Palin and the GOP Disguise Mock and Scorn as Public Policy

Mock and Scorn as Public Policy

Mock and Scorn
Mock and Scorn

In the last few years, the far right has brought this nation teetering to the perilous brink of moral bankruptcy by selling mock and scorn as workable public policy. We see this in their leaders (Sarah Palin) and followers (the Teabaggers), whose team jersey is contemptuous wanton violence — their faces screwed up into a rictus of wrath, lips snarled in ridicule as they arrogantly spew the hubristic litter of Fox News talking points.

When we consider that these are the same self-identified “Christians” of our nation, we must pause. While this is not a Christian nation, it is made up of a majority of Christians. The Christian radicals making up the Tea Party and social conservatives have publicly prayed for the death of the President, mocked community service, scorned the poor, the environment, wildlife, and sold hate under the banner of Jesus. Is this their brand of religion? If so, who is buying?

Our nation’s soul is at risk, as we watch 23 percent of the population go off the deep end from the misinformation being proffered as fair and balanced news. These folks have relegated themselves to the fringe of society to such an extent that they can no longer have a rational discussion or debate about the issues; they are too misinformed. Yet they approach each debate with the self-righteous certainty of the sneering Fox commentators, their misguided and often flat-out, empirically proven false comments dripping in ironic, humiliating (only to the self-aware) sarcastic derision.

They are then shamed and ostracized for being LIVs (low information voters) by “snobby liberals”, just as Fox tells them to expect, and so the cycle continues. The disgraced then run back to their comfort zone, sporting their wounded pride as impotent rage, desperately waiting for their next hit of victimization on the hamster wheel of self-fulfilling prophecies.

This is a case of epistemic closure, a debate that’s been raging recently within the (few) intellectual corners of the Conservative movement. Epistemic closure is the idea that people close themselves off to new info and only listen to sources they agree with, which creates a closed mind that will rejects outside information. In other words, intellectuals on the Right fear, for good reason, that the Right is so misinformed from being fed what they believe instead of what is true, that they are confining themselves to the lower outer limit of the public debate.

But this self-marginalization is catnip to the victim-identified right, who hold their status as white martyrs close to their hearts. It is, after all, all they have. If they aren’t sacrificial victims for the Cause, what are they? That’s a question they don’t want to have to answer. It involves taking responsibility for the W years, for the failed implementation of their ideology, and for the way conservatives bastardized their own ideology in a never-ending need to feed the immediate bottom line of their corporate masters.

Instead of owning up to the past and indeed the present (e.g., the Gulf Oil spill), they are doubling down on denial. And defiance of reality takes a lot of effort to maintain when one ventures out from their insulated world view. Unjustified scorn is the weapon of middle-schoolers the country wide for hiding their insecurities. It is not different among the bullies of the far Right; Sarah Palin mocks the President because she was a failed leader who quit on her state. The shame and humiliation she should feel as a person who quit on her oath of office is projected outward, exemplifying the old phrase, “one finger pointed out, four fingers pointed back at yourself’.

The more hatred, the more scorn, the more contempt she dishes out, the more guilty she is. Mock and scorn as public policy also disguise a Party bereft of ideas. All they can do is make fun of other ideas. They have none of their own to offer. It’s not just their “leaders”, but the Right has Fox, Rush, and now the radicalized Christian church to assist them in their journey toward irrelevance brought about by scandalous derision of our nation’s leaders while we are at war and fighting our way out of a deep recession.

But how long can they sustain this policy of mock and scorn? At some point, people begin to see past Oz to the little man in the booth. And when this happens, they flee their own mortifying willingness to be duped and don’t look back.

Wizard of Oz: [speaking in a booming voice into microphone] I am the great and powerful…
[then, realizing that it is useless to continue his masquerade, moves away from microphone, speaks in a normal voice]

Wizard of Oz: … Wizard of Oz.

