Sunday, June 14, 2009

March of the Plastic Soldiers Part 5

I saved the boldest embodiment of the GOP’s idealogical troubles for last.

If you want to see the best pound-for-pound incarnation of why the Republican Party is continually shedding moderates, and with them, any chance of actually representing an America as it is, not as the late Jesse Helms would’ve liked to have forced it to be; look no further.

Sean Hannity’s smug, arched-eyebrow, theatrical pen-holding faux-anchorman style is one of the things that keeps the Fox News Channel’s veneer and pretense of seriousness going. It’s a laughably thin charade for anyone who doesn’t want to pretend along with Hannity and Rupert Murdoch.

His “Hannity and Colmes” show was a pathetic piece of political theater that could only fool an idiot into thinking there was any real discussion or debate going on. Watching Colmes as the so-called “Progressive,” “Liberal” or “Democratic” side of a issue was like watching an unpopular no-name wrestler going up against Hulk Hogan: You know it’s fixed, you know who’s going to win and if you like this kind of crap, you feel like you actually saw something happen. Sean Hannity played this charade for years in one of the longest running two-man shows on television. Fox eventually realized that nobody cared to see Hannity win a fake argument and Colmes, stage prop that he was, left the show.

Now Hannity’s apearing on his own. Raising the same disingenuous questions and calculated phony doubts about anything that doesn’t fit in with his brand of social Conservatism and his Reagan-era Republican world view. I tuned in for about ten minutes a week ago and could (in a way I can’t do with any other talking head on televison) finish each and every one of Hannity’s sentences. Try it some time, it’s actually fun until you realize you can’t do that with anybody you actually know and then it feels creepy.

Hannity remains partisan to the point of robotic inflexibility: Democrats are just plain bad, wrong and even evil because well, they are Democrats in his view. I don’t think Hannity is just plain bad, wrong and even evil because he’s a Conservative Republican.
I think Hannity is just plain bad, wrong and even evil because he’s just plain bad, wrong and even evil.

Here are some reasons why:

Hannity is a compulsive abuser of the leading question. He’d have no program without it, in fact. He cannot “interview” or engage someone he differs with philosophically without asking “Yes or No” questions with false premises. “Why does [fill in the blank] hate America?” Is one of my favorites. It’s the absolute childishness of the question that always makes me channel surf right past his fake news program.

We’ve all been in relationships so this next stunt should be very familiar to you:
When you know you are factually, objectively wrong, you can only survive an argument by turning facts into a matter of opinion. This is a Fox News Channel standby. Listen to any of his reasoning regarding the Reagan generated deficits and how they, in his opinion, amount to lowered spending practices overall during the period.
Utter nonsense.
If the FCC was worth anything at all to us, they’d fine him for lying.

Arguing two different things at once to ensure that there is no resolution, is another tactic Hannity falls back on frequently. Such as turning the question of whether the government must act or interfere, into a question of whether Socialism is desirable to Americans. Hannity probably would have made the Hurricane Katrina response scandal into a question of government jursidiction versus state’s rights.

Accusing someone of doing what you are about to do, is another great passive aggressive ploy perfected at Fox News. Recent Example: Conservatives oppose the very idea of Judge Sotomayor, a Hispanic who is not Conservative and an Obama pick, on the Supreme Court. In light of her qualifications and experience, the figures in the Conservative opposition know their "objections" might be construed as racist, since they’d prefer a White male by their own admission. Their solution was to open their opposition efforts by taking her remarks out of context and instead branding her a "racist" first.
But Hannity got to the bottom of the matter though; by repeating every ridiculous accusation, honoring and airing every absurd question about the woman while providing no answers whasoever. Typical asisnine non-analysis from propagandist and fake anchorman Sean Hannity.
This punk shouldn’t even have a desk to sit behind.

…And that’s it for these clowns who are directing the GOP from the outside. So it appears there are five horsemen of the apocalypse. Ok, ok, it’s not as bad as all that.
Because even Progressive Liberals such as myself actually want a strong Republican Party to argue with. “Impossible” after all I’ve written you say? Not in the least. I would have voted for Lincoln Chaffee over Hillary Clinton if he’d been living and running in New York. After all he opposed the War in Iraq. He paid for voting his conscience dearly.

It may seem on the surface that I am criticizing the GOP as an entire entity as I’ve taken these five figures to task in this series. I am merely pointing out the most duplicitous, corrupt and useless high profile leaders in the GOP of the moment. Note that these are not people in elected office... yet.

As I have said before on this blog, the Party of Lincoln has to return to its core ideals and philosophic principles. That means that the Party’s future should not be in the hands of the 5 figures I discussed in this series, but in the hands of Republican voters, my fellow Americans. Never forget, the GOP gave us a president who went to war to end Slavery, although you’d never know it today.

For Republicans who may have strayed and actually read these posts of mine, it’s quite simple:

Make a list of ten things in order of importance to you and your family.

