Robin Smith Tells the Truth. Sign of the End of Days?

Via Kleinheider, we read

“Without question, the Obamacrats are strong in the urban areas and the areas where people are dependent on a welfare state,” Smith said. “(But) Democrats in their literature, piece by piece, point by point, if you took their names off, will look Republican.”


But Smith points to the overwhelming vote on a gay marriage ban amendment in Tennessee two years ago as evidence that the state is still firmly conservative.

“That’s not real moderate,” she said.

She added: “There’s this manufactured intellectualism that comes with being a moderate or a liberal.” Traveling the state, she said, “I didn’t see any intellectual snobs. I saw people who have calluses on their hands.”

So, yes, there’s the usual race baiting and the anti-intellectualism.  You read me.  You know exactly what I have to say about that stuff, and I’m tired of saying it.

But what I want to draw your attention to is this “That’s not real moderate” quote.  I want you to look at exactly what she’s saying–she’s proud that Tennessee has voted to restrict the rights of gay people.  She doesn’t even do folks the courtesy of pretending like the Republicans sure would like being compassionate, but God said they can’t be.  She’s all “Yeah, fuck you.”

The thing is, though, you know, Theodore Parker is right:  “Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice. Things refuse to be mismanaged long.”

And using your power to oppress people by refusing to recognize their right to marry who they want?  That is unjust and a mismanagement of your position.  It does not hurt you to let gay people get married.  No, it doesn’t.  If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t get married.  The country does not owe it to you to let you feel comfortable with your bigotry.

Continuing to draw these lines between Us and Them?  Where they are all on welfare and all live in the city and go to college and like to think about things and, I guess, don’t work hard?  And we all live in the “real” part of Tennessee and we hate them queers and them libruls and them folks with their book learnin’?

I mean, does Smith even stop to think of the implications of what would happen if everyone who had “kinky” sex or occassionally voted Democrat or went to college left the Republican dominated parts of the state and moved to the cities?  What doctors would you go to?  Where would you bank?  Who would do your taxes?  Who would preach in your churches?

Do you know what it is when you want to benefit from the labor of people you want to oppress?  It’s evil.

But here’s what gives me hope.  Try as Smith might to argue otherwise, Tennessee Republicans are not immune from the pressures faced by the larger Republican party.  Tennessee Republicans in Washington will have an opportunity to step into leadership roles nationally because they, unlike many Republicans, are not on the verge of being thrown out of office.

They will be able to weild power, even under an Obama presidency with a largely Democratic congress if they seem like thoughtful people of integrity.  That’s a lot harder job when the official Republican message coming out of Tennessee is only one step away from your crazy racist uncle who’s always complaining about the hippies and their college educations.

I mean, how do you begin to address the problems this nation faces when you’re, say, Zach Wamp, who, though I disagree with him on many positions, comes across like a thoughtful guy concerned about the issues facing our country and you’re busy talking about, oh, I don’t know, let’s say “Encouraging Early Reading Skills,” saying, “Each and every child deserves the best education possible so that they can look with hope to the future,” and you’ve got Robin Smith running around saying, “‘There’s this manufactured intellectualism that comes with being a moderate or a liberal.'”?

I mean, what is “encouraging early reading skills” if not manufacturing intellectualism?

Forget party unity, will the Republicans even be able to pick a message and stick to it or will we see a continuation of the dynamics of the McCain/Palin campaign, where they pretend to work together, but spend all their time undermining each other’s goals?

Archcrone has some thoughts.  They take her in the opposite direction of me.  But who knows?  It’ll be interesting to see.

(Also, if you want funny, just scroll down Zach Wamp’s issues page.  It’s all “defund Planned Parenthood,” “ban explict reading materials from military bases,” “protect traditional marriage,” “English unifies our nation,” and “U.S. Supports Freedom for All.” Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.  You know, unless you’re a woman, kinky, gay, or speak another language.  Then you’re not a part of “all.”  Ha, maybe he’s closer to Robin Smith than I first gave him credit for.)

Edited to Add: And Roger would know about being run out of the Republican party, that’s for sure.  Where’s a conservative guy like him to go?

19 thoughts on “Robin Smith Tells the Truth. Sign of the End of Days?

  1. Your post is the perfect example of what separates liberals from conservatives. Liberals believe everyone should be entitled to do their own thing regardless of how it affects anyone else in society. If a man wants to marry a man, fine; if a woman wants to marry a woman, dandy. If an unborn child is murdered because it’s a woman’s body, swell. But such a mindset opens a floodgate of even much disgusting alternatives.

    Conservatives–particularly conservatives who are Christians–believe there is right and wrong. Liberals love the gray areas like gay marriage and abortion that support their notion that “I have the right to do what I want however I want.”

    When morals are lost and replaced with debauchery, nations collapse.

  2. Oh, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Where to start? First, the fact that you equate gays getting married with abortion just shows that y’all don’t actually believe abortion is as bad as you pretend it to be. “Oh, abortion! That’s just like when two dudes kiss!!!!!!”

