Thursday, September 25, 2014

Republicans Are People Too

Maaaaaybe Part Of The Problem? Nah ...
It isn't easy being a Republican these days--just ask! There are, they tell us, people who will stick up for Genghis Khan before they'll defend a Republican (apparently some people think Genghis was misunderstood). But before you bully a Republican (online, that is), think about this: Republicans Are People, Too.

Here's the video:

In case you can't watch--and it's short, you oughta--here's the deal: It plays jaunty music over a variety of images, each with a friendly message about Republicans. Here are a few:
  • Republicans drive Priuses
  • They recycle
  • They include whites, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics!
  • They read the New York Times
  • --Even in public
  • They use Mac computers
  • They are Grandmas, Mothers, and Daughters (but let's be real, heavier on the Grandmas)
  • They are doctors, welders, and teachers!
  • They give to charity, enjoy cooking, and even ... shop at Trader Joes.
  • They like cats and dogs--but, says the video, probably a little heavier on the dog side (shows a serviceman embracing a dog).
  • They have tattoos and beards.
  • They have actual feelings (none of those simulated feelings you may have heard about)
  • They are people who care (we see a fireman next to a simulated fire)
In short? Republicans are people too.

What's Going On?
Well, you know what's going on--because you read The Omnivore. Republicans are, demographically speaking, in the basement with minorities and women (single women, that is) and Rince Pribus just pressed the down arrow. They need some hip re-branding--they need youth-appeal. They need to shake the idea that they are ... oh ... what was the report the GOP Campus Youth group put together? Close-minded, rigid, old-fashioned, and ... uh, racist?

Right--so this comes out and says that Republicans are environmentally conscious, multi-racial, equal gender, hip dudes who are caring, professional, and appear in all walks of life. And they have actual feelings to boot.

The hope, The Omnivore thinks, is that a bald statement like this will, maybe, sway people who might think that Republicans actually don't think man is damaging the environment, believe the New York Times is a corrupt liberal news source, and are more socially conservative than hip (and, look, while these days everyone uses a Mac and a lot of us shop at Trader Joes, please, please do not insult The Omnivore's intelligence by pretending you don't know what the branding of those items are).

And, finally, if they can convince anyone--but let's be frank--they are really trying to convince young people--that Republicans are caring, sensitive human-beings who just want what is best for everyone--then maybe--just maybe--the demographics that are growing rather than shrinking won't be dead-set against them.

What's Wrong With This?
Nothing, taken at an individual level: The Omnivore is, after all, a registered Republican (and The Omnivore, at last check, was judged both human and in possession of feelings by his physician). More-over, while The Omnivore is at this point a hopeless RINO, The Omnivore has actual for-real red-state relatives with mutual Omnivorous admiration and tolerance (and these are hard-core conservative voters--no wimpy RINOS there).

How ... erm ... however ...

The Omnivore is going to 'take on faith*' that the folks behind Republicans Are People Too  don't know why people hold these bizarre views about Republicans. After all, if they are false for some Republicans are they not therefore false for all Republicans? Why, some Republicans voted for Barack Obama! It's true. The Omnivore knows 'em.

So let's check: How do Republicans score on the above points--and where they disagree with liberals, are these caring, human Republicans nice about it (unlike the rude, brainless liberals)?

Prius And Recycling?
The key reason to drive a Prius isn't that it might save you some money (although that's a good one that's resonant with Republicans). The reason to recycle isn't that it's good for the economy (although maybe it is). No, the key drivers for these things is the theory that mankind is doing damage to the environment. If you don't accept this, you're being willfully blind. Do Republicans in general believe that? Mostly, no. Not really.

Are They Nice About It?
You can check the other graphs there--but no--mostly Republicans do NOT believe that mankind is causing global warming (although, yes, some do). But really--are Republicans as a whole pretty nice about how they disagree? Do they use derogatory terms for people who disagree with them? On an individual basis, of course, who can say--but what about major publications?
These are not especially nice terms--basically calling people in the blue-bar above hysterical dupes. Here is a video of conservatives in converted pick-up trucks designed to overload their diesel engines to spew black smoke over cars behind them. Especially targeted? Priuses.

It's worth a watch.

Don't worry--we'll handle the "It's just those guys" and "Not All Republicans" down at the bottom--but the take-away here is this: Republicans as a whole don't (majoritarily) think that global warming is a thing--and they are fully engaged in the rhetoric-ring to say so. There is nothing wrong with this--but don't dish it out if you can't take it.

