Thursday, March 11, 2010

More Whine, Please

I’ve noted this before, but it’s a good point and John Cole does it very succinctly.

When did the Republicans become such whiners? Was it always this way, because right now the entire party seems to be based on a perpetual whine. The elitists don’t like us. The media is unfair. The Democrats aren’t being bi-partisan. They want to force gay cocks down our throats. They want to raise my taxes. Jon Stewart was mean to Marc Thiessen. Katie Couric asked mean questions.

On and on and on and on. Nothing but grievance after grievance building into one long sustained whine….

He was speaking specifically about Chief Justice John Roberts and his petulant tantrum about being criticized in public by President Obama. The answer to John’s point is that this is what they do. And as Steve M notes, it works.

It works because it solves a problem in modern politics, one that affects both parties: what do you do to sustain the loyalty of a large number of ordinary American voters when you either can’t improve their lives (because your fat-cat donors won’t let you) or won’t improve their lives (because you actually agree with the notion that helping fat cats is the proper way to govern)?

Well, if you’re not going to make voters happy by doing anything for them, you can at least show them you feel their pain. Democrats do it by campaigning on some variant on New Deal-ism — which they then abandon as soon as they’re in office. Republicans? They show they feel voters’ pain by whining about political and cultural insults — which is just what their base voters do. And that’s something they can do every day, even as they’re failing to improve the lives of the people who voted for them. Their voters love them for it. And Democrats don’t have anything like it.

It is the easiest thing in the world to do, too. They’re not responsible for the terrible state of the world; someone else is, and boy, they’d better do something about it. So you win an election, get into office, run the country into the ground to the point that they throw you out, then spend the next cycle whining about how crappy things got — for which you bear full responsibility — and demanding that someone else fix it. What could be simpler? They don’t even have to work hard to find the people to blame: The Gays, the brown people, the immigrants, the women with their uncontrollable uterus; they’re all out there conspiring against them. Then once they get back into office, they don’t do anything about what they were complaining about in the first place. But that was never the idea, anyway; they just want to win the election.