Behold, behind the curtain of scorn lay nothing but a small-minded, desperate Party, using illusion and distraction to maintain what power they have left.

Going negative has been the Republican strategy for so long, perhaps they don’t know how to get out of it or they are simply lacking in the courage and fortitude to face up to their destructive, haunting mistakes. Either way, they don’t have long as a viable national party unless they take some serious steps to win back the moderates. Even hard core Republicans are distancing themselves from the Teapublican Party’s mantle of hate, as the far right sounds more and more like the radical Islamists they claim to loathe. By the way, the Islamic movement is defined as being characterized by “moral conservatism, literalism, and the attempt to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life.” Does that ring any bells?

Just how long will our nation be subjected to mock and scorn by the so called patriots of the Right? Probably until they wrestle power back from the Democrats. And as the economy continues to improve, thus narrowing the chances of huge Republicans wins in 2010, you can expect to see the mock and scorn multiply. It’s all they have.

17 Replies to “Palin and the GOP Disguise Mock and Scorn as Public Policy”

  1. Excellent Sarah.

    there is a lot of confusion going on where as some people say the Republicans have a good chance of taking some seats this year, and others who say they don’t.

    I have to wonder why the people who think they can win are not taking into account the people like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell who as speakers for the Republican Party, are spouting untruths and outright ridiculous statements. granted any wins will come on a local basis, being a Republican and listening to these people must be quite hard. That is if you have a conscience.I would not in this lifetime goal for a party who is acted in a manner that the Republican Party has acted while part of our government. What would I expect from them after seeing them now, after being elected to terms of office?

    Being a Republican and listening to Fox news must be painful, if you have a conscience. Being a person who believes that most people have a conscience I am not sure how the Republicans can win when they are leaving so much fodder out of the street for the Democrats to use against them. In fact I’m not sure how anyone who is a Republican can actually run for office with a good conscience.

    If the Republicans were smart they would ignore the tea party. If they ignore the tea party than the tea party has no one to back, and then the Republicans do not have to flip-flop constantly in the matter of John McCain. All one has to do is watch these people flip-flopping and if you have a conscience decide if you want to vote for them.

    while I respect John McCain and consider him to be an American hero, his flip-flopping makes me feel like I’m the girl in the Exorcist with my head spinning around in circles.

    By the way, and you heard it here first, I do not think there is a snowball’s chance in hell that Sarah Palin will run for office. And I refer to the office of vice president or president in 2012. I do not expect that she will recognize the foolish remarks he has made will be used against her but certainly the people who will run her campaign should see that. Unless they don’t have a conscience and just want to make some money.

  2. This is a very well written piece that spells out clearly and succinctly how dangerous closed mindedness is. Thank you Sarah Jones.

  3. @Shiva,

    Thanks Shiva:-) I was impressed with how you presented your thoughts the other day here — we had some good debate!

  4. @Baruch,

    Thanks so much.

    It is very important for us to be aware of ideas and facts that do not match up with our beliefs- and to be open to learning the truth, no matter where it takes us. To this end, I’ve been reading a lot about conservative ideology lately and I can agree with some of the premises and even supposed platforms. Where they have lost me is in the implementation and failure to hold true to those ideas. But nonetheless, I plan to continue reading as much as I can from different view points.

  5. Sarah Jones, you outdid yourself on this post. This is a remarkable, concise and witty assessment of Sarah Palin and the Republican Party. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. You continue to restore my faith in humankind and our society. What the GOP has done to our democracy is criminal on so many levels. Democrats are not all saints but their goals and principles have been primarily for the people. The Tea Party has been escalated by the media, Sarah Barracuda and the powerful corporate businessmen that are secretly behind them. I am ashamed of them and the lying GOP. They want their country back, then I say don’t take the benefits this country offers. The ignorance and racism is overwhelming in the 21st century. If more seats are picked up in congress by Republicans backed by Tea Party members or anyone else for that matter, the American voters should be ashamed of what they are promoting. Sarah Palin is not genuine in terms of true patriotism or Christian values. She’s a quitter and an opportunist. She’s an attack dog in reality. She has no real policies that will benefit this country. And in her current role as political speaker for hire, she doesn’t have to have meaningful policy. The crime is that she gets away with it. Thanks again S Jones for the “real deal”.

