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Gingrich and the GOProletariat: A Rage Against the Machine and the Clock

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Everybody pretty much agrees that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich emerged victorious from South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary for one very simple reason: he struck a deep nerve with a strong plurality of voters. What is this nerve rooted in, though? The answer is anger, and lots of it. Gingrich is a tremendously frustrated man, and he frequently uses this negative emotionalism to bolster his appeal. To whom, though, is he appealing?

Statistics of the Palmetto state’s primary electorate reveal that it is none other than the dreaded GOProletariat. For those just tuning in from a planet far, far away, I coined this term shortly after the 2010 midterms to designate typically Republican-leaning voters who dogmatically adhere to right wing ideology, making electoral decisions rooted in sheer emotion, as opposed to cool reason. They are nearly always on the lower end of the educational and economic spectra, and hail from culturally monolithic areas, so their strain of rightism is rooted in populist socio-religious authoritarian schemes rather than fiscal policy.

The more undereducated, low income, and insularly located the voter in question was, the more likely he or she came to support the nearly deposed speaker. This is not family values; what supporter of the traditional family could back an open marriage requester? Nor is it fiscal policy; what serious fiscal conservative could rally around an anti-capitalist?  No, this is pure, unadulterated rage; rage at the refined postmodern left manifested in President Barack Obama, rage at the preppy country club aura of Mitt Romney, rage at those Americans who have impressive post-secondary credentials, do not drive a kid-filled minivan to church each Sunday, and work with their minds instead of their hands. In short, this is the long-dismissed and -mocked GOProletarian class rising up against the bicoastal establishmentarian power structure of the United States.

Gingrich himself is merely a means to its members’ collective end. Should another candidate come along touting an even more radically populistic message,he will be dumped like a sack of bricks. This brooding resentment has always been present in the American political arena, but it has spiraled into a massive and dangerous inferiority complex over the last several decades. Beginning with the civil rights movement, and lasting through women’s liberation and gay equality to the present, a very large segment of the population is simply revolted with the way society has developed. They make the infamous mistake of Jay Gatsby in wishing for a repeat of their groupthink rendition of the past, itself an idealistic fantasy not reflective of history. A great many also fret over the changing demographics, religious, racial, and ethnic, of the United States. There is a reason that virtually every last member of the GOProletariat is white and non-mainline Protestant or fundamentalist Roman Catholic: fear.

These people are whipping themselves into a frenzy hoping that, as my favorite Anne Murray song goes, time does not run out on them. Of course it will, and in some ways most definitely for the worst, in terms of my ideas of civil society. However, short of forming an oligarchy, one group simply cannot stem the tide of social change. Like it or not, American culture is now in a twilight period between its patriarchal, Christian-dominated past and a gender-stratified and relatively secular future. This scares the living daylights out of the GOProles, as they are ideologues who see the world in terms of rigid absolutes and cannot cope with the malleable nonconformism headed their way.

Sad as this is to admit, Gingrich does have a very real chance of winning the Republican nomination. However, should such an aberration take place, Obama will obliterate him in the general election. Independents and moderates, justifiably angry as they are with the president, will surely be disgusted by the former speaker’s rank hypocrisy and almost savage method of debate. I believe that Romney will eventually muster up enough delegates to prevent this from happening, but it will be a long and bruising road in any case. Even if he manages to fly the Republican banner during the fall, Romney’s campaign will have been so ransacked by Gingrich and the GOProletariat that he should be a laughably easy target for David Axwlrod, Karl Rove’s Democratic opposite number. Lately, I have floated the idea of Gingrich actually endorsing Obama out of pure spite, in keeping with the former’s total lack of character, and still have no reason to think any differently.

Truly, the once three ring circus of a Republican primary season has degenerated into an all-out flash mob. Should you want to find the agitators in question, you need look no further than the downtrodden and angry underclass of GOP politics, and the repulsive has-been who is being used as its marionette. Since each is benefiting immensely from the other, I do not expect this horrid arrangement to end anytime soon. In the end, Obama & Co. will prove to be the decisive winners, leaving a hollow shell where the Republican Party formerly stood.

Oh, well. I guess that I should take my own advice about accepting social change. It is just so terrible to see the party of Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon commit suicide in such a grotesque manner.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You don’t think the anger is justified, Joseph? And do you think it’s the exclusive province of the uneducated, “trashy” Right?

    I beg to disagree, as well as disagree about your estimate as to Gingrich’s chances of seizing the White House.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/joseph-cotto/ Joseph Cotto

    Roger,

    In some ways, I do believe that their anger is justified. After all, the GOProles have been mocked and played like cheap fiddles by the Republican hierarchy for decades. If I were duped in such ways, I would be more than a bit perturbed myself. However, this does not excuse their lack of knowledge about practical politics on a national scale, nor does it account for their dislike of civilized discourse. In short, just because a group of people have been short changed does not mean that they have the right to act like crazed boors.

