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Chan Lowe: Republican cultural politics


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Maybe the electorate is beginning to tire of the relentless talk about jobs, the economy and the deficit. If we Americans are known for anything, it’s the brevity of our national attention span.

Lately, we’ve been hearing the siren call (some call it “dog whistle”) of some old, familiar themes—mostly enunciated by Republican presidential hopefuls seeking to burnish their appeal with notoriously culturally conservative Iowa caucus-goers.

There’s been a resurgence of the hot-button social issues in congress, too, in the form of an attempt to cut Planned Parenthood’s budget, and the decision by the house to go ahead and defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court (since that amoral faux-Christian foreigner in the White House won’t do it).

I think it was the TV talking head Howard Fineman who coined the term “crazy tax” to signify the rhetorical tribute all GOP presidential candidates will have to pay to their base to have any chance of winning the primaries. The problem is that primary voters comprise only a motivated sliver of the full party⎯motivated, as in ideologically. Whoever bends over the farthest to present the most favorable image to them will have the heaviest lift when it comes to convincing moderates and other reasonable people that he or she can be trusted to keep an even keel if given the helm of the ship of state.

All Democratic strategists have to do is to start running that lucky winner’s own speech excerpts and primary ads back at him (or her) during the general election campaign, and further editorializing will be unnecessary. Gone are the days when a candidate can deny that he ever made a certain statement, or that it was taken out of context. Somebody always has a video camera or a cell phone running. Just ask President George “Macaca” Allen.

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Comments

The same observation could be said about the dems. There is always a camera rolling. "we will close Guantanamo by next January" comes to mind, along with many others. Notice that you didn't mention that any liberal canidates might be caught in the same situation. Why is that?


Chan says,
Richard 0384, thanks for your comment. In answer to your question, the reason I haven't mentioned the Democrats is that, to date, nobody is challenging President Obama in the Democratic primaries. All the action at the moment is on the Republican side--the pandering, the exploitation, etc. When the Dems start heating up, I'll mention them.


Is Rick Scott wealthy enough to buy the presidency? If so, I may have to be an ex-pat for a couple of years.


I think it's interesting that Democratic politicians are awol in Wisconsin, while the democrat machine pours in millions of outside dollars to support Union protesters from all over the country, who are attempting to intimidate, and are threatening the lives of elected Republicans- while Chan is painting the Republicans as Reconnecting With Old Friends- can you say "Irony"?
C'mon Chan if you don't see Wisconsin as directly related to Obama's 2012 Campaign you are not looking hard enough.


This is an absolutely great cartoon. Perfectly sums up "core conservative principles" and the spirit of the GOP.


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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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