The Closing of the #Cuckservative Mind

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.

 

Bernie Sanders out Trumps Trump

Democratic candidate and progressive favorite Bernie Sanders had a “conversation” with the liberal talking points website Vox (conversations being what the site calls its interviews) by liberal wunderkind Ezra Klein, who famously claimed that the US Constitution was confusing because it was over 100 years old.

Ah, the liberal intellectual.Bernie Sanders

Most of the interview was fairly boilerplate, with Sanders describing what he means by being a Democratic Socialist, and went through a litany of all the things he would like to regulate, tax, and give away for free.  Pretty standard stuff until the interview hit upon the issue of immigration, and Sanders started making Klein’s head spin.

Ezra Klein: You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view. I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders. About sharply increasing …

Bernie Sanders: Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.

Ezra Klein: Really?

Bernie Sanders: Of course. That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. …

Ezra Klein: But it would make …

Bernie Sanders: Excuse me …

Ezra Klein: It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?

Bernie Sanders: It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.

Heh, a Koch brothers proposal…

Klein was totally unprepared for the thought that Sanders might actually favor some restrictions on immigration.  But Sander’s progressivism isn’t the same as Vox’s or most of the mostly white crowd that’s attracted to the Sanders candidacy. Sanders is an old time class struggle leftist.  He would be much more comfortable with labor rights and issues rather than the identity politics that is required of current Democratic and progressive politics.  That’s why Sanders was so blindsided at the Netroot Nations conference.  He would have been much more comfortable with #workerslivesmatter rather than the #blacklivesmatter, which he was finally browbeat into acknowledging.

But the modern left isn’t concerned with workers (or working for that matter).  They’re trying to reach various identity groups as identity groups.  Jobs are too boring compared with the excitement of sitting in a coffee shop updating your social media with snarky comments.

Sanders old fashioned “protecting American workers” shtick was so unnerving to Vox that they had to publish a rejoinder in praise of open borders and call for supporting a policy that would allow every poor person in the world to come to the US.  They still love Bernie, but they want everyone to know that he’s wrong on this issue.

It’s too bad Vox doesn’t allow comments on it’s articles.  It would be a far more interesting website.

I find it interesting that the two insurgent, non establishment campaigns, even though they are on opposite sides politically, seem to be much closer on the immigration issue than any of the more “mainstream” candidates.  Trump and Sanders both seem to want to put American workers first.  Why does that have to be a fringe position?

 

Trump’s Wild Card

Ever since Donald Trump entered the race last month, the Republican battle has been upended in a way no one would have predicted.  Although he is derided as a clown and a bozo in both the main stream media and in conservative media and Republican Party circles, his speech announcing his entry into the Presidential race I found strangely compelling, as did the rest of the world.Trump

But we apparently heard different things.  If you are a member of the mainstream media, or an establishment Republican, what you heard was this:

“I’m Donald Trump, I’m super rich, and I hate Mexicans.”

That’s not what I heard.  What I heard was a not very coherent, but rarely heard appeal to the working classes of both parties:

-The country is in serious trouble.

-We’ve gotten the short end of trade deals, particularly NAFTA but also with Japan and China.

-The US is being taken advantage of.

-Illegal immigration is hurting us, not helping us. It’s bringing in crime, drugs, and illegals are stealing jobs.

-GDP and Employment is dropping, and the labor participation rate is skyrocketing.

-We need to bring jobs back to this country.

-The whole world is laughing at us, and I’m going to change that.

If you hadn’t heard his official announcement, it’s understandable if you think his oversized media attention is due mostly as a result of his celebrity status and his entertaining take downs of other Republican candidates.  I’d urge you to listen to it.  Yes, being a celebrity is part of it, but what everyone is trying to obscure is that if you take his mish mash of statements and boil it down, it comes down to a very clear policy direction.

Economic Nationalism.