    Second, either put up or shut up. What nations have ever, ever fallen because of a loss of morals and a turn towards debauchery? Name just one.

  3. Plus–how does a man marrying a man affect you? It doesn’t, at all. It has no effect on you.

    Plus, you hate the Constitution. So, why are we even talking like your side wants to see America not collapse? Of course you want to see America collapse. If you didn’t, you’d have some respect for the Constitution.

  4. Let’s look behind the smoke screen at the real issues:

    Abortion and gay marriage are inextricably linked in the reactionary conservative mind, as they are issues of bodily autonomy and equality. Abortion is not about killing babeez, it is about women maintaining control over their own bodies. Such autonomy is threatening to a patriarchal order that helps to shore up other artificial social structures. Likewise, gay marriage presents a model of gender equity at the most basic of societal units– the nuclear family– and that is a direct threat to an artificially imposed and maintained male-dominated hierarchy.

    In other words, all the talk about “right and wrong” is bullshit. Conservatives have no problem exterminating babies, especially when those babies are foreign and brown. And they have no trouble with sexual ‘immorality’ and other moral gray areas, as long as such things don’t upset the preferred social order.

    Liberals– particularly liberals who profess to follow Christ’s example– understand that morality isn’t about establishing an arbitrary set of no-nos and expecting everyone to obey them at least as long as everyone is watching. These right-wing fundies need to get their hypocritical, busybody noses out of the Old Testament and introduce themselves to the Beatitudes.

  5. Once again I plead that when you Christians are arguing with each other you be super duper clear that the “Old Testament” is not the same thing as Jewish scripture. Thank you.

  6. What nations have ever, ever fallen because of a loss of morals and a turn towards debauchery?
    From all I’ve read the Romans were pretty damn debauched by the end. I’m not real sure about cause and effect so hopefully Bridgett will enlighten me.

  7. NM, you talk like the top in a really interesting and intellectual s/m scene. No, no, whatever you do, don’t give us the lecture about the Roman Empire not falling until 1453!!!!

    Although, whew, when you think about the rumors surrounding the conception of El Gran Capitán, maybe debauchery does lead to the fall of Rome…

    (I’m just making up a rumor about the conception of Cordoba, for the record. Please don’t descend on my blog defenders of Cordoba’s honor. I’m just joking. I’m sure his mother and father were very boring in bed.)

  8. I blame Gibbon for this nonsensical bs. Not the primate, mind, but Edward Gibbon. His “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” was a really popular piece of historical writing that argued (as a 18th century British imperialist would) that the Roman Empire collapsed due to the loss of civic virtue. (The erosion of self-restraint and virtue among the upper classes was a point of obsession for 18th century British writers and he was trying to argue that the recent expansion of British interests into Africa, Indian, and the Caribbean was doomed to fail unless white guys got it together and butched up, militarily speaking. No accident that he started writing in the 1770s and published the first volume in 1776, as some breakaway provinces were acting up in North America.)

    He was endlessly wrong about oh so many things, starting with his bizarre peripheralization of the Byzantine Empire (which is why nm has to keep telling people that the Roman Empire didn’t fall until 1453), his Burkean rejection of democratic though, and going through his erratic methodology which leads him to argue for a FIVE CENTURY long fall. That’s….uh….really gradual, so much so as to invite crazy cherry-picking of the evidence to create the effect he was searching for. Wrongity wrong wrong — though he does get points for feeling it important to cite anything at all, thus kicking off modern historical practice and for treating religion as a phenomenon to be studied in sociological/secular terms. It’s a crowning point of stupidity that all these conservative guys who rip of Gibbon’s main point ignore that he was fanatically critical of the role that Christianity played in the collapse of Rome. He believed that the deferred gratification of heaven made people more inclined to peaceable behavior and that piety sapped martial manhood.

    However much his wronginess, it’s a convenient narrative line that covers a multitude of imperial sins and it is apparently inexhaustible as big wrong ideas go. Black people giving you trouble? It’s the fall of the empire because of moral decay! Women getting uppity? The sky, she falls, as does the empire! Anything happening that gives us the fantods? We must fan ourselves vigorously and grab the salts, for the empire is about to fall because we have departed from the virtuous path of our ancestors.

    Nashville’s a town where many have made their careers on an intoxicating blend of horseshit and false nostalgia. I guess I shouldn’t wonder that the ghost of Gibbon is still walking around down there.

  9. Well. I got distracted by work and Bridgett went and gave my lecture for me. Rats. But I am pleased to see her point to Gibbon’s history being rooted in 18th-century imperialism; we medievalists are very aware of that problem, but far too many early modernists see Gibbon only as the precursor to Ranke and ignore his little biases.

    Another reason he felt that the influence of Christianity on the Roman Empire was bad is that he thought that the diversion of monetary and personnel resources from the state to the church weakened the state’s ability to cope with changes. Which, of course, is another reason that he ignored the Eastern Empire: it rather disproved that theory.

