Skip to comments.GOP’s “Duck Dynasty” problem: Why Phil Robertson was a hugely important political story (Unreal)
Posted on 01/04/2014 3:10:38 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
I was on vacation for the last two weeks of December, and off the grid for most of that time. Upon my return, I found Id missed a bunch of dumb stories, along with some real news that will ultimately prove fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things. The final Obamacare delays of 2013, along with the December enrollment figures, are at home in the latter category. The revelation that my friend Matt Yglesias invented a fake baby to get Amazons Mom discount was more typical of the former.
Theres actually wide agreement among my peers who cover national politics that the last half of December was a news dead zone, which journalists endured by building totems out of trivia, and compiling top 10 lists.
I mostly agree with this assessment, but part ways with those who dismiss the importance of the Duck Dynasty dust-up.
McKay Coppins ✔ @mckaycoppins
How grateful I am this holiday season that I was mostly on vacation during the Duck Dynasty debate. Indeed, I am richly blessed.
8:53 PM - 27 Dec 2013 from Hull, MA, United States
On the contrary, if theres one story I wish Id been on hand to watch unfold in real time, its the Duck Dynasty debate. If you write about politics for a living, and you were bored by the Duck Dynasty story, or wrote it off like you might write off a gaffe or some other creation of the outrage industry, youre in the wrong line of work. Phil Robertsons comments about gay and black people and social welfare and the way they pierced public consciousness explain more about our countrys political culture than almost anything else that happened all year.
For the uninitiated, Robertson is the super-rich but conspicuously déclassé inventor of a life-like call for duck hunters. Duck Dynasty is a reality show that purports to expose the tension between his familys wealth and its poor, rural roots. Like if the Clampetts had decided to stick around the hills of Bug Tussle after Uncle Jeds fortuitous misfire, rather than move to Beverly Hills.
On the off chance that you were also in another country last month or spent December arguing with your family about Obamacare, these are Robertsons most explosive comments.
I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. Im with the blacks, because were white trash. Were going across the field . Theyre singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, I tell you what: These doggone white people not a word! Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.
And then on homosexuality: Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men . Dont be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers they wont inherit the kingdom of God. Dont deceive yourself. Its not right . We never, ever judge someone on whos going to heaven, hell. Thats the Almightys job. We just love em, give em the good news about Jesus whether theyre homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort em out later, you see what Im saying?
It was later revealed that Robertson also once said gay people are full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.
These sentiments are ugly and wrong for reasons other writers (see Josh Barro and Ta Nehisi Coates) explained at length as the controversy was unfolding. As such, A&E, the network that produces Duck Dynasty, suspended Robertson indefinitely and, in so doing, teed up one fairly boring entertainment industry story, and one fascinating political firestorm.
Robertsons comments dont fly in most of America. If Robertson were, say, running for Senate in Missouri as a Republican, the GOP would have disowned him immediately. But Robertson isnt a politician. Hes not a mouthpiece for a political party that needs to maintain a national brand identity. Rather, his remarks reflect the views of an American cultural subset the GOP depends on for its survival. His suspension made him a tribune of modern conservatism. Thus, conservative Republicans (not just opportunists like Sarah Palin, but party standard-bearers) felt impelled to rally to his side without actually echoing anything Robertson said.
If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson, said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, he was suspended from his job. In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree.
The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with, said Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La. I dont agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views.
Republicans are getting extremely good at defending the rights cultural revanchism on fictitious Constitutional grounds rather than on the merits. In addition to Robertson, they also support private companies fighting a government requirement that employee healthcare compensation include contraceptive coverage not because they have a problem with birth control mind you but because something something religious freedom.
But of course by focusing so narrowly on birth control, these Republicans prove too much. If certain religious objectors should be exempt from the contraception mandate then other religious objectors should be allowed to ignore other laws that supposedly conflict with their beliefs. And that obviously would invite chaos.
The fact is a ton of conservatives and a lot of Republican politicians dont like birth control, and certainly dont want to subsidize other peoples contraception. But saying so and explaining why are not good public communications strategies as Rush Limbaugh learned in 2012. So they disguise their real views beneath flimsy Constitutional arguments.
Phil Robertsons Republican defenders are doing the same thing, on much weaker logical ground, to champion wildly more impolitic views: that homosexuality is an evil sin, and that things in the South were great for black people before social welfare programs came along. You wont hear a lot of Republicans saying these things so plainly. But a lot of Republicans believe them. Republicans want to amend the Constitution to prohibit gay marriage across the country. And of all the social spending programs in the country theyre itching to cut or dismantle, the ones that disproportionately benefit poor minorities top the list. Its no coincidence that Republicans are much more timid and cagey when it comes to slashing programs like Medicare and Social Security that benefit people who look like Phil Robertson but didnt happen to strike it rich.
The GOPs key dilemma right now is that it has to be a party for people like Robertson without letting people like Robertson speak for them. Which is why the party retrogressed to its old agenda so quickly after the 2012 election, and why it cant eliminate its Todd Akin problem simply by putting Republicans through finishing school.
Palin is a opportunist since she opposes the Republican Establishment, huh?
>> Brian: “You wont hear a lot of Republicans saying these things so plainly.”
So instead, Brian, will fabricate the machinations squirreling around in his putrid mind.
I could write a story to match the headline...but it wouldn’t look anything like that one.
I am increasingly convinced that the writers at Salon take LSD before sitting down to write these pieces.
It’s just one unresearched lie after another. His momma must be so proud.
If they don’t, they should.
Give that man The Thomas Friedman Award for 2013. He won it fair & square.
"Beutler? Beutler? BEUTLER?"
From the article: “Duck Dynasty is a reality show that purports to expose the tension between his familys wealth and its poor, rural roots.”
Uh...No. It’s a (quasi) reality show that demonstrates there is still a place in America for a complete family, with values and morals passed from one generation to the next, and that still has a place for GOD.
was it necessary to alter the title?
I did no such thing. Oh, btw, where is your thread?
Ah yes, those flimsey constitutional arguements.
Where in a right to privacy entitles one to murder
the unborn? No I thought not. More like those
flimsey 2nd amendment arguements eh.
Palin an opportunist? What ARE these people smoking?
Since I’ve been here I have posted a total of 20,678 threads, as of right now. I’ve probably had at least 100 threads pulled, IIRC. I can’t recall the moderators ever e-mailing me to explain to me why they pulled my thread, although they may have once or twice. That’s just not how it works. But I will tell you that calling them faggots isn’t the best way to make friends with them.
The GOP has at least two Duck Dynasty-related problems from where I sit: 1) Most of the GOP “leaders” in DC were resolutely silent when it came to supporting Mr. Phil (still are, as a matter of fact); and, 2) These same GOP “leaders” have declared war on the people who did support Mr. Phil and who, by the way, the GOP needs if it expects to win a national election ever again.
This is a battle we should have fought decades ago...when we had a majority.
I just find it funny, ridiculous and pathetic.
FR must be a subdivision of Democratic Underground or something. I guess the libs are correct about something, conservatives DO have a large stick up their collective butts.
More proof the A&E cave-in when Phil Robertson refused to back down was a debacle for THE LEFT — something along the lines of a Waterloo perhaps. They can’t stop trying to rewrite history and make it feel better for themselves.