QUESTION: What do the cable channel, A&E, and the GOP have in common?
ANSWER: Self-inflicted wounds.
Even as the Republican Party scrambles to regain control of their own institution from their Tea Party, cable giant, A & E, (which used to stand for "Arts and Entertainment," but now stands for nothing,) is scrambling to repair its own brand, and for the same reason.
Both these institutions thought they could leverage to their own advantage and profit that segment of Americans demographers have come to politely refer to as the "low-information voter." Which is, of course, just a euphemism for folks who are either willfully ignorant since, as the saying goes, "Ignorance in the Internet age is choice," or were born that way. (We can't say that kind of thing so bluntly these days. But it does remind me of an old cartoon I saw once of parents at a parent-teacher conference in which the teacher finishes by noting, "Then again, your child may just be dumb." )
A&E didn't explore that possibility when they decided to hire a family of rednecks from Louisiana who hunt ducks to create a new "reality" show. Was this family just a harmless, but potentially entertaining bunch of madcap free souls? Or was the humor they provided rooted in the same soil as such regrettable products like "Jackass?"
Ah well, now it seems to have been the latter.
This week A&E's head duck dude rolled out his thinking on social issues. Now we have to understand that such matters are not his usual area of expertise, like ducks, gun powder, duck calls, moonshine and overalls. Nevertheless he decided to hold forth on more weighty matters.
On African Americans Sr. Dynasty remarked on how blacks in the deep South were happier before the whole civil rights thing. His feelings about gays were even less informed. He likened their behavior to bestiality and predicted they will all burn in the fires of Hell.
"It seems like, to me, a vagina-as a man-would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical." (More)
Nice going "Arts and Entertainment" channel. You know, there's nothing many gays hate more than arts and entertainment.
You guys threw your weight behind a bunch of ignoramuses and bigots, and what did they attract? Millions of ignoramuses and bigoted viewers. And now those viewers are on your ass for suspending this bigot, just as the Tea Party ignoramuses and bigots are on the GOPs ass for doing the right things... at last.
Political strategists and marketing mavens, take note: This is what happens when you cast your lot with such people. Sure they are easily manipulated, easy to stir up with bumper sticker level wisdom and utter nonsense. (i.e. death panels,"phony birth certificate blather, etc)
The trouble starts right there. This is not a demographic accustomed to being taken seriously, other than the folks sitting on the next stool at their local diner. It goes straight to their heads...in which there is plenty of room to take root and grow.
When you start putting them on TV and parroting their nonsensical, uninformed and often bigoted blather on the campaign trail, even introducing legislation to encode their idiocy into law, it gives them something they've never had before - credibility and power.
Have you ever try to take a juicy bone away from a strong but stupid dog? Yeah, exactly. That's what the GOP is experiencing now that the rabble they unleashed on themselves and the nation have so injured the party's brand that it risks the party's future as a party. The Tea Party is now not just at war with their usual suspects - those "godless liberal, socialist, gay-rights-loving, liberals," but also is readying a new front - moderate, "establishment Republicans" - who have belatedly tired of being led around by the nose by that pack of prideful ignoramuses.