As if politics wasn’t a difficult and dirty enough business; politicians also have to take into account the unwholesome fact that nutters vote, too.
There’s a lesson for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in how failed US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney stretched himself a bit too far. He wanted to pitch to the far right but couldn’t quite span the octave. His finger slipped off the middle bit and he lost votes there instead.
Conservatives need the votes of older, white men - but by hooking up with sexist, racist, homophobic nutters (who often appeal to some of those conservative white men) they risk losing other, equally important votes.
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Yet another study has emerged that appears to put people with conservative political views in a somewhat shady light.
The research, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, linked conservatism to “low effort thinking”. Meaning people who were pissed or distracted were more likely to hew to conservative thinking.
It’s just the latest in a bunch of studies that have hit the headlines, and it’s almost enough to make right-wingers feel targeted (and remember, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you).
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A deranged TV anchor threatens to kill himself, then resurrects his career by ranting and raving on television, screaming his new catchcry – I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE.
This is the “mad prophet of the airwaves” Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in the 1976 flick Network, in which “a TV network cynically exploits a deranged ex-TV anchor’s ravings and revelations about the media for their own profit”.
Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi sees this as a rage to aspire to. He calls the performance, in which Beale inspires people to throw open their windows and shout their madness into the street, as ‘mesmerising’ and says “perhaps it’s time for the concerned citizens of Australia to do the same thing”.
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More than eighty years separate the publication of Evelyn Waugh’s first novel and the Tory campaign for government in the British election, but the two are oddly connected.
The narrative spring that sets ‘Decline and Fall’ in motion is the expulsion from Oxford of its hapless hero, Paul Pennyfeather; and the reason he’s expelled is an act of bullying by the members of something called the Bollinger Club.
They “debag” him (pull down his trousers and pants) and force him to run around the quadrangle. He’s caught, ‘sent down’ as they say at Oxford, and left with no choice but to take a low paying job teaching at a seedy prep school, where his humilations grow steadily worse.
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Ordinarily the first parliamentary sitting week for a new opposition leader is a chance to redefine themselves, introduce new ideas to the public, perhaps break the shackles of received wisdom about their view of the world.
But like John Howard when took the Liberal leadership (again) in 1995, Tony Abbott makes his first parliamentary charge as Opposition Leader this week as a relatively well-known political quantity. So do the cliches about him match the perceptions of people in the street? Being the new leader, and seeing as we did the same number on the Prime Minister and Malcolm Turnbull last year, we decided to ask people some simple questions about what they thought of the Member for Warringah.
So was there a surprise, like in the Rudd survey when people said they perceived the Prime Minister as somehow physically small? Nup; respondents described Abbott almost as a caricature of how he’s caricatured: a straight-talking conservative bruiser, hated by some for his views on social issues, known for them by all.
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