Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Six Themes

Satire provided by Roger King on Twitter
(If you don’t understand the humor associated with the above graphic, please see the coverage of Senator Menendez’s activities by Stacy McCain and the reporting of Senator Rubio’s actions by Courtney Hazlett.)

With Marco Rubio’s GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address, there has been an element of triumphalism in the reaction of the Democratic Party.  Senator Rubio had an awkward moment during his speech when he reached for a drink of water.  The Democratic Party used the occurrence to emphasize that Mr. Rubio is a flawed product.

Just as a political figure with dark skin tone is “not black enough” until he or she is a member of the Democratic Party, the same standard applies to Hispanic political figures.  Unless the individual is a Democrat, he or she is lacking in political legitimacy.

Senator Rubio finds himself at the center of this cultural phenomenon, and Americans are wondering, “Is he ready for prime time?”

Saturday Night Live (SNL) had a parody of Rubio’s “Watergate” moment on Saturday (2/16/2013) and for extra measure, threw in a sketch portraying Jesus Christ as a maniac in “DJesus Uncrossed.” This upped the ante associated with President Obama’s characterization of Republicans as those who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy.”

The “DJesus” segment got the attention of Sean Hannity, who featured it on his television show.  Mr. Hannity cast the blasphemy of the skit as an affront to Christianity.

Unfortunately, he missed the main point: The Themes.

Let me quickly review them for your reference.  There are six of them:
* Republican are bad people (racist, homophobic, and bigoted).
* Republicans are destroying the environment.
* Republicans are harming our children.
* Republicans are stealing from our Seniors.
* Republicans are shredding the Constitution.
* Republicans are turning the economy into a catastrophe.

These are the six anti-Republican messages our culture drives home to Americans day after day.  Surprisingly, Republicans seem unaware of them.  They know there is a “double standard” in American politics, but can’t figure out why it exists.

Take the SNL skit as an example.  The sketch is creative, edgy and irreverent; classic SNL.  And yet Sean Hannity (in perhaps “Rubio Watergate” fashion) goes for the wrong target.  He rises to the defense of Christianity.

Analyze this in the context of America’s anti-gun debate.  Republicans are characterized as killers, or people who actively want to harm our children.  How do Republicans respond?  Rather than point to the scurrilous nature of the characterizations, Republicans defend the Second Amendment!

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Our Constitution has legal scholars to defend it.  Christianity has ardent followers to defend it.  The Republican Party needs to concentrate on the task at hand: Counter the themes being used to define Republicans to the American people.

Instead of working the blasphemy aspect, Sean Hannity should have pointed out how SNL is re-working the “Republicans are bad people” theme, casting Republicans as the bitter clingers portrayed so effectively by our President.  SNL uses religion and entertainment as a vehicle, and presents Republicans not only as bigots, but as outright killers!  This is effective, but only if it is not exposed as an obvious use of “The Themes.”

That didn’t happen.  Sean Hannity makes Republicans seem peevish and demonstrably humorless.

Mission accomplished, Mr. Hannity!  (That’s sarcasm.)

The Democratic Party gets to claim a victory with this incident, and it’s another in a long string of victories based on employment of “The Themes.”

We saw a deft working of “The Themes” with the Romney 2012 presidential campaign.  The Democratic Party reinforced the theme that Republicans are bad people, with the 2012 campaign taking it to new heights. Mitt Romney ended up being Electro-Borked!

Americans learned that Mr. Romney would put the family dog on top of the car, place people with dark skin tone in chains, cause Americans to lose their jobs, and kill women with cancer.

Are there more examples?  Well, yes there are!  For every 21st century event in national politics, the themes are there…

No Child Left Behind – “Republicans are harming our children.”

The Affordable Care Act – “Republicans are bad people.”

The Fiscal Cliff; Debt Ceiling; Sequestration – “Republicans are turning the economy into a catastrophe.”

The Patriot Act – “Republicans are shredding the Constitution.”

Medicare and Social Security Reform – “Republicans are stealing from our Seniors.”

Climate Change, Keystone, ANWR – “Republicans are destroying the environment.”

Gun Control, Voter ID, Immigration – “Republicans are bad people.”

CPAC (the annual conference of the American Conservative Union) is being held in Washington next month.  If conservatives are truly interested in fighting back against America’s political double standard, they should study “The Themes” and determine an effective counter strategy.  Ignoring this political threat is insanity.

My hope is that Americans “take off the blinders” and see the instruments being employed by the Democratic Party to change American culture.

It might be too much to ask, but high-ranking Republicans need to lead the way.

UPDATE 2/28/2013:
Bob Woodward has the courage to confront the "Republicans are turning the economy into a catastrophe" theme.  Ron Fournier rises to his defense.

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