Tag Archives: redstate

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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Birthers, Bunning and Birchers: how rightwing Republicans are setting themselves up to fail

There has been no shortage recently of Republicans concern trolling for the electoral future of Democrats. As Steven Benen notes, the Republicans are so sure that passage would be a disaster for their opposition, they’ve been working furiously to make it happen. Uh huh.

Dave Weigel writes about McCain’s birther gambit against an opponent that should never have been a problem for the former presidential nominee. As he notes, despite rightwing Republican protestations that it will not be effective, Democrats and allies are poised to use this and similar fringe issues and conspiracy theories as a wedge from now till November.

The strategy is to force Republican candidates to choose between their extremist base, who views the conspiracy as undebatable gospel, and potential independent supporters, who largely run away from the slightest hint of such fringe notions.

Bunning is receiving accolades at redstate for, with the help of other rightwing Republicans, furloughing thousands of workers and cutting off unemployment relief for hundreds of thousands of Americans. While the Sunday morning pharisees would rather gossip about the WH social director, this is an issue that will not help the Republicans at the voting booth.

Last, Rachel Maddow notes that the Birchers were not only in attendance at CPAC, they were actually sponsors of the annual rightwing pilgrimage. Nearly five decades after WF Buckley exiled them, they are being welcomed back into the rightwing complex with open arms.

Much has been made of the short memory of the American electorate recently, usually in the course of concern trolling advising Democrats not to even mention anything that happened from Jan 2001 to Jan 2009. I think most of this is just plain wrong if not outright disingenuous hot air.

Every time Cheney snorts in public, rational Republicans cringe. I know that’s an increasingly small subset of the party, but that’s my point.

By Scozzafavaing anyone who doesn’t toe the birther-bunning-bircher line, and toe it with gusto, the rightwingers and Republicans are walking into more election outcomes like NY23 than like Scott Brown’s unusual victory in Massachusetts.

If the American electorate truly does have a short memory span, then the drawn out, boring debate over hcr might be reduced to two images:

  1. histrionic middle aged white people shouting about socialism, ‘government interference’ in social security and medicaid/medicare, and birth certificates
  2. representative samples of the millions of people who were uncovered before Obama signed the bill expressing untold relief that they will not have to die to ensure the profits of the health insurance industry

What will be fresh in their minds’ eyes as they enter the voting booths will be the bloody infighting fueled by the birther-Bunning-bircher troika and whatever other nuttiness the rightwingers decide to put on display between now and November.

Is there any doubt that, feeling emboldened, they will really let their freak flags fly in the coming months?

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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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Rebranding the Party of No: Republicans try to put a positive spin on obstructionism

After the unexpected smackdown Obama gave the House Republicans, the rightwingers and Republicans are making clear that they are doubling down on the ‘Party of No’ obstructionism that has allowed them to monkeywrench hcr.

There’s not exactly a shortage of people offering all sorts of advice on getting messages across. One thing that seems clear is that presenting a laundry list facts and figures does not motivate adequate numbers of voters, either in the election booth or in polls and other gauges of ‘the mood of the country’ in between elections. Now I’d say that the notion of ‘the mood of the country’ is a pretty ludicrous construction. The best we can probably do is to talk about the predominant for now mood of various constituent groups of various coalitions. However, as the current teabagger infighting shows, even that may be several bridges too far.

Looking at blogs like Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, Think Progress, Crooks and Liars, Redstate, Town Hall and any number of others will show that posters and commenters at all these sites also express ‘internal’ dissension and outright infighting. Still, on specific elections and big issues like hcr, what are at other times loose groups tend to tighten up and coalesce around candidates and issue positions, especially when confronted with such polarized choices as they pretty much inevitably are in the US.

As I noted above, facts and figures alone, however impressively arrayed, do not generally pull voters into a dedicated orbit around a candidate or policy position. I have not yet really dug into the book, but I’m tending to think Drew Weston is right when, in The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, he argues that narratives, by reaching our emotions, are more persuasive.