Economic Nationalism used to be a fairly common populist trend in US politics, but in a certain sense, both parties have abandoned working class issues in favor of establishment concerns.  The Democrats started to abandon the working class after the New Left take over that begin during the 1968 Democratic Convention.  They support Labor Unions, but not labor.  The Republicans picked up the language and culture of the working class beginning with Reagan, but never went beyond the cultural concerns.  At this point, neither the Democrats nor Republicans provide more than lip service to real working class issues.

So multibillionaire real estate heir Donald Trump sounds like a breath of working class fresh air compared to the platforms of all of the other candidates. Illegal immigration cuts directly into wage rates for the unskilled and semi skilled working classes of this country, yet both parties to various degrees continue to support the idea; Democrats because they are courting future voters, and Republicans because they are courting a current low wage workforce with no employment or legal rights.

Opening trade with China and the expansion of NAFTA has resulted in losses on the order of one million to 3.7 million US jobs. Combined with the real threat that automation poses to both low end and high end jobs, the future isn’t very bright for the average worker, and even less bright for those on the left hand side of the Bell Curve.

So with 16 Republican candidates and 4 Democratic ones, only Trump is highlighting, and addressing these working class anxieties.

Try as I might, I just can’t take Trump seriously as a Presidential Candidate.  He’s too much of narcissistic celebrity blowhard.  But he’s a blowhard that has shown the Republicans a path to winning in 2016.  A clever Republican candidate could cherry pick and refine some of Trump’s economic nationalism agenda into a ticket that would be attractive to working class voters in swing states.

Will that happen?  I think it’s not too likely.  Everything that Trump is for, the establishment Republican Party and its donor base opposes.  Otherwise there would be multiple legitimate Republican candidates running on this platform instead of just Trump.  For the Republicans, Santorum and Walker are just dancing on the edges of working class populism.  For the Democrats: just Jim Webb. Bernie Sanders, as an old time class warfare leftist, started out that way, but has been shaped and molded by the identity politics left that now runs the Democrats out of that mold.

So the future for Trump candidacy?  He’s not getting the Republican nomination.  I think ultimately it’s too much work for a job that pays too little.  But his influence could be positive on the Republican Party if they manage to learn from his success and see what worked and borrow from it.  More likely though, the Republicans would rather form a circular firing squad and go after any candidate who shows any signs of “Trumpism” in order to please the donor class, with the end result that the Republican donor class will have helped to elect a Democratic candidate in 2016.

On My Burwell Bet: I Win!

In a totally unsurprising turn of events, I was proven right once again.  The Supreme Court upheld, not the actual text of the law, but the IRS and HHS interpretation of the law that allows subsidies paid out through the federal exchange rather than just through the State exchanges, as the actual law requires.

All is as I’ve foreseen.  As I wrote back in March:

 So in spite of the actual text of the law limiting subsidies to State exchanges, I predict that the Court will find against the plaintiffs and rule that the subsidies can pass through the Federal exchange.

I did think that Justice Roberts would, if given enough cover to keep the subsidies might vote against it to show his “independence” however even with a court majority, he either wanted to be counted with the free stuff gang, or he just wanted to shoot a bird at conservatives who criticized him for his last Obamacare decision.

Screw you guys!

Message received Roberts.

This was a simple case.  The text of the law was pretty specific; there were multiple Gruber statements and statements by others involved in the law that that it was specifically written that way to force States to start their exchanges, and it didn’t matter.  Politics trumped law.

And now; on to gay marriage, when we’ll learn that the founders, when they wrote the constitution in 1787, really intended gay marriage…

Jeb Bush is Certifiable III: The Wrath of Iraq

Its mind boggling to me that the single most obvious question that potential candidate Jeb Bush would be asked caught him completely unaware.  First with Megyn Kelly on Fox:

In an interview set to air Monday, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked presumptive presidential candidate Jeb Bush if he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq in 2003 “knowing what we know now.”

“I would have,” the Republican answered. “And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence that they got.”

OK, maybe he misheard the question; it’s Monday right?

