November 3, 2014

A civility matchup: Christie's "Sit down and shut up" versus Rand Paul's "The Republican brand sucks."

I greatly enjoyed Rand Paul's performance yesterday on "Face the Nation." At one point, I was moved to exclaim "He's very articulate," and Meade quipped, "And clean." Anyone other than Paul who's hoping to run for president better observe Paul carefully. He's setting a high standard in speaking skill. Now, Chris Christie also has his verbal ability, but it's different from Paul's, and Paul was invited to criticize the way Christie speaks, with that viral clip of Christie forcibly deflating a heckler:
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: There's been 23 months since then when all you have been doing is flapping your mouth and not doing anything. So, listen, you want to have the conversation later, I'm happy to have it, buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up.
Now, when I hear that, I laugh and say something like "I love it!" But here's how Paul reacted, prompted by Bob Shieffer's question: "What do you think? Is that the right demeanor for somebody getting ready to run for president?" I'll boldface some notable word choices:
PAUL: I think this sort of bully demeanor may go over well in certain places. But I can't imagine that -- I grew up in the South. And we're, yes, ma'am, and, no, sir, and a little bit more polite. So, I don't think that -- I think people want someone to be bold. And there was a time when I thought, you know what? When he stands up and he says things boldly, that's kind of good. He's not taking any flak. But there can be [too] much of that too. We live in a world where we have so much cacophony of voices on TV sometimes of yelling back and forth. And I think there's a resurgence of people who want a little more civility and discourse.
Notice how subtle the critique is. We only need "a little" more politeness. He's not slamming Christie. He said the word "bully," but he didn't call Christie a bully. He referred to the "demeanor" as "sort of bully," and noted that in some regions of the country, it might not "go over well." He swapped out "bully" for "bold" as he continued, and he said that it was even "kind of good," but in the right dose, perhaps dispensed by someone with a better understanding of what the right dose is, which would, of course, be Dr. Paul. Paul deftly offers himself as the man with the good balance of boldness and politesse. He doesn't directly say that, but he's from the South, and the people in the South have more of a culture of polite speech.

And I love the form of his call for "civility," which is also indirect. He tells us that there are "people who want a little more civility." It's not that there's no civility now or that we need much more civility. We just need a little more civility. And, note, Paul doesn't even say that he likes or wants civility, only that he understands those people who want more civility. Best of all, he links "civility" with "discourse." It's not mere blandness that people want. They want the "cacophony" and "yelling" to give way to back-and-forth substantive conversation to make us more informed, thoughtful, and able to interact with those who have differing beliefs and preferences.

I'm carefully parsing this and am impressed with the detail and the balance to these remarks that just rolled out of the man. But when I listened to the interview the first time, I'd thought I'd heard a contradiction. I wrote down 2 words to find in the transcript for this blog post. The words are "hell" and "sucks." "Hell" actually doesn't appear in the transcript. Seconds after hearing Christie's "sit down and shut up," I'd remembered it as "sit the hell down and shut up" or "sit down and shut the hell up." But "sucks" is in there, and it's Rand Paul who said it. This was an earlier part of the interview which became relevant to me after I heard what he said about polite speech:
SCHIEFFER: You know, you had a somewhat surprising comment the other day. You said -- and this is your quote -- "The Republican brand sucks." That's a pretty unusual rallying cry in an election year. What do you mean by that?