    As for your second question, I do not believe that popular frustration is the exclusive domain of the Right. The Occupy protests make this very clear. However, as I am talking about the Republican primaries here, I had no purpose in mentioning frustrated lefties, even though I feel that their anger is equally justified for similar reasons. All things considered, I see no way that Gingrich could feasibly win a general election against Obama. The President’s cool and collected style of debate would surely extinguish Gingrich’s fire and set the latter up for an epic electoral loss.

    Still, as with anything else, only time will tell.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    The only fair and therefore reasonable way to settle this is to have a “sing-off” in which President Obama and former Speaker Gingrich compete. That might even take the place of national elections.

    Each should have his choice of songs, of course, but President Obama did well recently with ““I, I’m so in love with you,” and former Speaker Gingrich might do well with “You ain’t nothin but a hound dog.” In any event, there should be a neutral venue. Chicago comes immediately to mind but maybe they should flip to decide who gets to choose.

  • Igor

    It’s true, Joseph, that the republican establishment has used the GOProles like whores for 40 years. One wonders when they will finally wake up and realize how they’ve been used and how they will act. Will they revolt against the rep establishment, which is a Wall Street crowd that they have nothing in common with, or will they become even more stridently anti-democrat? After all, bozo thinking is that the dems are responsible for everything bad, even the self-destruction of the reps, in their belief system.

  • http://www.examiner.com/bloomington-economic-policy-in-springfield/why-rick-santorum-worries-me-on-trade RMW Stanford

    Newt would be a terrible candidate for the GOP. His use of populist rhetoric and misguided wrong use of terms like good and bad capitalism all under mine the ability of the GOP to argue for free market solutions to current problems. It reveals that either Newt does not understand how a free market works or he ism ore interested in trying to win the votes of social conservatives that may be wary of “wall street types”, then making good arguements about capitalism.

  • jamminsue

    This is the net result of letting the evangelists in back in Regan’s time. It has been quite a ride.

  • http://rwno.limewebs.com Warren Beatty

    Roger, I must ask: Are you for real, or was your “article” published for comic relief?

  • http://rwno.limewebs.com Warren Beatty

    Re: comment #7, I meant to address it to Joseph, not Roger. As Emily Latella used to say on SNL, “Never mind.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Glad you made that reference, Warren. For a while I was wondering where I may have offended you.

  • Igor

    I hate to bring this up, but upon examining the exit poll stats at statistics it appears that 98% of the republicans in the SC primary were white, and only 1% black (1% ‘other’).

    Make of it what you will.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And a PPP poll just found that 20% of the (overwhelmingly Republican) respondents in South Carolina think that interracial marriage should be illegal…

    …which means they’re only half as racist as Mississippi, I guess.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @10

    One would hardly expect any greater percentage of black Republicans in SC, so it’s not really news.

    Unless there is any underhanded, tacit argument floating around as well to the effect that SC Republicans are predominantly racist. Why else would they choose “shits” like Gingrinch over other Republican luminaries like Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Are a majority of SC Republicans racist? No. Are a significant percentage of them racist? Yes. And anyone who wants to stick to the politically-correct line that very few people are racist anymore needs a bit of a reality check. From the poll I mentioned in #11:

    Do you think that interracial marriage should be legal or illegal?
    Legal 66%
    Illegal 20%
    Not sure 14%

    BTW, poll respondents were three percent Democratic.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It wasn’t the twenty percent that chose Gingrich over Romney, the distant second. So the only conclusion I can draw from Igor’s innuendo is that Gingrich is more of a racist than Romney is; and secondly, that the majority of lily white SC Republicans who took part in the primaries are racist.

    In any case, the MSM has already made the case that Gingrich was appealing to the basest sentiments of the SC electorate, which is why he was successful. And if MSM says something, then it must be true.

    What’s being ignored here is MSM’s temporary love affair with Romney, reminiscent of the prior love affair with the candidate McCain, because Romney appears “more reasonable,” less lackluster, and commanding lesser popular appeal to the Republican base than Gingrich might.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    So…Roger – who did the 20% racist (and 14% who “weren’t sure”) vote for?

    Personally, I’d think they’d either vote for the one who said to put poor kids to work as janitors at school, and that black people should be asking for jobs instead of food stamps…or they might instead vote for the one who said that he didn’t want to make the lives of “blah” people better. It sure sounded like he said “black”, but he later said that he actually said “blah”.

