Ethics Dunces: Bitter, Spoilsport, Fuddy-Duddy Republicans and Conservatives

Nope, no Republicans there...

Nope, no Republicans here…

A grand welter of celebrities ranging from Pussy Riot and Paul Krugman to Willie Nelson and Big Bird joined comic Stephen Colbert in his farewell to Comedy Central, as he prepares to step into David Letterman’s shoes and hopes to do a Jimmy Fallon as Dave’s (overdue) replacement, rather than a Conan O’Brien. Obviously the producers and Colbert sought a ridiculously diverse group symbolizing U.S. culture and whimsy, and sent out invitations far and wide. Instead, the got an overwhelmingly liberal and progressive group that may make up half of MSNBC’s total viewership, a group that would almost all have been at home on the floor of the Democratic National Convention.

Don’t blame Colbert. It was clear that ideological animus with Colbert’s almost entirely anti-conservative schtick was no bar to the option of participation. Republicans and conservatives, however, almost unanimously decided to sulk, stay home, and boycott the party.

What an opportunity wasted! After being bashed and ridiculed weekly by Colbert in his  guise of a pompous, brain-addled conservative, his targets could have shown that they had a sense of humor, were good sports, and most important of all, human beings. They also could have, with the simple gesture of showing up, smiling and singing along with their ideological foes, have undone much of the vicious demonizing Colbert and other party guests have subjected them to for years, causing the more rational of Colbert’s audience to reflect on indications that these guys may not be such monsters after all. Such a display of genial unity could begin to heal the dangerous polarization in the public and politics, and constitute a small but affirmative step toward the healthier political climate of the past, when Americans could disagree in the voting booth but still be friends.

Not every Republican and conservative boycotted Colbert’s party. Applause and kudos are due the few non-blue zealots who attended. By my count, there were four: Henry Kissinger, Richard Clarke, Mike Huckabee, and Grover Norquist (Grover Norquist!) That’s still pathetic, compared to the—let me see–quadrillion liberal pundits, politicians, elected officials and celebrities who came. Imagine the wonderful cultural message that would and could have been sent if Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch, Rick Santorum (“Hi, Dan Savage!”), Mitt Romney, Sen. Ted Cruz, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Donald Trump, and especially the men Colbert most clearly has been mocking, Bill O Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, had been part of the festivities. (How do I know that they were invited, you say? I bet they were (Grover Norquist?), but if not, they should have asked to come.)

America needed this to be a bi-partisan, let bygones be bygones, we’re all in this together love fest. Instead, it was just one more divisive display: here are all the cool, funny politically-correct people who don’t take themselves seriously, and guess what party they vote for? And it is not the fault of the progressives, but the perpetually outraged conservatives, that this was the case.

Boy, they are stupid sometimes.

In the wake of the Democratic defeat in the midterms, the Left is getting more shrill than ever, embracing partyism with a vengeance. For example, University of Michigan Communications Professor Susan Douglas wrote an essay for “In These Times” titled “It’s Okay To Hate Republicans.” It’s an embarrassing article, almost a satire worthy of Colbert. The professor hates Republicans and deems them evil because they demonize Democrats and deem them evil:

“..since the early 1990s, Republican politicians and pundits have been feeding these needs with a single-minded, uncomplicated, good-vs.-evil worldview that vilifies Democrats. So now we hate them back. And for good reason.”

The professor is especially ridiculous ( The University of Michigan must be so proud!) but she is increasingly representative of the toxic sentiment on both sides of the political spectrum. Prominent had a perfect opportunity to show that hate is not part of responsible government, politics, or society, and rejected it.

I guess they hate Stephen Colbert too much.


Sources: Talking Points Memo, In These Times

21 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: Bitter, Spoilsport, Fuddy-Duddy Republicans and Conservatives

  1. Thanks for writing about this. I was so pleasantly surprised and happy to see Henry Kissinger in the group but frankly didn’t notice the other 3. To be honest, I was too busy trying to figure out who was there. The cameras moved so fast that my semi-elderly brain couldn’t catch them all. But I did see Henry and mentally gave him kudos for being there.

  2. I can see your point but maybe they did not attend for the same reason our heads of state don’t ask to be invited or go to birthday parties for Kim Jung Ill or Fidel Castro. They fear that it sends the wrong message to supporters and detractors. Collegiality is a two way street.

    I would venture a guess that the ones that did show up have little to risk nor are they currently in power. It’s easier to be congenial when you are not on the tip of their spear on a constant basis. Colbert can celebrate his transition but, I don’t think that those that made different choices about what they wanted to do at that time are necessarily fuddy-duddies they just made different choices.

    • Self-fulfilling prophesy. If the group was bipartisan, then the rejection of extreme partisanship would be equally distributed, diluted, and perceived as harmless. These are fellow citizens, not enemies of the state. If there is a perceived analogy, it is the duty of responsible leaders to condemn it, not embrace it.