  10. …the “Old Testament” is not the same thing as Jewish scripture

    Sí claro, Señora NM. I gather that Israeli law isn’t exactly a reprint of the Ten Commandments. My mention of it is intended to illustrate the propensity of some self-identified Christians to gloss over or completely ignore everything that Jesus said or did in favor of imposing a more exclusionary, prohibitive, and draconian worldview that doesn’t reflect the proactive and welcoming example of J.C.

  11. Don’t make me give my lecture about the Roman Empire not falling until 1453 again

    I blame Gibbon for this nonsensical bs.

    When I made that comment I expected to get some education, was looking forward to it even. But damn that hurt.

    No doubt I’ll get ripped up again for this, but that right there is where the anti-intellectualism that is becoming rampant comes from. NM suddenly channels my mother and Bridgett calls it nonsensical BS. Sure Bridgett has a good supporting argument, but that would have been so much more well received without the first sentence.

    Yes, I’m aware that Bridgett has no obligation to be nice and not embarass me. I’m just saying that’s a pretty good example of why Palin gets so much traction with her anti-intellectual comments.

  12. So, W., mistaken, uneducated, and misinformed people (keeping in mind that not all education is formal) get to snark, strut, or preach borderline eliminationist bile against the people they don’t like, but we educated folk are supposed to walk on eggshells because we might hurt someone’s feelings?

    I got news for ya, comrade, being polite and gentle won’t keep the lynch mob from coming after you if they’ve decided they don’t like you. Civility has its strengths, but let’s not forget who’s been making their bones off of belligerence for the last 40 years. If conservatives want liberals to be more conscientious about making nice, then perhaps conservatives should work a little harder on the ethic of reciprocity. They could start by repudiating the racism, hate-mongering, and eliminationism that runs just beneath the surface (when not in plain view) of much of their discourse.

    Furthermore, Palin gets so much traction with her anti-intellectualism because celebrating anti-intellectualism is an enduring feature of the Nixonian right-wing politics of resentment. It isn’t because lib’ruls are being mean.

    Finally, W., if you don’t want to risk embarrassment, then come correct. Otherwise, some baller on her game is going to smack your weak shit into the stands. (In the interests of full disclosure, I don’t mind being corrected in a less-than-gentle fashion, especially when the subject is something I am really into, like history. It’s the painful lessons we remember most.)

  13. Eh, W, I was, in fact, joking. I know I went through the whole “the fall of Rome? not so much” discussion a few months back, and I thought it was over here. I was referring back to that. If it wasn’t here, then the missing context kind of kills the joke, huh? (Bridgett was in on that, too, which may be why she was also so annoyed.) Not trying to undermine CS’s point here, which is right on target, but I thought everybody here had a common background of book and article recommendations to look back at.

    Also, think of it this way: if 90% of the folks who found out you’re an engineer responded with either “gee, I guess you must love trains” or “oh, are you a rambling wreck from Georgia Tech?” it would get old for you after a while; imagine what a medievalist goes through when the so-called “fall of Rome” in the 5th century or so is still common discourse after more than a generation of teaching that disproves it.

  14. W, I wasn’t referring to you at all. Your question was perfectly reasonable and I hoped to address it in a way that left you informed but not insulted. You approached it with a “hey, I don’t know about this and I’ll ask if the common wisdom is right” attitude. That’s exactly the spirit of inquiry historians can hope for — people who wonder about received wisdom enough to double-check.

    The nonsensical person in question was the original “TN Conservative” that spit up this old Gibbon “fall of empire, moral decay, blah blah” thing. There’s not the slightest doubt in his mind that he already knows for a fact (untroubled by a couple of decades of research that disproves his position) that Gibbon was right. That’s pretty much the working definition of idiot — someone who spouts off incorrectly in a way that reveals how disengaged they are from the subject over which they declare their expertise. This is complicated in his case by the idea that God backs him up in his incorrect suppositions. Since we don’t accept spectral evidence (not since the Salem witch trials, anyhow, and we all know how well that went), I feel pretty confident in calling nonsense (and even moreso because the historian he is drawing on — maybe without even knowing it — is so very critical of religion as a social good). He’s not looking for a better answer; he’s just clinging to a wrongheaded idea that he picked up somewhere because it gives an intellectual gloss to his baser prejudices. As a person who respects empirical knowledge and the journey for better knowledge of the past, I find this sort of willful ignorance an act of exasperating intellectual hostility.

    Anyhow, nm and I have already had a prolonged (multi-day) go-round on this very subject over at Slarti’s in August or September. I agree that you shouldn’t make a practice of pissing off people who ask you to share your expertise and I’m sorry if I embarrassed you. It wasn’t my intention.

  15. Let me add an apology for my overreaction to you, W. I guess I’m a tad surly from watching so many conservative white people piss their pants and blow their gyroscopes over the impending Soul Brother/Jihadist/Communist/Liberal Celebrity Apocalypse. Not that I take back anything I said, but I shouldn’t have aimed the harder edges of it at you.

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