Malacandra.me

The Utterly Predictable Return of the Independent Granfaloon


Today seemed like a good day to revisit the Greatest Granfaloon of All -- that mighty army of Imaginary "Independents"astride a thundering herd of Third Party Unicorns who are always right on the verge of arriving to save us all from the Extremes on Both Sides.  Because in case you hadn't noticed, the number of Republicans who are once again trying to escape the righteous judgement of history by calling themselves "independents" is getting back into the "Fake Tea Party" range.

I case you are unfamiliar with the Independent Granfalloon, allow me to take you on a brief tour of this blog as it was nine long years ago.  Back to the day in 2009 when I awoke to discover that Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times had dumped every loose button and paper-clip of his own privileged, white, suburban, middle-aged, Boomer Burkean bourgeoisie terror into a big, loose sack and called it analysis...
What Independents Want
By DAVID BROOKS
My response to which was...
Feh.

Nobody knows what “independents” want, because “independent” as a modern political category is a textbook example of what Kurt Vonnegut defined in "Cat's Cradle" as a "granfalloon":
"...a proud and meaningless association of human beings"
Because “independent” can mean any-damn-thing, or nothing at all.

Consider that if you defined “independent” as someone who, broadly speaking, supported a Liberal agenda (not the imaginary, shadow-puppets-made-out-of-Rush-Limbaugh-stool-samples “Liberal agenda” that Conservatives have been using to scare stupid people into committing economic suicide for 30 years, but the real Liberal agenda) but was not welded to a particular candidate, or even to a particular party, then that would describe me pretty well.

But I'm also quite sure that a fair chunk of the the 5% of the voting public which -- just 24 hours before the 2004 Presidential elections -- still couldn't quite make up their minds whether to vote for Kerry/Edwards, or the lying, feeble-minded frat boy (and his homicidal regent) who had fucked up everything he had ever touched ...consider themselves "independents".

Rebel nuns who might just think that letting a rape victim have access to abortion services would not be the end of the world?

Independents.

Snake-handling queer-hating Leviticans who think the GOP is too gutless because it won’t advocate rounding up Teh Gay and putting them in camps?

Independents.

Bunker-dwelling survivalists?

Independents.

Pimple-faced 30-something John Galt wannabees who masturbate themselves blind to “Atlas Shrugged” because that hot chick in accounting won’t give them a second look, but won’t she be sorry when Objectivists stop the engine of the world and people like her will have to stand in line to offer their vajay-jays to the alpha stud wealth producers!

Independents.

Klansmen who want to smoke a little weed?

Independents.

America's compulsive political middle-children who have been taught so thoroughly to compromise their way out of any conflict that they will travel a 1,000 miles just to find a fence to straddle?

The opinionless little ciphers who just want to make sure they line up with a winner?

The moral cowards wouldn’t pick a side with a gun pressed to their heads, because of the terror of then being committed to actually doing something instead of snarking their way through life declaring "Well, ya know, bote sides are juss a buncha crooks anyway!" about every situation regardless of context and circumstances?

If asked, I guarantee you all virtually of those people would tell you that they think of themselves as “independent”.

And based on simple observation, guess who appears to be the largest group of late-blooming independents?

Those fucknozzles who, after giving Dubya the longest tongue bath in modern political history while calling everyone else a traitor, started gagging on the sheer tonnage of bullshit their creepy idolatry of George W. Bush was requiring them to swallow and obediently regurgitate every fucking day, that's who.

Most newly minted “independents” seem to be little more than Republicans who are fleeing the scene of their crime, but at the same time still desperately want believe in the inerrant wisdom of Rush Limbaugh. They are completely incapable of facing the horrifying reality that they have gotten every single major political opinion and decision of their adult lives completely wrong, so instead they double-down on their hatred of women and/or gays and/or brown people and/or Liberals, and blame them for the miserable fuckpit their leaders and their policies have made of their lives and futures.

Like German soldiers after the fall of Berlin, they have stopped running away from the catastrophe they created only long enough to burn their uniforms.

But they fool no one.

Except, apparently, David Fucking Brooks.
And now, nine years later, Jesus Christ in a Time-Share, they're still the same fucking scam.  Still burning their uniforms.  Still waving their bloody hands and puling about their alleged "principles".  Of course, if they actually had principles, they would have walked out of the Party of Bigots and Imbeciles once Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich took it over 25 years ago -- walked out, crossed the street and, on principle, lent their support to the only viable alternative to the madness and depravity of GOP.

