A new Washington Post poll shows that 70% of Americans think there should be a path to US citizenship for illegal immigrants.
About 60% of Republicans think so too.
Unless President Obama also supports it.
When told that president Obama agreed with their position, that illegal immigrants should eventually be allowed to earn US citizenship after paying a significant fine and back taxes and learning English and going to the back of the line, a significant number of conservatives changed their minds and decided they were against the idea after all.
Only 39% of conservatives polled supported the idea if President Obama's name was attached to it – even if the plan was designed by Republicans.
Thirty-nine percent, and frankly I’m surprised it was that high.
Thirty-nine percent, must be them RINO’s I keep hearing about.
If you couldn’t already see it coming, that, right there, should have heralded the oh so utterly predictable conservative response to last night’s State of the Union Address, which is basically the same response we’ve seen for the last four years, i.e: We’re for it, unless Obama is for it, in which case we’re against it, unless Obama is against it, in which case he’s a Nazi, God bless America.
The truly sad part is that this nonsense started long before the President even reached the podium.
It was pretty obvious that both the so-called Republican rebuttal given by Marco Rubio and the TEA Party response by Rand Paul were drafted way back in 2008 and updated for last night with cliff notes found in the castoff wreckage of the still-smoldering Romney Campaign.
It’s the same old crap with these people, the same old tired script, the same old thinly disguised bigotry, and the same old conspiracy theories gussied-up and dressed in a red, white, and blue Elvis Suit decorated with pseudo-patriotic rhinestones.
This morning social and news media are full of it.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow citizens…
It starts right there, doesn’t it? With the very first line.
Still, today, after all the debunking, the repeated certification by the State of Hawaii, two successful presidential campaigns and all the background checking that implies, more intense scrutiny than any other single president in American history – after all of that, a significant fraction of conservatives in this country still refuse to openly admit that Barack Obama is a fellow citizen, that his skinny black ass is just as American as they are. They’ll readily believe every silly poorly reasoned, logically inconsistent, idiotic, ridiculous, asinine, soundly debunked conspiracy theory that comes along from every coked-out, crazy-haired, wild-eyed fruitcake with an Internet connection, but they won’t believe Barack Obama is an American citizen, a Christian, and Capitalist. And there’s nothing you can do to convince them otherwise. Nothing.
You can’t reason with people who are not reasonable. You just can’t.
This nonsense, literally non-sense, is a disturbing symptom of a much larger sickness – one that expresses itself in a hundred different ways, from Holocaust denial to climate change denial to creationism to seeing commies lurking in every shadow to the belief that you can actually turn an enemy into a friendly democracy if you just drop enough ordnance on them.
There’s a reason, a damned good reason, why these people are called The Party of No.
It’s because they have institutionalized pessimism.
More, they’ve turned it into a reflex; If Obama is for it, they’re automatically against it. Q.E.D.
And this reflexive pessimism, this reflexive denial, taints everything.
This is why Rubio and Paul had their “rebuttals” prepared in advance.
A real rebuttal, a thoughtful and reasoned response, would have taken at least a day or so and would have countered the President’s address paragraph by paragraph, point by point and step by step with facts and references and deliberation.
Instead, the Party of No did what it has come to do best, they engaged in reflexive denial, in preemptive pessimism.
We don’t like it. You haven’t even heard it. Doesn’t matter, we don’t like it anyway.
Rubio and Paul wrote their rebuttals in advance, engaging in nonsense that we didn’t even have a word for, so we had to make one up: the pre-buttal – which to me sounds like another word for asshat, but hey, if the hat fits… And that ought to tell you just how damned silly this kind of thing is, we had to make up a word for it.
That’s some real pretty stupid, right there.
And it’s the same thing with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and all the usual talking heads. It didn’t matter whatsoever what the President actually said, conservatives were already against it, even the parts that were their ideas, even the parts they agree with.
Both Rubio and Paul were so optimistic in their pessimism, that they distributed printed copies of their rebuttals hours in advance of the President’s address.