    So…who did the 34% (racists and “not-sure”) vote for?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The point of #24 wasn’t about how “the racists” would vote, only about the non-racists. It’s the non-racists who provided Newt with a comfortable margin of victory over Romney. And if these are the facts, then Igor’s innuendo is nothing but an innuendo. And that fact it may sit well with all those who try to put their own kind spin on Newt’s impressive victory doesn’t make it any less so.

    That was the point I was making, nothing else. (I’m not into the actual breakdown of SC Republican electorate along racist lines; and if the facts are different from what they’ve been presented, I’d be happy to change my mind.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    While it is true that 34% is certainly not a statistical majority, you have to admit that the one they supported stood a heck of a lot better chance of winning. It is a big mistake to ignore the effect that race and racism are having on this race in the South.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I wasn’t ignoring it, only saying that Igor was rather half n fast with his innuendo, which, if unquestioned, amounted to saying that Newt is a racist and won the SC primaries mainly on the strength of that. It’s rather irresponsible speech, not to mention it violates the principle of charity, and I doubt whether Igor has any inside track into Newt’s heart and private thoughts.

    I certainly don’t.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    To be fair, I’m not personally of the opinion that racists in the GOP swung the election for any one candidate other than Romney, because those who are racist would probably be prejudiced against Mormons as well, and so the racist vote would probably have split between the other candidates, all of whom have (in the progressive view (and in my view)) have used the racist dog whistle, speaking in code so they can’t be outright accused of using racist language.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I think Newt won SC because, for all his faults, he comes across more genuine than the plastic Romney.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    genuinely slimy…but genuine.

    At least until he has to change his mind, like with the individual mandate.

  • Igor

    Maybe it’s less a republican problem than a South Carolina problem. SC is very racist. SC was the first state to secede in 1861, proudly declaring themselves with an aggressive “Ordnance of Secession” which declared that their cause was slavery, which they considered gods gift to man and the finest institution.

    But the republicans have had at least 40 years (since the “southern Strategy” started) to push back and to bring SC and other backward states into the mainstream, but I suppose they find political divisiveness useful to their purposes.

    Maybe even the southern states divisiveness is responsible for the republicans no-compromise, rule or ruin, attitude in modern national politics. If the republicans have let that noisy demanding southern contingent take over a major national party they should be ashamed of themselves.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Glenn, you mentioned, as you frequently do, the surveys exploring attitudes toward the legality of interracial marriage.

    Opposition to interracial marriage is not just a “white” thing. It’s not even necessarily a “racist thing,” although it can be that.

    Here is an excerpt from an article about interracial marriage. It is NOT written from a racist viewpoint. In fact, it is written by a husband in an interracial marriage who is offering support and advice to others in interracial marriages in a society in which such people often face disapproval. Here is what he says:

    It is also important to note that not all blacks embrace interracial marriages themselves.

    Black parents object as much to mixed marriages as do whites. They feel that the person entering such a relationship is trying to deny his heritage and that they will lose their culture and identity. They see it as assimilation into the melting pot. African Americans also resist it because of the shortage of marriageable black men…

    …Black women feet betrayed or deserted when a black man marries a white woman. Black activists feel mixed marriages weaken the African-American solidarity.

    The surveys targeting voters registered as Republican (that’s how they get the names and the phone numbers–from the Party’s voter registration list) do not break down the respondents answers by race…I’m guessing that most of the Republican respondents were white. Supposedly, there would be more blacks responding to a survey that had as its sample space voters registered as Democrats.

    The thing is, since blacks are a minority, even within the Democratic party, a significant opposition to interracial marriage within the black Democrat demographic would likely not be reflected in the overall results of a similar survey for registered Democrats.

    (My personal view is that because successive generations manifest certain genetic diseases at successively earlier stages of life, mixing up the gene pool is probably a really good idea. Plus, my biracial niece is the smartest and cutest little thing imaginable.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    My granddaughter by marriage, aged 3, Ebony was her name, also biracial, was smarter than a whip. Wish could have kept track.

    Must be 38 by now. Perhaps I ought to look her up. It would be grand to reconnect.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Superstitious Muppet

    I know we can’t on the basis of two data points conclude that all biracial children are smarter than whips…but we both know delightful examples. :)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Who the heck was THAT? LOL. See you around, Roger.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    The poll on interracial marriage didn’t say “opposed or unopposed”. It said “Do you think that interracial marriage should be legal or illegal?”

    Not ‘opposed or unopposed – Legal or illegal. There’s a BIG difference, Irene…

    …and do you really think its simple coincidence that polls show this in Southern states? Do you really?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Maybe you forgot what the point of my comment was, Glenn. Darned page breaks! Here’s a refresher. It was written by a man in an interracial marriage to give advice and encouragement to other couples.:

    It is also important to note that not all blacks embrace interracial marriages themselves.

