Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the dying Republican base; how the Republicans are out of touch with reality; and the president's chances in the election.
In light of Lindsay Graham's shockingly honest admission that there "aren't enough angry white guys" to fuel the GOP's current business model, do you think at some point these guys (they're almost always guys) will ease up on their rhetoric to admit more people under their tent? What do you think they'll water down their views on? Maybe be more lenient on Mexicans, so they can begin pulling in the Latino vote? Maybe ease up on women and their reproductive rights? Start courting gays? What do you reckon?
Ben: Interesting thought Thomas - you could be right. At the end of the day, the GOP will have to change its ways if it wants to stay in the mainstream. Unless the economy falls off a cliff and the US gets embroiled in another money draining war in the Middle East, the economy should be reasonably stable over the coming years, and that means less angry white people. If the Republican Party wants to stay relevant it will have to move away from its bizarre militancy. That's not to say it will - don't underestimate the power of the crazies and their nihilistic tendencies. They could be dooming themselves to irrelevancy for years to come.
Chez: I have no idea because so far they've, not surprisingly given the belief system at their core, defied all logic and reason. The demographic shift in this country is the right's version of global climate change: it's happening whether they believe it or not and it threatens to make them extinct at some point -- and, like climate change, they'll ignore the problem until it's too late. They have to learn to be more inclusive but it flies in the face of everything the modern Republican party is about. I'd actually like to say that saner heads will eventually prevail because I think it would be good for the country as a whole, but who knows anymore. I think if they happen to win in November, look for a doubling-down on every issue the average angry white guy embraces in an effort to secure the country for the people who claim that it's theirs -- basically, white men and white people in general -- for years to come.
Bob: They won't do any of that. Republicans aren't capable of changing -- it's written into the conservative DNA. If Romney wins, his Republican Party will be nearly identical to the Bush Republican Party. Similar policies, similar results. Consequently, they'll continue to be a dying party who can only sustain itself by clever marketing to easily-duped voters.
Increasingly, it's clear that, thanks to Fox News and talk radio, republicans exist in a parallel universe. It's clear that Romney and Ryan are going to continue lying so long as there is a no downside in it for them. I'd like to know what you think it will take for republicans to rejoin reality. Do we have to have an a complete breakdown of society and an economic collapse before they realize that Atlas Shrugged is not an economics textbook?
Bob: They won't rejoin reality. They'll continuously pursue their effort to rewind American to 1955, but it won't work because they don't have a DeLorean time machine and the 1.21 gigawatts to power it. Historically, the Republicans of 2000-2020 will be viewed with disdain by Americans of the future. They're on the wrong side of everything and they show zero signs of improving.
Ben: We've already had one unfortunately, and sadly it had the opposite effect. The US is quite unique in its enormously divided culture - the extremes in political ideology and general understanding of reality are baffling to much of the rest of the world, and as a fairly recent resident (8 years this month), it's still quite unsettling. I had hoped that the gigantic economic meltdown would have pulled America to the Left - more government regulation of the economy and a more expansive debate on what constituted sound economic theory. But alas, just as America tore up the Middle East after 9/11, much of the country has descended into Randian madness as an answer to the crisis. The problem is cyclical - the less money there is for education, the less people understand economics. The less they understand economics, the more they buy into loony theories that actively damage the economy. The more damaged the economy is, the less money there is for education....and so on. Tough problem to crack.
Chez: See answer #1. They're thoroughly detached from reality and I'm not sure what it's going to take to bring them back. I do think that you've hit it on the head when you bring up the right wing media -- the rise of it is what fractured the country in half and never the two sides shall meet. I'm sure that the Republicans see this as a good thing -- that they finally have a defense against all that liberal media scrutiny they were forced to endure when the left had a "monopoly" on the press -- but it's actually been terrible because, as you said, conservative media just makes up any horseshit it wants and sells it as fact. What you have, then, is people who approach political arguments not with differing opinions but with differing facts -- and that means that every debate will end before it even begins because there's zero common ground. There's no one or two wells that everybody's drawing from anymore. As for the faulty nature of so many of their modern economic policies, I genuinely don't think they give a shit as long as the rich are prospering. To many of them, Ayn Rand's nonsense really is a textbook because they're not interested in benefiting the middle-class. As long as they can keep the people at the top happy, the ones with the money to pump into their campaigns, and they can somehow convince enough people in the middle to vote against their economic self-interest they'll be fine. Until it all goes to hell or everyone wises the fuck up.
Just please tell me we win this thing in November. I feel like I've been holding my breath since January.
Chez: Not a chance in hell. Wait, are you talking about the Dolphins this season?
Bob: The Obama campaign is only going to win if they add the following to the Democratic to-do list. Remind people to not only attain but to also bring along a photo ID to the polls. I shudder to think about the vast number of voters who will be turned away on Election Day because they were unaware of the new Voter ID laws from the Republicans, intended to disenfranchise Democratic voters. I'm hopeful for the president's chances and much will be decided by national events and the debates, but he can't win if his base can't vote.
Ben: Keep holding your breath Ryan. It's not over till Romney disappears from your television set. I'm confident Obama wins in November, but you never know.
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