June 26, 2017 10:27 am -

A generation ago, the GOP had mastered scapegoating by stereotype – for example, Reagan’s mythical Cadillac-driving “welfare queen.” With the coming of Bill Clinton, the GOP changed tack and did pretty much everything they were able to demonize him and attempt to demoralize Democrats with the aid and abettment of a rising wave of “hate radio” – without much success, it should be added. Americans were horrified by the overt racism mixed into the vindictive rhetoric flung at President Barack Obama. And Republicans realized early on that Hillary Clinton was likely to be the leading candidate to succeed Obama, so they threw everything they could at her – from Benghazi to the ludicrous “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory.

Republicans have mastered the art of personal demonization – and with Obama and Hillary pretty much out of the picture, the largest target left to vilify is Nancy Pelosi, a matter that is aided by justified debate over Pelosi’s leadership within Democratic circles.

The notion of GOP campaigns using Pelosi’s unpopularity to motivate their base — and, as a result, thanking her for helping them win elections — is a tactic that has developed over a decade and half of her being in congressional leadership. … Without a Democrat in the White House to be at the center of the GOP’s ire, Pelosi has already been used in political ads in at least two of this year’s four special elections for Republican-held seats.

Also on the same day as Pelosi’s comments last week, the NRCC launched a video it dubbed “Thank you, Nancy Pelosi” in which the voiceover boasts of Democrats losing those four races. (A fifth special election, to replace California Democrat Xavier Becerra, yielded a Democratic victory when Jimmy Gomez won that contest.)

“Thank you for your support of failed candidates,” the ad says in an upbeat tone. “Thank you for continuing to fail as your party’s leader.”

A senior aide for Pelosi, Drew Hammill, said the tactic to tie the California Democrat to candidates represents more of the same from several years past and that other Democratic congressional leaders have received the same treatment. …

In one ad, [Georgia special election Democratic candidate] Jon Ossoff, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate in the Georgia special election last week, was depicted as being “on her side.” The video encouraged people to vote Republican and “say no to Pelosi’s yes man.” …

NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers said there wasn’t a particular concerted effort to use Pelosi to the GOP’s advantage, though ads in Montana and Georgia featured the California Democrat this year.

The Pelosi attack ads were mostly funded by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC tied to House GOP leadership.

“Elections are choices and voters need to be informed about what direction those choices mean for the country, for their area,” Stivers said. “Our ads in Georgia were intended to make sure our voters got out and voted and they did.”

You forgot the part about using knee-jerk hatred, anti-liberal (and, since we’re talking San Francisco, anti-gay) tropes, Steve.

You also forgot that this targeting of individuals is just another flavor of the bullying that seems to be the dominant gene in the Trump-GOP DNA, and it needs to be stopped:

[Happy Foxie Psychology Blog:] There is a great amount of research on brain structures and how conservatives are biologically primed to overreact to fear. Can we teach people to be less fearful and less vulnerable to these types of demagogues?

[Psychologist Philip Zimbardo :] Education. We have a lot of data on how Trump is having a really negative effect on Muslim kids, minority kids, on Jewish kids. We’re seeing this with the burning of mosques, burning of synagogues. There are a lot of kids who are riding the Trump train to be bullies and say, “This is what our president says. If our president says that you are no good, then you are no good.” One of the things about bullying that people don’t realize is how bystanders who do nothing are also impacted.

That is a very important aspect of bullying culture that rarely gets commented upon.

We have a lot of evidence that [onlookers] feel shame for the rest of their life because almost always it was one of their friends getting bullied and they did nothing. Bullying is now a major problem. Recent research says that bullying in corporations is on the rise and it costs 10 percent of profits because people who are bullied work less efficiently; they call in sick and often they quit their job and then there are replacement costs. Now with Trump, there’s a presidential justification for it.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.