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Right wingers whine.  A lot.  So....what is their payoff?

I collected right wing whining stories from the month of January 2014 to see if I spotted any themes.  I had more than 40 by the third week of the month [A summary of my top 10 in right-wing whining for the month is below, linked to the original stories].  

Impressionistically, I thought there was a lot of right-wing whining over the past several years, and my hope was to get a sense of its volume and persistence.   I picked right-wing whining to look at because I thought the category “lying” would be too big.  It turns out that whining was plenty.

My initial reaction is that right wingers get multiple, sometimes overlapping, payoffs from whining:

It communicates, and reinforces, tribal identity.  Like racist “dog whistle” statements that are understood by the speaker and intended audience to convey racial animus, whiners and their intended audience circle the wagons against the threatening “others” who are being so unfair:  prosecutors, investigative committees, the media, liberals, etc.

It is the start of the ask for money.   Whining is just part of the grift.  I am looking at you, Mike Huckabee.

It is part of authoritarian worldview.  Not all Republicans are authoritarian personalities, but pretty much all authoritarians (either followers or leaders) are right-wingers. The authoritarian followers like to be told who they can hate, and scapegoating is a big part of the authoritarian leader playbook.

Distraction from, and distortion of, the facts.  Right wingers also use whining to divert attention from the underlying bad behavior that they are accused of.    I am old enough to remember Spiro Agnew’s attacks on “left-wing media bias.”  Before modern-day “both sides do it” stenography style journalism was invented, reporters actually liked to break stories about politicians doing stupid things in office.  Since Republicans—then and now--did more stupid stuff than Democrats, Spiro griped reporters hated Republicans.  Over the years, those “liberal media” attacks have hardened into an article of faith on the right.

The goal of Republican policies is to transform America into a third-world banana-republic dystopian hellscape (the phrase “dystopian hellscape” should be TM Digby, who sees deeply, writes concisely, and is the poet laureate of exasperation with the American political elites).  For right-wingers, whining is just another cheer for the home team at their pep rally for the Apocalypse.

For January 2014’s top hits in right wing whining and victimization, please follow me over the fold.

“Political” prosecutors:  Bob McDonald and his wife got indicted in Virginia for soliciting and accepting $150k of personal gifts and lying to federal investigators.  Dinesh D’Sousa got indicted for laundering $20k of campaign funds. Per Drudge, this represents the Department of Justice is “unleashing the dogs” against Obama’s critics.  

While I think the dollar amount in each of these cases is pretty small beer compared to John Boehner punching a $24 billion hole in the economy by backing a government shutdown he admitted he knew was doomed from the start, it is not illegal for John Boehner to be stupid and to impose needless harm on thousands of Americans.  Breaking campaign and graft laws is illegal, and deserves prosecution even if the amounts are sub-one billion range.

“Kristallnact” for the one percent:  Jamie Dimon’s bank, JP Morgan, paid about $20 billion  in fines in 2013, for committing crimes—that’s what fraud is, a crime—with multi-billion impacts. He too deserves prosecution, but instead got a $20 million salary.  It is hard to make paying $20 billion in fines look like an achievement, but Jamie did, and as Elizabeth Warren notes, it means the JP Morgan board recognizes how much less JP Morgan paid than it rightfully should have.

Nonetheless, self-pitying venture capitalist Tom Perkins got space in the Wall Street Journal to whine about how taxes and stuff were like Nazi Germany, with Kristallnact actually in the title.   The coverage in the Times from Davos Plutocracy Woodstock included similar amounts of whining about the rich regarding how little they are appreciated and how, apparently, blue blood leads to thin skin.

War on Women:  The phrase “war on women” gets under GOP skin so much, it should be part of every speech by every Democrat every single day. And better:  The GOP can’t help itself, it just keeps coming up with fresh examples to illustrate the point:  Here, here, here, to name a few.  Mike Huckabee won the month by talking about “libidos.”

Christ Christie? What about Benghazi?  GOP whiners claim that if reporters don’t take their statements at face value they have a political agenda.  And if you are a Village stenographer, you slavishly follow whatever Bright Shiny Object the GOP puts in your line of sight.  The unified “look over there” GOP game plan in the week after Bridge-gate is exhibit A.

