Monthly Archives: March 2010

Redstate’s Erickson: threats of violence are bad, but not really that big a deal and Democrats deserve them anyway

[This post has been edited to correct the spelling of Eric Cantor’s name.]

This could be the beginning of the rightwing meltdown.

If King George Will Not Listen . . .

This is one of those posts that has to be written and has to be said, though I know going in to it I’m going to get beaten up from all sides, though especially from a left particularly out to get me right now.

Nonetheless, this must be said.

The threats, potential acts of violence, and violence against those who voted for the health care legislation must be condemned. They are neither helpful to those seeking repeal nor the acts of a civilized society. I comfortably say I speak for all the front page posters here condemning the violence and threats. The people who think this country has descended into the darkness do in fact send us down a dark path themselves with these actions.

…snip…

I’ve said for weeks I was a bit fearful of what would happen as a result. I sincerely pray we are not on the cusp of some group of angry and now unhinged mob lashing out at congressmen for a vote in the Congress. But something seems to be brewing and I frankly don’t think the Democrats should at all be surprised. They were and they knew they were playing with fire to advance legislation many Americans see as the undoing of the American Experiment. Some of those Americans will now conclude that, like with the founders, if King George will not listen, King George must be fought. [emphasis added]

In a sane political environment, this could be the beginning of a rightwing meltdown. But, in our current politics, it’s probably not. How many Republican party officials will condemn this?

I’d be surprised if one did. Cantor is supposed to speak on the violence in a couple of hours today — will he be called, or feel compelled, to comment on this disgusting post?

This mealy mouthed cowardly condemnation of violence in one weak breath followed by full throated expressions of support and understanding of the violent impulses is exactly what too many on the right think they can get away with.

They cannot.

They can also not get away with claiming Rep Lewis lied about being the recipient of our most vile racial epithet. They are on record and will pay the price for cozying up to violent extremists in the court of public opinion and at the ballot box.

Erickson is explaining away, and in so doing, condoning and supporting political violence. Now and forever, he owns this.

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And so it begins: rightwingers threaten violence and assassination

As predicted, the rightwingers are threatening violence and making death threats.

And some Republicans are playing along.

Democrats are pushing back and the violent rhetoric is being archived. But the threats and incitement escalate, not diminish up to and beyond the elections in November.

[Via TPM] House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters he believed over 10 lawmakers have been threatened since they voted for the health care bill on Sunday.

Appearing before reporters alongside House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Hoyer expressed concern about the recent spat of incidents targeting lawmakers, and blamed the violent rhetoric surrounding the health care debate for creating a potentially dangerous atmosphere.

And there will be more acts of domestic rightwing terrorism.

Immigration reform will cause the rightwingers and Republicans to descend once again into deep ritual outrage before the elections.

Because of the cumulative effect of seeing Obama enact more and more of the agenda he campaigned and won on, but also due to deep seated racial, ethnic and cultural anxieties, the coming debate over immigration reform might be even uglier and more extreme than the hcr debate.

The prevailing opinion is that the only question regarding the 2010 midterms is over the level of Democratic defeat and whether or not they’ll even lose their House majority. But we are really in unprecedented territory in our national political debate.

I and others have written before about the trouble the Republicans have set themselves up for by unleashing and pandering to — and even becoming — the most extreme fringe of their coalition.

They have two bad choices:

  1. continue pandering to the extremists, even as threats of violence and perhaps even murder turn into actual deeds and even as the extremists engage in vile and retrograde racist discourse in the immigration reform debate
  2. emulate WF Buckley and kick the kooks to the curb

If they pick option 1, they will alienate more and more potential supporters and greatly increase the likelihood that they will become little more than a southern and mountain west based party made up of angry and largely willfully ignorant old white people.

If they pick option 2, they will further infuriate their perpetually outraged base of extremists who will either stay home and close their wallets or even, although this seems highly unlikely, support a third party.

I think the most likely strategy will be to try to deny the dilemma and walk a line between the options I propose. But I think they will not succeed and will only get the worst outcomes from both options.

Most of the Republicans will be circumspect in their in their criticism of the ugly naked racism, the paranoia, and the blatant threats — and actual instances — of violence that will unfold before the election. They will tut-tut and harrumph and denounce the loss of civility that Obama has forced them into by his “totalitarian tactics” of using the democratic process to get elected and then pass (some of) his advertized agenda.

But they will not fully denounce most of these people or their actions and deeds.

This will cause huge numbers of voters who might otherwise consider supporting them to back away from the Republican party.

However, the Republicans will criticize and even cut loose some of the fringiest of the base. They will also fail to meaningfully and credibly maintain their current pose of complete repeal of hcr. Further, they will fail to support the base’s position of solely putting forth complete lack of cooperation regarding immigration reform.

The base will not be amused. They will talk of betrayal of primary campaign promises and will swear vengance on the “rinos” and “squishes” that most of them will come to believe their candidates are once the candidates try to moderate their rhetoric in the general election campaign.

As with McCain in 2008, this agitprop will cause the Republicans to veer erratically between extremist and center right positions, which will make them appear reckless and unready.

I certainly wouldn’t say it’s probable, but the continuing and escalating extreme rhetoric and behavior by rightwingers in the coming months, and Republican failure to make full throated denunciations of them, might make it increasingly possible that the Democrats could even pick up seats in November.

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Redstate commenter calls people with Obama bumber stickers “targets”; how will admins respond?

I’ve noted before, as have the redstate admins and regulars themselves, the far rightwing Republican site aggressively polices its comments sections.

They decry and swarm comments they disagree with, frequently ban commenters for comments they deem inappropriate and even disappear comments they see as sufficiently problematic.