  6. @F Joy,

    Wow, thanks so much:-) The subject matter is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Have you seen the HBO doc “The Right Feeling Wronged”? The utter contempt on their faces will take your breath away.

    It came to me very clearly while writing that that contempt was a cover for their failures, which makes it more human and yet somehow less acceptable in grown-ups (and by grown-ups I refer to those elected officials who are supposed to be governing first). In the end, as maddening as it is, I can’t see how this is going to go well for them. The school-yard taunts of Palin scolding President Obama to “do your job” are meant to distract from the fact that she could not do her job. No wonder she has to mock the President.

    Eventually they will be shamed out of decent society and hopefully the few intellectuals in the movement will regain control and at least we can get back to disagreeing on policy rather than the politics of dissemblance and distraction.

  7. Another excellent post, SJ.
    Kudos for having the guts to descend into the frightening mindset of the Right and Illuminate the inner workings. It’s fascinating, really, but sobering in that there’s so much at stake. My only solace is having witnessed the intelligent/moderate conservatives where I work gradually grow and quiet and distance themselves from McCain/Palin/Fox during the run-up to the election. They just couldn’t support what was happening to their party. I like to think that this movement is continuing as the Right grows ever more extreme, empty, and irrelevant.

  8. @Geo,

    That’s encouraging news re the Republicans where you work. I like to think that most people are decent and can’t abide by what’s going on, once they get a good look at it.

  9. @Sarah Jones, It would be so refreshing for a conservative to be courageous enough to stand and be sincere and speak intelligently in this current political environment.

  10. @Sarah Jones, No I did not see the HBO documentary. Sorry I missed it. But I do look forward to the day when intelligence replaces ignorance especially where it counts. And those who have made a mockery of our democracy become duly noted.
    Your research has been enlightening. Thank you.

  11. Thank you, Sarah Jones. I didn’t see the HBO documentary, but did read an interview by Bill Moyers of an author who talked about what the Republicans did while in power, particularly during the Bush years. They truly did everything possible to insure that government did not — could not — work. For example, an attorney fresh out of law school can find work as an associate at approximately $200,000/year at any big city law firm. In contrast, government attorneys under Bush were working for no more than $140,000/year. Why would any attorney worth his/her salt take the job? (Of course, some just want an in toward a career in politics, and some of them are from families wealthy enough that a good salary is unnecessary.) Thus, government was designed to fail, so the Republicans could say “government doesn’t work, let the private sector and the free market handle everything.” Trig Palin has Down Syndrome. Sarah Palin is retarded.

  12. @F Joy,

    You can watch it on YouTube– I think there are 6 parts or so and I highly recommend it;-) But do be prepared to take breaks for nausea.

  13. @zyxomma,

    yes, we can see evidence of this in the Bush DoJ — stocked full of lifetime careerists who were illegally hired based on their political and religious leanings. The same DoJ that covered for BP…..

    The HBO doc can be viewed on YouTube in several parts. I can’t recommend this highly enough if you’re interested in the mind set of these folks. They really believe the election was theirs, that God wanted Palin and McCain in office, and that Obama is the anti-christ. It’s as absurd as it is disturbing.

    The Republicans entire platform is built upon the notion you bring up- that government is bad and doesn’t work. They then set about to exemplify this while making tons of money for their families and friends by hiring unqualified people to fill important offices.

    If only they were not obstructing this administration so much….It would be so nice to have the 92 or so secret holds they have placed on Obama’s appointees released so that we might finally have a TSA chief and fly a bit more safely.

    They can’t be the patriots they claim to be when they are behaving like this.