Kill parents, ask for mercy as an orphan:  Right-wing uber-shill Fred Luntz claims to be sad there was so much polarization in politics after spending his life creating it.

“Quit twisting my words by quoting me verbatim.”  Louis Gohmert is probably a candidate for whining Hall of Fame.  Some of us remember when Rudy Guilianiwas actually a federal prosecutor who took on banksters, but that was a long time ago.

If liberals produce violent movies, STFU about guns:  A comment to the article said it all:  “Weinstein profits from fake gun is a movie after all. Cruz and the NRA profit from real gun violence, that's why they're the assholes.”

Poor, poor Kochs.  They couldn’t bully Rachel Maddow into reading a script they prepared for her disavowing her accurate reporting on their nefarious actions.  Her response to them:  “You not wanting to be known for something that you have done is not the same thing as you not having done it…. Being a political actor means being subject to political scrutiny. If you don’t want to be known for it, DON'T DO IT. Don’t just complain when people accurately describe your actions. Your actions are what we are reporting on and we will do that on our own terms as a free press. If you want to control the words that are used when your actions are discussed, then speak for yourself.”  

Go Galt.  In fact, please go now, and never come back.   Andrew Cuomo said the kind of Republican who could win an election in Alabama would find it harder in New York.  Sean Hannity throws a hissy fit and threatens to leave NY.  Promises, promises.  

Nation Recalls Simpler Time When Health Care System Was Broken Beyond Repair.   Right-wingers so desperately want to talk about how Obamacare is bad for them they just make shit up, including in the State of the Union response.

This diary is not encyclopedic.  There was plenty of other whining I could have discussed, but we can be sure there will be more to come.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Ben — GAHH — Zee!", indeed. (5+ / 0-)

    Wonder what the Fox dung-shovelers have to say about the incessant reporting — including their own — of 'Tea Party' primaries, 'Tea Party' candidates and 'Tea Party' officeholders?

    Y'know, that same 'Tea Party' whose sockpuppet 'witnesses' before the Issa clownshow 'hearings' bleated and whined about their 501(c)(4) applications for tax exemption being questioned by the IRS?

    Those 'Tea Party' groups that — as we all know — don't primarily do "political activity", primarily consumed as they are with God's work in the form of "social welfare activities"... AS REQUIRED BY LAW!

    Is there a perp-walk in our future... for perjury under oath before a Congressional committee?

    ... or Issa, himself, in bracelets for suborning perjury since he hand-selected and coached his 'witnesses'?


    "Just move along... nothing to see here."

  •  Just brilliant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, OregonWetDog

    I think we've all suspected this was a spectacular new meme, but I don't know that I thought there would be this much of it. Well done!

    Think we should set up a group to collect diaries about right wing whining?

  •  An important part of the right-wing strategy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Capitalist, OregonWetDog

    Is "playing the refs."

    You whine and throw a hissy fit every time there is a questionable call, in hopes to intimidate the referee to make a more favorable call next time there is doubt.

    The journalist who did  that last story has a liberal bias, if we complain loudly enough, the network will air "fairer" articles in the future.

    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    by Grey Fedora on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 09:19:01 AM PST

  •  Yes, and we got the rise of stenography... (0+ / 0-)

    ....instead of journalism.  I think there are a couple of insidious results from this.  First, the "he said, she said" form of journalism serves politicians, not the public.  Second, it lures the journalists into the grift being conducted by the political class, making them pretend to their readers/viewers they actually take political BS at face value, but bribing them with the rewards of being part of the game.  

  •  Such a target-rich environment (0+ / 0-)

    Old Rich Angry White Christian Guys whining about there being too many of everybody else

    Racists whining about the race card

    Bigots whining about The Gay Agenda

    Misogynists whining about women in general

    Mammonites whining that they aren't rich enough

    Gun nuts whining when even Scalia says, Yes, you can regulate guns

    Science deniers whining about Darwin telling them they are descended from Black Africans just like the rest of us at the same time they whine about hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, floods, droughts, and losing money on their investments in fossil carbon.

    And all of them whining when they get called on any of it.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 11:47:53 AM PST

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