Tag Archives: palin

The Economy, Nativism and Islamophobia

by john

In previous times it was other religious and immigrant groups that became the American national scapegoats. Today it is all muslims, from would be directors of community outreach centers to random cab drivers. Real Americans sure do love to hate those lesser people among us. And, for the record, those ‘lesser people’ include everyone who doesn’t think Sarah Palin and Rand Paul are the best things out there.

The Real Americans define who is a fellow Real American and who is lesser. In their considered opinion, the lesser are almost all non white people, although some will be let inside the gates as junior conditional members after a suitable show of obsequiousness. They are all muslims. They are many jews. They are all christians who dare to believe in social justice. They are all, airport bathrooms and meth fueled gay hooker massage sessions aside, all non straight people. They are not only liberals but rightwingers who served in the Reagan and Bush administrations but who don’t completely toe the far rightwing fringe line.

The self proclaimed Real Americans are puffed up but scared and wounded, mostly white people who are afraid of losing their white privilege. They are not unique to America, at base. Every society has a certain proportion of scared reactionary troglodytes who will always hate and suspect the other, however that other is defined at any particular moment.

But, in times of economic hardship, their vile can spread beyond their nominal ranks. In recent years, the trogs seem to make up between 20 and 30 per cent of the population. But, Ed Brayton at his blog Dispatches from the Culture War at Science Blogs, brings us this depressing news:

click on link to The Economist

Brayton seems to have misread a particular result and claims that fewer than half of the Democrats approve it, which is noted in the first comment, but still. Fewer than 60 per cent of these Dems approve it and a quarter oppose it. Another commenter, ‘Abby Normal,’ makes this good point:

This poll was from an opt-in internet survey of 1000 people. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking on my part. But it seems likely that those who opt in would be those with the strongest (i.e. emotionally driven) opinion. If so, bias toward anti-Islamic opinions skewing the results seems entirely likely.

That’s somewhat hopeful, but only slightly so. It seems that all human societies are prone to this sort of xenophobia. Despite all the rightwing hoopla about ‘American Exceptionalism,’ America is not, never has been, and likely never will be immune from this.

But one thing is different now. People are on record with their opinions and positions on this and the record is archived. The xenophobes will never be able to run from the bigotry and prejudice they are spewing these days. There are tens if not hundred of millions of people on the web who will make sure that the vileness they are indulging in now will be hung around their necks for the rest of their lives and forever after that.

They don’t get to walk away from this ugliness when they decide it is no longer politically beneficial.

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Teabaggers vs the NAACP: jumping the hooded shark

While I’ve been predicting the teabaggers would come undone this summer, I thought it would mainly be over immigration. I think there’s still time for that, this reaction to the NAACP statement was unexpected:

Tea Party Leader Condemns NAACP For Making ‘More Money Off Of Race Than Any Slave Trader Ever’
WILLIAMS: You’re dealing with people who are professional race baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It’s time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history. [emphasis in original]

Palin called the NAACP move ‘regressive.’

This will further endear Palin and the teabagger leaders to their base, but it won’t do much for their standing with the rest of the country.

At redstate, a site which quickly and shamelessly bans commenters who deviate from the party line and erases comments the mods find particularly bothersome with wanton abandon, a very racist comment has been allowed to stand in two threads, with the only complaint being that it was posted almost verbatim on the two threads. Here’s an excerpt and a link:

Is someone a racist because they think Western Civilization is superior to African Civilization? Is that same person “racist” because they can point out that Africans is less intelligent than whites or Asians? Is one racist because they point out that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime? Is a white woman “racist” when she is afraid to walk her dog in a black neighborhood? I, and the vast majority of white Americans agree with me, do not consider myself “racist” because I have such opinions. Perhaps then the label of “racist” is a good attribute and not a bad in the minds of the vast majority of the public subjected to these daily calumnies.

People like this believe that it you’re not an active member of the KKK and you don’t shout the n-word at people, or at least don’t do so very frequently, then you, by definition, cannot be a racist. Needless to say, most people have somewhat different views on the matter.

Many rightwing republican commenters at sites such as redstate and even blogs like The Plumline make the claim that they have been called racist so many times that they are inure, of even consider it a badge of honor or evidence that they have won a debate. Many also seem to crave having the subject of race and racism brouhgt to the fore of our national discourse. They think they will defeat the ‘race hustlers’ like the NAACP.

