Republican Self-Pity: Obama’s Secret Plot to End the GOP
Whoever could have imagined that Republicans could be such wussies? After all, the GOP is the Party of Testosterone. Democrats are the ones who are supposed to be wimpy and weepy. But lately the Republicans have been a bunch of crybabies: Hey mama, President Obama is picking on us. He’s so strong, so ruthless. Some of the biggest bullies in the schoolyard, it seems, can dish it out, but they can’t take it.
The Republican reaction to losing last November’s presidential election has included many familiar themes (especially familiar to Democrats: We’ve been there). There’s the traditional recrimination and finger-pointing, of course. There’s the search for the next messiah. There’s the call for “new ideas.” But one theme is novel: self-pity.
Indulging the self-pity of the voters has been a worsening ailment of American politics for years. The essential difference between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher—founders of their respective parties in their current forms—is that he did it and she did not. She told voters to “pull up your socks,” or “get in your car,” or “polish your boots,” or “eat your vegetables.” Over at Reagan’s, you could have pancakes for breakfast every day, because you’ve suffered enough. Self-pity is a powerful force. It’s usually bad policy but good politics.
But what’s going on now is different. Now it is the politicians themselves, and their affiliated media, which complain loudly about feeling bullied by their opponents. So far, the disease has only spread among Republicans. Big, bad President Obama, creepy Harry Reid, that B-word Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of the gang of toughs called the Democratic Party are picking on the poor defenseless GOP. As a campaigning theme, it seems insane. The GOP has long prospered by portraying Democrats as the wimps, dangerously weak and unfit for command. Does the name Michael Dukakis ring a bell? And in really heady moments, like 1984, when Reagan earned his second term, or 1994 and 2010, when sweeping victories in off-year elections seemed to foretell an imminent landslide, Republican fantasies of one-party rule involved the triumph of their party, not humiliation by the other side.
In fact, moaning about how weak you are compared with the opposition seems so obviously a political mistake that we can only reach one conclusion: This must be sincere.
Rush Limbaugh recently spent two days of his radio show wallowing in political self-pity.[….]