When You Win on Outrage, What Do You Lead On?

Frank Cagle’s got an interesting column up over at Metro Pulse about how the Republican infrastructure in Tennessee was built with the power of outrage and how, now that they’re in power, the Republican politicians haven’t found a way to diffuse that outrage into something that’s not going to bite them on the ass, too.

Hence the situation where twenty-three Republicans have primary challengers.

I think part of the problem is that there’s been this underlying rhetoric of “When we get into office, we will make them pay.” But all the ways that Republican politicians have made “them” pay don’t really feel viscerally satisfying to people who are not also politicians. I live in Nashville, for instance, and I am neither really aware of nor greatly upset over whose offices have had to move where and whose staff has been cut. I don’t feel personally insulted by it. Same with redistricting. Eh? So what? Republicans won. I expected them to redistrict in their favor.

And I’m not trying to downplay the assault that women’s health is under in this state, but I suspect that, since so few places actually perform abortions in Tennessee that, if Republicans could persevere and get them all shut down, it, too, wouldn’t feel like they want to feel.

Because they want to feel like they’ve won. The whole thing. That their enemies have been vanquished and that the state is now safe once more for good conservative, Christian folks. And that just can’t be. No one is ever actually completely vanquished. Especially not when your battles are mostly rhetorical.

The problem is, I think, that a lot of conservative Tennesseans feel like they were promised this moment. And it’s not coming.

I don’t know what Republicans do, instead, but I am genuinely and not snarkily interested in seeing if and how you take a political movement that expects one thing and massage them into accepting another.

3 thoughts on “When You Win on Outrage, What Do You Lead On?

  1. If you feed undying resentment of the world ever changing, you live with undying resentment of the world ever changing.

  2. The really interesting thing is seeing the politics of resentment come back to bite the suckers in the ass in real time.

    ‘What? You mean all those years of voting for the spiteful pleasure of sticking it to the niggers means I’ll have to pay more out of pocket for my post-retirement health care?’

    (Not that any of my colleagues would openly admit to knowledge of that connection.)

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