Real Americans

Every now and then a member of the conservative establishment unknowingly shares the truth about their worldview.

This is such a case:

Today, The Corner linked to a conversation with Jonah Goldberg and John O’Sullivan on “the problem of demographics for the Republican coalition.” The pull-quote in the link explained that if the GOP is to win over asian-american and latino voters, it must “persuade them to think of themselves primarily as Americans.” I can’t understand why they’re having trouble, given this keen understanding of the voters they’re trying to reach.

The full quote is at the link, but it basically says the same thing, just more words. Most liberals jumped on this as two top conservative pundits once again being clueless, patronizing and racist toward ethnic voters. And yes, assuming Asian Americans and Latinos don’t think of themselves as “American” is clueless, patronizing and racist.

But let’s flip this argument over. Jonah Goldberg, John O’Sullivan and the editors of The Corner are saying that any group which views itself as American must by default be Republican. It is inconceivable to them that any person who views him or herself as American could be a liberal. Let that one sink in for a minute.

This is what happens after a generation of political warfare, of convincing yourself and everyone else that you own the flag, you own patriotism, you own soldiers home from war, and babies, and Christmas, and success, and Mom and apple pie — in short, everything the culture ever identified as part of being “American.”

And of course we’ve heard hints of this before, from the likes of Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, Allen West, Ann Coulter and the rest of those folks in the crazypants corner of the GOP. It is, in fact, what’s behind all of that birther nonsense. But usually the GOP establishment swoops in to do damage control, either disavowing the statement or wresting a retraction from the poor GOPer who forgot he or she was supposed to speak in dog whistles. Rarely is it put so bluntly by a member of the conservative elite.

The Republican Party will never open its tent in any meaningful way as long as the nut of their worldview is that they own being American. Until they start seeing those citizens who think (and vote) differently from them as also being American, they will not be a viable alternative to anyone outside the 27%.

In February 2012, conservative author Bruce Walker wrote this:

The data is consistent, overwhelming, and clear. Conservatives are the Real America. Leftists are colonial governors, small in number, controlling through fear and intimidation from heavily guarded forts at the chokepoints of society, unable to persuade more than a slim minority of Americans to follow them, and protected from the destruction of their own administration. Our campaign against the left is nothing more or less than a national liberation movement. We, not they, are America.

Walker is a nutjob, who writes, lives and breathes on conservatism’s radical fringe — but, sadly, that fringe has been allowed to permeate conservatism’s epicenter. Walker’s “we are the real Americans” perspective is clearly part of the conservative DNA. And guess what: Walker was convinced that Republicans would win big in November, because his unskewed polls told him America is a conservative nation (BTW, I link to Walker’s columns because they are truly hilarious. Go over and read a few, have a good laugh.)

And therein lies the problem. Republicans don’t just need to expand their political tent; they need to expand their concept of what it means to be an American. I’m just not sure they can do it. They’re going to continue to believe their dog whistles speak to everyone, when they just speak to the 27%; they’re going to continue to slip up and oopsies say something boneheaded like, “Latinos need to think of themselves as American before Republicans can reach out to them.” And crackpots like Bruce Walker are going to continue to write laughably out of touch articles proving how hermetically sealed the conservative bubble truly is.

It may take an entire generation to fix what ails the GOP.


Filed under conservatives, racism, Republican Party

10 responses to “Real Americans

  1. If the Republicans hadn’t managed to gerrymander enough districts Democrats would be in control of the House next year. Paul Ryan would have lost his old district, or so I’ve read. If there’s any colonialism going on, it’s the Republican side who doing it.

    I will predict that if President Obama carries though on setting up a de facto public option in the health care exchanges and those become established, the Republicans will have a far harder time winning elections in the future. Once people find out that they’ve been lying about that they’ll figure out they’ve been lying about everything.

  2. Mary L. Wilson

    I just want to yell and scream at these loon-atics: Where do NATIVE Americans fit into your plan? THEY were the original, real, ‘founding fathers’, after all.
    As to letting the clueless find the truth, some of us who are dedicated to INFORM them are going to sponsor forums about how the Affordable Care Act, how MUCH it will help this economy and how it will provide thousands more vulnerable, low income folks a chance to have medical care. It will NOT cost Tennessee a dime for 2 years. And if Haslam does NOT decide to help them, the domino effect will be closure of about 50 hospitals that treat folks in their ER with no hope of ever getting payment. Think how many medical professionals and staff position JOBS will be lost. And this is just ONE issue that 95% of Tennesseans do not know about!

  3. Ivan Ivanovich Renko

    if the GOP is to win over asian-american and latino voters, it must “persuade them to think of themselves primarily as Americans.”

    That is, conservatives have to turn these demographics against black people, who are the most obviously “not-Americans” to them. Goldberg and O’Sullivan want Latinos and Asian Americans to do the same thing their Jewish and Irish forefathers did before them, and become white.

    Once again they demonstrate that the principal organizing concept of the conservative movement is “We’re better than the Negroes.”

  4. democommie

    “It may take an entire generation to fix what ails the GOP.”

    As long as they lose their majorities in congress, state houses and on school boards and other municipal government positions, it’s all good. Maybe we could have a true Green or Socialist party.

  5. I’m Asian-American, and believe me, I feel very American. Those remarks are really sad.

  6. It may take an entire generation to fix what ails the GOP.

    When LBJ signed the civil rights act of 1965, he figured he lost the south to the Rethugs for a generation. That’s pushing 50 years now, and I think the level of progress has been essentially nil.

    This is not generational, it is over centuries. And we don’t have that kind of time.

    The Rethugs have gerrymandered themselves into House control for what is likely to be a long, long time, and they might regain control of the senate in 2014. This is a fucking nightmare scenario. They could, in the following two years, set the world back another god damned century.

    Dems might well have a lock on the presidency into the medium term, but Congress could just as easily be hijacked by the Rethugs for at least as long.


  7. Min

    I can hope and expect that young Americans of varying colors of brown and tan will roll their eyes at and turn their backs on the Republican Party for decades to come. Because let’s face demographic facts…the future of the US is not white. It is a lovely shade of cafe au lait.