to stay home, and non-whites are no longer just gardeners, nannies, and chauffeurs. We’re all uppity now. Do you think the reactions would be different if Hillary had won? The words would be different, but the sentiments would be the same. They both represent a future that is inherently threatening to the Powers That Be.

    I’m not trying to argue with you. Racism is a huge motivating factor, but it’s not the only one. Fear of the coming future is multi-faceted, it’s not just white/black/brown. There’s so much else involved.

  • MissMikey

     Sorry that’s so long and rambling. I’ve been drinking and very dispirited about the direction this country is headed in, whether or not the President is re-elected.

  • Lori


    That one of the whitest black men you will ever meet is hated with so much passion   

    Chris Rock did a little PSA for the Jimmy Kimmel show pointing out why white folks who want a white president they can trust should vote for Obama:


    (It’s totally SFW, but it’s Chris Rock talking about race so you know what you’re getting.)

  • The “Eisenhower Republican”: an endangered species, if not extinct.

  • Tricksterson

    Quite appropriate since his father was from Vulcan.  The Kenya story was just a cover.

  • Tricksterson

    The was back during the Cerberus, President of the Republuic days, back before he went crazy.

  • Tricksterson

    I suspect they might actually hate him less if he wasn’t half white.  he rings too many subconcious miscegenation bells.  Even worse is that it’s his father who’s black and his mother white.

  • Tricksterson

    Not really, after all, one of them is currently President.

  • I mean Republican-Republicans, not Democrats in Republican clothing. :P

  • everstar

    I laughed!  Made me think of someone asking a right winger if they’ve seen Star Treak and getting the answer, “I can’t watch that, there’s science in it.”

  • everstar

    Kenyanism is just a red herring?

  • B

    You left out my favorite line, re: Romney:  “the overarching sense that he wants to be president mostly because he
    feels like he should get to be president, and gets cross when it’s
    suggested that’s not a sufficient reason.”  Best concise description of Romney I’ve read to date.

  • A few months ago, I listened to her sing the vocal portion of the theme from the original Star Trek at a “concert of science” celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Space Needle here in Seattle.  The “Mohawk Guy” from NASA was there too.  

    Man, that was a great night.  

  • Quite appropriate since his father was from Vulcan.  The Kenya story was just a cover.

    Heck, that would make me more inclined to vote for him than I already am.  I mean, I am the kind of guy who would have this as a poster.

  • I think you probably mean Republicans in Democratic clothing, didn’t you?

  • Carstonio

    I agree with all of that, except that what you describe is part of racism and sexism instead of being more than those. Those isms do involve individual prejudice but they’re really systems that benefit whites and men. Fear of losing control of non-privileged groups and of society is inherent to racism and sexism and not something different from those.

  • Tricksterson

    You ever watch Star Trek: Voyager?  Obviously at some point Tuvok came back in time and fathered a child.

  • budsan

    In today’s times there is no morals in the Republican party. If you want to look at the GOP’s morels,. Remember how John McCain divorced his first wife. she was in the hospital in very critical condition and in need. What does McCain do? he divorced her while she was in this condition and married a much younger woman with loads of money. Talk about a despicable human being, it’s John McCain. When the draft called Romney for the Vietnam he hide be hide  some missionary work. Romney surely could of served in the military before or after his “missionary” work. But Romney didn’t he dodge the draft and let others do the fighting and die. Enough said about the GOP’s morels.

  • The wfe in the hospital bit – wasn’t that Newt Gingrich?

    (It’s okay. Republican hypocrisy is a mile wide and a mile deep so it’s easy to get them all mixed up :P )

  • Fusina

     I’ve been reading SciFi since I was–gosh, around 10 or 11. Didn’t know it was, I had just found a shelf of books at the library and read though it from Asimov to Zelazny. It was only later I discovered Science Fiction proper. At the time, I didn’t follow authors per se, I just started at the front of the section and read through to the end. So when I was reading the adult Heinlein books, I ended up finding out I had read a lot of his children’s books prior, esp. toward the end when he started writing in all his other characters into new books. 

    I was and am a voracious reader–if it is words on a page, the only thing that stops me finishing a book I start is if I get a couple chapters in and realize that I don’t care what happens to the characters. Which is not to say that the book is bad, just not the one for me.

    My daughter is a funny kid–but she is also heavily weighted to the shy side of life. I’m lucky that she often comes out with these bits if humorous wisdom/snarky statements and is willing to share with me.

  • Fusina

     By Mohawk guy, is this from the video on youtube? I love that one. A friend of mine sent me the link. Hee.

  • Hawker40

    “The “Eisenhower Republican”: an endangered species, if not extinct. ”

    We aren’t extinct.  We’re Democrats nowadays.

  • Carstonio

    I’ve long had the impression that Eisenhower didn’t have much of an ideology, other than preserving the status quo. Many of today’s Democrats might look like Eisenhower Republicans if they’re trying to hold onto the gains made by women and minorities, since many of their opponents seek to change the status quo by reversing those gains.

  • Well, there WAS a time when Republicans could at least be reasoned with. (-_-)

  • Wickedwalnut

    The closest Mencken actually said to that frequently misquoted quote of his was this: 

    ““No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”  

  • Wickedwalnut

    Mencken’s quote was “No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”