For close to a hundred and fifty years, the elephant has represented the Republican party, but The American Prospect’s Harold Meyerson suggests that these days, a more fitting choice for the GOP’s symbol would be an extended middle finger.
In his analysis of Thursday’s prime-time presidential debate, Meyerson, who also writes a weekly column for The Washington Post, identified several of the candidates onstage in Cleveland as “Fuck-You Republicans.” He explained that some FYRs, such as Ted Cruz and Scott Walker, qualify by dint of ideology; others (Donald Trump, Chris Christie) make it in mostly through anger and abrasiveness.
“Hell, the entire Republican right now consists entirely of Fuck-You Republicans; that’s why John Boehner can’t get anything through the House,” argued Meyerson. “A Fuck-You Republican cannot win the presidency and probably can’t win the party’s nomination, either, but the FYRs will surely make life difficult for the Bushes, Rubios, and Kasichs in the months ahead.”
From Meyerson’s post (bolding added):
Well, now at least we know where the Republican candidates stand on the minimum wage, paid sick days, student debt, climate change, CEO pay, and four decades of American wage stagnation.
Just kidding. Somehow, the Fox News questioners never quite got around to asking the candidates what they planned to do to help actual existing Americans cope with a profoundly rigged economy and a climate growing annoyingly inhospitable to living things…
…Trump came into the debate as the tribune of the Fuck-You Republicans, who share his belief, as he stated at one point in the evening, that, “We don’t have time for tone”…
Two of the candidates who just might win the nomination—Jeb Bush or, if the Republicans are truly lucky, Marco Rubio—did allude in passing to American workers who wanted full-time jobs but couldn’t find them, and the broken ladder of upward mobility…[John] Kasich had enough moments of apparent decency to look like a formidable candidate if he can find a way from the middle to the front of a crowded pack. If he does get near the front, however, that decency—in particular, his decision to accept Obamacare’s extension of Medicaid—will become the target of his GOP rivals, and likely bring him down. In a year when Fuck-You Republicans may yet constitute a plurality of primary voters, decency is no asset…
The high point of Trump’s Fuck-You-ism was his out-of-leftfield threat to Megyn Kelly for querying him about his over-the-top sexist eruptions. Trump dismissed the concerns Kelly alluded to as so much “political correctness.” To oppose Fuck-You Republicanism is to be a wuss submitting to political correctness, something no self-respecting Fox News viewer (Megyn Kelly notwithstanding) could ever do.
Chris Christie is a characterological Fuck-You Republican; Cruz, as we’ve noted, is a strategic one; Scott Walker, somewhat oxymoronically, is a quiet one but, in matters of governance, a Fuck-You Republican nonetheless. Hell, the entire Republican right now consists entirely of Fuck-You Republicans; that’s why John Boehner can’t get anything through the House. A Fuck-You Republican cannot win the presidency and probably can’t win the party’s nomination, either, but the FYRs will surely make life difficult for the Bushes, Rubios, and Kasichs in the months ahead.