Mourning in America

In advance of the upcoming elections, the Republicans are pulling out all the stops and running to the right as fast as the can in order to ingratiate themselves to the newly-political, clearly-delusional members of the American Tea Party movement. Here, to give you a flavor of what’s headed our way, is a new ad produced by a group calling itself Citizens for the Republic, followed by a bit of background from the Washington Post.

“There’s mourning in America. Today, 15 million men and women won’t have the opportunity to go to work. Businesses shuttered. Twenty-nine hundred families will have their homes foreclosed by nightfall. This afternoon, 6,000 men and women will be married, each of their children to be born with a $30,000 share of the runaway national debt.”…

This is a smart ad, created by Strategic Perception’s Fred Davis, one of the GOP’s favorite admen. Davis produced commercials for George W. Bush and John McCain but is perhaps best known for his “Demon Sheep” ad for Carly Fiorina. Davis thinks his latest will stand out because when “everyone else is shouting, a whisper can be the most powerful form of communication. And God knows the world is shouting.”

The ad is not subtle in blaming current circumstances on Obama. Quite the contrary, the narrator says that under the president’s leadership, the country is “fading, and weaker, and worse off.” In a gesture of charity, perhaps, the ad allows: “His policies were a grand experiment, policies that failed.”

Can’t blame the man for trying? Good guy, bad policies? To the point: Vote Republican in November and “choose a smaller, more caring government, one that remembers us.”…

[“Us,” if you didn’t already figure it out, is code for white America.]

Of course, it’s all fucking bullshit. The recession, which analysts tell us is now over, by the way, got its start under Bush. But that doesn’t stop them from blaming it on Obama, and from suggesting that he’s attempting to tax us to death on top of it, even though taxes are only being raised on the top 2% of Americans. And, in those cases, the rates are just returning to their turn-of-the-century levels – as was stipulated in the legislation drafted by the Bush administration. If you’ll recall, those temporary Bush tax cuts were sold to the American people with claims that business owners, if they could just keep more of their money, would invest in research and development, grown their operations, and create new jobs. That, as we now know, though, never happened. Instead, the disparity between rich and poor grew to levels unseen since just prior to the Great Depression. And, now that the homes in our neighborhoods are being foreclosed upon, and the erosion of the American middle class is becoming painfully tangible, people are looking for scapegoats to hang the blame on. And the people who voted for Bush sure as hell aren’t going to accept responsibility. They aren’t going to acknowledge that we had a budget surplus until Bush got into office. They aren’t going to acknowledge that the illegal war in Iraq, that they wanted so desperately, is bankrupting us. Instead, they’re going to blame Barack Obama and those fucking elitist, big-goveernment Democrats. And, as a result, corporate strength will grow, deregulation will continue, social programs will be slashed, and working men and women will lose even more ground. If people had any sense, they’d be in the streets, demanding that corporate money be removed from politics, and taxes be raised on the super-wealthy. But instead they’ll blame that racist Kenyan socialist in the White House who brought all of this about over the course of just one year.


[Tonight’s post was brought to you by the Pledge for America.]

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  1. Knox
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Looking around my house for something to break.

  2. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Liberals keep playing the same reel over and over. Granholm blamed Engler for her eight years of incompetence, now Obama is blaming Bush. “Us,” if you didn’t already figure it out, is code for those persons who will be paying on the debt for the rest of their lives and the future generations who inherit the debt as well. The health bill will add significant amounts of new taxes on the middle and lower classes. Do you realize that health benefits will be included as taxable income? Do you realize that health savings accounts will be capped at $2000. Do you realize how many small businesses will fold as a result of the increased burdens of both paperwork and required benefits? Obama didn’t cause the economic situation today, but he is continuing and expanding on the same failed economic policies of the Bush administration. The difference is, he promised change, and we only got more of the same plus additional tax burdens.

  3. Bob
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    It’s an incredibly effective ad, I saw it yesterday morning during MSNBC’s morning show. Very, very well done. An obvious rewrite of Reagans classic morning in America video. People should go back and look at that if they have never seen it. They have a theme and it’s a good one, even if it relies on the stupidity of the American people and their short term memory. They will hammer this theme through the elections. Dems are in big trouble, including the president.

  4. Oliva
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Medical benefits are not taxable (with an exception for the very fancy, “Cadillac” plans). Will show up on W-2s but won’t be taxed. Is Beck telling people they are?

    Engler decimated this state in myriad ways. Gotta say–what a creep. Ha, but the state survives and in new and interesting ways is finding new growth. Great stamina, resiliency–with much work to do. (And despite Corker and other wrongheaded sellouts, the U.S. auto industry is alive and showing signs of real brightness ahead.)

  5. Peter Larson
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I still don’t pay jack shit in taxes and will never pay as much as my grandparents, nor my parents did.

    Let’s blame deficits and tax increases on waging two wars and a failure to address health care issues in this country proactively.