They are wrong. They are so caught up in their echo chamber that they don’t realize how unpopular their views are with the vast majority of Americans. The same vast majority of Americans who will not be associated with the racial animosity and bigotry exhibited by these reactions to the NAACP statement.

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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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Rationalizing hypocrisy and bad ideas: how to remind voters why they rejected the Republicans

The recent take downs of Palin and Limbaugh for their hypocrisy of use of the term “retard” are good models for how to counter such illogical positions. Colbert’s dissection of the double standard from last night’s show is one of the better ones I’ve seen.

The same is true for the weird rightwing jab that Obama is somehow dependent on teleprompters. This is gold for the committed rightwingers but leaves everybody else shaking their heads. Of course, Palin’s use of note cards during the speech and palm reading during the pre vetted Q&A session makes the hypocrisy even more evident, as does the defense of Palin for doing so.

Below are two examples of defense of these double standards from the commenters at redstate. Note that they seem completely oblivious to the cognitive dissonance they engage in. That is an artifact of hyper partisan speech that has completely left rationality behind.

But, while they might not see their own hypocrisy, it is glaringly obvious not only to those on the left, but also to any one who is not already a committed Obama hater mired in reactionary groupthink. The Dems need to remind independents of what they will be in store for if they vote for the current slate of rightwing Republicans as a means of protest.

They also need to remind them that, along with all the usual hypocrisy, come ideas like privatizing social security, ending medicare and declaring war on Iran.

Here are some redstaters defending Palin’s use of crib notes and giving Limbaugh a pass on the use of “retard.” Although it has to be said that not everyone over there is enamored of Palin and the author of this post criticized Palin’s hypocrisy over use of term, labeling his post “Sarah blew it,” which drew these as the first two comments:

you are WRONG, she answered him perfectly on that question….
JadedByPolitics Tuesday, February 9th at 5:11AM EST (link)
because Rush was doing it satirically did you hear him or did you pick up your talking points from Media Matters? BTW when you live by the PC code you will die by the PC and that is what she made Rahm do and for that she is CORRECT!

I suspect in a debate with The idiot and his Teleprompter she and her palm would SMACK him around. Sarah Palin hit is out of the park in the past week at advancing Conservative Values as she had the entirety of the LEFTIST media watching her every word and of course then there are those like YOU who want to batter her as well but so be it because she is STILL STANDING and what she is saying is gaining traction in America and when the populace likes what they hear they vote OUT Democrats!

Without his TOTUS Obambi is a bumbling idiot
nessa Tuesday, February 9th at 5:19AM EST (link)
he is barely capable with the damn thing. Soon it will be whispering in his ear so he doesn’t screw up corpsman or some other equally difficult word. The tingler and the rest of the lame stream media praise his ability as an orator, but like the rest of obambi’s history, there is nothing to back that up. An orator can speak without the TOTUS, Obambi is reduced to a mumbling idiot without his. I’d rather write an entire speech on my hand than rely upon the TOTUS and the words of the man behind the curtain that feed the great and powerful Oz.

Again, their double standard is invisible to them but is shockingly obvious to everyone else. We need to remind voters that this hypocrisy is not just a fodder for jokes but is emblematic of their entire approach to governing and campaigning.

For a while the Party of No was a good counter to the rightwing Republicans. We should now change that to the Party of Hypocrisy. These issues will stick in people’s mind and make it that much easier for them to see the hypocrisy that is so rife in so much else of what the rightwingers and Republicans preach to the rest of us.

An added benefit is that, as is seen on this thread and elsewhere, such blatant adherence to double standards also drives a wedge between various factions even of the redstate community. This is even more true of the broader rightwing Republican coalition.

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What might have been: Sarah Palin reminds Americans what they voted against

David Weigel at TWI is reporting on the Palin speech to the “Tea Party Convention” in Nashville. I’ve dvr’d it and have only listened to the first fifteen minutes and will either update this post or write more expansively tomorrow.

For now I’ll just say that she is putting the capstone on the merger between the so called tea party — or parties — and the Republican party. It was obvious anyway, but now they’re not even trying to put up a facade. Still, I think that’s a a move that will diminish their outsider credibility and spark various internal skirmishes.

Also, by defending the Bush administration and adopting, in the first fifteen minutes at least, a combative tone reminiscent of some of her really odious posturing during the campaign, it seems that she is giving quite a gift to the administration and congressional Democrats.

