Tag Archives: beck

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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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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Another Day, Another Rightwing Republican Flip Flop: why are they now afraid to meet with Obama on camera?

I’m sure you’ve heard of ‘dean’ Broder’s latest ridiculously out of touch panegyric of Sarah Palin, despite poll numbers from his own paper on the same day showing a sharp decline in even Republican’s estimation of her competency to sit in the oval office.

You’ve also probably seen the teams at The Daily Show and the Colbert Report, The Rachel Maddow Show and others take down the Republican and rightwing deliberate and willful ignorance regarding global warming and climate change.

But there’s another story, in line with the rightwing Republicans ramping up their blatant hypocrisy, that is even more telling about the political climate today. After demanding transparency and television cameras for hcr debates, the rightwingers and Republicans are now balking at, what else, transparency and television cameras.

The redstaters are not happy with the prospect of their side making their arguments in public. With seemingly no sense of self awareness or irony, a few of them even admit why they fear media borne sunlight:

The danger…
writeblock Thursday, February 11th at 6:46AM EST (link)
…is that this revives the bill. It gives bipartisan cover to a bill the public eyes with suspicion primarily because of a lack of bipartisanship and shading dealings behind closed doors. This show of bipartisan openness will change the dynamic of public perception–which will work in favor of its passage. Not good [emphasis added].

As this regular commenter freely acknowledges, calls for transparency were merely a tool to gin up resistance to the bill. As soon as transparency threatens to become a reality, it must be opposed at all costs.

It must be opposed because, once enough people see what the bill proposes — and that the rightwingers and Republicans offer nothing but rejectionist obstructionism — the ‘public perception’ of the bill will become favorable, which will lead to its passage.

The rightwingers and Republicans are for transparency.

Except when they’re against it.

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The Party of Hypocrisy: the label Republicans (and some Democrats) deserve and that progressives must make stick

I wrote yesterday that progressives should turn the recent flurry of rightwing Republican hypocrisy into a long term narrative of double standards that comes to the forefront of everyone’s mind every single time they see, hear or think or Republicans and rightwingers of any affiliation.

This is certainly happening in response to the continuing over the top examples of hypocrisy and has been an ongoing project of some outlets.* However, as far as the larger message from progressives goes, the notion of Republicans and rightwingers as consummate general practitioners of hypocrisy has not been a recurring theme.

In fact, what is unusual about this particular moment when we are experiencing a surge in stories about Republican and rightwing hypocrisy is not that the level of such hypocrisy has increased, but only that the coverage of that hypocrisy has increased.

And if the past is any guide, this recent uptick will be temporary unless progressives make a concerted effort to keep it at the forefront of the national narrative.

If we know a well is poisoned, we know that any water from that well is not fit to drink. This was true yesterday. It is true today and it will be true tomorrow. Any water from that well, no matter how shiny and clean the bucket seems to be, cannot be trusted to be safe.

Progressives need to establish the fundamental belief that Republicans and rightwingers — of any or no affiliations — are water from the poisoned well of hypocrisy. In time, some Republicans who are not hypocrites might gain positions of influence in their party and will not deserve that label. But, as seems obvious, this is not the way things are today.

In the mean time, if we want to avoid another 8 or 16 years of Republican rule under the leadership of Palin, Beck, O’Reilly and Limbaugh, it is the job of progressives to ensure that there is a virtually hardwired link in the mind of every voter between Republicans and rightwingers and the general — and predictable — practice of unrestrained hypocrisy.

You can check out the full Gingrich from the Daily Show last night here.

* Note, of course, that this is by no means an exhaustive, let alone any where near complete, list of recent and ongoing efforts to document and archive Republican and rightwing hypocrisy. Please feel free to provide other examples in the comments if interested.

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Politics, perception and reality: are Republicans really better than Democrats at messaging?

In vetting the part of the title to the left of the colon, I did a quick google search of the phrase “politics, perception and reality,” which yielded “about” 4,460 hits.

It’s a truism that in all areas of human endeavor, and maybe even more in early 21st century American politics, perception is not the same thing as reality. In many cases, it doesn’t even seem to come close to being an even somewhat faithful analog. But, turning to the part of this post’s title on the right side of the colon, are the Republicans and rightwingers more successful in messaging and, if so, why?

This is a long term project of mine and I don’t have any definitive answers at this point. And it’s not a question that really lends itself to final and definitive answers anyway. Still, it’s a question very much worth examining and doing so on a continuing basis.