    Personally, tax increases don’t frighten me. Mostly, I don’t know what these bozos whine about. We don’t pay very much at all for what we get.

  6. Oliva
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Interesting chart re. the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

  7. Oliva
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Re. the brighter days ahead for the U.S. auto industry: my brother’s new Ford Fiesta is very cool. Little, true, but he gets two child seats in the back and gets great mileage, has much fun driving it too.

  8. Peter Larson
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    “choose a smaller, more caring government, one that remembers us.”

    Conservatives in this country have never cared about anyone but themselves.

  9. Edward
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Colbert is right about the Fear Industrial Complex. The Republicans are selling fear, and Americans are buying. Reagan sold optimism with his Morning in America ad. It’s amazing how the Republican party has changed in 30 years.

    And it’s worth noting that, even if the tax rate rises on the top 2% of American earners, they’ll still be paying less than they did under Reagan.

    For people who claim to idolize Reagan, they don’t seem to like him very much.

  10. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Not so, Peter. Conservatives donate significantly greater proportions of their income to charitable organizations.

  11. Oliva
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I keep thinking about a (nice, bright) Tea Party woman I met late last winter–has a well-to-do family, husband a GM exec. GM had been bailed out, her husband kept his good job, and she was flying to visit friends in Germany for a weekend with some girlfriends. She dismissed the evidence of racist strains within Tea Partyism and argued the movement was purely related to taxes (not deficit, not size of government–was all about TEA, Taxed Enough Already). I wonder what she thinks these days and if she acknowledges the straight line between the federal government’s efforts on behalf of the auto industry, GM especially, and her and her family’s comfort level.

  12. Robert
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I’m convinced we’ve been set up.

  13. Peter Larson
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Donating money to reduce ones tax burden does not imply that conservatives care about anyone but themselves.

  14. dragon
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    When I look for advice on health care I immediately seek out someone who doesn’t pay for his own, someone who loves leeching off the hard work of those who actually produce for this country. Better yet, an old white bitter racist asshole who thinks he’s cute calling the President a thug, because thug has the same racist overtones as calling someone a welfare recipient. But, for those living in lesser ignoramia and proudly offering their services as Glen Beck’s auxiliary jiz dumpster it’s welfare for me not for thee, amirite?

  15. Robert
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    As much as I hated dragon before, I feel my hatred of him just grew ten-fold.

  16. Knox
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Lots of death imagery floating around. I like “Taxed to Death.” The message is clear – that the Obama administration is going to kill us. Sure, they gave up on the notion of “death panels,” but the meme remains the same. This man, who hates America, is going to kill us.

    But all of this can’t be put on the racists of the Tea Party. Obama deserves some blame for pushing through health care when he should have been focusing on the economy. His most recent ideas (like tax rebates for R&D) are great, but they came too late. He saw an opportunity to get health care though, and he took it. Unfortunately, in doing so, he failed to deal with the bigger economic problems facing the middle class. The recession may technically be over, but the average American isn’t feeling it. They’re scared. Some of that is unwarranted, but a lot of that fear is legitimate.

  17. Kevin Paul
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    If you can actually understand what Dragon is saying, Robert, you’re a better man than me.

  18. Kim
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    To further support your point, Knox, the ad ends with a family at a funeral.

  19. Oliva
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    William Blake said, “Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by incapacity.” I think Fear is a rich ugly old power monger courted by Tea Partiers and selfish corporate leaders.

    It’s a state of being, a raucous, unreliable limbic reaction–and there are very respectable antidotes. One is to vote this 2 Nov. to make sure plenty o’ bad-for-us guys (male and female) don’t get elected. I mean, how absurd has it gotten when the senator willing to fight for us against wars, invasions of privacy, and U.S. torture policy, among so many other things, is facing a “tough” reelection? Feingold in trouble? Absolutely ludicrous. There’s room for a sense of urgency, but recommending fear (“a lot of that fear is legitimate”) is not the answer! (Send the man a campaign contribution and/or call friends of voting age in Wisconsin!)

  20. DRich
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

  21. Oliva
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Nice essay on progressivism in the USA at

    Couple bits to entice and hearten:

    To be a progressive is to believe that we can address present difficulties, and that creatively facing them is preferable to resignation. To be a progressive is to admit that dogmatic certainty has no place in a complex world with many moving parts, and that the best we can offer each other is a commitment to engage, experiment, and reevaluate our choices.

    . . . liberty without opportunity would be a farce, if only its social, political, and economic consequences weren’t so tragic.

  22. Edward
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    If you think it’s bad now, just wait until the Republicans get in power, and they privatize Social Security, start closing public libraries, dismantle the public school system, eliminate the social safety net, etc. Then all the tough guy Libertarians will have an opportunity to show us what they’re made of.