As the rightwingers and Republicans have demonstrated, those stories and ’emotional truths’ need not actually be grounded in reality. However, when the narratives are actually based in fact rather than distortion, they have the beneficial effect of attracting the not insignificant number of voters who are persuaded by facts and figures.

Together with people who respond more positively to emotionally undergirded narratives, they might form a coalition that can counter the Party of No agenda of the rightwingers and Republicans.

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After lying on Colbert Report, Erickson forced to issue weak apology

Redstate chief Erickson lied on the Colbert Report about white house spokeswoman Linda Douglass calling opponents of health care reform “brownshirts.” Of course, she did no such thing.

But Erickson either fabricated a memory of her doing it or is just used to never being challenged on his serial inaccuracy. My guess is it’s the latter. For him, it is the true definition of Colbert’s “truthiness,” a concept Erickson remains pathetically, yet comically, ignorant of in his watered down apology.

In fact, Colbert had Douglass on the next day to give Erickson the smackdown he deserved. After such a public pwning, Erickson must have figured he could no longer stick with his lie, hence his self congratulatory fake apology. Here’s the gist of it:

I actually called Douglass that related to her demand for people to turn in their neighbors by forwarding in their emails with supposedly lies and mistruths about health care.

Goebbels was Hitler’s propaganda minister and believed that the big lie, if told often enough, would be accepted as truth. In her capacity in the White House promoting health care deform through propaganda and efforts to have people turn their neighbors in for daring to speak against Obamacare, and as a former journalist who gave soft ball interviews on the campaign trail to members of Obama’s campaign team, thereby helping him advance, then jumping ship to work for him, I still stand by the comparison

Douglass’s “demand” for people to snitch on their neighbors? Here’s the bit from the WH website that set off that bit of apoplexy:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Ya. That’s what Erickson is basing his comparison to Geobbels on. They actually believe this kind of behavior will propel them to great victories next November. Remember those Sarah Palin rallies from the campaign?

They will pale in comparison to what we’re in store for when the teabaggers let loose over the next eight months.

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Narrative of new Republican revolution probably peaking too early

I’ve been writing that I think the chatter of a coming Democratic doomsday is not likely to actually come to pass. The Republicans and rightwingers are hugely overconfident. They are emboldened and are getting set to let their freak flag fly even while they are heading into primaries and other internal fights that are going to be very unseemly and public and that will also cost them a lot of blood.

They will almost certainly move even further to the right, thinking they need to ramp up the tantrums of August and treat the entire country to NY-23 redux. If the extremists win the bloody infighting that will be prelude to November, then independents will turn away in droves.

If the preferred candidates of the Republican party ‘elites’ and ‘establishment’ survive the circular firing squads of spring and summer, the extremist base will be angry and disillusioned and just might, perhaps in several races, support third party candidates that will in fact serve up a repeat of NY-23.

The redstaters are very busy patting themselves on the back over Sens Dorgen’s and Dodd’s announcements of retirement as well as Republican’s prospects next November, with only one advocating caution.

Greg Sargent, differentiating between the comparative number of retirements from each party and the chances of the Dems keeping a senate super majority, notes that more Republicans than Democrats are retiring.

Eric Kleefeld at TPM, along with others but not the rightwing true believers, notes that the the Democrat likely to run for Dodd’s seat, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, is way ahead of any Republican.

Republicans still aren’t offering much substance

[from Politico via The Washington Monthly] “You are saying someone should be held accountable. Name one other specific recommendation the president could implement right now to fix this,” host George Stephanopoulos said to King.

“I think one main thing would be to — just himself to use the word terrorism more often,” said King, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee.

This charge is not only exceedingly silly, it’s demonstrably untrue.

And their internal conflicts are just heating up, especially in the Texas governor’s race, the Florida senate race and the primary for a Republican challenge to Barbara Boxer.

The funding numbers aren’t looking good for the Republicans and even Michael Steele is cautious about regaining majorities.

One Minnesota Republican says Democrats are worse than terrorists and another thinks it’s a good idea to call Obama “an arrogant black man.”

