Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How the GOP Controls Debate and Limits Dissent.

Once again the wimpy Democratic leadership has bowed down in the face of controversy.

Yes, I agree that someone needs to raise the level of civility in political discourse. But when someone like Pete Stark stands up in Congress and says what millions of Americans would love to say, the Democrats do a disservice to those they represent when they berate him for his actions.

Pete Stark's comments weren't polite and the ad wasn't kind but neither is a war with no apparent end and a budget deficit that threatens to bankrupt a nation.

Did Stark's comments detract from the discussion on SCHIP? No.

Stark's comments touched on the heart of the matter -- the misplaced priorities of the Bush administration.

If the Democrats can't stand their ground on the issue of "free speech" then how on earth are they going to win the battles that really matter? The answer, I'm afraid, is that they can't.

The reality of US politics is that both the GOP and the Democrats serve the same god -- corporate American and special interests. And just like sports athletes if someone's comment or action threatens to cut off their endorsement deal then that person needs to be shutdown or cast aside.

And now the GOP has all but anointed the Democratic 2008 Presidential nominee. No surprise here, when Clinton campaign advisor Mark Penn's PR firm also represents Blackwater.


an excerpt from

The Art Of The Hissy Fit | Campaign for America's Future

I first noticed the right's successful use of phony sanctimony and faux outrage back in the 90's when well-known conservative players like Gingrich and Livingston pretended to be offended at the president's extramarital affair and were repeatedly and tiresomely "upset" about fund-raising practices they all practiced themselves. The idea of these powerful and corrupt adulterers being personally upset by White House coffees and naughty sexual behavior was laughable.

But they did it, oh how they did it, and it often succeeded in changing the dialogue and tittilating the media into a frenzy of breathless tabloid coverage.

In fact, they became so good at the tactic that they now rely on it as their first choice to control the political dialogue when it becomes uncomfortable and put the Democrats on the defensive whenever they are winning the day. Perhaps the best example during the Bush years would be the completely cynical and over-the-top reaction to Senator Paul Wellstone's memorial rally in 2002 in the last couple of weeks leading up to the election.

With the exception of the bizarre Jesse Ventura, those in attendance, including the Republicans, were non-plussed by the nature of the event at the time. It was not, as the chatterers insisted, a funeral, but rather more like an Irish wake for Wellstone supporters — a celebration of Wellstone's life, which included, naturally, politics. (He died campaigning, after all.) But Vin Weber, one of the Republican party's most sophisticated operatives, immediately saw the opportunity for a faux outrage fest that was more successful than even he could have ever dreamed.

By the time they were through, the Democrats were prostrating themselves at the feet of anyone who would listen, begging for forgiveness for something they didn't do, just to stop the shrieking. The Republicans could barely keep the smirks off their faces as they sternly lectured the Democrats on how to properly honor the dead — the same Republicans who had relentlessly tortured poor Vince Foster's family for years.

It's an excellent technique and one they continue to employ with great success, most recently with the entirely fake Move-On and Pete Stark "controversies." (The Democrats try their own versions but rarely achieve the kind of full blown hissy fit the Republicans can conjure with a mere blast fax to Drudge and their talk radio minions.)

But it's about more than simple political distraction or savvy public relations. It's actually a very well developed form of social control called Ritual Defamation (or Ritual Humiliation) as this well trafficked internet article defines it:

Defamation is the destruction or attempted destruction of the reputation, status, character or standing in the community of a person or group of persons by unfair, wrongful, or malicious speech or publication. For the purposes of this essay, the central element is defamation in retaliation for the real or imagined attitudes, opinions or beliefs of the victim, with the intention of silencing or neutralizing his or her influence, and/or making an example of them so as to discourage similar independence and "insensitivity" or non-observance of taboos. It is different in nature and degree from simple criticism or disagreement in that it is aggressive, organized and skillfully applied, often by an organization or representative of a special interest group, and in that it consists of several characteristic elements.

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