How The Media Has Helped Normalize GOP Crazy

Alison Lundergan Grimes. Photo: Patrick Delahanty (CC)

Can you remember a time when Republicans didn’t act foam-at-the-mouth radio host crazy? Paul Waldman makes a good point writing at the Washington Post: GOP crazy is now the norm:

The victim of this morning’s pile-on is Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who was asked in an editorial board meeting whether she had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Grimes hemmed and hawed a bit, obviously scared to say Yes. That isn’t too surprising — when you run as a Democrat in a red state (just as when you run as a Republican in a blue state), you spend a lot of your time explaining why you aren’t like the national party and its leaders. But some people are outraged, including Chuck Todd, who said on Morning Joe (with a look of profound disgust): “Is she ever going to answer a tough question on anything?…I think she disqualified herself. I really do, I think she disqualified herself.”

No question, Grimes botched this badly, and she should be able to answer a question as simple as this one. But this affair gets at the odd set of unspoken rules that dictate what gets designated a “gaffe” or a serious mistake, and what doesn’t.

The problem isn’t that one party gets treated more harshly than the other does. There are plenty of Republican candidates who have gotten pummeled for their “gaffes.” Rather, the problem is the standard that reporters  use, probably unconsciously, to decide which gaffes are worthy of extended discussion and which ones merit only a passing mention, a standard that often lets GOP candidates get away with some appalling stuff.

For instance, when Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst flirted with the “Agenda 21″ conspiracy theory — a favorite of Glenn Beck, in which the U.S. government and the United Nations are supposedly conspiring to force rural people in Iowa and elsewhere to leave their homes and be relocated to urban centers — national pundits didn’t see it as disqualifying. Nor did they when it was revealed that Ernst believes not only that states can “nullify” federal laws they don’t like (they can’t); and, even crazier, that local sheriffs ought to arrest federal officials implementing the Affordable Care Act, which is quite literally a call for insurrection against the federal government. I guess those are just colorful ideas…

[continues at the Washington Post]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)

  • Simon Valentine

    Washington P should have just cued Imperial March
    maggots will be maggots

    • Jonas Planck

      • Simon Valentine

        wanting me some dubstep now

        cued within “i will make it law” *dub*

  • Joe Nolan

    Great post! I can’t wait for the Republican Presidential Primary debates

  • Zenc

    Trust me, when “normal” people hear Democratic politicians speak, they sound just as batshit, rabid dog, “I know you love Ol’ Yeller but we have to do this”, crazy.

    I know.

    I talked to a normal person once and they told me.

    • emperorreagan

      I felt that way most recently when all the posts about Paul Krugman’s Obama article popped up on my Facebook feed.

  • VoxMagi

    Given that sensationalism has made journalism into little more than a search for pseudo scandal and headline grabbers…mass media has been more than complicit in rewarding people for ever stupider, ever crazier, ever more hateful rhetoric…its literally the only way to be noticed, for bad or good, and that attention is more precious than a ding to reputation.

  • honu

    Of course both parties are corrupt and ultimately that’s an issue to get deep into however when it comes to inflammatory rhetoric and a complete unwillingness to govern because the other party is the one in charge, the Republicans are to blame no question. Mitch McConnell is on the record implying no cooperation on anything Obama does, there’s been a record number of senate filibusters on any and all domestic jobs and spending policies with Obama and executive branch nominees. Also a sharp increase in disinformation over policies and the nature and personality of this president. Again, I’m not saying the Dems are clean but the right wing is insane and it’s @#$ up the works. Both sides do it is a lie in this regard.

    • Simon Valentine

      there is no law that requires cooperation.

      except any law that breaks that law.
      but oh look
      there’s Gödel

      Who’s Extortion Is It Anyway

      Captain Genus and the Colored Tights

  • xXGrizZ

    As someone who sees the democrat and repub construct a a method of control; creations to give the illusion of choice to the people, I can say, without any form of bias or presupposition, way to go disinfo… Almost daily, in the last several months, you have posted something that has made me question your motivations. Sometimes I wonder if your name has gone from being tounge-in-cheek satire to literal intention. Keep spreading superficial propaganda. Next, maybe you can tell us how democrats truly care about the poor and never take $ from big business…

    • Juan

      I dunno. I read these as fodder for deconstruction and conversation.

  • Number1Framer

    LOL! GOP crazz-ay indeed! Nothing but crazy Repubes like Anthony Wiener and his dick! Huh? Wiener is a what? Oh…nevermind, but how about that crazy winger Biden who can’t open his mouth without putting his foot in it and having it be a headline, eh!? What’s that? Biden’s Dem too? Uhh, forget it, this is too hard. Put the big game back on and grab me a beer whi’ yer up.

    • emperorreagan

      Well, Biden’s last headline was at least the truth…the UAE sponsoring terrorism. If you let him run his mouth too much, he might start talking about US foreign policy being about supporting terrorism…

  • BuzzCoastin

    without the facade of competition
    there would be no bread to be had
    for the purveyors of the circus medium

  • trompe l’oiel