These are not the actions of a party that is in fact on the brink of a resurgence.

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Over confident rightwingers might hamstring Republicans in 2010

Steve Singiser at Daily Kos has a great piece about the possible hamstringing of the Republicans by the tea baggers. He describes the recent NY-23 race to make his central point:

In one hand, the Republican party funded the Scozzafava candidacy with independent expenditures that may well have topped a million dollars. In the other hand was the steadily increasing number of Republican “regulars” eager to embrace the third-party insurgent conservative, Doug Hoffman. It culminated in the campaign’s final week, when no less a Republican figure than national party chairman Michael Steele essentially abandoned his own nominee, saying that a Hoffman victory would be just fine by him, since Hoffman, too, was a registered Republican.

This is a microcosm of the problem confronting the GOP. They want to harness the potential political energy and power of the “tea party” movement. But they are very wary of ceding their party to that movement. Thus, the often absurd dance of the Republican Party, which in one breath embraces the teabaggers while in the next breath endeavoring hard to keep them at arms length. [emphasis added]

I have to make the usual caveat that the elections are still a long way away and anything can happen. Still, as things stand now, this could well be how things play out.

First, the obvious point is that the party establishment have painted themselves into a corner: they are increasingly reliant on a small segment of the population and, in pandering to this rump, they alienate moderates and independents who could otherwise be persuaded to vote Republican. This is largely a zero sum game: when they move further to the right, they appease the base but turn off the middle persuadables and when they move a little back to the center, they attract some of the fence sitters but make the base righteously and terribly angry in the process.

They know this is not a tenable long term position to be in and are busy co opting and softening the tea baggers, but that’s a long term project. In the short run, they think they will be able to hold the Rube Goldberg contraption that is their current coalition together long enough to win great victories in 2010.

They believe this is possible because the progressive and liberal base of the Democratic party is not as energized as the rightwing base of the Republican party.

While it is true that progressives and liberals are, rightfully I believe, dismayed, very few are disillusioned. Most of us knew Obama was center-left at best. That doesn’t mean progressives are happy, just that they are not all that surprised.

Rightwingers and Republicans at sites like redstate.com take it as an article of faith that the progressive/liberal base is practically in shock, disillusioned beyond redemption at their failed ‘messiah.’ This is inaccurate.

Despite the picture painted by some Democrats and many in the media, progressives are supremely patient and willing to compromise. As the elections draw closer, there will be endless comparisons to 1994. This is not 1994.

Aided by the especially self defeating Republican absolutist opposition to health care reform, various elements of the liberal/progressive base along with vast swaths of independent persuadables will not only turn away from Republicans but will actually vote for Democrats.

The Democrats were already planning to run on an argument that voting Republican would be voting to turn back the clock on a little loved decade. And now, the Republican pledge of total reform repeal will make that astoundingly easy to argue.

And this isn’t even accounting for the rightwing Republicans civil wars that will break out in primaries and over various issues before then. It will be public and it will be messy. Democrats and lefties will do all they can to fan the flames, not least by making Republicans and rightwingers take an explicit stand on total repeal of health care reform. Immigration will be another flash point.

Remember, the redstaters and their ilk think of NY-23 as a victory because it forced the ‘party elites’ to endorse a teabagger, even if retroactively. I doubt the ‘elites’ view it the same way.

Update: redstate chief Erickson is right on cue:

If Conservatives Are Serious About Their Resurgence, They Will Defeat Bob Bennett (R-UT)

…snip…

Trust me, the people who treat pro-lifers with the most distain [sic] are not pro-choice leftists, but leadership Republicans who want their money and vote, but otherwise wish they’d shut the heck up.

And that situation is going to continue until conservatives decide to take a Republican scalp in a GOP primary.

Allow me to recommend Bob Bennett (R-UT). In fact, if conservatives really do want to be taken seriously by the GOP and not be seen as just puppets for leadership, defeating Bob Bennett should be the number one agenda item of every conservative in the United States of America, even surpassing the desire to see Marco Rubio beat Charlie Crist. [emphasis in original]

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