Yes, important to you, the Republican voter.
Not big industry, not Wall Street, not the Rich people who were partying it up at George W. Bush’s fund raisers for the past eight years. List ten concerns of yours, no matter how specific they may get in order of importance. Maybe power lines are too close to your house, maybe you have an elderly and infirm parent living with you who needs 24 hour care, maybe not enough tax dollars are going to your child’s school, maybe your job has gone overseas, maybe your neighborhood is falling apart due to foreclosures, maybe your retirement fund has evaporated. Give some real hard thought to just how important social issues like Gay marriage are on your list of top 10 concerns... because “Adam & Steve getting married” is not going to save your house or put food on your table, and “Adam & Steve” have been used to make too many people vote against their own interests for close to 30 years now.

I say to Republicans: take your party back from Rupert Murdoch’s media oligarchy and the massive transnational corporations it serves.

Demand that your politicians actually represent you and not corporations, take them to task for what they have wrought and move forward. Go to their websites every day you get your paycheck or even if you don’t anymore –even if you’ve lost your job and collect unemployment. Look at those tax dollars on your pay check or your unemployment check. Demand that they listen to the things that concern you. Visit their websites and email or call them every time you see them fighting for something on the Senate floor that isn’t on your list.

Do it here:
Do it now.

You shouldn’t have to change your party; your party should have to change its priorities for you. Make the GOP work for you. They owe you. It’s not American to say one thing and do another. It’s not American to lie.

At least it shouldn’t be.



Jack Jodell said...

Outstanding series, SJ, and the points you raised throughout were all valid and vital. The Republican Party, as I have pointed out in numerous posts of my own last year, has indeed been hijacked by a very aggressive band of ignorant, anti-progress, anti-intellectual corporarist extremists, many of whom are paranoids and many of whom are socially intolerant religious right fanatics. That Sean Hannity is a highly visible spokesperson for the GOP today proves my point. The guy is a fraud without any journalism credentials whatsoever, yet he appears prime time on Fox "News", which is supposed to be a news channel (but is actually Rupert Murdoch's Republican propaganda vehicle). Hannity is himself only a parrot for Murdoch's talking pointa, and is in fact a dropout of both NY University and Adelphi University. He worked as a contractor and a bartender prior to beginning a talk radio career which led to TV. His bartendering no doubt taught him the schmoozing he needed to do to enter mass media, because his entrance certainly never came due to superior writing ability or higher education credentials. The man is a fraud who learned early on that outrageous statements (and ridiculous extremist guests like neo-Nazis on his radio shows) were a cheap and easy way to obtain success. Regrettably, they and his very select and poor information gathering ability have not proved an asset to meaningful national discourse.

I echo your plea to the moderate, traditional Republicans to oust these Stone Age trolls who have captured their party, and to retake it from the cretins you have featured in this series. This country so badly needs these real Republicans, to return the party to the creative and progressive party they were at the time of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. For far too long between and after those eras, the GOP has been corrupted by big business and big finance. Your list of 10 things in order of importance is a fabulous idea, if only disgusted moderate Republicans will follow through on it and then take action to reclaim their stolen party, this will be a far saner and much better country.

SJ said...

-Really? I knew he'd dropped out of two colleges. Nothing wrong with being a bartender, -unless that's part of your resume leading up to being a "news analyst." I mean sh*t, even Bill O'Reilly studied history and has a master's in something or other, although you can't always tell with the way he shanks the facts.
I really do lament the fact that people like Arlen Specter aren't at home in that party, it doesn't make sense. We can't all vote "Democratic" all the time, it'll just lead to corruption down the road. It's too bad we don't have the attention span for multi-party systems as a nation. This current "Coke or Pepsi choice" system always lets us down in the long run. Lets hope the GOP's dysfunction allows Obama to push the public option for Healthcare through.
Fingers crossed.

Jack Jodell said...

I'm with you on the health care, SJ. And I have known many good bartenders. The best know how to empathize with and build up the patrons who happen to be down and out at the moment. The worst just say whatever they need to say to get the biggest tip. Hannity was definitely not the former. HIS advice to a depressed patron would have been to go beat up a gay or something. So, being the latter, he learned how to schmooze with his big mouth and get by with that instead of brains. And you're correct on not always having to vote Democratic. Without a real challenge, that party will again fall away from real people (and a good number of party members already have). So before the Dems get too fat and happy, they had better pass health care and taxing the rich, and then do something about keeping jobs in this country. Meanwhile, we can only hope that today's GOP will wither down to virtually nothing and a new moderate independent party will provide the Dems with some intelligent, practical and fair alternatives, which can only make both parties better.

SJ said...

well said on all counts.
I'm reading about the same old tired attacks on the Healthcare proposals today from Republican Senators. I guess they're opting to go down with the corporate ship so to speak.
How they will attempt to defend their current postures and votes to the public in the next election cycle is something I'm almost morbidly curious to see.
Thanks for all your well reasoned and thoughtful feedback Jack.