You have to wonder what would have happened if the President had walked down the Aisle, stood up in front of Congress, looked out over the crowd, locked eyes with Ted Nugent, and said, “To hell with it, let’s do it all your way. Peace, out” (in my mind, Obama then nods to the Master At Arms, who cranks up the music and The Prez then breaks into an awesome air guitar rendition of Boston’s More Than A Feeling, see my Maryanne walkin’ awayyyyyyyyyyyahaaaayyyy! as he dances like a boss right on out of the chamber to the stupefied open mouthed amazement of the Legislature … ur, but I digress). Given their reflexive behavior, I suspect Rubio and Paul would each calmly go down their respective position papers and change yes to no and no to yes in every bullet statement, and then they’d continue blithely on as if their handlers had written it that way from the beginning.
Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in twenty. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before. Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger. But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs – but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs – but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.
Our troops are coming home. The war in Iraq is over, the war in Afghanistan will be over by this time next year. 34,000 troops are on their way home right now. We’re making new jobs, not fast enough, not yet, but we’re not losing them anymore either. American cars are selling, better now than they have in a decade and we’re selling them to the Chinese, you damned right we are. The housing market is finally, firmly, definitively moving in the right direction.
The state of the Union has improved, it has, provably so.
We, all of us, have reason for optimism.
We have reason, good reason, to be hopeful, to believe that things will, are, getting better.
Is the economy where we’d like it to be? Are there enough jobs? Is everybody out of the hole yet? Hell no, of course not – as the president specifically noted – but there is reason for optimism.
There is more reason for optimism than not.
But for a certain mindset it’s all doom and gloom.
For them it’s always doom and gloom.
Everything positive that happens on Obama’s watch is a failure, a harbinger of the end, a reason for the blackest of pessimism. Oh sure, things are improving, or so it seems. Things are looking up now, but just you wait, mark my words, it’s the end of America as we know it! It’s the Anti-Christ! The End Times. Socialism! Nazis! We’re doomed! Oh woe! Woe!
It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth, a rising, thriving middle class. It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country: the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love. It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.
That’s what Obama said, but what conservatives heard was “Obama wants to destroy the middle class.”
Rubio spent more than half his rebuttal on that exact message, Obama is destroying the middle class. Rubio gave credit to the presidents of both parties, “from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan” for recognizing the “free enterprise economy” as the “source of our middle class prosperity” Rand Paul also invoked Reagan, and like Rubio he did it in the first couple of paragraphs of his pre-response. In contrasting Obama to Reagan, Paul said Obama wants “more government, more taxes, more debt.” And really what kind of conservative rebuttal would it be if Reagan wasn’t invoked at least once? You know, Reagan, Ronald Reagan, the guy who grew the government enormously (it’s just me who remembers the “600 ship Navy” right? And there wasn’t even a war on), and who massively increased the national debt and raised income taxes seven years in a row to pay for it. So much so that his successor, George H. W. Bush ran on the campaign slogan “Read my lips, no new taxes!” and who in the hell did you think Bush was talking about? But I digress. Again.
Obama says we must reignite the middle class as the true engine of America’s economic growth, Rubio replies that obviously Obama doesn’t get that the middle class is the true source of America’s economic growth. Meanwhile Paul pines for Adam Smith.
It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.
That’s what Obama said, and has said, repeatedly. But both Rubio and Paul claimed “Obama believes government is too small.”
Obama talks about opportunity and inclusion for all, Rubio says Obama wants a society where nobody gets a chance.
Obama says he believes America is exceptional, Rubio and Paul say Obama hates America.
Obama implores Congress to reform Medicare and promises to sign the bill when it reaches his desk, Rubio says Obama wants to hurt seniors by not fixing Medicare.
Obama, the black son of a broken home, says if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love. Rand Paul, the pampered scion of wealth, responds by saying Obama “fails to grasp that […] the American system that rewards hard work is what made America so prosperous.”
Obama says that deficit reduction should be achieved by a combination of cost cutting and increasing revenue by closing tax loopholes, both Rubio and Paul say the president only wants to raise taxes.
