They may sound crazy and stupid, out of their minds and out of control to us. But that’s not how they sound to their base. To the fearful and angry mob that has become the core of the Republican Party, demagogues like Rudy Giuliani sound like speakers of truth because they are delivering the truth as the mob sees it. Wants to see it.
So the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson is correct in describing what seems to be the case:
GOP power brokers and potential candidates surely realize that President Obama is ineligible to run in 2016. Yet they seem unable to get over the fact that he won in 2008 and 2012. It’s as if they are more interested in vainly trying to rewrite history than attempting to lay out a vision for the future.
And he’s probably right that’ll cost them a third Presidential election in a row. But here’s the thing. It won’t cost any of the wannabes the nomination except in a reverse and perverse way because he doesn’t sound crazy and stupid enough to the Right Wing Republican yahoos who will vote in the primaries. And as for the general election, as much as it may cost them, it will cost them more if they don’t keep bringing the crazy because that’s what will bring out the base. Their best chance lies in some Democrats staying home while every Republican shows up. That’s why they’re committed to voter suppression and why they’re committed to sounding deranged.
Scott Walker’s mistake wasn’t failing to repudiate Giuliani’s demagoguery. It was not endorsing it and ramping up the rhetoric. He made the mistake of thinking he needed to sound somewhat reasonable to the Press Corps. Instead all he sounded was mealy-mouthed to Republican voters. He’ll learn.
More to the immediate point, it doesn’t cost them elections at the state and local levels or elections for seats in the House of Representatives. And I think they’d rather win all those than be in the Democrats’ position of having the White House but still have to watch their achievements of the last hundred years undone piecemeal at the state level while they are thoroughly stymied in Washington.
It galls them that they don’t own the White House because they believe they should own everything. They are, after all, the real Americans and only real Americans should be President. But it doesn’t matter in terms of real governing power.
But one more thing. It doesn’t cost the demagogues anything personally. Just the opposite. It pays them. Pays them very well. Giuliani may be a laughing stock from our point of view. But he’s the one laughing all the way to the bank. Walker probably won’t get the Republican nomination but running for the Republican nomination is a lucrative career. Ben Carson is already making a bundle off of people’s wishful thinking. The money will really start rolling in when he formally declares.
And it’s not just Republican politicians who get rich off riling up the mob. The whole media apparatus is in on the killing. Anger, fear, hatred keep the suckers coming back for more, wallets and pocketbooks wide open.
I was surprised that Marco Rubio was the only Republican Presidential hopeful mentioned in Robinson’s column who flat out dismissed Giuliani’s “blunt language.” I mean I was surprised that he was the one. Actually, I was surprised that there was even one, let alone that it was him. But I didn’t think Rubio had it in him.
I’m not giving him too much credit for it, though.
It’s likely he’s simply aware that his base includes Hispanics and some of them may be willing to vote for a fellow Hispanic even if he’s a Republican but not one who insults the President they enthusiastically and overwhelming voted for. He has to run for re-election in Florida next year. And maybe it’s also a sign he’s concluded he’s not going to be President or , at any rate, that this coming election won’t make him President.
Let’s see how deranged he’s sounding come 2020.
Another tip of the hat to Mrs M.
You should read all of Robinson’s column, Deranged by Obama, Republicans are spouting nonsense, at the Washington Post.