The Shark Jumping GOP

7 September, 2009

There was a time, long ago, last century, to be exact, that the Republican Party, the GOP, was a party of ideas.  The ideas were bullshit, but they had ideas.  Cut taxes for the rich, raise taxes on everyone else, and the economy will improve.  Cut taxes and the tax revenue will increase.  Punish people for being poor and the poor will bootstrap themselves right up.  Deregulate industry and industry will  regulate itself.  These policies have given us huge deficits, a wider gap between rich and the rest of us, businesses bankrupting themselves for lack of regulation, and a government which does not have the money to provide the basic services Americans expect.  This is all the direct result of the GOP’s ideas.

Now, the GOP has become the party of no.  No ideas.  Just say no to everything.  Loudly. 

The GOP refuses, under any circumstances, to consider increasing taxes even up to the levels of the 1980s (you remember Reagan, right?).  Two wars, costing a couple of trillion dollars were started under Bush and, when payment came due, the GOP just said no.

The GOP refuses, under any circumstances, to consider comprehensive sex education as valid.  They approach sex the same way they approach drugs:  just say no.  And, no surprise, abstinence only sex education works just as well as Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No.’

The GOP refuses, under any circumstances, to measure results of any of the party’s pet projects.  Whether it is AOSE, wars, tax cuts, deregulation, when if comes to metrics, the GOP just says no.  They say yes to faith, though.

The GOP refuses, under any circumstances, to accept that human rights apply to all humans.  The religiously-inspired demonization of the gay rights movement, blocking the right of adults to get married, and willingly jettisoning fifty years of international support of human rights to embrace torture (illegal under US and international law), the GOP just says no to human rights.

The GOP refuses, under any circumstances, to even admit that providing health insurance for all Americans would be a good thing.  Though it would reduce emergency room visits (saving money), reduce sick days for businesses (saving money), and, by insuring healthy young Americans, and spreading the risk, reduce the cost of insurance (saving money), the GOP just says no.

The GOP refuses, under any circumstances, to compromise on any legislation.  They bargained the stimulus package down until, though effective, we have merely slowed the descent and, when asked to vote for their ‘compromise’ they just said no.

The GOP refuse, under any circumstances, to allow the teaching of science in America’s classrooms.  It has become a virtual litmus test for a GOP candidate that, in order to win a primary, he (or she) must first disavow understanding or accepting the theory of evolution.

Now, the GOP refuses, under any circumstances, to allow the democratically elected President of the United States of America, Barrak Obama, to speak to school children about the importance of staying in school, working hard and getting a good education.  Read that again.  The Party of No has now decided, because they don’t like Obama (and fully half of Republicans don’t even think he is a legal President), to ask parents to hold their children out of school because they may hear something with which mom and dad disagree.  The GOP has now decided to just say no to education.

The party of no, the Grand Old Pary, the Republican Party, has, officially, jumped the shark.  Fonzie would be so proud.



  1. The only thing the GOP cares about is regaining power. Their non-stop attacks on Bill Clinton allowed them to gain control all branches of federal government and they’re betting it will work again with Obama, even after all the damage they’ve done when they held power.

  2. Cut taxes and the tax revenue will increase.
    They are correct, to a point. See Laffer Curve.

    The Official Party of Morality© and the loudest voice in denouncing the immorality of others is morally bankrupt, and the party that purports to value the Constitution above (virtually) everything else refuses to apply it to the nefarious and malleable “them”. Colour me surprised. (And remember when populism was being for the little guy? As nutty as William Jennings Bryan was, when he fought for “the common farmer”, he actually fought for the common farmer. A populist now doing the same thing would be voted in by the common farmer but fighting for Monsanto and Tyson).

    They’ve turned into people with the emotional range of two year olds and the cocksure attitude of of a friendless teen who just read Rand.

    The shitty part is, the petulant bully act is working.

  3. Ben: Welcome. I agree, the modern GOP is all about gaining power by any means possible. Unfortunately, rather than articulating a viable alternative, they have become the party of no. If Obama said kittens were cute, the radical right would freak out.

