Monday, November 24, 2008

the new new republicans: a taxonomy

back in february 2006, glenn greenwald's examination of president bush's supporters got a lot of well-deserved attention on both the left and right wings of the blogosphere. some commenters noted that glenn's characterization of bush's supporters failed to account for other bases or wellsprings of bush support, i.e., lust for power, wealth, etc., but i don't believe that glenn was attempting to be all-inclusive.

to that end i assembled "the new republicans: a taxonomy" of the different species of bush supporter that i had observed at the time. two and a half years and an election cycle later, i've decided to revisit that exercise, especially now that bush's star has since fallen so low even among his once most fervent cheerleaders, so i've revised some entries and added a few new ones.

note that these classifications are not meant to be exhaustive or mutually exclusive; many republicans will fit easily into multiple categories. ultimately, there may be as many reasons rationalizations for being a republican as there are republicans.

1) republicana vulgaris: new!

glorifies the "common people"; exalts "patriotism"; disdains erudition, sophistication, nuance and worldliness; will exploit any brand of xenophobia and pander to white men's basest instincts. example: alaska governor and former vice presidential nominee sarah palin.

we believe that the best of america is not all in washington, d.c.

we believe ... we believe that the best of america is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what i call the real america, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-america areas of this great nation. this is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday americans. those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. those who are protecting us in uniform. those who are protecting the virtues of freedom.


our opponent ... is someone who sees america, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.

2) republicanus cultus: revamped!

"true believers"; worships guns, god, country, hearth and "heroes"; obsessed with displays and rituals of masculinity; virulently homophobic; abhors criticism and dissent; always in search of the next hero figure, and once found, will follow said "hero" off a cliff. see republicanus dumosus. example: almost any member of the blog free republic.

if [harvey milk] had wanted to be a real hero he'd have leaped in front of the mayor and taken both rounds.

3) republicanus potentia:

seeks power; will support any act and entertain any justification that may increase or perpetuate their hold on power. example: vice president dick cheney.

go fuck yourself.

4) republicanus pecuniosus:

seeks wealth; will support any act and entertain any justification that may increase or perpetuate their fortunes. example: media mogul rupert murdoch.

the greatest thing to come out of [the war in iraq] for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil. that's bigger than any tax cut in any country.

5) republicanus bellicosus:

loves force; disdains diplomacy and dissent; will wield force as an all-purpose tool towards achieving their goals, as opposed to a means of last resort. example: arizona senator and former presidential nominee john mccain.

you know that old beach boys song, "bomb iran"?

bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb iran ...

6) republicanus imperiosus:

loves being number one; will not accept second place or share power; will not rest as long as any other power exists to thwart republican political supremacy or american international hegemony. example: former u.n. ambassador john bolton.

[clinton] did not see or understand that the u.n. was only an instrument of american policy, not the policy itself ... he forgot that the u.n. was an instrument to be used to advance america’s foreign policy interests, not to engage in international social work.

7) republicanus fundamentalis:

in love with their own righteousness; disdains tolerance; virulently homophobic; will not rest until all others either submit to their moral yardstick or are annihilated. example: catholic league president bill donohue.

we've already won. who really cares what hollywood thinks? all these hacks come out there. hollywood is controlled by secular jews who hate christianity in general and catholicism in particular. it's not a secret, okay? and i'm not afraid to say it. ... hollywood likes anal sex. they like to see the public square without nativity scenes. i like families. i like children. they like abortions. i believe in traditional values and restraint. they believe in libertinism. we have nothing in common. but you know what? the culture war has been ongoing for a long time. their side has lost.

8) republicana contraria:

hates liberals; will support any act and entertain any justification that may offend liberals; will categorically denounce any statement made by a liberal; will denounce as "liberal" anyone or any statement that criticizes or contradicts them. example: columnist ann coulter.

i've decided to cut out the part of the speech where i say anything nice about democrats.

9) republicanus sapiens: new!

exudes conventional wisdom; worships "bipartisanship"; considers themselves "sensible centrists"; consistently overestimates conservatives and underestimates liberals; consistently substitutes their own opinions as that of "the american people"; their dubious reputations consistently defy all blemish. example: washington post columnist and "dean" of the d.c. press club david broder.

... what this country and the world desperately need [is] an american national security policy that commands broad support across party lines ...

10) republicanus goldwaterus:

espouses traditional conservative principles and respect for the rule of law; disdains waste and adventurism; thoroughly disillusioned with bush; sadly, a dying breed. example: former georgia congressman and libertarian presidential nominee bob barr.

are we losing our lodestar, which is the bill of rights? are we in danger of putting allegiance to party ahead of allegiance to principle? do we truly remain a society that believes that ... every president must abide by the law of this country? i, as a conservative, say yes.

11) republicanus moderabilis: new!

traditional moderates; prefers the status quo; disdains change, bold ideas or zealotry, but reliably relents, after perfunctory protest, to the party's will, wherever it leads; another dying breed. example: pennsylvania senator arlen spector.

arguing against the military commissions act:

what the bill seeks to do is set back basic rights by some nine hundred years.

justifying his vote for the act:

i think the courts will invalidate it. they’re not going to give up authority to decide habeas-corpus cases, not a chance.

12) republicana non grata: new!

once fiercely loyal, now openly criticizes fellow republicans; sentenced to exile by republicanus cultus; thoroughly disillusioned with the party and, for the time being, will accept exile; a vastly multiplying breed. example: columnist kathleen parker.

three little letters, great big problem: g-o-d. i'm bathing in holy water as i type.

... the grand old party ... has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.

short break as writer ties blindfold and smokes her last cigarette.


focus on the family chairman james dobson (r. fundamentalis) takes aim and fires:

whatever she once was, ms. parker is certainly not a conservative anymore, having apparently realized it’s a lot easier to be popular among your journalistic peers when your keyboard tilts to the left.

13) republicanus oportunitas:

a grab-bag of special interests; not staunch republicans, but will take advantage of any opportunity to further their own causes, which during the bush administration meant supporting republicans. example: lobbyists.

after eight years of the so-called k street project — the effort by republican lawmakers and operatives to pressure companies, trade associations and lobbying firms to hire their fellow republicans — the tasseled loafer is on the other foot. companies and interest groups are competing to snap up democrats.

14) republicanus democratus:

a snake in sheep's clothing and/or judas goat; may fit within any of the other categories; registered or professed democrat. example: connecticut senator joe lieberman.

the democratic party today was not the party it was in 2000. it's not the bill clinton-al gore party, which was strong internationalists, strong on defense, pro-trade, pro-reform in our domestic government. it's been effectively taken over by a small group on the left of the party that is protectionist, isolationist and basically will — and very, very hyperpartisan. so it pains me.

such a poor, wounded creature it is, the r. democratus.

15) republicanus dumosus: new!

idolizes bush; disdains criticism and dissent; will support any act of bush and entertain any justification of his actions; a particularly virulent offshoot of republicanus cultus; thankfully, an almost extinct breed. example: lawyer and blogger john hinderaker, a.k.a. "hindrocket".

it must be very strange to be president bush. a man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. he is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.

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