And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
"Newt Gingrich knows exactly what he is doing when he calls Obama the “food stamp” president, just as Ronald Reagan knew exactly what he was doing when talking about “welfare Cadillacs.” There are lots of other ways to make the point about economic hard times — entirely apart from which person and which policies are to blame for today’s mammoth joblessness. You could call him the “pink slip president,” the “foreclosure president,” the “Walmart president,” the “bailout president,” or any of a dozen other images that convey distress. You decide to go with “the food stamp president,” and you’re doing it on purpose.
If Joe Lieberman had been elected, I would be wary of attacks on his economic policy that called him “the cunning, tight-fisted president.” If Henry Cisneros had or Ken Salazar does, I would notice arguments about ineffectiveness phrased as “the manana administration.” If Gary Locke were in office, then “the Manchurian candidate” jokes that had been used on John Huntsman would have a different edge. And so on. [A specific commenter on my site] may not recognize it as a dog whistle, but I have no doubt that Newt Gingrich knows what it is. I don’t think that Gingrich has had a racist-style political career; on the contrary. But he knows what this language does."
I think this is exactly right. Using this language is a cynical decision; a means to an end, not an overt display of deeply held beliefs on the part of (in this case) DFS Gingrich. He’s a political operator grasping at straws, and selecting the straws he feels are most likely to play well for the task at hand (a southern US primary swing). Ultimately he could care less if this hurts the broader GOP or Romney; if the tactic helps him, it helps him. Period.
The progressive blogosphere would do well to discuss the language, as there’s plenty of meat there. Leaping to the more reflexive, inherently more tribal cries of “Gingrich reveals racist streak” in response will alienate as many or more than it will draw. Making the deeper points about precisely why this language is not only wrong but is disgracefully, knowingly wrong will be far more beneficial long term, as such an approach ends the meme, instead of merely tarring the meme user.
tl/dr: DFS Gingrich needs no help ending his career. We will need lots of help ending these tactics.
James Fallows weighs in on the GOP finally finding a tax hike they love, the elimination of the Obama-initiated payroll tax “holiday” that would affect every employed individual in the country:
I had thought that Republican absolutism about taxes, while harmful to the country and out of sync with even the party’s own Reaganesque past, at least had the zealot’s virtue of consistency. Now we see that it can be set aside when it applies to poorer people, and when setting it aside would put maximum drag on the economy as a whole. So this means that its real guiding principle is… ??? You tell me.
You answered your own question, James. The increase would not impact the core constituency of the GOP, the top 2% of all earners. Most of their income isn’t touched by payroll tax rates anyway. Likewise, dumping this temporary and stimulatory tax break on January 1, 2012 puts “maximum drag on the economy as a whole.” The GOP sees that as a feature of this stance, not some arbitrary outcome. That such a position comes from the unitary “we pledge allegiance to no tax hikes of any kind, ever” club is also unsurprising. They only expressed interest in extending the Bush tax cuts if and when said extensions protected the cuts for the wealthiest 2%, who had already benefited asymmetrically from said imminently expiring tax policies.
The GOP has been working with single-minded focus towards the worst possible policy outcome(s) for more years than Obama has been in office. They dislike government. They want it to fail, and barring that outcome at best appear grossly ineffectual. Holding a lesser fraction of the total DC power structure only makes it easier to sand the gears and mutter “wha happened?” to an all too pliant media, the most popular outlet of which is firmly in their corner. The GOP machine is most certainly not going to stop now, especially not when they can needlessly prolong the economic suffering of millions of Americans for years in exchange for some short-term political gains and do that in a way that minimally impacts their core constituency: the top 2%. This is who they are.
"…conservatives and Republicans who had no problem with strong-arm security measures back in the Bush 43 days but are upset now. Charles Krauthammer is the classic example: forthrightly defending torture as, in limited circumstances, a necessary tool against terrorism, yet now outraged about “touching my junk” as a symbol of the intrusive state."
— James Fallowson liberals, conservatives, and maintaining a consistent foundation to one’s thoughts no matter whose party may be in charge of executing the policy in question.