There Are Republicans of All Colors and Creeds
Yes--yes there are. Just not that many of them. There are black, white, Asian, and Hispanic Republicans--but really? If you're into diversity? Well, let's ask Gallup.
A 30% gap is freakin' huge, people.

Are They Nice About It?
Okay--so we know how 2012 voted--but are Republicans charitable about why those other ethnicities might have voted against Mitt Romney? On an individual level? It depends on the individual, of course. Let's ask the individual presidential candidate Mitt Romney:
All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. ... And so my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Sorry--maybe he's talking about poor people here--Oh, wait--no: he clarifies that it was minorities receiving 'gifts.' When that is the candidate speaking, The Omnivore can assure, you, RepublciansArePeopleToo, that many individuals online were even less charitable.

Oh, and while we're at it--there should be a special place for the Confederate Battle Flag in this discussion, seeing as how the GOP was founded to end slavery and fought a war against the Confederate states. Here's a thought experiment, RepublicansArePeopleToo: if a person were to show up at a political rally with a confederate flag--which party would likely be more accepting?

And while we're at it, which party more strongly identifies as explicitly Christian (possibly, you know, an issue for Asians?) ... and which one has more of a problem with interracial marriage? If you don't know the statistical answers to these, you're just not paying attention.

How About Women?
There are certainly women Republicans--in fact, married women broke for Romney more than Obama in 2012--but women in general? No--the GOP does seem to have a problem there. Now, that doesn't mean that Republicans aren't grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. Of course they are ... buuuut ...

There certainly does seem to be some fairly senior elected Republican officials who have had some pretty darn foot-in-mouth things to say about rape, right? The party may include women--but struggles to recruit them to office. For a party that's allegedly chock-full-o-grandmas, the need to tutor male candidates in running against women seems a bit ... odd, doesn't it? Indeed--given the GOP's allegedly strong female constituency, does it appear strange that there are classes in general for "how to talk about women" for Republicans? Do the Democrats have / need those? There's no sign of that.

Indeed, after losing women in 2012, there are signs there is a big gap (20pts in some races) with women for 2014!

Are They Nice About It?
Certainly on an individual level, a given Republican may be perfectly polite when it comes to the GOP's gender-gap. Sure thing. But what about major Republican spokespersons? How are they talking in the media spotlight about women (those grandmas, mothers, and daughters)?

Here's RedState / Fox's Erick Erickson on female heads of households:
“I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology — when you look at the natural world — the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complementary role.” (word still out, apparently, on female lions)
Rush Limbaugh is a pretty important Republican voice--no, he's not an elected official--but if you dismiss his influence you're being disingenuous. Rush has called Chelsea Clinton (then 13) 'the White House dog' (compared to Socks, the 'White House cat.' Okay, that was a long time ago. What about calling Sandra Fluke a 'slut' and a 'prostitute'?* Now, those are specific women, you say. How about this quote (on the voting gender gap): "What is it with all of these young, single white women? Overeducated- doesn’t mean intelligent."

Alright ... that's Limbaugh being Limbaugh--right? Here's Ann Coulter on the same issue:
If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.
This doesn't seem ... could we say ... especially nice?

Republicans Are Hip!
The Mac-computer thing? Trader Joes? All that? Are Republicans hip like that? Sure--plenty are! Why there are Republicans on a Mac right now! (The Omnivore is one of 'em). But ... is that indicative? Well, the GOP messaging doesn't think so: in the 2012 Attack Ad Kill Romney, the camera took us inside a simulated Democratic Campaign HQ control room where the computers were all Macs and the (otherwise unseen) operative used a then-rare white iPhone. This was done to make them seem "not like us"

The stats are fairly straight forward: in the computer department and the tattoo department, Democrats are slightly more likely to have a Mac or ink--but only slightly. While some Republicans may read the New York Times (in public) they prefer Walmart to Trader Joes by a large margin. So, yes, the gap exists ... but ...

Are They Nice About It?
Here's the link for the Conservapedia article on the New York Times. While not necessarily outright insulting, it lists explicitly 'cover ups' of Soviet Crimes against Humanity, support for Maoism, promotion of Castro, and so on. Here's an article from Read the comments. No, seriously, RepublicansArePeopleToo ... read the comments.

One of The Omnivore's preferred tools is "whitespace analysis"--what isn't in the video? Did you catch it? No? What about gay Republicans***? There certainly are some. They've had the battle for years to try to get into CPAC. Why no gays in the rainbow line-up? Considering that gay rights are one of the most motivating elements for millennials, why not include it?

