Republican Thinking

I got an e-mail that is part of an exchange a friend is having with a Republican. I’m going to excerpt from the Republican’s e-mail so we can see what is out there circulating. Think of this as being like a small focus group. There is much to learn here.

On Bush’s intelligence — in response to being told that the King of Jordan was more literate in English than Bush in a recent press conference, that Kerry is more intelligent, and that Bush speaks in slogans:

“I … have known … fighter pilots and they just don’t let “dumb” people fly supersonic jets like the ones that W has flown. Therefore, he IS intelligent. If the Texas pronunciation gets in the way of people’s judgement of him, then they haven’t been around too many Hoosiers. All of us sound like we are from the backwoods but that doesn’t mean they are dumb. The Jordanian is probably American educated and spent most of his youth in American. His dad was and his mother is American.

[. . .] Kerry may be an educated man with no slogans yet, but he also hasn’t said anything about specifics except that he would wait for the UN to tell us what to do and that all the tax breaks that helped all Americans would be repealed.

The Republicans use “When they make fun of Bush they are making fun of YOU.” It works. It’s a big part of their technique to make their people feel like victims.

On Cheney as an architect of the war:

I would have liked to have seen Cheney replaced with Condi. They could have used his health as a basis of retirement and using her would have given W as woman and a minority as a Veep. That would have driven the Dems wild. I have never been real impressed with Cheney. I think his wife would be a better choice even.

Note the racist dig at Democrats here.

On terrorism:

I will vote for Bush because he didn’t fool me the first time. I have been proud that he has been our President during these very difficult time which called for stern measures and will for generations to come. We suffered through 8 years of Clinton refusing to face the brutality of terror after the first WTC attack, The USS Cole, the embassy bombings, etc. We did take out an aspirin factory and a toy factory.

Cheney just repeated this lie about the Clinton Administration two days ago! Obviously the campaign to blame Clinton for terrorism has been very effective. The lie about the “aspirin factory” is from when Clinton ordered a full-scale attack on bin Laden’s holdings, including a chemical plant in the Sudan, and more than 50 cruise missiles into his Afghanistan camps. I have no idea what the “toy factory” is about. “Stern measures” is the “strict father” metaphor. (See also here and here.) The whole thing about “generations to come” carries a subtle undertone of this being a war between Christianity and Islam. (Talk radio host Glen Beck was talking about this today – saying this is a “Christian nation” and this is obviously a religious war…)

On government spending, and exporting jobs:

I do agree with the government spending being too large except for the military which is the only thing that is protecting us and our way of life. We could do without many of the “entitlements” and make people responsible for their own care. I also do not like the sending of jobs overseas; however, Kerry’s family has 57 of their factories overseas now. They could bring all those plants back to the US as a token of practicing what he believes.

Here is where the under-the-radar smear machine is very effective. Note that this guy has heard a lie that Kerry’s “family” has 57 factories overseas. (This probably means the Heinz company, as in “Heinz 57”.) This is effective and follows the “hypocrite” strategy.

On the Patriot act:

I don’t believe that Americans have lost one civil right. I have always felt that our safety was more important. This is not the first time that Americans have had to tighten their belts. During the Civil War, Lincoln was a close to a dictator as we have ever had. Most of the basic constitutional rights were in limbo during those four year and the present time is nothing close to that. I have heard this from students and I always ask them what effect the law has had on them. Obviously, this was written before the recent Supreme Court decisions. Remember on this note they agreed with W and the Department of Justice. Also the House and the Senate including Kerry voted for the measure. He probably voted for it before he voted against it. When people, including American citizens, are picked up on a battlefied and fighting against us, they have forfeited their rights and deserve whatever happens to them.

If they are in jail they must be guilty.

On Bush’s alienating the rest of the world:

America has never been liked by the Arabs or many other countries. It’s called jealously. Many of them are incapable of achieving what America has and they want some but don’t or can’t figure out how to achieve those goals. The Cold War wasn’t even close to starting again because there is only ONE major super power now. I am glad that all of those countries are worried about us. However, the French, Germans, Japanese, etc benefited from and appreciated our generosity after the W Wars. Why do we even worry about the Europeans. That’s why our ancestors left there because they understood America would be a better place for the future generations to live. Suggest a read of deCrevecour again.

In response to, “it would be fun to have a president who plays hockey, windsurfs, rides motorcycles, plays the guitar, writes poetry and speaks French:

If John Kerry does all of that stuff, I would be worried why a person would be proud to speak French. This writer seems to think that W doesn’t do all of that too or other things. Bush is fluent in Spanish. Do we have more Frenchmen or Spanairds living in America? Why would a writer assume that we elect Presidents on what they do for fun or exercise? Why would that be “fun”? Most of the worst teachers in public schools are the ones who try to make learning “fun”. Hopefully, we will stay away from the “touchy, feel good” stuff of the 70’s and 80’s. We need a forceful person who will take no stuff off anyone.

Notice how this turns into a “culture wars” thing here. The word “fun” sends him immediately into the “strict father” metaphor.

On Kerry’s military experience:

Remember there are witnesses that the VC that Kerry killed was a wounded man on the beach and Kerry finished him off. Quite a hero!! … Of all our buddies who went to Vietnam, I never knew any of them who spent only four months there. They all had one year or more.

First, this shows how valuable Rush is to the Republicans. Obviously this guy is a listener. And he’s going to be someone who repeats this stuff to others. See how a good smear campaign neutralizes the fact that Kerry is a war hero?

These kinds of lies that the Republican spread don’t work unless they fit into a larger “story” that people buy. Once they fit into the framework of the larger story, people will let a lot a lot of contradictions slip by them. The Bush is “strong” is a HUGE thing for them. So it is very important to spread stories that say Clinton didn’t do anything about this problem. And to spread stories that neutralize that Kerry is a war hero.

The level of “cognitive dissonance” here is striking. He is just not going to accept that Bush lies, or that he wasn’t paying attention before 9/11, or that he was AWOL from his military service. EVERYthing he hears is turned back around against Bush’s opponents. And the base of it is this culture war thing: the elite liberals are making fun of people like you and want to let the government take your money and give it to the irresponsible welfare cheats.