      • Agreed, but the operative word in your premise is “leaders”. Keep in mind those who rise as “leaders” are those that get there by promising everything to specific voting blocks. From a behavioral point of view those that want to maintain power do so not by taking the high road but by appealing to the base instincts of their respective constituencies. Thus, if we want to point fingers we must look in the mirror at ourselves.

  3. For example, University of Michigan Communications Professor Susan Douglas wrote an essay for “In These Times” titled “It’s Okay To Hate Republicans.” It’s an embarrassing article, almost a satire worthy of Colbert. The professor hates Republicans and deems them evil because they demonize Democrats and deem them evil:

    From the actual site.

    Editor’s note: This article was originally titled “We Can’t All Just Get Along” in the print version of the magazine. The title was then changed, without the author’s knowledge or approval, to “It’s Okay to Hate Republicans.” The author rejects the online title as not representative of the piece or its main points

    My response to the article is that it is not “relatively recent phenomenon”, unless 200 years is considered relatively recent.

    • Pedantry. Hating individuals and hateful speech is not new, large portions of the public refusing to associate with anyone who supports the other party is new, and newly dangerous. If you want pedantry, I guarantee that hating Republicans isn’t 200 years old, since the party is several decades short of being that old itself.

        • I hope you are aware, as the author of this article does not seem to be, that this particular little ditty has been sung since US military weapons started having rifled barrels, thus creating a distinction between “guns” and “rifles”. Unfortunately for the obviously misinformed author, this was not made-up for the movie, but has been a staple in the USMC and US Army since at least the early sixties, when I learned it. It also has little or nothing to do with firearms defining masculinity, as the author seems to think.

  4. The liberals have spent the last six years condemning, mocking, hating, marginalizing, and trying to shut conservatives out of the discussion altogether, portraying them as uncool, stupid, people whose time has past and they just don’t get it, or as just plain evil – you know the litany of hatreds ascribed to them, I don’t need to repeat it.

    You yourself said in another thread that if repeatedly insulted “screw you” is at times an appropriate response. After six years of insults and bullying, I think the conservatives are well within their rights to tell the other side screw you, we won’t help you, we won’t socialize with you, and we won’t work with you. What is more, the liberals are running scared, afraid that six years which will ultimately become eight years of this bullying and arrogance is going to strip them of what power they still have come 2016.

    I see no reason for the conservatives to cut them even the slightest margin of a break. Let them feel what it feels like to be at the mercy of the merciless.

  5. “I think the conservatives are well within their rights to tell the other side…we won’t work with you”

    Are you serious? This is what’s important? I guess so if you think that those who run for office should subjugate their obligation to make our government work for ALL Americans; yes, even those who voted for the “other side”, to partisan tit for tat bullshit. What “right” do they have to do this?! Maybe I misunderstood the American ideals I learned in Junior High, but I don’t recall “you were mean to me, I’ll be mean to you” as a tenet embraced by the founders. On second thought, I do remember that from Junior High, just not from Civics class. Congratulations, you’re advocating for the United States government, the most powerful deliberative body on the planet, to be run like a student council.

    The Republicans have an opportunity to show the American people that they are the better men and women by rising above the polarization that has become a virtual raison d’etre for the Democrats. But no, you’re right, the better course is to stick it to em. Forget about Lincoln, the first Republican president, “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” Forget about the myriad problems that have been ignored by the current administration. Forget about the fact that a plurality of Americans have opted out of two party affiliation.

    I’m as arrogant, probably more so, as the next guy, but I have faith that the average American voter can ultimately figure out what’s in their best interest. If you think “screw you” is a philosophy of government that the American people will embrace, I think you’re going to be disappointed.

  6. Conservatives don’t owe Colbert anything. I guess we are just supposed to believe that his newly discovered reach across the isle shtick has nothing to do with his new slot on network television. Now he has to appeal to a broader audience, so he is making centrist noises to try to make a boatload of money. Conservatives basically ignored him, but I guess you are arguing that they should reward Colbert and his new network. The network that thought his years and years of “conservatives are stupid, aren’t conservatives stupid” jokes made him ready for network late night. This isn’t a goodwill attempt to reach across the isle and find common ground with conservatives, this is a lame rebranding attempt. I have to agree with NJ Steve, why should conservatives work with the left? They hate us and believe it is not only justified but moral to hate us.

    • Strange, I didn’t say any of that. What I’m saying is that when you laugh at a joke made at your expense, you defuse it, you gain respect, and you heal bitterness. It’s both smart and right. Personally, I think Colbert is a smart, talented, biased, arrogant ass, an even bigger ass than Jon Stewart, who can also be funny. But that’s beside the point. Completely. If conservative act less hatable, it will be those that hate them who lose. This isn’t rocket science. Jeesh.

      I may be underestimating Colbert’s ability, but I’ll go on record as saying that he’s going to flop big time.

    • Did you ever hear Colbert being interviewed out of character? He is more centrist than you think. He was playing a “role” in the Colbert Report — and apparently he was tired of doing it.

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