    MO: I’m quite familiar with the Laffer curve. There are instances (tax cuts for the lowest 20% of earners (who spend such a high percentage of their income that almost 100% of the cut would go to consumer spending and thus increase GDP)) in which a targetted tax cut may increase tax revenue. However, even Reagan’s famed tax cuts in the early 1980s did not increase tax revenue. It took about 5 years to gain parity (during which time, of course, everything cost more).

    I do agree with the two year old and Rand (is there anything as insufferable as a bright teen who has discovered Atlas Shrugged? And want to share their discovery with everyone?). And one reason their temper tantrums work is that the media is so affraid of being too liberal that they take any ‘no’ as being a valid national policy.

  4. Hey, I couldn’t agree more, but I have a stupid question. Could someone explain to me the reference to Fonzie jumping a shark tank and how it applies to the Republican party? I’ve heard it a few times now, but I still don’t understand.

  5. Marisa: Thanks for visiting. Happy Days was a reasonably good sitcom. For the 70s, it was a very good sitcom. It started out as an ensemble show with Ritchie Cunningham as the star, but not every episode revolved around him. After a few seasons, the popularity of Henry Winkler’s hood character changed the shows focus. Suddenly the Fonz was the main character. And the writers and producers, seeing flat ratings, began finding more and more ‘exciting’ situations in which to place Fonzie to gain new viewers. He raced in a demolition derby. He helped break up another gang. And he jumped the shark.

    The shark jump is a very obvious dividing line between a reasonably good sitcom with fun and, usually, quite believable story lines and an absurd show with no connection with reality. When Fonzie jumped the shark, all credibility was left at the bottom of the ramp. Rather than pursue engaging storylines, they went for controversy.

    Today, jumping the shark refers to a group, show, band, etc. which has left behind all believability and credibility in order to pursue higher ratings.

    The GOP, attempting to placate the radical base and Christian voters, rather than actually try to come up with a working plan, have embraced controversy, excitement, temper tantrums, shark jumping, etc. to get votes.

  6. Thanks Billy. I always wondered just what that reference meant. I am (unfortunately) old enough to remember that “Happy Days” existed, it wasn’t a show that my family ever watched.

  7. “Just say no to education”

    OMG, I so should have used that as the title of my last personal blog post. LOL!

    Good post, (((Billy))). 🙂

  8. Dan: Thanks. It just struck me how many things the GOP is vehemently against (basically, anything a Democrat is for), and with the folderol about today’s speech, I couldn’t resist.

  9. (((Billy))) “…is there anything as insufferable as a bright teen who has discovered Atlas Shrugged?”
    An adult that’s the same?

    “And want to share their discovery with everyone?”
    I never new a Rander growing up. Our bullied smart kids played D&D.
    I did catch some of The Fountainhead on the late-nite movie a while ago, though. This was how it sounded to me (and sorry for posting something I wrote on a wiki, but I still find it to be amusing):

    “You’re special, Howard Roark. You’re special and you’re strong and people hate you for that. People hate you because you’re special and smart and they want you to fail. They want you to fail because they’re dumb and average and dull and they’re jealous of how special and smart and strong and special you are and they want you to fail, Howard Roark, because you’re special and…” (originally thought up here

    Rand’s books don’t have characters. They have ideologies in suits.

    “And one reason their temper tantrums work is that the media is so affraid of being too liberal that they take any ‘no’ as being a valid national policy.”
    1. Modern news isn’t news. It’s the thing that fills the gap in between advertisements. As such, making it cheap is better for the shareholders than making it good is to the viewing audience.
    2. Lots of modern reporting mistakes “balanced” for “objective”. Yes, every story has two sides. One of them is wrong.

  10. MO: I like your description of characters in Randian novels. That’s a keeper.

  11. It’s not mine. I heard something similar somewhere else some other time and, out of enlightened self interest, I took it, misremembered it and spread it without attributing the original source. It sounded like the Objectivist thing to do.

  12. […] In other speeches that some people don’t want to hear, the reports are coming in about President Obama’s speech. Michelle — who was there in person! — was left speechless! And the Urban Coda has a rather shocking story about his son’s experience with the presidential speech controversy. Trey found the speech to be socially conservative (if you actually listen to it…). Anachronologist is trying to figure out why some people opposed the speech. (((Billy))) concludes that the GOP has jumped the shark. […]

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