Tag Archives: Lee Atwater

Today’s Quotes: Even Chuck Todd Finally Gets It — Sort Of

Will wonders never cease — even the always-lean-to-the-right Chuck Todd, et al, finally figured out that Andrew Breitbart was pulling his chain.

“After conservative activist James OKeefe pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for entering a federal building under false pretenses, you would have thought that all of us in the ACTUAL news business would have learned this lesson about Andrew Breitbart and his prot訩s: Theyre not out for the truth; theyre out for scalps.”
— Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg, from “Snookered,” MSNBC First Read, July 21, 2010.

But hold the phone — Chuck and Co. blundered into the swamp of Standard-Issue Beltway Conventional Wisdom lower down on the same page:

“But here is something to consider: It’s the country — not the system — that’s stacked against liberals and progressives.” […]
“From 1989 (after Reagan’s presidency) to now, the most stable data in the NBC/WSJ poll has been that roughly one-fifth of the country identifies as being liberal, while one-third identifies being conservative. Even in 2008, when Obama decisively won the presidency, the average in the poll was 25% liberal, 36% conservative. And in 1996, when Bill Clinton easily won re-election, it was 22% liberal, 34% conservative. For Democrats, this means that if they want to win national elections, they need to win about 60% of the self-described moderate vote — which Obama did in ’08 and congressional Dems did in ’06, per the exit polls. By comparison, however, John Kerry got 54% of the moderate vote in 2004.”

Chuck, Chuck, Chuck — for 30 years the Right-Wing Media Machine and the GOP have been pushing the ‘hate liberals’ message nearly unopposed by the milquetoast Dems or the MSM. Is it any surprise that most people would rather say they were conservative — depending on how the poll question is phrased, of course — than an evil liberal, whatever their actual political beliefs? What about the surveys that consistently show a majority support abortion rights, health care reform, Social Security and a passel of other not very conservative views? What about the massive public outrage when the Republicans tried to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case? Now that you’ve disabused yourself of Breitbart, how about recognizing that that ‘center-right country’ nonsense is straight from Andy’s ideological and strategic mentors, Karl Rove and Lee Atwater? Chuck, no matter what they say, I have hope for you yet.

The Tattlesnake Dick Cheney Doesn’t Have a Pulse Edition

Rachel Maddow reported July 14th that five-heart-attacks-since-he-was-37 Dick Cheney is hanging on by a thread following complete heart failure, kept alive only by a machine called a LVAD resting externally on his belly that keeps his blood moving. Ironically, because an external machine is circulating his blood rather than his damaged heart, Cheney apparently has no pulse, not that I would have sworn he had one before. Although I wouldn’t wish death on any human being (leave that to the kill-crazy wingnuts; I’d rather see him in jail), and Deadeye Dick marginally qualifies in that category, this would seem to be close to the end of the line for the Torture Boy the doctors can do no more except a full heart transplant and he’s physically in such bad shape he likely couldn’t survive the operation. (Although the sci-fi plot possibilities of Cheney receiving the heart of, say, a peaceful Buddhist monk and publicly renouncing his past self is nearly irresistible. “I’ve done wrong and now I must pay the price! President Obama, put me in prison for war crimes waterboard me, I insist! And I’m donating all of my millions in wealth to Green Peace! Liz, stop crying like that!”)

If he goes, are we going to be subjected to the full-pomp, days-long state funeral, or will every news outlet but Fox let him pass with just a brief mention and obit? I also wonder if, in his final moments in this realm, a fearful-of-judgment Cheney will pull a Lee Atwater and ask forgiveness for his past crimes and deceptions?

2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.

The Tattlesnake Frank Luntz is a Scum-Sucking Pig Edition

(With apologies to our porcine friends who also happen to suck scum, but don’t have much influence on the electorate.)

While some readers may chastise me for gross understatement in the title, and I take their point, I decided to keep this clean, or as clean as you can when describing the contents of the sole working Port-O-Potty on free chili and beer night at a baseball game.

“[A]sk a question in the way that you get the right answer.”
— Frank Luntz on his ‘fair and balanced’ polling methods.

What makes Republican word-whacker Frank Luntz my target is that he is an intentional and dedicated deceiver of the public, smart enough to know full well what he’s doing, but blithely willing to trot out his wares — borrowed from the misuse of modern psychological techniques to sell the gullible what they don’t need joined with a carnival conman’s shell game pitch — for the temporary benefit of his bank account, while his country slides into a wreckage of divisiveness and debt. If you’d like to find the home base for the decimation of our public speech into ignorant, inflamed, fearful, flag-draped hatred; the revision of our history into a reeking bonanza of selfish suicidal capitalism, evangelical Christian crapola and nasty neoconservative warhawk bilge; and the reduction of our political discourse into so much overheated, oversimplified, covertly racist, sound-bite slag, you can point to three names: the late Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, and the lesser-known, but every bit as important, Frank Luntz as the authors of the meltdown in progress.

“Luntz is glibly amoral, worrying only about whether language has the right effect, not whether it’s true.”
— Steven Poole, commenting on Luntz’s book “Words That Work” in The Guardian (UK), July 21, 2007.