  23. Andy C
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    So obviously the United States did not go far enough into the shitter during the Bush years. I say give it back to them and let it go down further. The sad part is the right is way too stupid to see the end even if it was staring them in the face.

    Another thing, if the Tea Bagger hate the Republican Party so much, how come they’re not creating their own party. If the hijacking of the Republicans is working for them, why doesn’t the Green Party members all take over the Democratic Party?

  24. Beta Carrot
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Mark has said it here before but this is what happens when you systematically dismantle public schools. You get a population of idiots who are willing to go out and fight for the corporate interests that keep them enslaved. The only hope that we have is to disband the union and retreat to a few selected territories. Of course, if we do that, we’ll share a border then with evil fascist corporate states in possession of nuclear missiles and trillions in advanced weaponry.

  25. Jordan
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    At least, according to the images shown in this ad, all of these bad things are only happening to white people (and that one guy at the beginning who may or may not be Hispanic). So rest assured, non-white people — you have nothing to fear! You may go about your lives in peace.

  26. Larry Seven Larry
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Black man commin’ for our money!!!

  27. Oliva
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Poet/writer Charles Simic feels despair about the nation’s outlook, having landed upon a NYT front page from 1990 and seeing that, aside from health care reform, things haven’t improved and have in fact gotten much more dire. The piece is in New York Review of Books, not the Fox audience’s favorite go-to publication. If only quality held sway and thinking were nurtured and valued across this dang country of ours.

    . . . A political class whose ambition currently is to find ways to screw American workers out of their pensions, unemployment insurance, and Social Security, while persuading them that the pointless wars on which they have wasted $3 trillion so far have nothing to do with our national economic problems, is not about to come to their aid.

    The broad masses, too, share the blame. With no historical memory, lacking any understanding of what is being done to them, accepting without protest the rising income differences and their own growing impoverishment, they are easily manipulated by special interests and principle-free opportunists who run for office in their districts. Told that the government on all levels is their enemy by levying taxes on them and curtailing their constitutional freedoms, they can be depended on to reelect the same crooks and to vote in most elections against their own economic self-interest.

  28. Meta
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Ready for some depressing facts on the spread of poverty into the middle class?

    #1 Approximately 45 million Americans were living in poverty in 2009.

    #2 According to the Associated Press, experts believe that 2009 saw the largest single year increase in the U.S. poverty rate since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.

    #3 The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    #4 According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, on a year-over-year basis, household participation in the food stamp program has increased 20.28%.

    #5 The number of Americans on food stamps surpassed 41 million for the first time ever in June.

    #6 As of June, the number of Americans on food stamps had set a new all-time record for 19 consecutive months.

    #7 One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.

    #8 More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.

    #9 One out of every seven mortgages in the United States was either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.

    #10 Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many as were receiving it in 2007.

    #11 The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has risen over 60 percent in just the past year.

    #12 According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.

    #13 Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent in the 12 month period ending June 30th.

    #14 More than 25 percent of all Americans now have a credit score below 599.

    #15 One out of every five children in the United States is now living in poverty.

  29. Felix
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Pointing out the obvious: the people portrayed in the ad are the “us” referred to. Not a single person who’s anything other than lily white, with the exception of one dark-skinned woman who respectfully stays behind the white folks and almost out of sight in the “wedding” sequence outside the church. Yessah, yes ma’am, she knows her place, she most sartainly do.

    Beyond the usual and predictable appeal to racism, the Republican strategy appears to be to blame everything on Obama and those evil, evil Democrats, including not only purely imaginary dangers like the ones Glenn Beck dreams up in his fervidly paranoid imagination, but historical events which are demonstrably the result of Republican policies and predate Obama’s inauguration as a documented matter of record. Just how, exactly did Obama, who was elected in November of 2008 and took office in 2009, cause the financial crash in the summer of 2007, which just happened to immediately follow seven years of Republicans encouraging Wall Street to run amok? Neat trick, that. But the strange permutations of the timestream don’t stop there. Just a couple of days ago I got to hear a financial pundit announce to his nationwide radio audience that Bush “inherited 9-11” from the preceding Democratic administration. Funny, I don’t remember it that way. But then again, I don’t have a nationwide radio audience, so what does that matter?

    Thanks to the Supreme Court’s unconscionable “Citizens United” decision and Republican filibustering of laws that would identify the sources of corporate compaign contributions, unlimited money is being funnelled through anonymous 501(c)(4) organizations to promote the Republican agenda of bringing back serfdom. They’re accomplishing their goal. The bullshit is being broadcast far and wide, and widely believed. There is no countervailing reality-based, fact-based propaganda, since that doesn’t serve the agenda of the wannabe aristocrats who fund the ads and monopolize the airwaves. There are all too many people who are ignorant, stupid and bigoted enough to believe whatever the TV and the radio tell them, even when it blatantly contradicts facts that are visible to them in their daily life.

  30. Knox
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Amen, Felix.

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