Update: Okay, it’s only been a few minutes, but

…and around the world, people who are seeking freedom from oppressive regimes wonder if Alaska is still that beacon of hope for their cause…

I’d have more sympathy for her stumbling over her notes if she hadn’t repeated the strange rightwing Republican attack on Obama as somehow being dependent on teleprompters.

Update II:

…and unethical shameless tactics like considering a candidates children fair game…

Like Rush Limbaugh, John McCain and many other rightwing Republicans did to Chelsea Clinton?

and

and children with special needs are welcomed in this world and embraced

Like the way Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck used exactly the same term Rahm Emanuel used, except they used it explicitly to mock and ridicule developmentally challenged people?

Update III: her hypocrisy is shameless. Sam Stein at Huffington Post notes the following about her Sunday morning appearance on Fox

Palin also used her platform to continue a call for the president to rid himself of his closest advisers. On Attorney General Eric Holder, she labeled his handling of captured terrorists — “allowing them our U.S. constitutional protections when they do not deserve them” — a firing offense. On Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, she said his comments calling liberal groups “f-ing retards” was “indecent and insensitive” and cause for his dismissal.

But the former governor went to great and sometimes awkward lengths to insist that when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh used the same exact term to describe the same exact group, it was simply in the role of political humorist.

“They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh,” she said, when read a quote of Limbaugh calling liberal groups “retards.” “Rush Limbaugh was using satire … . I didn’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with ‘f-ing retards,’ and we did know that Rahm Emanuel, as has been reported, did say that. There is a big difference there.”

Also, there are now pictures and videos of the notes she scrawled on her hand; no word on whether she wrote the notes before or after she made the telepromter dig.

Again, this would normally not be a big deal if she hadn’t repeated the weird teleprompter line. Also, as Stefan Sirucek notes at HuffPo in the above link, it was a “lovefest” with pre selected questions. Criticizing Obama’s performance at the “question time” with House Republicans and overlooking this requires some world class level mental gymnastics.

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Poll finds many Republicans disconnected from reality; Wapo calls Obama disconnected despite its own polling data

David Kurtz at TPM and Greg Sargent at The Plumline note that, sadly unsurprisingly, a Washington Post article is disproved by the paper’s own polling data. If anyone wonders why people turn away from these corporate mouthpieces when good alternatives exist on the web, this fiasco says it all.

As Sargent points out, when asked whether Obama “understand the problems of people like you,” 57% said yes, 42% said no and 2% were undecided. And the Post chooses to portray this by asserting “almost half” of the respondents feel he is disconnected. They’re not even trying anymore; just like the guy on Hardball yesterday who, in explaining his opposition to ending DADT, said he wanted to outlaw homosexuality.

All of this comes on the heels of the Research2000/DailyKos poll showing how fringe most self identified Republicans are:

Should Obama be impeached?
no: 32%
yes/not sure: 68%

Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?
no: 21%
yes/not sure: 79%

Do you believe Barack Obama wants the terrorists to win?
no: 43%
yes/not sure: 57%

Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election?
no: 24%
yes/not sure: 76%

Do you believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama?
no: 14%
yes/not sure: 86%

Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates White people?
no: 36%
yes/not sure: 64%

Do you believe your state should secede from the United States?
no: 58%
yes/not sure: 42%

Should public school students be taught that the book of Genesis in the Bible explains how God created the world?
no: 15%
yes/not sure: 85%

Should contraceptive use be outlawed?
no: 56%
yes/not sure: 44%

Do you believe the birth control pill is abortion?
no: 48%
yes/not sure: 52%

Do you consider abortion to be murder?
no: 8%
yes/not sure: 92%

Do you believe that the only way for an individual to go to heaven is though Jesus Christ, or can one make it to heaven through another faith?
other: 15%
christ/not sure: 85%

These are not people who have the slightest interest in compromise or bipartisan unicorns and rainbows. If Democrats want to achieve legislative and further electoral success, they must bring this craziness out in the open.

Call them on it. Force votes that make Republican incumbents and candidates to stake out a position on wedge issues that will force them to choose between the fringe elements in the base and moderates and independents who will not support the extremist positions that titillate the base.

Call into radio shows; go to forums, rallies and townhalls and make the Republicans stake out a position on these issues. Don’t let them have their cake and eat it too.

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