Rethuglican Semiotics

Dixie ChikkinSigning betrayal, anti-patriotism, denial, and racism

semiotics, n.  also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of sign processes (semiosis), or signification and communication, signs and symbols, both individually and grouped into sign systems. It includes the study of how meaning is constructed and understood.

James Carville, Stan Greenberg and Karl Agne of Democracy Corps did a study of a group of GOPers in an effort to find out what makes them tick, and why they would support policies that are, after all, inimical to their own well-being. Opposition to minimum wage laws, health care reform, and efforts to control global climate change comes to mind.

…These base Republican voters dislike Barack Obama to be sure – which is not very surprising as base Democrats had few positive things to say about George Bush – but these voters identify themselves as part of a ‘mocked’ minority with a set of shared beliefs and knowledge, and commitment to oppose Obama that sets them apart from the majority in the country. They believe Obama is ruthlessly advancing a ‘secret agenda’ to bankrupt the United States and dramatically expand government control to an extent nothing short of socialism. While these voters are disdainful of a Republican Party they view to have failed in its mission, they overwhelmingly view a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of this country’s founding principles and are committed to seeing the president fail.

It would seem the Rethuglican Propaganda Machine (RPM) is working. By casting President Obama as an ominous Manchurian Candidate with a secret agenda to bankrupt America and institute a socialist-fascist-commie regime (all interchangeable terms in the minds of the GOPers), the RPM  is going straight for the limbic. That they are succeeding in attaching real economic fears and anxieties to a just say no to everything political agenda is the realization of Rush Limpbot’s dream of seeing Obama’s presidency fail, which I think traditional conservatives would have seen as decidedly anti-American.

(Cognitively speaking, it is easier to just say no and to accept its neurological cousin, denial, than it is to consider any kind of change, especially for authoritarian conservative types.)

As for the political dimension itself, it’s what former Minn. Congressman Vin Weber told The NY Times:

“I just don’t think that there’s a downside to voting no — I really don’t, that’s quite aside from whether you should or shouldn’t, or whether the country needs it or doesn’t need it. The basic rule is you rarely pay a price at the polls for being against something.

Republican incumbents “have far more to lose,” he said, “by having the Republican base conclude that they’re just throwing in the towel and compromising on a big-government agenda.”

Too bad the GOP doesn’t have a soul to lose as well. If it did, I’d find this quote of The Master instructive:

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?


  1. Well, in this case . . . how about running the country into an endless hole of profit for the vultures for 8 years and counting?

    Thanks for the reminder!


    What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

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