Posts Tagged ‘Eric Cantor’

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Cheat ‘Em

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show coins a new Fox sobriquet: Ferret News Channel.

By Emily Theroux

The Stupid Party’s been trying to act foxy lately over the urgency of ideological “reform.”

But Jon Stewart of The Daily Show has ferreted out the Republicans’ actual intentions. The GOP’s search for a “new, improved” menu of voter comestibles is really an effort to repackage the party’s time-honored “s–t sandwich.”

Unable to win presidential elections fair and square in the face of encroaching demographic turbulence, Republicans have resorted to what Stewart termed a type of “Orwellian sleight of tongue” — a.k.a. cheating. (Oops! I meant “winning through process innovation.”) The GOP, Stewart contends, needs “a perpetual messaging refinement and distribution resource — preferably one cloaked in the trappings of journalistic authority, but without any of its ethical constraints.” In other words, a “rebranded” Roger Ailes 24/7 propaganda vehicle: “Ferret News“!

Karl Rove, 'the Architect'

Playing word games in an attempt to hoodwink low-info voters, as Fox does, is really just a variation on Republican “dirty tricks.” Originated by Richard Nixon and Chuck Colson, this reprehensible strategy dates back in recent political history to the advent of Karl Rove on the national stage at the dawn of the new millennium. We may have dodged Y2K, but enduring the mercurial machinations of Y2Karl has continued unabated for four election cycles, with mercifully declining levels of success.

  • In 2004, Dubya won reelection despite pro-John Kerry exit polls in Ohio, where allegations later surfaced of “blatant partisanship of election officials” and possible electronic ballot tampering. Two Democratic reports on the Ohio vote later suggested that many Kerry votes were suppressed by long lines, too few voting machines, and numerous instances of election officials improperly forcing Democratic voters to cast provisional ballots that were later discarded.
  • In 2008, Rove served as an informal adviser to John McCain. Any stratagems he may have recommended failed to stem the Democratic tide of “hope and change” that swamped McCain and Sarah Palin, as Barack Obama won swing states by margins too wide to contest or tamper with.
  • In 2012, the GOP hollered “Voter fraud!” and followed up the general panic that ensued among Fox News viewers by passing voter suppression laws in battleground states. But not even minority voter intimidation, interminable lines at polling places, billions in Citizens United super-PAC moolah, or Karl Rove’s election-night histrionics on Fox’s air could pull out a Mitt Romney win.

Abject failure in the last election hasn’t stopped Rove from reinventing himself this year, however. Rove has drawn the ire of the Tea Party after launching a new initiative by his American Crossroads super PAC, the Conservative Victory Project, designed to get moderate GOP candidates nominated in 2014 primaries instead of extremists, who often go down in flames during general-election contests.

Like a battered pop-up target in a particularly brutal game of Whac-a-Mole, the trusted consigliere whom Dubya nicknamed “Boy Genius” has sent out political green shoots in midwinter 2013. Knowing Turdblossom, the emerging “bloom” is likely to crop up as a stinkweed.


All ‘happy talk’, no policy proposals

The Republican Party establishment doesn’t appear to be following the new blueprint drafted by “the Architect” — not, at least, with any construction contracts. Most remain in the “bargaining” stage of dealing with defeat, if not the “denial” phase. Talk is cheaper and less painful than action, and anyway, wordsmithing has been the GOP’s ticket to ride since 2000, and many are reluctant to disembark from the happy-talk train.

'Maybe this strategy is starting to have diminishing returns. Maybe Republicans have hit peak Luntz' — Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, Feb. 5, 2013

When Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal admonished his fellow Republicans to “stop being the stupid party,” he advised the GOP to start “(talking) like adults.” This tactic, however, is nothing new. Glossology guru Frank Luntz, whom Stewart dubbed the “Republican Batman,” has long corrected what he terms “language errors,” converting them into persuasive obfuscations then uttered simultaneously by Republican “communicators” on Luntz’s cue.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 5, 2013. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor put Luntz’s “new” linguistic framing into effect earlier this week, when his speechwriters went so far as to purloin the “fair shot at success” speech delivered in December 2011 by his arch-enemy, Barack Obama (as Al Sharpton demonstrated on his MSNBC show, Politics Nation). Cantor’s purpose was to lull the ignorant sheeple into swallowing his party’s “softer focus” on “creating conditions for health, happiness, and prosperity”  — you know, stuff like education, health care, immigration reform, and the American Dream. His focus was soft, all right: gauzy words, but no policy prescriptions.

After all, as participants in The National Review’s recent summit on “reforming” the Republican Party concluded, the GOP need only ameliorate its delivery, not change its platform. While Karl Rove breaks ranks with the Tea Party in a desperate bid to defy demographics and reinstate the “permanent Republican majority” he has long envisioned, the (Hoping You’re) Gullible Old Party reduces its existential impasse to mere semantics.

“Rebranding,” not reform, is the GOP’s new raincheck for electoral success. Republicans haven’t quite “completed the sentence,” as Cantor offered on Morning Joe, but the clauses that form it are beginning to coalesce. Just ask Faux pundits InSannity, O’Really, or Steve Duncey — talking points have always been the most effective form of GOP cheating.

Ferret News may have dumped Palin and kicked Dick Morris to the curb, but crusty cliches don’t vanish overnight. How much do you want to bet that Fox keeps guarding the GOP henhouse?