PAUL: Well, you know, what I meant by that is that, if I were to go into a college campus today and I were to talk to a young person and say, hey, you want to be part of the Republican Party, or let's say I go and talk to a young African-American male or woman, do you want to be part of the Republican Party, the initial perception of our brand is, hmm. Like, for example, I had a meeting with some conservative African-Americans recently. And I said, let's try to get something moving nationally. And they said, well, yes, but we may not want to put the word Republican in it. So, that means essentially our brand is broken. I don't think what we stand for is bad. I believe in what the Republican Party values. But we have a wall or a barrier between us and African-American voters. So, I have spent last year trying to break down some of that wall and say, look, maybe what the Democrats have been doing for you or maybe you're being taken for granted. Maybe it's not working. Maybe we could look at some of these Republican proposals for poverty, for long-term unemployment.
That was a great answer on what was the real substance of the question: Why is "Republican" considered a bad brand? But he did say "sucks." If Christie shouldn't say "sit down and shut up," why is Paul saying "sucks"? One answer is that Paul wasn't in the South. He was in Detroit, speaking in what the newspaper called "a predominantly middle-class African-American neighborhood." He said:
"Remember Domino's Pizza? They admitted, 'Hey, our pizza crust sucks.' The Republican Party brand sucks, and so people don't want to be a Republican, and for 80 years, African-Americans have had nothing to do with Republicans."
It's smart to talk about Domino's in southern Michigan, where the big brand got its start. And it's entertaining to remind us of the old campaign that featured Domino's haters insulting the brand: "Worst excuse for pizza I ever had," etc. I don't think the word "sucks" ever appeared in those ads, but "sucks" sums it up quickly and sharply, and those ads are the classic example of a "mea culpa ad campaign":
Domino's very public admission of its own awfulness might represent the most elaborate mea culpa ad in history. But it's hardly the first. Companies sometimes admit their flaws and faults in a bid for public empathy. The strategy usually has two parts. Part one: Fess up. Part two: Vow to do better. While Domino's never quite expresses remorse, the crusty comments in its commercial do set up the company's promise to improve, with better ingredients and a new pizza recipe.

Airlines such as United and JetBlue have prostrated themselves in public to mollify travelers enraged by scheduling snafus. Fast-food outfits have done it, too; Hardee's trashed the poor quality of its hamburgers in an ad campaign a few years ago. Domestic car manufacturers have practically made an art of acknowledging their shortcomings; General Motors went on an apology tour starting in late 2008 when it began lobbying for billions of dollars in federal bailout funds. Last summer, as it went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, it flooded the airwaves with a commercial that acknowledged, "General Motors needs to start over in order to get stronger."
So Rand Paul seems to be doing some deep thinking about restoring the GOP brand. He's openly talking about it, inviting discourse on the subject. "Sucks" may be a bit strong. Even if it's not too strong for northerners — as Mitt Romney learned — whatever you say anywhere will be heard everywhere.

It's possible — and don't freak out, stay calm! — that Rand Paul is using the word "sucks" to create anxiety about the likely Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Clinton. Do people want Bill Clinton back in the White House? I hasten to note that the "sucks" in phrases like "that sucks" does not have its etymology in blow jobs. That creates nice deniability if anyone ever corners Rand Paul about saying "sucks," but etymology isn't enough to keep people from thinking about blow jobs.

64 comments:

Mark O said...

"Etymology isn't enough to keep people from thinking about blow jobs."

Well, almost nothing is.

J2 said...

You say that he doesn't directly say he's from the South and the South is more polite, but he does say that and he directly says that in the quote you cited.

rhhardin said...

Epstein on Rand Paul's Fatal Pacifism.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Jesus, Althouse. I haven't even eaten breakfast yet.

RecChief said...

It still boggles my mind that you heard him utter the word "sucks" and you thought of Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. Never would have crossed my mind if you hadn't said it.

You watching reruns of "beavis and butthead"?

Roger Sweeny said...

I parsed Paul's first sentence differently. I didn't think it meant "sorta kinda bully behavior." I thought it meant this kind of behavior that can be characterized by the word bully.

That's how I would read someone who said of the IRS's apparent double standards in granting tax exempt status to pro-Obama and anti-Obama groups, "I don't like this kind of unconstitutional behavior."

Roger Sweeny said...

Oops, I meant to have the person say, "I think this sort of unconstitutional behavior is unacceptable."

RecChief said...

I think Christie's approach works well in New Jersey. And I don't mind it, because at some point people get fed up with the obsessive BS coming from the opponents, kind of like getting fed up with Garage Mahal's willfull obtuseness.

I quit listening to Bob Schieffer a long time ago. It's apparent to me that he thinks Christie is the bigger threat. When has he questioned the rhetoric, style, or substance of a Democrat in this way?

