Friday, October 14, 2011

I Just Made Up a New Term: Assholitics

“So why,” you might ask, “have you come up with such a derogatory term?”
“It’s simple”, would be my response. “I just came across the most assholey piece of political crap that I’ve ever seen and I’m sick and tired of it.”

Or, the articulate political scientist in me would say, “I take extreme umbrage to the tone and tenor of the survey recently sent to my wife by the Republican National Committee.”

Yes, indeed folks, my wife is a registered Republican—but I love her anyway. I’m not sure if I forgive her for being a Republican but I love her. She puts up with my uber-liberal rants and even agrees with me some of the time.

Yep, my wife received a survey in the mail recently. On the outside of the envelope it says “2011 Obama Agenda Survey” and Republican National Committee. The 4 page letter inside “explaining” the survey and asking for donations is signed by Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus.

This diatribe is an absolute classic of every devious propaganda technique we learned in Dr. Tomasek’s “Political Propaganda” class way back in 1972. Hyberbole, reversal, half-truths run rampant both in terms of the description of Obama and Democrats and in reverence to the Holy Grail that is all things Republican. Good Lord, how can anyone with a measurable IQ buy into this crap?

And the “survey” itself. This is a classic of a “push poll” taken to the “nth degree”. It’s laughable. Here are some examples of questions in this “survey”:

Do you believe that Barack Obama deserves a second term as President?
(OK, not bad. A fair question although it smacks in the face for those who don’t believe he should have had a first term or for those for whom the word ‘deserve’ is a red flag).

Do you believe that Barack Obama’s nominees for federal courts should be immediately and unquestionably approved for their lifetime appointments by the U.S. Senate?
(OK, this is just wrong on so many levels. For some people if it were George Bush’s nominees then they would be fine with it. For others it’s the idea of a Democrat making nominations to the Federal bench. For still others the words “immediately and unquestionably” is a huge red flag. I’ve even got problems with that! And still others have issues with “lifetime” but that’s what the Constitution of the U.S. allows.)

Are you confident that new medicines and medical treatments will continue to be developed if the federal government controls prescription drug prices and sets profit margins for research and pharmaceutical companies?
(Huh? Confident? The evil federal government controlling drug prices and telling private companies how much money they can make? This is asking whether you think the “boogie man” will finally stay hidden under your bed and not jump out and scare you.)

There are a total of 16 questions in this “survey”. Yeah, I know that it’s only a pretense of a survey and really a pitch for donations especially since the bottom is a half page that is a “Contribution Reply”. Maybe this was written by someone who got their start doing mailers for a televangelist.

And I would imagine that it will appeal to only about 5% of those who receive it. Once upon a time I identified myself as a liberal to moderate Republican (socially liberal, fiscally moderate). But the organization turned mean-spirited in the mid-90’s. I can only hope that those who consider themselves “moderate Republicans” will read this and be appalled and turn away from those who would try to position their party in this way.

That’s why as soon I read through this I thought to myself, “Self, this is asshole politics”. And thusly a new term was coined “Assholitics”. We’re in for another 13 months of this and it’s only going to get worse.

I’ve always been naïve about politics—despite having both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Political Science. I believe it should be about issues and fairness (sheesh, how naïve is that!). I believe candidates should run “for” something rather than “against” someone. When I have been actively involved in campaigns I always strived to have the campaign focused in this way and was even successful in doing that several times.

But apparently Assholitics is now the way of American politics. I reject it and reject those who practice it. You know, if we all did that maybe we could get things to start changing just a bit.

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