Saturday, June 12, 2021

Right-Wing Culture War Vs. Republican Goals

Most in the right-wing media echo chamber are focused obsessively on arcane culture war totems. Mr. Potato Head's gender, Dr. Seuss's old racist images, and generally the term that's replaced "political correctness" for them, "wokeness," which actually refers to being alert ("woke") to injustice and the need to participate in our democracy after the former guy's disastrous win in 2016. A number of articles have been written on why the right-wing Wurlitzer has grabbed on to culture war (here, here, and here, for example). For one, it's profitable. The consumers of right-wing propaganda are easy marks for appeals to raise funds when they believe their culture / religion / hold on power is threatened. It draws viewers and clicks, too. It's also necessary when policies and positions that they offer are broadly unpopular, even with their base, like President Biden's infrastructure proposal and taxes on the mega wealthy and huge corporations who are paying  little or no taxes.

Today's Washington Post has an example of the disconnect between what many Republican politicians want to talk about and build support for (i.e., Sen. Moscow Mitch McConnell's obstruction of Biden's agenda) and their radical media's obsession with manufactured outrage:

"Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) started off talking about the cancellation of a domestic oil pipeline, the job losses and higher gas prices, key kitchen-table items that Republicans believe will be critical to winning back the majority next year.

But after two minutes, Cramer’s hosts on Newsmax pivoted to a brief discussion of the Pentagon’s budget and then a long session about whether Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had allowed 'wokeness' to creep into the military’s training programs.

That eight-minute appearance encapsulated much of the GOP’s struggle to define President Biden’s agenda. According to Republican thinking, Biden and his congressional allies are pushing an unnecessarily big-spending slate of legislation that is risking the first major bout of inflation in more than four decades.

But these Republicans, particularly those in the Senate, have not been able to break through to much of America with that particular note, unable to place much political pressure on Democrats who are wavering on these proposals."  (our emphasis)

The Republican politicians have also been fumbling with how to attack a popular President Biden, as they line up to kiss the abundant backside of the former guy. Their culture war attacks help them energize and distract their base, bringing in contributions, but as we saw with Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss, it's a temporary sugar high of outrage that won't win back the suburbs or build support for Moscow Mitch's sabotage.

(cartoon: Stuart Carlson)


bluzdude said...

The beauty of waging the Culture War for Republicans is that it doesn't cost them anything. The donor class doesn't have to give up a dime. And they don't even have to do anything but talk.

W. Hackwhacker said...

bluzdude -- plus, it' all they got anyway.

Vasiliy said...

Hardly a "temporary sugar high." The outrage is self-renewing, and when a trope seems to be running out of steam, a new one or a recycled old one slip into the spotlight without a bobble. The only thing new about "Culture War" is its name.

What else is to be expected from a polity which so frequently defines itself not by what it's for but by what it's against?