Henry said...

Christie is a very good foil for Paul. If Christie plays the game -- and chooses to remain a regional politician -- they can help each other a lot. If Christie runs for President, Paul will have to destroy him. Paul won't do it directly, but there are plenty of movement Republicans that will.

Bob Boyd said...


You know when it comes to Christie vs. Paul its pretty clear that....oh look a squirrel getting a blow job!

jr565 said...

Rand is sometimes really good.mexcept when it comes to foreign policy. Then he falls back on his much of his dad's aimplistic arguments. But even there, he seems a bit more nuanced.
Chris Christie meanwhile sometimes does well by telling the heckler to shut up. but just as often it makes him come across like a jerk.

Saint Croix said...

I'm carefully parsing this and am impressed with the detail and the balance to these remarks that just rolled out of the man.

You nailed it, A.A. Rand Paul is amazing on his feet. He's very careful and cautious in his speech, and yet it just rolls out of him in a spontaneous way.

Romney always seemed stiff, like a robot. And George W. Bush always seemed reckless in his speech. And both of those behaviors become stereotypes for the man. Romney is said to be unfeeling, Bush is a reckless cowboy. And who knows? Maybe there is some truth in both of these interpretations.

Think of all the criticism of Obama that comes down to the way he talks, how he says things. "Let me be perfectly clear." And his overuse of the first person. Republicans play this up. He's a narcissist. How you talk becomes who you are. In fact I am struck by how much I hate hearing Obama talk. I cannot listen to him at all.

Rand Paul is amazing on his feet. This is particularly notable on the Sunday talk shows. He is responding to questions, thinking on the fly. And he's not doing the politician thing of rolling out the pre-packaged response that doesn't answer the question. Rand Paul is actually listening and responding. He's brilliant at this, and it's a key skill. Maybe the most important skill in campaigning.

Original Mike said...

Paul's the real deal.

geokstr said...

Gosh, why would the Republican "brand" suck in the minds of voters?

It's not like they've been subjected for the last 70+ years to non-stop 24/7 over-the-top smears, lies and slander, and tarred as racists, homo/Islamphobic troglydytes who want granny to die, children to starve, and want to enslave all those with vaginas, by the Democrats, the "unbiased", "objective" "news" media, the entire entertainment and cultural industries, the professoriate and other "teaching" professions, the unions, the trial lawyers and ten thousand "non-partisan", "public interest" 501c3/4 groups.

Oh, wait...

Nah, that couldn't have had a negative effect on the "R" brand. Not at all. None whatsoever.

Sheesh.

But by running towards the left on hot-button issues like amnesty, while giving the political finger to conservative vales and principles, and standing for nothing, they now also have managed to damage their brand with everybody, including their own base.

Bruce Hayden said...

We stumbled into Paul on TV yesterday, and were impressed. How true about Christie and his regional attraction. Most of us don't live in the rude northeast, and while we love how Christie talks truth to power, we don't appreciate, all the time, how he does it. And, missed in the transcript was that Paul did the Yes, Mam, Yes, Sir part as a Southerner would. It is how you accent the words. And, it was fairly effective in making his point.

I do like that he is so serious about out reach. He is the one big Republican who is going on campuses, and working with Blacks, to rebuild the brand. Both groups are ripe for it. Imagine any of the main Dem candidates running for President next time (Hillary!, Slo Joe, Warren) doing this. They can't - they are, or will be, nearing 70 by the next Presidential election, and are about as distant as they could be from the Millenials, etc. Rand seems to be able to engage with them.

My big worry about Paul is his foreign policy, and that he hews to close to his wacko father in this area. The one thing that I think that we do not need right now is an isolationist President, after 6, and at the next election, 8 years of Obama. We repeatedly see that when we retreat internationally, the despots and other bad people around just get more and more emboldened.

CStanley said...

The issue with usage of the word "sucks" is generational, not regional. Everyone under 30 uses the word routinely.