Monday meme

 

 

 

 

 

So on Tuesday, Jeb goes on Hannity to clear things up.

“I interpreted the question wrong I guess…Knowing what we know now, you know, clearly there were mistakes as it related to faulty intelligence in the lead-up to the war and the lack of focus on security. And my brother’s admitted this, and we have to learn from this.”

Blah blah blah, but as to knowing what we know now?

I don’t know what that decision would have been, that’s a hypothetical”

So mistakes were made, and apparently by that mysterious entity known as the third person, and a refusal to answer.

Now many times it’s fair to say that hypothetical questions shouldn’t be answered, however the Iraq War wasn’t hypothetical, it was real, and an answer to that question is an excellent proxy to all sorts of foreign policy views.

Particularly if your last name is Bush.

On Wednesday, Bush got ambushed by a college student and was able, finally to give a half way decent answer to a question about Iraq, however it’s somewhat damning with faint praise to say he handled a question by a 19 year old idiot. But when he was asked questions by grownups According to the Washington Post, Jeb double downed on Tuesdays mistakes-were-made-hypothetical’s answer:

He was later asked about comments aired by Fox News on Monday that he would have ordered the Iraq invasion even knowing how the war unfolded and that intelligence used to justify the war was faulty. On Tuesday, Bush clarified his comments, saying he had misunderstood the question.

But a man in Reno asked Bush, “You said I think it was yesterday that I don’t want to answer hypotheticals. Don’t you think running for president is hypothetical when you say, if I run for president dot-dot-dot?”

“Rewriting history is hypothetical,” Bush replied.

He said that he had misinterpreted the question from Fox’s Megyn Kelly to mean “Knowing what you knew then, what would you do?”

“And I answered it honestly and I answered it the way I answer it all the time, which is that there were mistakes made, but based on the information we had, it was the right decision,” he said.

“What we ought to be focused on is what are the lessons learned?” he added. “There are two lessons. One is, if you’re going to go to war, make sure that you have the best intelligence possible and the intelligence broke down. That’s clear, clearly one of the mistakes of this. And secondly, if you’re going to do this have a strategy of security and a strategy and have a strategy to get out. And both of those things didn’t work the way they did, although I give my brother credit. Once the mess was created, he solved that mess with the surge and created when he left a much more stable Iraq that now, that was squandered in some ways when President Obama did not keep any small amount of troop level.”

Bush also dismissed “hypothetical” questions about the origins of the Iraq war as a “disservice” to U.S. troops who died or were injured in the war, and to their families.

By Thursday, Jeb was in Arizona and finally seemed to suspect that he might actually be asked about Iraq, and he had better come up with an answer.

If we’re all supposed to answer hypothetical questions: Knowing what we now know, what would you have done? I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.

And on Friday:

Friday

As I’ve argued here and here, Jeb Bush is mentally unprepared to be President.  All he cares about are illegal immigrants and when he’s not talking about that, it’s as if he’s never thought of the issue before, even when the issue is the most predictable question any potential candidate has ever gotten.

 

 

 

Jeb Bush is Certifiable: Part Deux

Jeb Bush 2I had written last month that I had thought Jeb Bush was a little bit cray cray because of his need to remake himself as someone he isn’t: a Hispanic.  So completely has he tried to strip away the culture he was born in, as scion of a northeastern WASP family, that his do over as El Jeb the Immigrant looks odd and uncomfortable. Now comes word that it’s passed into full scale delusion.  The New York Times reports that:

Mr. Bushy, a former Florida governor and likely presidential candidate, was born in Texas and hails from one of America’s most prominent political dynasties.  But on at least one occasion, it appears he got carried away with his appeal to Spanish-speaking voters and claimed he actually was Hispanic.

In a 2009 voter-registration application, obtained from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, Mr. Bush marked Hispanic in the field labeled “race/ethnicity.”

Carried away is putting it mildly.

