Sometimes, when you hear a new word, it clicks with you because it provides a word that you feel has been missing from the lexicon and has been desperately needed. Sometimes, you understand the word from the first time you see it, just based on its roots and construction. And sometimes, a new word sounds so funny that you laugh on first hearing it.
And sometimes it’s all three, which is how I felt when I first saw the word, cuckservative in my twitter feed a few weeks ago. The fairly obvious roots of it are the words cuckold and conservative. Cuckold meaning a guy who’s wife cheats on him, and he may end up clueless, raising someone else’s kids or a fetish in which guys get off on watching their wives have sex with other guys, and conservative meaning, “hey you kids, get off my lawn!”
Although the word’s origin go back to over a year ago (on the internet that’s decades) to the 4chan bulletin board. It seems to have bubbled up lately on twitter and has lead to some hilarious and biting internet memes. As far as a definition goes, there are dozens of them and since none of them are any more official than anyone else’s, I’ll add what I think it means: A conservative who seeks approval from the left and accepts their framing and worldview.
The use of this word has caused a full scale civil war on the internet right. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say cause, since there has been a civil war on the right for years. Sometimes it’s a cold war, and sometimes it’s a hot one, like the one the Tea Party has been engaging with the establishment Republicans. Spoiler alert, but it looks like the establishment won, with the exception of a few dead-enders. I predict a long period of reconstruction as Tea Partiers are processed through re-education camps.
Insults usually require an element of truth to be effective. Being called a stinky head scores zero points unless you in fact, have a stinky head. But that’s why this word has been so effective. The targets get it, and fight back in ways they just wouldn’t normally do if the word wasn’t hitting the bull’s eye.
Radio talk show host and Fox commentator, Erick Erickson, was one of the early victims and played right into the hands of his enemies.
When you are on the right and are calling other people on the right racists, that plays right into the hands of…the left. To be fair, a lot of the attacks are coming from racists and white nationalists, but that doesn’t mean that the word is their property. To try to spin it that way fits in to exactly into my definition of cuckservative.
Daily Caller writer Matt Lewis was another conservative writer (or cuckservative writer if you prefer) who took the word to task for racism, sexism, anti Semitism, and homophobia; the Four Horseman of the Left. Of course, he did it in the interweb pages of The Daily Beast, not exactly fertile ground for the right, but the perfect place to attack the right in full view of the left, in the hopes of winning their approval.
However the accusations of racism are not without merit, as a scroll through the internet memes for cuckservative make clear. However if you are a conservative target of the cuckservative meme, or a left wing observer; racism is the only point of this slur. Ahh…to host my own show on MSNBC now! Not quite an impossible dream considering how they’ve fired and cleared off the air waves of their considerable dead wood lately. It would be so easy…”Hatepublicans in a Civil War! The racist base of the party attacking the few moderates with a racist slur! Is this the Southern Strategy all over again? When will these hateful old white men die already?”
In real life though, this exposes a real rift on the right that breaks down along a few areas:
Immigration: The Republican Party Inc. and all of its candidates for President, support some sort of amnesty for illegal aliens. Oh it’s couched in tough talking avoidance code words like “secure the border” but ultimately the entire party establishment accepts the inevitability of some sort of amnesty for illegal’s already here. However that is not where the typical Republican primary voter is at. They don’t want any amnesty, and until it’s taken off the table, it’s a magnet for new illegals. So anxious is the Republican establishment for amnesty that upon Romney’s defeat virtually every Republican who could get near a TV camera blamed the loss solely on Romney’s self deportation remark. It so defied common sense that the base of the party ended up shaking its head at the stupidity of its leadership.
This goes a long way to explain the “mystery” of Donald Trump, which isn’t really much of a mystery unless you happen to be a cuckservative.
Culture Wars: Conservatives have a pretty clear record of failure from abortion to gay marriage. Of course, conservatives didn’t start the culture wars. They’ve been on the defensive since the beginning, but if the culture changes you can’t fix it with politics, but Republican candidates are still running on abortion, over 40 years after Roe v Wade. No, there will be no rollback on abortion, gay marriage, or anything else so stop acting like if you’re put in office, you’ll change it.
Concentration on Trivia: The country has big problems, mostly caused by the left, and the Republican establishment acts like the solution is just another tax cut away. The last time the Republicans had control of both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, they got wars and the first new entitlement program (Medicare Part D) since the Great Society. Nothing that Republicans actually wanted. And those tax cuts? Gone with the wind. In other words, after Republican rule, the government was bigger, with more regulations, and government programs, than it was before. The utter uselessness of expending time and effort passing budget resolutions that will promise to balance the budget in ten years when not a single step will ever be made to actually balance the budget no longer looks like a victory for conservatives and instead looks like a dodge.
Meanwhile, the Democrats had real goals. When Obama came into office, with a Democratic Congress, he began a sweeping series of measures to grow government that lead to what has been a Democratic Party goal for decades, national healthcare. With Obamacare, he took a major step towards that. Yet if you asked Republicans what goal has the Republican Party had for decades that that they would like to accomplish, it’s likely that if you asked 10 different Republicans you would get 10 different answers, and all of them would be defensive measures; to roll back some aspect that Democrats have already put in place that they actually have no intention of ever repealing.
Oh and tax cuts.
So if I refer to conservatives who fit the definition of cuckservative and get called a racist for my troubles, who cares? As someone who has been called a racist more or less continuously since the beginning of the Obama administration because of my principled opposition to stupid Democratic polices, the word has been stretched into meaningless, and constant repetition of it has drained it of meaning. However if you are the type of conservative who would rather shut up or change your position in a debate because you’re afraid of being called a racist, you might be a cuckservative.