And the difference between Yankee and Southern isn't about avoiding avoiding negative terms- it's just that Southerners tend to be more creative and playful with the words, while Yankees are more direct and aggressive. The two comments you compared- Christie telling someone to "shut up" and Paul saying the the GOP brand "sucks" are not analogous because one involves aggressive speech and the other is self effacing. Sucks isn't a particularly Southern word, but it's not offensive because of the context.

Ann Althouse said...

"It still boggles my mind that you heard him utter the word "sucks" and you thought of Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. Never would have crossed my mind if you hadn't said it."

If you hear "sucks" as blow jobs, because when the speech is political and the idea of blow jobs occurs, it's a nudge to think of Bill Clinton.

But the point of subliminal messaging is that it doesn't cross your rational mind. It slips in without your exercising judgment about whether it makes sense.

Ann Althouse said...

"I parsed Paul's first sentence differently. I didn't think it meant "sorta kinda bully behavior." I thought it meant this kind of behavior that can be characterized by the word bully."

That could be. I went back and listened again to see if I could form an opinion, and it's on the line for me.

But I'm going to stick with my interpretation because of Paul's general tendency to insert minimizing filler words like "a little." I think he's a sorta/kinda-type speaker. He likes to hedge and build in deniability.

RecChief said...

Ann Althouse said...
"It still boggles my mind that you heard him utter the word "sucks" and you thought of Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. Never would have crossed my mind if you hadn't said it."

If you hear "sucks" as blow jobs, because when the speech is political and the idea of blow jobs occurs, it's a nudge to think of Bill Clinton.



Y'know Althouse, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

AJ Lynch said...

The correct term Governor is "flapping your gums" not flapping your mouth.

Brando said...

People like plain talkers and at least the appearance of blunt honesty. But a "tough guy" demeanor also wears thin, particularly when he's not saying something you're already on board with. Then he just seems like a condescending jerk.

Christie's schtick works well with those who like the idea of "telling it to the bozos!" and getting tough where it matters. But that will tire quickly, even in the Northeast--his ratings have tanked a lot in NJ (remember, his ratings were at their highest when he was seen as not just tough, but also hands on and willing to work with ideological opponents during Hurricane Sandy).

Add to that the fact that he doesn't seem to have the best political instincts--Bridgegate being the worst example--and I see a gaffe machine on the trail for 2016. I don't see him doing much past the early primaries.

Rand Paul is going to have a few bits of trouble in 2016, partly from the activist neocon wing, partly from the moderate wing that sees him as too libertarian, and partly from the "law and order" wing that won't like his stances on pot. But more than that, he needs to get out of the Senate and run for Kentucky governor, so people could see how he'd run things. If he enacts a libertarianesque agenda and remains popular, he'll be a serious contender and do far better than the ivory tower Senate types who speechify and pontificate all day without really accomplishing anything.

tim maguire said...

Rand Paul's "the Republican brand sucks" is not equivalent to Chris Christie's "sit down and shut up," but it would be equivalent to "I should sit down and shut up."

It matters quite a bit that Paul's harsh criticism was directed inward while Christie's bullying was directed outward.

There's a lot about Paul that I really like, but there's also a fair bit that's scary. I can be convinced, but right now, much as I would love to pull the lever for Paul on some of his positions, it would be hard to pull the lever for all of them.

CStanley said...

I have mixed feelings about Paul, although I agree he is smart and thinks on his feet well.

There are three problems with "Senator Rand Paul", each relating to those three parts of his name. "Senator" because he lacks executive experience. "Rand" because he's the namesake of the doctrinaire libertarian author. "Paul" because of the baggage he gets from his father (the stuff that applies to Ron Paul personally, as well as voter fatigue with political dynasties.)

Those are some serious hurdles, even before you start examining his stance on various issues. It's good that he's intelligent and articulate, but I'm not sure it's enough.

traditionalguy said...

Rand Paul is a great communicator of true issues. His confidence gives his hearers a comfort level that they are not being lied to about realty anymore.

He uses the bedside manor of an empathetic doctor. He may be just what a sick country needs.

n.n said...