    Black parents object as much to mixed marriages as do whites. They feel that the person entering such a relationship is trying to deny his heritage and that they will lose their culture and identity. They see it as assimilation into the melting pot. African Americans also resist it because of the shortage of marriageable black men…

    …Black women feet betrayed or deserted when a black man marries a white woman. Black activists feel mixed marriages weaken the African-American solidarity.

    Again, Glenn, that article is NOT written by a racist. The author is in an interracial marriage, just as you are. BOING!!! It never occurred to me until just now why you consider those survey results so insulting, and why you appear to be rather fixated on them. The issue must cut very close to home for you. I don’t know if any of your relatives have even met your kids. That’s sad.

    However, reading that article might help you to see those survey results with a broader perspective.

    You claim Not ‘opposed or unopposed – Legal or illegal. There’s a BIG difference

    That’s clearly not true. Especially with respect to a significant portion of people who have a strong stand on social issues, there is precious little, if any, difference between “being opposed to” and “it should be illegal.” Witness: abortion, drinking, smoking pot, homosexual marriage, etc. etc, etc.

  • Glenn Hussein Contrarian

    Irene –

    I’m opposed to adultery – but that doesn’t mean it should be illegal.

    I’m opposed to most profanity I hear on television – but that doesn’t mean it should be illegal.

    I’m opposed to private schools that teach creationism vice evolution – but that doesn’t mean it should be illegal.

    Yes, Irene, there IS a significant difference between “opposed to” and “should be illegal”.

    That, and just because you hear the opinion of ONE person – the man in the interracial marriage – doesn’t mean you should apply it to the whole. I too am in an interracial marriage and – thanks to where and how I grew up and having lived both sides of the issue – can speak more on matters of race than most white men.

    There’s racists in all races and cultures – of course there are! That’s a given. I remember walking in downtown Pattaya Beach, Thailand, and one bar had on its door a sign that said in English “No blacks or arabs”. An even sadder note to me are the signs I see in Southeast Asia advertising “whitening cream”, because it’s very popular to have one’s skin as light – or white – as possible.

    BUT what you’re not getting is that racism practiced by the most powerful race in a given nation or culture is always more egregious, more harmful than racism practiced by any other race. You cannot show me any historical example otherwise. And that’s why even though we try to assume things are equal and some think it’s really unfair to point out the racism of whites more than the racism of blacks, the racism of whites really is worse, more egregious – because of the rule that I stated in italics above. Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to call it a ‘rule’, but I see lots of logic behind it and no historical example proving otherwise.

    So…yeah, you’re right that I get somewhat fixated on this issue, remembering the time that my own mother – after having met my Filipina wife – said, “I wish you had married a black girl instead.” But “black” wasn’t the word she used. And among whites in much of the South, my family is hardly the exception, and is often the rule. But we’re fools if we ignore the very real part that racism plays in human interaction regardless of culture or nation. Racism will always be there as long as there are people with even a slightly different shade of skin color.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Sorry about the ‘Hussein’ – I gotta get rid of that now.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    No, no, Glenn. That has nothing to do Welch’s Grape Juice. Until I hear you admit that you were wrong about 1) the use of that product as Communion wine in the US – the link to their website is provided later in the thread 2) your outrageous accusation that I was attacking your religion, I am not inclined to read any more of what you write to me. I told you that the last time we were on the same thread, and I’m sticking to it.

    Show us an example of that vaunted humility by admitting you were wrong! I would like to see your statement HERE (see comments 65 – 67.) The words “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxISSima culpa” would be a nice touch, but aren’t a requirement.

    PS As I mentioned, I can only begin to imagine the hurtful things your family has said to you about your marriage. However, your stories, and stories like yours, make the point about the continued existence of racism better than the misuse of the statistics you quote.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    Even Roger thought you were referring to me in your comment, okay? You got caught and made a really good effort in trying to cover yourself, but it really was that obvious.

    And your claim that I’m ‘misusing’ the racism stats is tantamount to pretending the stats are wildly inaccurate…but who knows the South better – you or me?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Welch’s Grape juice, Glenn. Comments 65 – 67, and your claim that I was being deceitful about it’s being used in the US as Communion wine, and that I was attacking your religion by bringing it up. How Roger applied my comment specifically to you is between you and him.

    Are you unable to read the words on Welch’s website that give the history of the use of it’s product in Communion wine in services as early as 1869?

    You even copied my words “convincing my co-religionists in the States” into your comment. Do you not know what “co-religionists” means? You and I are not co-religionists, as you’ve pointed out to me frequently.

    At this point, your inability to state the words “I was wrong” is more amusing than irritating. I think you might have some sort of genetic propensity toward stubbornness, in which case I’m beating my head against a brick wall. Humble! LOL.