Sunday, October 6, 2013

Last Call: Podcast Vs. The Stupid

Bon and I talked about the impending disaster that is the shutdown and upcoming possible default by the GOP.

It's all about the punishment on this episode of Podcast Vs. The Stupid:  Gotta Get Up To Shut Down.

Oh Waiter, There's One Of Those People In The Oval Office

Aimai, filling in for Steve M. over at No More Mister Nice Blog, absolutely nails the Republican hatred for federal/government employees, up to and including President Obama.

We've seen a lot of weird reactions on the right wing to the Government Shut down. These range from "it doesn't matter" to "its terrible" but one thing that really strikes me is the rage and antipathy that has been displayed towards Federal Workers themselves. It doesn't strike me as unusual, but it does strike me as significant. Yesterday's on air rant by Stuart Varney makes it pretty explicit: Federal Workers and, indeed, the entire Government are failing Stuart Varney. They cost too much and they do too little. In fact: they are so awful they don't even deserve to be paid for the work they have already done. Contracts, agreements, and labor be damned.
Varney's money quote:

No, I don't think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don't. I'm sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I'm not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that's what I want to do.

Government employees are The Help.  And The Help is supposed to be put in its place whenever it gets uppity.  Aimai again:

Let me unpack this for you as an Anthropolgist, because I think it says something about the enormous gap that lies between these people (Republicans and Punishers) and the rest of us. There are several things at issue here: the status of workers, the status of employers, and the status anxiety Republicans feel when they don't believe that they are treated as an employer should be treated by their employees. In this case everyone in the Federal Government, from the President down to the lowliest Federal Street Sweeper, is not giving Varney the satisfaction that he thinks is his due. And he is damned if they will be paid when they don't do their job to his satisfaction. In this way his attitude is like that of the angry customers, the "Punishers" described in Jay Porter's series of essays about what happened when he moved an entire restaurant from tipped wait staff to non tipped.

Basically the ability to withhold tips from restaurant employees is necessary in order to maintain power over The Help.  When waitstaff in Jay Porter's restaurant went to non-tipped, that power was lost, and his customers were upset.  They wanted to maintain the ability to punish his staff for bad service, and actively looked for other ways to do so, such as a food critic publicly shaming one of the waitresses in a review.  It was OK when Republicans had that power over those people.

But then, one of them became President.  Then it all became about putting all of those people in their place.  Aimai:

What does this have to do with the Republican Party? The Republican Party at this point in time is entirely made up of Punishers who think they are entitled to treat the government--and especially the government of Barack Obama--as waiters who need to be shown their place. This should surprise no one. At heart the entire Republican Party is made up of winners and losers and they are united in just one thing: they think that money is the only way to tell who is who. If you have money, you use that to distinguish yourself from the losers and to demonstrate your superiority by punishing them further. If you are a loser--a worker, for example, or have no health insurance (say) your job as a Republican is to take your status as a given, accept it, and turn around and get your jollies kicking someone else farther down the line.

That's the way the GOP mindset works.  You take the hate and you kick the people beneath you, and government civil servants are the bottom of the food chain.  They exist to serve us, the mindset goes.

Federal workers violate those central principles because they can't be fired directly by "the employer" because the individual Republican tax payer isn't the direct employer. They also can't be humiliated and made to feel vulnerable because of civil service protections and unionization. And in the matter of interactions, one on one, the taxpayer can't command good treatment by offering money (bribes) and thus often feels vulnerable and weak because there is no way to play the "do you know who I am" card which (like tipping) is an attempt to force a generic servant to give non generic attention and service to one class of people. So Federal Employees create an extra level of status anxiety for Republicans when they come in contact with these "employees" who can't be fired or rewarded and therefore are not obligated to be extra nice to the individual Republican.
So no, the Republicans don't care about furloughed federal workers and their families, because the entire shutdown scenario is nothing more than collective punishment against all the people who voted for Obama. Shutting down the government was the plan all along, as this NY Times article points out.