Don't count Christie out yet. Obama won on the "sit down and shut up" ticket. It sucks like a bare Ass on a hot vinyl seat. Well, at least it doesn't bray. There are noise ordinances that 99% will enforce.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

So Rand Paul seems to be doing some deep thinking about restoring the GOP brand. He's openly talking about it, inviting discourse on the subject.

Good Lord, it's about time. A party of non-Democrats waiting around for their turn at the trough, carefully avoiding clearly articulating their goals and principles, is no insurance of good government in case the Dems should mess up so badly that they lose for a couple of years.

mccullough said...

Paul talks like a senator. Christie talks like a governor.

Anonymous said...

Here is how you reform the Republican party so that it doesn't "suck" anymore.

Always focus on the party and how it sucks. What's it's perception with certain groups of the electorate? How can you make that group like you? What do polling firms say about issues and how you should speak about those issues? Be handsome. Be articulate. Be clean.

Whatever you do, for God's sake! Don't govern. Don't put forward an agenda that might actually make this country better. Don't take a stand on important issues. Don't try and sway public opinion through reasoned debate.

Focus on the little things. Did someone say something stupid? Make an advertisement about it and mock them mercilessly! That's how you get elected.

And when you get elected, never, ever, never, take tough votes and make a stand on principle. Why, that'd get you fired right away.

Always focus on the minutiae of politics, and never look at the broader culture and how you might be able to influence and lead it.

Follow the culture, pretend you're ok with whatever is happening in it. Don't lead the culture wars. That's for Democrats.

Coconuss Network said...

Happy to hear about Christie being in the spotlight for his verbal skills. A reason we elected Obama. Don't know the other guy. He already seems extreme just judging by his name. If it's a fight 'tween Hillary and Christie, i'll have to flip a coin. I love 'em both.

Skyler said...

Yes, republicans have a bad brand name.

I blame Bush. Actually, Bushes.

Those two extreme socialists, with their "thousand points of light" and "compassionate conservatism" have ruined what Reagan started. This country was very heavily in favor of republicans under Reagan and those two botched it.

Anonymous said...

Christie is unelectable due to his size, don't kid yourself on this issue. He also loses points because he is surrounded by New Jersey scoundrels (think Bridgegate) who he will bring into an administration if he were to achieve the impossible.

Rand Paul, I've been told, is short, which, again, with the the admonition not to kid yourself, means something.

Neither one of these guys has any real foreign policy experience. As a senator Paul could have claimed some background but what he has stated about defense, ISIS, and isolationism is ridiculous in a world in which we are surrounded by bad guys who want us dead.

Both are pro-amnesty of some kind.

It is interesting that these two are picked by the press to carry the mantle, republican candidate potential. Really, these two?

Drago said...

Skyler: "I blame Bush. Actually, Bushes.

Those two extreme socialists.."

When you use characterize the Bushes as "extreme socialists" you are going way overboard.

No one is denying the damage caused by them to the Republican brand, but extreme socialists they are not.

They are and were, however, utterly incapable of standing up effectively to those who are extreme socialists and their unwillingness to fight effectively for any non-socialist positions doomed us in the marketplace of ideas.

And it is in this marketplace of ideas that I'm willing to listen to Paul and like much of what I'm hearing.

Of course, deep down, one is always afraid that deep down, some of the crazy ideas of his old man will come seeping out at precisely the wrong time.

It's a quandary.

RecChief said...

It's a quandary.

Eh, I don't know. I'm generally of the opinion that Senators make for poor presidential material, unless their career trajectory includes time in a governor's mansion. There should be several governors to choose from in the Republican primaries leading to the 2016 election. We'll see I guess.

Chef Mojo said...

Shorter Rand Paul @ Chris Christie:

"Well, bless his heart..."

averagejoe said...

It's because the democrat party media has been wiping the republican brand across their genitals before serving it to the public. No wonder why people don't want to eat it.

Achilles said...

If rand is elected and there is a Republican majority in both houses he might be able to drag the republicans on and return fiscal sanity.

More likely he runs into "bipartisan" opposition and we continue the path to toilet paper currency.

Skyler said...

Drago admonished, "When you use characterize the Bushes as "extreme socialists" you are going way overboard."