I hope they do some or all of the above to this comment and commenter. Unfortunately, I won’t be holding my breath. They tend to be a bit selective in their faux completely fair and balanced (TM) outrage.

That Obama sticker on your bumper………
makemyday Thursday, March 18th at 9:50AM EDT (link)
used to show the rest of us how stupid you are.

If this passes that bumper sticker just made you a target!

When all else fails…….. Shoot!

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” –American author Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times.” –George Washington, letter to Philip Schuyler, 1777

click for link

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Virginia AG Cuccinelli cowardly denies birther pandering after being caught on tape

Even though he comes from a state whose elected officials should know better, Cuccinelli pandered, probably cynically but you never really know, to the base rightwing birther wing of the Republican party (via Steve Benen at TWM):

“I absolutely believe that President Obama was born in the United States. I don’t buy into the claims that he wasn’t. On the recording, I was asked a hypothetical legal question, and I gave a hypothetical legal answer in response….”

Benen also writes about McCain challenger Hayworth, also a birther, and how he blatantly acknowledged that truthiness is the highest ideal for the birthers and rightwing Republicans:

And this is why conversations with conservatives never seem to go well. Reality is an inconvenient detail that can be twisted, manipulated, and frequently ignored.

In a normal, sensible debate, one side might make a provocative claim. The other side can challenge the claim, and provide evidence. If it’s proven false, the first side moves on to some other claim. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But that’s not how Republicans work. They make claims that aren’t true, and after being corrected, either repeat those claims again anyway, pretend the matter is subjective, or both.

It’s genuinely painful to listen to clowns for whom reality is meaningless.

Well, you might think that up is up, but we’ll just have to disagree because I believe just as strongly that up is down and you have to respect my opinion.

QED

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Beck and Redstate — a fanatical cultist and a group of sleaze merchants

During a week when Glenn Beck told the vast majority of Christians to leave their churches, redstate’s head honcho decided posting this would be a good way to show that the site is dedicated to serious discussion of political differences:

When they get sanctimonious about their discourse, they will of course simply just write this off as a joke.

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Hate Groups, Intimidation, Militias and Nullification: will the 10s make the 90s seem sedate?

Is the recent spate of stories about organized violence from various right wing groups just a coincidence or is it a sign where things are heading, especially if hcr passes?

A Louisiana sheriff is arming old white guys and training them in hand to hand combat.

Members of a group comprised largely of police officers are proclaiming in oaths that they won’t follow “unconstitutional” orders.

A vigilante xtian American Taliban group, describing itself as Hezbolllah Army of God, is harassing and violating the privacy of people whose behavior doesn’t live up to the wonderful ideals spelled out in three or four thousand year old mythology.

Well, parts of it at least.

At least some of these nutters have direct ties to the domestic terrorists ‘militia movement’ of the 90s.

I think it’s all too likely that some out their will act on their extreme views as Obama’s presidency continues. And the chance of this happening will grow if hcr passes. And if the Republicans don’t take over both houses of congress in November, and especially if Obama is reelected in 2012, the likelihood will increase even more.

I’ve noted before on this blog how some in the redstate.com community casually talk, always in a joking way of course, about a coming epic violent confrontation with everyone to the left of Tom Tancredo. David Neiwart has written about the serious threat behind the eliminationist discourse of some elements of the right.

Most of the yelping is little more than compensation for feelings of insecurity and ineffectualness that will go nowhere. But, the 90s showed us that we ignore the threat of rightwing domestic terrorists at our peril.

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Bunning’s balk makes reform easier

So, Bunning has caved.

After voting against pay-go and having no problems with Bush’s unfunded, and unnecessary, Iraq invasion as well as the series of unprecedented Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, Bunning decided to take a stand on the backs of the unemployed, medicare doctors and transportation workers, among others.

Although, he’s apparently doing a Shelby now and blocking all Obama nominations more than a year after inauguration.

And the rightwing Republicans had his back.

They love him and his obstructionism. Or maybe they fear crossing him and criticizing his obstructionism.

Either way, they are wearing his dead political carcass like an albatross.

David Weigel at TWI writes that the rightwing Republicans think the Bunning balk was, and will continue to be, a winning issue for them. They could hardly be more wrong.

These are just the first faint repercussions of the catastrophic overreach and ensuing backlash they are sprinting into at full speed.

As others have noted, it comes at an opportune time for Democrats seeking not only to pass the hcr fix through a majority rule up or down vote — reconciliation — but also to make the case to the pubic in a clear and concise way that rightwing Republicans are purposely and indiscriminately stalling the business of congress.

Bunning has just made the Democrats’ task of illuminating rightwing Repbulican hypocrisy on the issue, already a pretty cut and dried issue, that much easier.

Steve M at No More Mister Nice Blog notes that the rightwing Republicans are reluctant to criticize him for hear of being seen as conservatively incorrect by their fringe base. Of course, they’re in a bit of a bind because the rest of the voting public sees such Randian sociopathy [links via Progressive Blog Digest] as humanly incorrect.

The aggrieved paranoia of certain segments of the nativist, ‘natural born,’ white population is nothing new. And neither is the fact that elite Republican business interests are once again piggy backing on that wave of resentment.

What is unusual is the amount of power the elites have ceded to their unwashed foot soldiers, who they usually ignore and treat with great contempt and derision as soon as their votes are counted, at the current moment.

The teabaggers want all Bunning all the time but the Republican elites know that this is a losing strategy. They will prove incapable, however, of convincing them that this is the case.

The coming months will be the season of ‘baggers gone wild and it will be prelude to a certain Tuesday in November when Republicans severely under perform.

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