Obama implores congress to raise the minimum wage so that those working full time can rise (barely) above the poverty line, Rubio and Paul accuse Obama of hurting business and job growth, because apparently what Americans really want are a lot of shitty jobs with lousy pay and no benefits. That’s the republican version of the American dream right there, a nation of Wal-Mart employees who live on Top Ramen and can barely make the rent. When they say bring Chinese jobs back to America, they ain’t kidding, folks.
And so it went, predictable as the sunrise.
And eventually we got to guns.
The most anticipated response to that topic was the one most likely to be unreasonable, and The Nuge did not disappoint:
"I'm butt naked. I've never been so naked in all my life. If something happens, you're gonna have to call somebody else because I can't do squat to help you right now. I don't even have a pocket knife on me. Can you feel the pain? I did retain my flashlight though. I said, 'Can I bring a flashlight with me?' This is so weird. This is so un-American!"
I can’t argue with that.
I hesitate to use the word “dignity” when it comes to Congress, but Ted Nugent’s presence as an official guest reduces the gravity of the forum to the level of those clownish goofs who dress up in silly costumes and dance around on the sidewalk outside of the Good Morning America studios waving nonsensical signs and screaming their fool heads off hoping to get on TV for a brief moment.
The Motor City Madman went as the guest of congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX. Of course, of course) who called Nugent a “true patriot.” The Nuge was upset that he couldn’t go armed, just in case “something” happened. Apparently his real concern was that he “couldn’t do squat” to help others should “something” happen. Yes, how very un-American, unlike shitting your pants to get out of military service and bad mouthing the country for decades and still ending up as a conservative congressman’s prom-date. A true patriot indeed. No word on if Stockman bought Ted a corsage and slow danced with him at the TEA Party Ball afterward.
You simply cannot reason with unreasonable people, it’s really just that simple.
You cannot reason with people who seem increasingly incapable of reason, or of reasoned response, or even of modestly reasonable behavior.
The most memorable moment of Rubio’s rebuttal was his bizarre desperate lunge for hydration – and the fact that he talks like Jiminy Cricket. Republicans claim they picked him to read their rebuttal because he’s a rising superstar in the party, but the sad truth of the matter is that they picked him because they figure Latinos can’t distinguish between Cubans and Mexicans either. They’ve got themselves a Spanish Speaker and that’s all that matters and it doesn’t even occur to them to wonder why the Cuban American community and the Mexican American community don’t seem to have much in common other than similar sounding dialects of the same language. But then again these are the same people who repeatedly claim black people only voted for Obama because he’s black, and that liberal women would likely vote for Michele Bachman because she allegedly has a vagina. Supposedly Rubio is a leading candidate for a shot at the Republican nomination in 2016, but last night he looked more like a nervous freshman high schooler trying out for the debate club. On her worst day, dizzy from a concussion and seething at her husband’s ongoing Shenanigans, Hillary Clinton would eat this kid alive and screaming and then use his polished bones for toothpicks.
I have no idea what the most memorable part of Rand Paul’s response was, because nobody bothered to watch it, including me (I read the transcript, it was mostly a Greatest Hits compilation of TEA Party slogans run through a spell checker). Paul continually blames congress and government for the country’s supposed plight, and somehow seems to completely miss the part where he himself is a congressman and part of that very same government. Paul is said to be considering a run at the White House in 2016, frankly I think he’s got about as much chance of making it as his father.
Both rebuttals, or prebuttals whatever, were messages of despair, of depression, and hopelessness.
There’s nothing particularly surprising about that, given that the Republican Party has become the party of the intentionally disaffected, of preemptive pessimism. These days they’re less GOP and more EMO and it’s probably only a matter of time until they start dressing like anemic vampires and sleeping with dead girls.
Both Rubio and Paul were notable for what they didn’t say – and that’s why they’ll be quickly forgotten, right along with all the other rebuttals.
In contrast, the most memorable part of President Obama’s speech wasn’t any specific word, it was his ringing endorsement of America.
It was his unflagging belief in this country and his boundless enthusiasm for her people and their future.
It was his steady and unrelenting optimism.