No, they put cable tv under the FCC. They moved the marxist agenda forward by federalizing education.

They both believed in big big big big government. George W bailed out massive companies under the socialist theory that we owe these companies survival.

They each tried to get the Patriot Act (it had a different name under George HW) and finally got it passed because of 9/11.

I can't think of one thing that either did that wasn't socialist. In fact, it's a challenge to find which parts of the communist manifesto each did not promote.

I stand by it, and it's a shame that our culture of freedom and rugged individualism has been so polluted that we no longer recognize socialism when we see it.

William said...

To the extent that I'm a Republican, I'm a Republican because I believe in a stronger defense, lower taxes, and a pro business outlook. These things work. Not in Hollywood movies, but in the real world......I can't get too worked up, one way or another, about gay marriage, legalized pot, or early abortion. I'm not against immigration, but too many will swamp the boat.......I realize that such beliefs put me outside the pale for many here, but those are my feelings. I would vote for Jeb Bush or Romney because both men don't seem too self righteous in their views and are right about a lot of issues.. I'd probably end up voting for Paul, but much of what was forewarned about Obama is true of Paul. He has no real executive experience and many of his positions are experimental. We've had enough experiments in the last few years.

Brando said...

Being a governor of a certain type of state (large enough to require attention to a broad range of issues affecting urban and rural areas, with constitutional powers requiring sufficient responsibility for the chief executive, and with a political culture that requires working with the other side to get things done) is certainly the best type of experience you'd want to see in a prospective president. But it doesn't always translate to "governors equal good leaders, nongovernors don't". Eisenhower had no elective experience at all before he ran for president, Bush Sr. held a number of positions but never ran a city or state, and LBJ (who may have failed in the end but was absolutely able to run Washington the way he wanted to for most of his tenure) had only been a Senator and VP. Then, Carter had executive experience and yet still proved unable to enact any major agenda when he was president.

It may very well be that in 2016, just like 2008, voters will be choosing between two candidates who were never governors.

furious_a said...

...it's just that Southerners tend to be more creative and playful with the words...

"Bless his[/her] heart."

furious_a said...

And then I see 'Chef Mojo' @11:05 A.M. D*mmit.

Drago said...

Skyler: "I stand by it, and it's a shame that our culture of freedom and rugged individualism has been so polluted that we no longer recognize socialism when we see it."

Well, we'll simply have to agree to disagree about whether or not the Bushes are "extreme socialists", which was the point of contention.

Not whether each and every incremental step along the pathway to more fully developed socialistic policy can be recognized or not.

furious_a said...

Gov. Christie responds to one union-member challenger in this way and to another union-member challenger in this way.

"If you'd like to conduct a respectful conversation..." Amen.

Jupiter said...

"But we have a wall or a barrier between us and African-American voters."

Yeah, and what the GOP really needs to win elections is to get an extra 3% of the 13% of voters with the lowest turnout to vote for them. Pandering to Hispanics would actually make electoral sense, if it worked. But Democrats own the EBT vote, and they always will. Thank god there aren't enough of them to affect national politics. I hope Paul has enough sense that he is pandering to soft-headed white people, not to non-existent potential black Republicans.

Jupiter said...

"I hasten to note that the "sucks" in phrases like "that sucks" does not have its etymology in blow jobs."

I followed the link. Not convinced. Very far from convinced. I can remember when the phrase was used as a personal insult between men -- "You suck!" -- only slightly less insulting than "you cock-sucker!", which could get you punched.

Kieth Nissen said...

I think Jupiter raises a good question. I think when I first heard the phrase "that really sucks" it was referring to felatio. That was back in the 1960s and it was intended as a synonym for "appealing" or attractive, irresistable. OTOH, there was a phrase I first heard in the late fifties meant to express severe difficulties or failure, "his ass was sucking swamp water"... nonsensical but fairly common among teenagers, also used as "my car could suck the doors right off that heap", something like that. The OED probably does not recognize these usages.

Revenant said...

Gosh, why would the Republican "brand" suck in the minds of voters?