But as Jonathan Chait points out, that was never going to happen.  Because these same hacks have spent so much of their professional lives rationalizing their membership in the Party of Bigots and Imbeciles by building ever more ridiculous Dirty Hippie Straw Men to scream at that the very idea of throwing in with us for real is like unto the Wicked Witch of the West cannon-balling naked into the Pacific Ocean.  Because they have been selling the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It for so long, that to switch sides now would fry their ideological circuitry.  Because...
The GOP’s Never-Trumpers Are Really Just Never-Democrats

...
What implications might be drawn from the implacable support of the party base for the manifestly incompetent, scandal-ridden party leader? One might entertain the conclusion that no combination of facts and logic can dislodge the Republican base from its tribal loyalties. This interpretation could be supported by such evidence as the fondness of Republicans for birtherism, their distrust of climate science, and so on. Perhaps the Republican base as currently constituted is hopelessly immune to reason and a reasonable person such as Brooks should instead refocus his political energies on curtailing its political power.

But Brooks’s column did not come to that conclusion. Indeed, amazingly enough, he did not even consider the option. Instead, he suggested that critics of Trump must try harder and somehow do a better job of persuading Republicans to stop loving Trump so much...
And so, boxed in by their own bullshit, the all eventually their way to the ideological opium den , shedding and torching their GOP glad rags along the way as they try to weasel their way out of Judgement Day.

Like Joe Scarborough, newly-minted Independent 
Scarborough formally leaves GOP, registers as independent
And Jennifer Rubin, newly-minted Independent 
 The GOP ‘Has Become the Caricature the Left Always Said It Was’

Jennifer Rubin has become a leading voice for a group of conservative intellectuals who don’t fit comfortably in either political party—and sees the party she left behind as ‘immoral’ and ‘anti-American.’
And George Will, newly-minted Independent 
This past weekend, George Will revealed that he had formally disaffiliated himself from the Republican Party, switching his Maryland voter registration to independent.
And I could go on and on, but here's the thing.  Since the term "independent" is nothing but a hollow catchall for anyone who wants to be against something very specific while not wanting to stand for anything but platitudes ("...a proud and meaningless association of human beings") then a Republican declaring themselves to be an Independent can mean anything at all, including the opposite of what any other Republican means when they declaring themselves to be an Independent.

For example, Bob Bennett's son is now a newly-minted Independent because he suddenly noticed that GOP is too nustsy-go-coo-coo right-wing for his tender sensibilities.
Senator Bob Bennett's son, Jim, leaves Republican party because of Trump

 A Utah businessman and longtime Republican is leaving the party based on its presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Jim Bennett, son of the late Utah Senator Bob Bennett told MSNBC on Friday he has switched his voter registration from Republican to independent due to the fact that the GOP no longer represents him. The party as a whole has changed in a bad way since Trump began his presidential run, he said...
But when America's leading hate-mongering Christopath, Franklin Graham, stomped out of the Republican Party to become an independent back in 2015, it was for precisely the opposite sort of reason:
Evangelist Franklin Graham quits the Republican Party over Planned Parenthood funding 
Evangelist Franklin Graham has announced he is abandoning the Republican Party in disgust over the move by the GOP-led Congress last week to pass a budget that Graham said was “wasteful” and provided funding for Planned Parenthood, which he compared to the Nazis.

Graham has previously said he has no faith in any political party, but his apparent renunciation of his Republican affiliation is an indication of anger on the right and the strong interest many disaffected evangelicals have shown in populist outsiders like Donald Trump.
... 

“This is an example of why I have resigned from the Republican Party and declared myself Independent. I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or Tea Party to do what is best for America,” the younger Graham declared on Facebook on Monday.

“Seeing and hearing Planned Parenthood talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts from aborted fetuses with utter disregard for human life is reminiscent of Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps!” Graham wrote. “That should’ve been all that was needed to turn off the faucet for their funding.”...
And just today, right here in the Land of Lincoln, we learn from the op-ed page of the State Journal-Register that Jim and Judy Young have also quit the Party of Lincoln and declared themselves newly-minted Independents because because the GOP was just barely not nustsy-go-coo-coo right-wing enough to nominate Jeanne Ives over Governor Hedgefund:


You know, this Jeanne Ives:


For my wife and I down here in our little hobbit hole in the middle of Middle America, "I'm an Independent!" has been our private, eye-rolling, sentence-finishing punch-line every time we see another stricken Republican on the teevee who wants to share with the world their shock and horror at discovering that their Republican Party is ...  OMG! Full of Republicans!

And given the baseline cowardice and cravenness of the average Republican, as of now I see no end to that trend anywhere in sight.


Behold, a Tip Jar!