Bush of course quickly sent out a tweet apologizing for his “mistake.”  But I’m not buying that.  This is the same guy who claimed he was Florida’s first “Latino Governor.”  Even if Bush was a Latino, that position was already taken by Bob Martinez. Such monomaniacal focus on remaking himself, at this stage in his life, is a red flag to me of a host of mental issues.

Don’t put this guy in the White House.

Jeb Bush is Certifiable

Jeb Bush was in Iowa last week sticking his toe in the water to see if he really could win the general by losing the primary.  I have to give him credit; he’s willing to stick to unpopular positions, even if they are politically toxic.  He reiterated his support for Common Core, which is unpopular with some conservative activists, and opposed renewal fuel standards, which although they are not popular with Republicans in general, are popular in Iowa. So he’s not afraid to run against the grain. But I just can’t, in this or any other parallel universe, imagine Jeb Bush winning the Republican nomination.     Jeb Bush

David Frum wrote a piece in The Atlantic last month describing Bush as a Republican version of Obama in that they have created artificial identities to hide behind.  In Bush’s case, he is from a northeastern WASP family via Texas and now regards himself as an adopted Hispanic, speaking Spanish in the home, converting to Roman Catholicism, and moving to the Capital of Latin America, Miami.   He may be the Republican Obama, but that’s not really his problem.

I don’t think Jeb will be the nominee because:

Last name Bush. Dynasties don’t wear as well with Republicans as they do with Democrats. If Carolyn Kennedy threw her pill box shaped hat in the race, she would have a decent shot because…last name Kennedy. And this is even though she’s an incompetent who blew her chance to be appointed senator by being unable to talk in interviews. Hillary is the Democratic “front runner” now only because of dynasty.

His family is messed up.  His wife isn’t comfortable in English (probably because of the practice of speaking Spanish at home), She also has a shopping problem. All of his kids have been arrested at least once and his daughter was a drug addict.  Not exactly a picture perfect first family.

But the real clincher is that the only national issue Jeb is associated with is amnesty, which is unpopular with the base.  Now of course whoever does end up with the nomination will probably be pro amnesty too since any anti-amnesty candidate won’t be able to get the funds to run. Republican donors are as pro amnesty as Chuck Schumer. But the other candidates will be associated with other issues. Jeb won’t. And on that issue he looks vacillating and contradictory. As I have written about previously, he came out with a book in 2013 about amnesty in which he proposed not offering a path to citizenship. Since he had always supported amnesty with citizenship before, on day 1 of his book tour he was asked why he changed his mind, and he stammered and it turned out he hadn’t changed his mind at all. So the first day of his book tour he disavowed the central premise of the book he was trying to sell. That will come up over and over in 2016.

Of course, what Jeb was hoping for was that by the time 2016 rolled around, amnesty would have been a done deal, and he could have pointed to the book to say, “See? I was opposed to citizenship!” That would place him to the right of the actual policy. I think the odds look poor for that now.

As a governor he wasn’t bad and was pretty tight with the State dollar, however he didn’t have any input in Federal areas like immigration. Frum’s article does make a good case for the similarities between Jeb and Obama, but I think the real take away is that when it comes to immigration, Jeb is certifiable. He seems to have no other passions other than illegal immigrants. And it’s not even a logical obsession.  It’s actually more about preferring Latin Culture and people to the more Anglo variety that Jeb hails from.  How else to explain the illogic of wanting to grant people who illegally cross the border amnesty (who are mostly Hispanic), but deport people who actually entered the country legally, but overstayed their visas (and who are primarily not Hispanic)?   Never has an American politician been so blatant about replacing me and my family with someone else that he likes better. Bush is obviously carrying around some mental issues about his fellow Americans.

The Democrats are far more circumspect than this.

I hate to be one of those, “I’ll never vote for…” types who swear they’ll never vote if McCain/Romney/fill in the blank wins the nomination, but I think Jeb would actually be worse than any conceivable Democrat.  Except maybe Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, and even then, I’m not sure Gutiérrez is as obsessed with illegals as Jeb is.