To many Americans, the shutdown came out of nowhere. But interviews with a wide array of conservatives show that the confrontation that precipitated the crisis was the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the law, the Affordable Care Act, since its passage in 2010 — waged by a galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known. 
With polls showing Americans deeply divided over the law, conservatives believe that the public is behind them. Although the law’s opponents say that shutting down the government was not their objective, the activists anticipated that a shutdown could occur — and worked with members of the Tea Party caucus in Congress who were excited about drawing a red line against a law they despise.
Make no mistake, this shutdown and the threat of default is collective punishment against those of us who dared to opposed the Way Things Ought To Be.  The shutdown is there and the price of that shutdown is the end of the Affordable Care Act.  Republicans will destroy our country at this point, and cause trillions in damage and suffering for tens of millions of us in order to get their way.

John Boehner all but made that threat today on This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

BOEHNER: My goal here is not to have the United States default on its debt. My goal is to have a serious conversation about those things that are driving the deficit and the debt up and the president’s refusal to sit down and have a conversation about this is putting our nation. 
STEPHANOPOULOS: He continues to refuse to negotiate, the country is going to default
BOEHNER: That’s the path we’re on. The president canceled his trip to Asia. I assume — he wants to have a conversation. I decided to stay here in Washington this weekend. He knows what my phone number is. All he has to do is call.

We're ten days out from a economic and constitutional crisis, and there's no indication that it will be averted. You, me, and the rest of The Help must be punished, and the Republicans are going to wreck the country in order to do so, then say "We will continue to destroy your family and your economy until you realize that you are beneath us."

What will your answer be then to the GOP economic terrorists willing to destroy your family?

The Breaking Point Has Been Reached

The shutdown ends when enough purple district House Republicans face enough of a threat over the shutdown clown show that the GOP is in danger of losing control of the House in 2014, regardless of the threats the Tea Party makes.

We may have now reached that point according to Public Policy Polling.

The government shutdown is already hurting the GOP in battleground congressional districts, according to new polling in two dozen districts currently controlled by Republicans. 
The surveys, commissioned by the liberal group Political Action and conducted by Public Policy Polling, suggest that the government shutdown may already be having a bigger impact than most analysts realize. 
"Democrats must pick up 17 seats to win control of the House. These poll results make clear that if the election were held today, such a pickup would be well within reach," said pollster Jim Williams. "The surveys challenge the conventional wisdom that gerrymandering has put the House out of reach for Democrats." 
We're still 13 months out from next year's midterm elections and the shutdown isn't even over yet, so it's too soon to draw any conclusions, but this new survey data is supported by national polls that suggest Americans are more likely to blame Republicans for the shutdown than President Obama and other Democrats. Two polls released last week, from CBS and Fox News, each found that the public blames Republicans over Democrats by about a 10 point margin. Only about 20 percent blamed both sides evenly.

The new PPP polls were conducted on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week, with sample sizes of between 600-700 registered voters in each of the 24 districts they surveyed. Most of the districts, including several in California, New York, Ohio, and Florida, are considered competitive. 
In 17 of the districts, PPP found the Republican incumbent trailing a generic Democrat in a head-to-head contest among registered voters. Most of the incumbents' approval ratings were underwater, meaning more respondents disapproved than approved.

Dems need 17 seats to take back the House.  PPP finds 17 House Republicans are in danger of losing their seats, including locally here in the OH/KY area, Andy Barr in KY-6 (down 50-42% versus a generic Democrat, 50-33% say they are less likely to vote for Barr because of the shutdown) and David Joyce in OH-14 (down 47-44% vs Generic D and 50-34 less likely to vote for him over the shutdown).  In OH-6, Bill Johnson is up 41-35 over a generic Dem, but 41-40 voters are less likely to vote for him, so Johnson's seat is in play.

Of course, you can scream THE POLLS ARE SKEWED all you want to, Republicans.  Just like that coming Romney landslide in 2012 when you said the same thing.

How'd that work out for you, Republicans?  Cause it's about to happen again.

Related Posts with Thumbnails