It was Frank’s notion to rename a bill allowing more pollution as the ‘Clean Air Act’; it was Luntz who told the GOP to re-label estate taxes as ‘death taxes’ so that the wealthy paid less while the rest of us took up the slack; it was his demented mind that connected Iraq to 9/11 and instructed Republican pols to always preface any mention of the failed Iraq incursion with ‘9/11 changed everything’; behind nearly every current and past GOP talking point, endlessly repeated in the Right-Wing Echo Chamber, you’ll find Frank’s pasty round face, tirelessly choosing just the right words to convince a malleable faction of the American public to eat corporate Republican turds and think it’s prime rib.

Frank Luntz Pig

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The Tattlesnake The Suicide Kings of the GOP Edition

The Right-Wing Media Frankenstein is Pushing Its Republican Political Prisoners to Electoral Doom

You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.
— Glaucon, from Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave,” Book VII, “The Republic.”

Out in the formerly sunny Kal-i-forn-yuh, now the province of the disastrous ‘leadership’ of Republican Gov. Arnold “Worse Than Gray Davis” Schwarzenegger, GOP lawmakers are resisting a sensible bill that will save the state from bankruptcy and collapse. Why? Because it contains necessary tax increases to balance the state budget and the California Republicans are under threat from right-wing radio talkers that if they vote for the bill, they will be targeted for removal from office and their political careers ended.

Similarly, national Republicans in Congress have also gotten the message from Rush Limbaugh and his braying ilk: vote against even the most reasonable spending bills that would help Americans enmeshed in Bush’s new Great Depression and hope Obama fails or else.

Democrats have been rightly criticized for leaving their spines in a lockbox in the conduct of national business, but this is an exhibition of cowardice unparalleled in US political history: Not only are the chickenhawk Republicans afraid to risk their dainty flesh in the nation’s interest, now they are trembling in fear at the thought that obtuse gasbags like Limbaugh might attack them for voting the wrong way. (One, a featherweight embarrassment named Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia, blubberingly apologized and begged forgiveness on Limbaugh’s radio show recently for veering from Rush’s notion of conservative orthodoxy.)

The irony here is as thick as Rush Hudson Limbaugh III’s porcine jowls; the two ‘new’ political ideas hatched from the dank cellar of Nixon’s presidency were appealing via code words to white bigots the infamous ‘Southern Strategy’ and mobilizing fringe right Christians, formerly opposed to political involvement, to take up the GOP banner in the name of fighting abortion rights after Roe v. Wade was ruled on by the Supreme Court in 1973. The third ‘new’ idea, which really hearkened back to the broadcast rants of Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930s, was the inception of right-wing talk radio infesting those AM bands that had been all but deserted in the rush to FM in the 1970s, pioneered by the unlikely success of post-Fairness Doctrine Rush Limbaugh in 1988. In the early days, the Mighty Wurlitzer of conservative talk radio served the interests of the Republican Party, helping to elect Newt Gingrich’s ‘Contract with America’ Congress in 1994, and took their marching orders from the Republican National Committee, or GOP political operatives like Ed Rollins, Lee Atwater or, later, Karl Rove. The concept was simple: take all of the rage that was building in the nation from working class poor and blue-collar whites who were being consistently reamed by corporations owned by wealthy Republicans and their GOP political puppets and turn it on liberals, Hollywood, Democrats, feminists, scientists, gays, college professors, Barbra Streisand, welfare queens, ‘elites’ or anyone else not providing money or faxed talking points to the host, then urge them to support whatever jive pinhead the Republican Party dredged up to run against it all.

That the promulgators of this fictional universe, donning imaginary overalls during airtime and portraying themselves as straight-talking ‘average Americans,’ themselves were making millions of dollars (Limbaugh himself just signed a deal worth $400 million) and living the most elite lives possible off air was carefully hidden from the office-bound rubes and factory-floor yokels of the new GOP diaspora, strangers in their own land and eternally the patriotic put-upon victims of some liberal outrage, smart-ass scientist, gay celebrity or urban welfare recipient who had no other thought in life but to retire early with their new Cadillac and color TV bought on the downtrodden white man’s hard-earned dime.

For a time, the right-wing media prevailed with this fantasy of misdirected ire and ratings boomed, especially during the ’90s when they had Bill and Hillary Clinton to vilify for all that’s wrong with the world, and it reached it’s influential zenith with the election of the dullest knife in the drawer, the malaprop-prone black sheep alcoholic son of a politically-prominent family, a failure at everything he had ever tried, shoehorned into the Texas governor’s mansion by the slimy machinations of Karl Rove, and illegally appointed to the presidency by Daddy’s friends on the US Supreme Court — George W. Bush. The Limbaugh’s and Hannity’s celebrated they had catapulted one of their own into the highest office in the land; but that was also the beginning of their downfall, concurrent with the nosedive of Bush and the GOP, and the concomitant blossoming of their blind arrogance that is on track to reduce the Republicans to a small regional party, grasping for votes from the unlearned, unteachable and plain dumb. This media Frankenstein, stitched together haphazardly to assist the GOP, now bullies the party to work against its own interests, just as they have been doing to their misbegotten audience for decades, an audience diminishing in the harsh light of economic reality.

As the prescient Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com he was correct about the last presidential election and the baseball Tampa Bay Rays winning 2008 season has noted:

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