    Thanks for your insightful comment — the point about lower salaries for important positions is an excellent one, and one we must also address when it comes to key regulatory positions (who should not be able to go work in said industry or have stock in said industry for a set period of time) so that we can get good, knowledgeable people into those positions.

  14. The GOP has been using mockery and scorn for years. They have often used it effectively to win elections by demonizing their opponents, and they also currently use it to reinforce their ludicrous concept of being “conservative enough” by forcing out moderates. Fortunately, it did not work in the 2008 presidential campaign, so we dodged 2 bullets instead of 1. Bullet #1 is a long-term politican who will say and do anything to get elected and re-elected no matter how much dignity it costs him.
    Bullet #2 is a hateful, clueless demagogue who uses cutesy, empty bumper sticker slogans to spread hate and misinformation.

    The mockery and scorn from the GOP are currently being used in an attempt to obstruct the Obama administration’s initiatives. They are solely interested in regaining power, but they are completely bereft of any ideas about helping this country get back on its feet. They have done such a fantastic job of exposing themselves through the likes of people like Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity,
    McConnell, McCain, etc, that no one in his or her right mind can possibly think they have this country’s interests at heart.

  15. “They have done such a fantastic job of exposing themselves through the likes of people like Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity,
    McConnell, McCain, etc, that no one in his or her right mind can possibly think they have this country’s interests at heart.”

    You’re absolutely correct, Anne. However, many in this country are way out of their minds, stoked by Faux News commentary on top of their personal problems. People who live in fear cannot act sanely. This is a function of the neurotransmitters and stress hormones that result from fear, as well as the brain fog caused by poor nutrition. People eating the standard American diet (SAD for short) use 75% of the energy from their calories just to digest their food and assimilate the (poor) nutrients they get from the food they buy because it’s advertised on TV and radio. These people cannot operate from their hearts and minds, because they are functionally impaired on a daily basis, since only 25% of their energy from their food calories is available for all the functions of life apart from digestion/assimilation.

    I had a chance to attend a free meetup with Congressman Anthony Weiner a couple of days ago (his colleagues in Congress were gobsmacked that he didn’t ask us to bring checkbooks). There was a long Q&A followed by mingling and mixing with the crowd. I asked him how we can reform healthcare without first reforming Big Food, which is at least as corrupt as Big Pharma. His reply opened my mind: As long as the first caucus is held in Iowa, where so many constituents grow (genetically modified) corn and soy, no candidate for president who doesn’t say what Iowa wants to hear (continued agriculture subsidies for said corn and soy), we’ll have no presidential candidates whose agenda includes the reform of our food supply (e.g. Dennis Kucinich).

    Sorry if this seems OT, but it’s a HUGE issue that’s largely ignored. It goes way beyond false dichotomies of right and left, R and D. We have a sick population, and unless they get well, many of our voters will go right on believing that Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, etc. are sent by God to fix what’s wrong with our country. Health and peace.

  16. @zyxomma,

    You could not be more accurate. This is a subject close to my heart, as I grew up eating a certain kind of raw-ish (not processed) food. You are absolutely right. Then we see the pharma and food industry cross pollinating stocks– why is that? I think we all know the answer.

    As for Weiner’s comment about the Presidency, he is spot on– you will also not find a US president who says he is going to break up the media congloms because he would NEVER be elected. What’s really sad is listening to so called liberals parrot MSM anti-progressive talking points without knowing it, like the attack on the Conn senator re his service record which has now been corrected.

    There are rules that you just don’t break. We will never have Dennis for President, and he is an incredible public servant. It just won’t happen. He’s anti war, anti-media, etc. The media manipulates the populace even when the populace thinks they are cynical and above it all.

    My secret hope is we sneak one (anti-conglom) in there and at the last minute, as she’/he’s heading out the door, she/he issues a directive — but of course, this would only be overturned. And liberals wouldn’t vote for the person in the first place if the person didn’t announce what they stood for. So there we go.

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