Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland
Rebellion in America’s
By Mariusz Zawadzki
Of course, only time will tell if the rebellion was a moment of panic or a permanent trend of renewal within the party.
Translated By Aleksandra J. Chlon
16 November 2012
Edited by Tom Proctor
Poland - Gazeta Wyborcza - Original Article (Polish)
“We’ve had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism! It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party! We need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters! We need to stop being the stupid party!” Such is the appeal of an influential politician of the new wave of Republicans after Mitt Romney’s defeat by Barack Obama.
This surprisingly honest appeal, a call for revolution as a matter of fact, was made by the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, who bit his tongue before the elections and loyally took part in his party’s campaign. The rebel is 41-years-old and is the first influential Republican politician of [Indian] origin in the history of the United States. He is said to be a potential candidate for president in 2016.
“We’ve had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism! It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party! We have to reject anti-intellectualism! We need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters! We need to stop being the stupid party!” Jindal said in his daring interview with the website Politico.
He is referring, amongst others, to the Republican senator Todd Akin, whose scandalous statement towards the end of the campaign severely harmed Romney and helped Obama. He claimed that a woman who has been raped cannot become pregnant, because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Statistics show, however, that a few thousand pregnancies are the result of rapes every year in the United States. Akin was punished: He lost the elections, even though he was in the lead in the polls before his statement.
Jindal’s harsh words are also directed towards Mitt Romney himself, who a few months back presented himself as a “severe conservative,” but became “a moderate candidate of the middle” right before the elections. In the past few years, he radically changed his mind about many issues – such as abortion, health care and the right to carry a weapon – which many observers found comical. Such tactics belong to the category of “insulting the intelligence of the voters” that Jindal mentions.
Romney, who earlier this week spoke of the reasons for his defeat, does not accept the criticism. He thinks that Obama defeated him because he promised cheap loans to students and abortions and free contraception to young women. And to Latinos, he thinks Obama promised a lack of deportations for illegal immigrants that, for example, have studied in the U.S. These social groups, along with African-Americans, tipped the advantage over to the president’s side. (He won 50 percent against 48 percent.) In short, the Republican candidate was good, and it’s the voters who were disappointing.
“Such an analysis of the situation is absolutely wrong!” Jindal immediately protested. “We have got to stop dividing American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. …” These words are an allusion to Romney’s famous statement during a meeting with rich sponsors in Florida in May. The Republican candidate said there that 47 percent of Americans have a victim mentality and think that they deserve [getting] everything--food, housing, health care--from the government. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney concluded.
Who Does Fox Television Harm?
The leading conservatives in the media, which in recent years has set the tone for the Republicans, agree with Romney. “You can’t beat Santa Claus,” (that is, Obama) said Rush Limbaugh, who has the most popular radio broadcast in America.
“People want free shit, and Obama will give it to them,” says Bill O’Reilly, the host of the most popular television channel Fox News, with a long face. (In terms of viewers, O’Reilly has been beating his rivals at CNN for years.)
Even before Jindal’s revolutionary appeal, it was claimed that the Republicans must distance themselves from the propagandist, right-wing television of Rupert Murdoch because they are losing their grip on reality because of it. This could be seen on the evening of the elections, when the guest at Fox News studios was Karl Rove, former adviser to George W. Bush. He made use of old connections and raised over $300 million this year with the help of right-wing millionaires. Then he spent it on the elections—half on the presidential campaign and half on congressional elections. When the hosts of the program announced that Obama had won in Ohio, which meant that he is staying for a second term, Rove caused a scandal by saying that the information was rushed and that anything could still happen. For almost another hour, the main strategist of the Republicans stubbornly remained in his own parallel universe.
Republicans, Evolution Really Did Take Place!
On MSNBC, the popular journalist Rachel Maddow went on a tirade that was humiliating for the Republicans and became a hit on YouTube: “Ohio really did go to president Obama. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is the legitimate president of the United States, again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the congressional research service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections to make conservatives feel bad. He was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is real. And the Benghazi was an attack on us, not a scandal by us. And nobody is taking away people’s guns. And taxes have not gone up and the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And moderate reforms of the regulations of the insurance industry and financial services industry are not the same thing as communism. There are real problems in the world. There are real knowable facts in the world. Let’s accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let’s move on from there. If the Republican Party, and the conservative movement, and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation.” All the issues mentioned by Maddow were questioned by conservatives.
Voice of the Rebels – Stronger and Stronger
A week after the elections, it seems that the pig-headed people concentrated around Fox News are on the defensive, and the voice of the rebels is stronger and stronger in the party debate. Maybe it wasn’t as bold and pointed as Governor Jindal’s, but it’s revolutionary all the same.
Even the most important doctrine of the Republicans—“No-New-Taxes”—has been put into question. Nearly all Republican congressmen have signed a commitment that they will not vote for any policy aimed at raising taxes. But lo and behold, one of the most important Republican publicists, Bill Kristol from the Weekly Standard, announced a few days ago that “it won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.” In the meantime, the Republican senator Rand Paul is announcing that he will encourage his colleagues to legalize marijuana (sic!) and to grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants. Of course, only time will tell if the rebellion was a moment of panic or a permanent trend of renewal within the party.
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