Also, it’s not just a question about the strategies, tactics and relative effectiveness of the two parties’ propaganda efforts, but those of their constituents and allies as well, including various ostensibly independent news and media organizations.

My research centers on political discourse on the web and the literate practices of people engaging in such discourse individually, as part of groups, and on behalf of organizations and institutions. One obvious example is the teabaggers/tea partiers*, their influence on the Republican party and what I would contend is the complicity of Fox News.

I would also contend that, despite a very small number of progressives, the rest of the corporate media is structurally more in tune with rightwing/Republican policies and politics than the centrist/Democratic alternative. The asymmetry in that equation is deliberate: there hasn’t been a real leftwing/Democratic alliance in a very long time, if ever.

You could perhaps make a case about some of the anti war and pro civil rights work in the 60s, although I wouldn’t necessarily be so bold as to contend that civil rights is necessarily a leftwing agenda item. I realize that it has played out that way in American politics for at least several generations. Certainly, when fewer of “them” vote, it works to the advantage of rightwingers/Republicans. Also, the next contender, FDR’s New Deal reforms were actually quite centrist or at most center left in the politics of the time.

So, in short, I my argument is that there is a structural bias that favors rightwing/Republican policies and politics, which gives them an advantage in getting their message out and sustaining narratives that benefit them. However, I do not believe that exonerates the inability of Democrats, along with their erstwhile liberal and progressive constituents and allies, to formulate and disseminate effective messages and narratives.

It’s important to note that none of these coalitions, or their various components and subcomponents, are monolithic. In this post I have used “rightwing/Republican” as shorthand, but I realize that, as with their opponents, they do not make up a unified whole made up of completely like minded individuals.

*My preferred name is teabaggers. Despite protestations, this is the label they originally self applied. Liberals and progressives were quick to take advantage of the lack of cultural awareness of the “teabaggers.” After realizing their mistake, the wide assortment of groups and individuals who first proudly claimed this label began to refer to themselves as “tea partiers.” This is a very relevant example of the messaging battle and one that, I contend, shows that the rightwingers and Republicans are far from the messaging masters many are proclaiming them to be.


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Haiti, hate and scary willful ignorance

[Updated to acknowledge that Brzezinski might have been jokingly proposing what Palin also might have said. Thanks to reader Brienne.]

Light posting this week for a variety of reasons.

The Red Cross has a text donation option that automatically adds $10 to your phone bill. Text “Haiti” to 90999.

Pat Robertson is typically demented in his response to Haiti. What kind of person sees this and blames the victims for a supposed ‘deal with the devil’ their ancestors supposedly made? His dementia is sad but the number of people who believe he has a direct line to god is truly scary.

Rush Limbaugh is concerned that Obama will benefit from the Haitian tragedy. But remember, allegations that he is racist are absurd smears propagated by the left wing media.

Sarah Palin revamps the “all of them” answer in response to a gotcha question from that noted left wing radical Glenn Beck about who her favorite founding father is. TPM notes that as the crew of Morning Joe joked about her flailing answer, Mika Brzezinski says her favorite founding father is Lincoln. Really.

[Update: But reader Brienne notes in the comments that Brzezinski might have been mocking a possible Palin answer rather than reflecting her own sentiment. Although, it was in an exchange when the others were naming their favorite founding fathers, so the conclusion that Brzezinski was also listing her particular favorite also seems plausible. Please watch and add your interpretations.]


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I admit it: global warming, or climate change, is a hoax

You have to hand it to the neo birchers, flat earthers, birthers, climate change deniers and free lance commie spotters. Fueled by Fox “News” misinformation and willful misunderstanding, they never let facts or reality get in the way of their delusions and grand conspiracy theories.

They know there is a vast left wing conspiracy to sap America of its preciousness. Every single person in the media is in on the scam, from tyour local newspaper delivery people all the way up to our leaders, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. Of course, Fox “News” is free of taint, but they’re the only ones you can trust to report the exact and absolute truth, no matter what those independent fact checking organizations say about them getting things wrong so frequently.

Also, everyone in academia is in on the plot, from your children’s elementary school teachers to university researchers, professors and, the true masters of the universe, graduate students. We actually have weekly meetings to plot how best to destroy America and advance the global warming hoax.

Yes, I admit it. Global warming is a hoax. During our last meetings on taking down the country, we were told how we got all the scientists from universities and government agencies such as NASA and the EPA to lie and fake the data so we can pull off the scam.

The conspiracy is proceeding according to plan. I just hope Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin can be held off until it’s too late. Dasvidoniya, comrades.


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