Frank Rich on the ‘bloviocracy’

In a regular q-and-a that he does for New York magazine, former NY Timesman Frank Rich is hilariously candid about calling out the hype. In this case, it’s Rich’s reply to the opening question about whether that special election for a U.S. House seat, won by the nominee David Jolly and universally declared a serious harbinger of a bad year ahead for the Dems, is really such a bellwether of November’s results (if you can forgive using both “harbinger” and “bellwether” in the same sentence):

This race was a bellwether to be sure — not of what’s going to happen in November, but of the true idiocy of our political culture. A ludicrous $12 million in campaign spending was poured into this single district in which fewer than 200,000 people voted. Much of the bloviocracy hyped the race before and after as a battle akin to Ali-Frazier or, perhaps given the Florida setting, Bush vs. Gore, and as a decisive verdict on the political valence of Obamacare. And now both sides are overreading meaning into an election decided by less than 2 percent of the vote (under 4,000 votes) in a race where a third-party Libertarian candidate received almost 5 percent of the vote.

Bloviocracy! Ha.

By the way, despite mocking the harbingerosity of the race, Rich does expect Repubs have a very good November, not because of the dreaded Obamacare issue, but because of the difference in the number and kind of voters who turn out for midterms.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/21/2014 - 10:26 am.

    Do you remember 2010?

    House seats – Republicans +63
    Senate seats – Republicans +6

    This will be worse.

  2. Submitted by jason myron on 03/21/2014 - 12:41 pm.

    You seem to be trying to convince yourself

    rather than any of us, but given your record of prognostication, please proceed, Dennis.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/21/2014 - 12:51 pm.


    Mr. Tester’s predictive abilities have been shown to be poor, but he may well be correct. See Eric’s previous piece about what I think of as “strategic spending” by right wing deep pockets like the Koch brothers vs. that of left-wing deep pockets like labor unions.

    I don’t know that 2014 will be worse than 2010 – I personally always hope for the unexpected victory of more progressive (and more sensible) policies and their purveyors – but while I don’t *know* that this off-year election will be “worse” for Democrats, I think it’s a likely possibility.

    Should the Republican Party make gains in 2014 like it did in 2010, the country will be far worse off as a result. Prosperous foreign powers, far more sane than the American right wing, will be looking for an entity other than the United States upon which to project their long-term well-being. Big corporations, which currently *almost* run the show, will surely take over after a Republican victory of that scale. Corporations operate as medieval fiefdoms, with no hint of democracy at work once we’ve gone beyond the usual PR campaigns.

    Putting them in charge of a society that purports to still have some real connection to democracy will not be pretty to watch. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, about Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, the Koch brothers, and other figureheads of the right that have been captured by Gilded Age ideology, including, sadly, some current Minnesota legislators, seem to me very friendly to a pluralistic, democratic society.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/21/2014 - 03:47 pm.

    Harry Reid Is Right

    In his effort to take on the Koch Bros.

    But I’d like to see it go farther. I’d like to see the Democrats identify each and every interest group and social welfare organization funded by the the Kochs and run adds pointing out which other ads the Koch bros are funding,…

    and making it clear that the Koch brothers do not care in the least about the well being of the average voter, nor of the nation in general,…

    but are only trying to buy elections in order to make it even easier for themselves to pad their own pockets and pay no taxes on their ill-gotten gains.

    Tag line: “If you buy what the Koch Brothers are selling, YOU lose.”

    • Submitted by Joe Musich on 03/21/2014 - 10:40 pm.

      Well ….

      said. I personally think this next election will be a Gop embarrassment. You know win or lose I cannot go wrong.

    • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 03/24/2014 - 08:20 am.

      Are They Worse?

      Greg, are the Koch brothers better or worse than Emmanuel Goldstein? Or are they just about the same?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/24/2014 - 09:41 am.

        Unlike Goldstein

        The Koch brothers are real.
        For Goldstein, your link says:
        “Emmanuel Goldstein is a character in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. He is the principal enemy of the state according to the Party, depicted as the head of a mysterious (and possibly fictitious) organization called “The Brotherhood” and to have written the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. He is only seen and heard on telescreen, and may be a fabrication of the Ministry of Truth.”

        Or are you claiming that the Koch brothers were invented by the Democratic party organization and do not really exist?

        • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 03/25/2014 - 07:35 am.


          No, I’m claiming that members of the left have decided that they need an enemy to demonize so that they can scare people for fund raising purposes. That’s why a pair of self described libertarians have become the portrayed as a danger to all right thinking people everywhere. I’m sure Greg (and others) would be surprised to know that the Koch brothers have long supported things like gay marriage and opposed things like the Patriot Act. The delusions against them are so bad that this happened a couple of weeks ago:
          If you don’t click through, the story is this. The Koch brothers donated $100 million dollars for hospital expansion in NYC. This prompted protests because, well, like Goldstein, they’ve been turned into enemies of the state.

  5. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 03/26/2014 - 08:59 am.

    The Dreaded Obamacare Issue

    I’m a little puzzled at the casual comment that the high negatives of Obamacare won’t have anything to do with the elections in November. Of course that might be true. We don’t know what will happen in the next seven months.
    I’m puzzled at the attempt to minimize it though. It’s been a big issue, in the news almost constantly for the past five years. It effects lots of people (though more indirectly than directly so far). You would expect that opinions of it would sway voters one way or another.
    Is there some evidence or reason to think that it *won’t* factoring into votes?

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