'Vulgar, paranoid, resentful' — Expect Republicans to go total 'culture war' in the midterms

'Vulgar, paranoid, resentful' — Expect Republicans to go total 'culture war' in the midterms
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Sen. Rick Scott of Florida has released an 11-point blueprint outlining GOP talking points that he recommends Republicans use during the 2022 midterms. Scott doesn’t have anything of substance to say, but then, substance isn’t the point. Scott, liberal Washington Post opinion writer Paul Waldman observes in his February 22 column, is recommending a heavy emphasis on “culture war” subjects for Republican candidates — and Waldman cites Scott’s 11-point blueprint as a depressing example of what Americans can expect between now and the November election.

“It’s as good a summary as you’ll find of what passes for an ‘agenda’ for today’s Republican Party, in all its vulgar, paranoid, resentful glory,” Waldman laments. “The document’s first words are ‘Dear Fellow Americans, the militant left now controls the entire federal government, the news media, academia, Hollywood, and most corporate boardrooms,’ and it only gets worse from there. The 11 points resemble policy proposals, but every one is wrapped in culture-war provocation.”

Scott’s buffoonish 11-point blueprint reads like a bad caricature of modern-day Republicans. The senator recommends, “Our kids will say the pledge of allegiance, salute the flag, learn that America is a great country, and choose the school that best fits them…. We will protect, defend, and promote the American family at all costs…. Americans will be free to welcome God into all aspects of our lives.”

Waldman criticizes Scott’s blueprint for its “meaningless chest-thumping” and vacuous “culture-war grunts.”

“There’s something of an internal GOP debate about whether it’s necessary to have any agenda at all going into the midterms, even one this ridiculous,” Waldman observes. “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) believes it isn’t necessary; if the election, like most midterms, is a referendum on the president, Republicans will do quite well. Others are less sure and would like to at least claim that they have ideas for what they would do with the power they’re seeking.”

Scott, according to Waldman, falls into the latter category.

“McConnell is right that most of the time in midterms, voters neither know nor care what the opposition is offering,” Waldman notes. “The election will almost certainly turn on President Biden’s popularity, in addition to the state of the pandemic and the economy. On the other hand, Scott and others are right that it doesn’t hurt to have something you can call an agenda, no matter how phony or insincere it is.”

“White grievance,” Waldman predicts, will play a prominent role in GOP campaigns in 2022.

“One thing’s for sure: Republicans are feeling as confident as they ever have, and they won’t be bothered with complicated problems that demand difficult policy solutions,” Waldman writes. “It’s going to be nothing but culture war from here on out.”

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