[extensive rant about unfair media snipped]

Yeah, sure, the news media and Hollywood are mean to Republicans. But that's not why their brand sucks. Their brand sucks because they don't stand for anything.

When you actually have beliefs and principles, and you actually stick with them, it is hard for people to successfully paint you as something you aren't. The thing is, the modern Democratic and Republican parties stand for absolutely nothing besides re-election.

jr565 said...

Rand paul was good when discussing the difference between airborne diseases versus droplet infection. He sounded measured and articulate. I just cant stand when he goes on his drone striking people in starbucks hypotheticals. Then I'm remembering he's his daddy's son.

jr565 said...

William wrote:
To the extent that I'm a Republican, I'm a Republican because I believe in a stronger defense, lower taxes, and a pro business outlook. These things work. Not in Hollywood movies, but in the real world......I can't get too worked up, one way or another, about gay marriage, legalized pot, or early abortion. I'm not against immigration, but too many will swamp the boat.......I realize that such beliefs put me outside the pale for many here, but those are my feelings. I would vote for Jeb Bush or Romney because both men don't seem too self righteous in their views and are right about a lot of issues.. I'd probably end up voting for Paul, but much of what was forewarned about Obama is true of Paul. He has no real executive experience and many of his positions are experimental. We've had enough experiments in the last few years.

And I oppose Rand because his foreign policy seems to be to the left of Obama's.

Revenant said...

Yeah, and what the GOP really needs to win elections is to get an extra 3% of the 13% of voters with the lowest turnout to vote for them.

Black Americans are 10% of voters, roughly speaking. Writing off 10% of voters is dumb.

There are plenty of areas where people who *actually* care about limited and responsible government can appeal to black voters. Sentencing reform, reigning in police powers, scaling back the failed and unaffordable war on drugs, expanding charter schools -- there's plenty of room for gain.

This is the point at which some yokel usually pops up to talk about government dependency and how black voters are bought and paid for. Well, it is certainly true that black Americans are more likely to be government-dependent, but it isn't anywhere near 90% of them.

Writing them off is dumb. You only write off a constituency if it is impossible to appeal to it without alienating a larger constituency.

Revenant said...

He has no real executive experience and many of his positions are experimental. We've had enough experiments in the last few years.

What do you feel has been "experimental" about the last few years? To me it seems like more of the same solution both parties have been offering for decades: borrow more, spend more, regulate more.

Personally, I'd like to see some genuine experimentation. Business as usual isn't working.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CStanley said...

The 3% of the 13% wouldn't be the particular 3% that don't vote.

And more significantly- there is a percentage of white voters who won't vote GOP because they perceive the party to be racist, too. The GOP should not pander to try to disprove that, but if blacks begin breaking from the Democrats (even a small splinter of the demographic) then it will no longer be possible for Dems to rely on the bogeyman of GOP racism.

Best of all, it will be a win for blacks, too, because both parties will have to compete for their votes.

damikesc said...

"Etymology isn't enough to keep people from thinking about blow jobs."

Well, almost nothing is.


Marriage kills the hope of them, so there's that.

When you actually have beliefs and principles, and you actually stick with them, it is hard for people to successfully paint you as something you aren't. The thing is, the modern Democratic and Republican parties stand for absolutely nothing besides re-election.

When Democrats REALLY want something, they get it done. They have SOME core beliefs.

What BIG thing have Republicans actually accomplished? There isn't even support to abolish the IRS and, fuck, they've demonstrated why that should be pushed tremendously the last few years.

Jupiter said...

CStanley said

"And more significantly- there is a percentage of white voters who won't vote GOP because they perceive the party to be racist, too."

Those are the soft-headed whites I was referring to.


Revenant said ...

"There are plenty of areas where people who *actually* care about limited and responsible government can appeal to black voters. Sentencing reform, reigning in police powers, scaling back the failed and unaffordable war on drugs, expanding charter schools -- there's plenty of room for gain."

Yeah, right. What blacks vote for is transfer payments, pure and simple. They vote for whoever will collect the most tax money and hand it to them. And that would be the Democrats. And, with a 70% illegitimacy rate, that is only going to get worse. The question is when those soft-headed whites wise up and start voting their own interests, like everyone else.