Perhaps the problem is that it's too divisive. There is no GOP member--conservative or moderate--who would disagree with anything in that list. If you add gays ... you get the controversy ... on your web page (they have a Facebook page)--and that would put the lie to what they're saying.

What is that lie? Well, it's this: what they are saying is "The GOP includes these people." That is the truth. What they are implying is that "The GOP is representative of these people"--and therefore you shouldn't be mean to GOP members.

Mostly? This isn't the case. Conservative Internet posters have definite feelings about Priuses, Global Warming, non-Republican blacks (there's confusion about Asians), and so on.  The GOP right now is older, whiter, and more male than the Democrats by a substantial margin.

The argument that people (liberals) are being mean to Republicans now more than ever before is also ... uhm ... questionable?

The "Are They Nice About It" analysis just scratches the surface: if you go into the comments of those sites--and others--you will see a bottomless well of venom just like you see everywhere else on the Internet (and the page specifically calls out Internet Posting). So ... what? Do the Republicans Are People Too just excuse that?

Let's note here that the problem isn't the explicit message (hey--be nice to Republicans)--it's the implied counter-part: Liberals are unjustly mean to innocent Republicans. In other words: Liberals (or other non-Republicans) are the bad-guys in this formulation. The Omnivore is not impressed with the Both-Sides #headdesk (wherein a liberal is gobsmacked by someone claiming "both sides are just as bad" since ... clearly Republicans are worse!).

No--The Omnivore doesn't have stats--but can easily find examples of progressive bad behavior with 10-seconds and Google.

The problem is that the formulation paints the GOP as an oppressed group which is being bullied online by people who don't see them as human on the basis of individual representations of caring, polite, Republicans (the #NotAllRepublicans argument). This flies in the face of the observation that the Top Drawer (a.k.a. Romney, Limbaugh, Coulter) Republican messaging is, actually, for-real, often inflammatory (if you think Bill Maher is the equivalent of Rush Limbaugh, The Omnivore can't help you--you have your head in the sand).

That formulation, RepublicansArePeopleToo, undercuts your entire position. Yes: people should think twice before flaming Republicans--but they should think twice before flaming anyone. Do you have a sister site for Democrats? Or do you think Democrats / Liberals simply aren't receiving negative commentary from Republicans? If so ... please explain that to The Omnivore.

He's all ears.
Republicans Aren't Just People--They're Prettier People!

* Not actually taken on faith

** In case The Omnivore needs to point this out to, say, some GOP male candidates, women in general don't like the term 'slut' being thrown around in political discourse at all. No matter how much of a slut you are freakin' totally sure Sandra Fluke is.

*** The reason they don't call out Jews is because that goes straight into 'racist' territory. Jews are white--and we're friends of Israel--and don't you doubt it. If you make Jews a special category you ruin that whole story.


  1. Dang Omni, it seems you really felt this RepublicansArePeopleToo video to be totally disingenuous. It probably is.
    I'm (mostly) all about talking through differences. If you force the 'other side' to always give-in to go forward on anything, they will eventually simply stop all compromise. As a Liberal, I find it difficult to find Conservatives who are willing to *talk* through differences. Most seem all to eager to jump to non-constructive attack-mode as a way to avoid any possible true communication on issues.
    Of course, I do also see folks on the Left run quickly to ad-hominem language, so it isn't all one sided. But I do think it is more difficult to get a strongly conservative person to drop this evasive facade than a liberal one.
    As for the GOP, I think I've mentioned before and I'll say it again - I find it a party of somewhat conflicting bi-poled ideology. Fiscal Conservative? Religious/Social Conservative? Which of these is dominant? Neither. Both. That's their biggest problem. Until the GOP can eject one of these (and I'd prefer to see them eject the religio-social pole), its message will continue to be muddled, confused, and exclusionary.

  2. I actually don't think it's disingenuous--not exactly. The video is made by a guy who's a Republican media-message guy so we ought to be suspect--but what I meant by "not actually taken on faith" was -not- that this guy is a huge liar.

    It think that he's responding to a very real phenomena which is that Republicans are catching a lot of abuse online. Look at the hijacked #hashtag! It's full of Republican slams.

    The issue here isn't "Are people being mean to Republicans" nor is it even "Do they -deserve- it?" (answer: no. Not just for being Republican or conservative).

    The issue here is that "Is a call for civility warranted considering that major Republican outlets are not being especially civil?"

    The Omnivore concludes that, no--appealing to people's better nature when a reasonably senior Republican pundit is suggesting a roll-back-the-vote on Women IS probably not justified.
    -The Omnivore

  3. I'm afraid that Pandora's daemons are irretrievable.