Republicans Are Too Angry To Get Elected

I’m so old, I remember when it was taken as general wisdom that people don’t vote for angry candidates. I remember sitting in a crowded Belcourt Theater in 2006 and getting scolded by Harold Ford Jr. for being “too angry.” I remember Tweety and Bobo devoting vast amounts of airtime and column inches to concern-trolling about “the angry left.”

I’m so old, I remember this:

The latest example of the anger strategy came Sunday, when Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said on ABC that Clinton “seems to have a lot of anger.” He cited comments she made in Harlem on Martin Luther King Day in which she likened the Republican-led House to a “plantation” and called the Bush administration “one of the worst” in history.


Other examples of the anger strategy abound. Last summer, with chief White House political adviser Karl Rove under investigation in the CIA leak case, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, denounced Democrats’ criticism of Rove as “more of the same kind of anger and lashing out that has become the substitute for bipartisan action and progress.”

Last month, after Gore criticized the president for approving warrantless eavesdropping on terror suspects, Schmitt retorted: “While the president works to protect Americans from terrorists, Democrats deliver no solutions of their own, only diatribes laden with inaccuracies and anger.”

Bush himself touched on the anger theme in his recent State of the Union address, saying: “Our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger.”

Ah yes, those were the good ol’ days, I guess. Now we have Newt Gingrich exploding at debate moderators and three conservative Supreme Court justices so peevish about some perceived slight from last year that they boycotted the president’s State of the Union address. Last night President Obama struck an inspirational, motivational tone while his Republican detractors sat on their hands and scowled. Well, all except Mitch McConnell. I hope someone in the GOP remembered to pick up the wax figure they had sitting in McConnell’s place. I’m sure these rentals from Madame Tussaud’s ain’t cheap.

Over at Balloon Juice, mistermix has posted some similar thoughts, contrasting the optimism that Obama displayed with the glum, sour puss firmly attached to every Republican in Congress. If this strikes you as a bit of a double standard, well, what else is new? IOKIYAR rules our discourse.

But there’s a reason anger works for Republicans and not Democrats. Back in 2008, following Fred Thompson’s spectacular flameout, My Wingnut Friend™ told me he’d probably hold his nose and vote for John McCain. And then he pounded his fist on the table and said, “I just want someone who can kick some butt!” At whom, or what, he didn’t say. I think it goes without saying that it didn’t matter.

And this is your modern conservative voter in a nutshell. They want someone who embodies the inchoate rage they all feel at being wrong about everything since forever. There really isn’t any more to it than that. They’re angry because they can’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, hippie-punching, raghead-bombing troglodytes and not get called on it. They’re angry that they’ve lost. They’re angry that they’re culturally irrelevant, regardless of their political and material power. Their anger reflects a psychological problem, not a political one.

Newt Gingrich knows this, which is why he can “kick some butt!” at debate moderators and not suffer any negative consequences. My only question is why these things are never issues with the punditry unless Democrats are doing them. Why don’t we have Tweety and Bobo soberly musing about how Republicans are too angry to get elected? How come there’s no concern-trolling about what a turn-off this is to voters?

Maybe that will come as Newt continues to exceed expectations in the primaries. We shall see.


Filed under 2012 presidential election, Newt Gingrich, politics

19 responses to “Republicans Are Too Angry To Get Elected

  1. SB, I love this new subject for discussion! I just read a column on Mother Jones about how rude, angry and bitter The Newt appeared as he tried to divorce Marianne EVEN AFTER it was proven he had lived with Callista for 6 years before initiating HIS divorce from wife #2. I truly believe he is bi-polar and a sociopath! His behavior is already becoming unhinged…if he wins the nomination, I await with glee the day when he will be forced to debate our President WITHOUT a cheering audience of racist imbicles supporting his antics!

  2. Randy

    “There really isn’t any more to it than that. They’re angry because they can’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, hippie-punching, raghead-bombing troglodytes and not get called on it.”
    My Indian physician clinic mate asked me this morning what I thought about the SOU. I told him I had divorced myself from broadcast media because I can no longer stomach the “analysis”(sic) I just use print. He replied “Oh you should of seen the R’s, you can just see the rage. It all boils down to one thing. They still can’t believe they got beat by a black man. That’s all this election will be about.”
    There really isn’t any more to it than that. My kind of analysis.

  3. deep

    Not to get all Godwin here, but weren’t the Nazi’s angry all the time too?

  4. I know I was angry that Harold was getting all the women.

  5. Randy

    “I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees this.” SB
    That’s exactly why I posted his ethnicity and occupation. Though he has lived in the west a pretty long time he still has a different perspective on the political scene. And he is pretty conservative fiscally. Their behavior is just so transparent.
    I’m sure you’re reading the Florida updates and have seen Rubio is having to coach Newt and Mitt on going easy on the anti-immigrant language because he doesn’t want to alienate the latino vote. I think the thinking demographic (Michael Savage excluded) in the GOP DO know that a Gingrich candidacy would be a disaster. Put him on stage next to Obama he will be the paradigm of the bloated old school white political boss (only Haley Barbour could do it better). My nightmare scenario, of course, is that a bloated old race baiter might get enough votes to win. Cue: Blood-curdling screams.

    • And yet, Newt went on Univision this morning wondering why we bombed Libya not Cuba, saying “Cubans deserve freedom too.” I mean, really? Does bombing Cuba play well with Florida Cubans?

  6. Randy

    You’re obviously not aware of the American “Commie Kill Only” bombs.

  7. chrome agnomen

    amurka’s new employment opportunity: anger management counselors for the right.

    • themadkansan

      Oh, Fates No. I don’t have the patience left for that kind of work – I’d kill ’em right there and then on the couch.

  8. SB and friends. FYI. I emailed a friend that lives in S. Florida (In A West’s District-fk his life) Anyway he tells me there IS a rather militaristic group of Cubans who wouldn’t mind a cruise missle in Fidel’s bedroom. (He also tells me the local culture jammers are campaigning vigorously for Ron Paul but that the repugs are falling all over themselves to get in line for Newt. He ends with “LMAO. 4 More Years.”)

  9. Mike G

    Washington is hard-wired for Repuke rule.
    Only the powerful are allowed to get angry without suffering retribution. Power Politics 101.

  10. Aaron Astor

    Cultural decline has been a key issue for the GOP since the 1960s. It’s a classic “Silent Generation” position, mastered by Nixon, where the world of Ozzie and Harriet gave way to something dangerous to them. They’ve never gotten used to the post-civil rights (or women’s movement) era world, and they now comprise the block of elderly voters who pack Tea Party events. They will be gone soon, however, and there will be nobody left who actually remembers – even falsely – the world before the 1960s. Only then will these stupid culture warrior-declensionists start to dissipate. There was a resurgence of declensionism in the early 1980s among the Reagan babies; I still hear 40-somethings talk about welfare and crack cocaine as if nothing has happened in the last 20 years. But that window of wingnuthood will soon be squeezed by baby boomers who ushered in the changes of the 1960s and the post-Gen Xers who grew up in a multicultural world and can’t imagine a troglodyte trying to undo it.