Douglas said...

I like that Sen. Paul is working on the GOP brand, and I like his style and intelligence, but I can't imagine voting in a primary for a presidential candidate with no executive experience. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, don't want to do it again.

Revenant said...

Yeah, right. What blacks vote for is transfer payments, pure and simple. They vote for whoever will collect the most tax money and hand it to them.

When I wrote, immediately following the bit you quoted, "This is the point at which some yokel usually pops up to talk about government dependency and how black voters are bought and paid for", I wasn't actually asking for an illustrative example of the behavior.

geokstr said...

Revenant said...
"Yeah, sure, the news media and Hollywood are mean to Republicans."

(Lots of blather repeating exactly what I concluded snipped)


Maybe if you actually read to the end of my "rant" you would see I said exactly the same thing - that the Republicans stand for nothing, especially not the conservative values and principles they claim to have.

And you might also note I said that the right doesn't have only the media and Hollywood saying mean things about them, they have the entire opinion making, narrative shaping and brain washing machinery in the country arrayed against them, all willing to be dishonest, vitriolic and unethical in doing so too.

It's pretty difficult to maintain a positive "brand" image in the face of that onslaught. And sometimes a "rant" is necessary to expose the extent of the attack.

Revenant said...

Maybe if you actually read to the end of my "rant" you would see I said exactly the same thing

No, it wasn't. Your claim was that the negative opinion of Republicans was primarily due to people badmouthing them, and that their lack of principles was only responsible for them losing the remaining voters such as "the conservative base".

My claim is that the Republicans' lack of values -- which goes back around eighty years or so, and isn't a new phenomenon at all -- is the reason the badmouthing works.

E.g., Republicans talk about repealing some entitlement that minorities use. Democrats say "Republicans are racist!". Republicans say "no, we're just being financially responsible!". Problem: the Republican Party has proven time and again that it doesn't give a shit about financial responsibility. Anyone with a brain knows it by now. So this means you have one side yelling "racism!" and the other side lying its ass off. Small wonder that people suspect racism is really a motivating factor, when Republicans can't give a coherent alternative explanation.

Jupiter said...

Revenant said...

"I wasn't actually asking for an illustrative example of the behavior."

No, of course not. Facts are not helpful to your argument. If you include those who "work" for government, 90% government-dependent may not be far off.

It may be comforting to suppose that the social and economic prospects of black Americans are improving, to a point where they will soon be open to voting for limited government. The facts argue otherwise. Do you really suppose that a "community" with a 70% illegitimacy rate, and a 30% male incarceration rate, is on the verge of economic self-sufficiency? The Democrats have shown blacks how they can live off the taxes of their neighbors, as long as they are willing to relocate from time to time. The future of black America looks like Detroit.

Michael K said...

"My big worry about Paul is his foreign policy, and that he hews to close to his wacko father in this area. "

I am also concerned about Paul's flights of fancy in foreign policy. I am not happy voting for another Senator for president. Eisenhower had not been a governor but he ran the biggest operation on earth for a few years.

Harding was probably the best ex-Senator president although the government was much smaller then. Truman was great but not on domestic policy.

Revenant said...

No, of course not. Facts are not helpful to your argument. If you include those who "work" for government, 90% government-dependent may not be far off.

I kind of like that you accuse me of ignoring facts and then follow up with additional idle speculation.

In essence, you're writing off the black vote simply because you're lazy and ignorant. Way to play to the stereotype, guy. :)

Revenant said...

My big worry about Paul is his foreign policy, and that he hews to close to his wacko father in this area

The areas in which he "hews close to his wacko father" are the areas in which his father hews close to the American public, though.

Brando said...

One possible candidate I don't hear much about these days is John Kasich, and that seems a bit odd because he has a great deal of experience in the House, and is about to be a reelected governor in a large swing state (Ohio). The only reason I can think of that is keeping him out of contention is that he took the ACA Medicaid money, but Christie did too, and that hardly makes him a leftist.