Tag Archives: think progress

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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Predictions and threats of violence are increasingly frequent in rightwing discourse

The usual chest thumpers at redstate are all in, calling everyone to the left of Dubya “evil,” comparing Obama to a tyrant and predicting blood:

The Difference Between Them and Us
Obama as King George III or There will be blood [updated]
Mike DeVine’s Rule of Blood, Munich and the Rule of Law, and the Hanging of Jake Spoon

And Think Progress has this from the Heritage Foundation. After Cantor finished a speech attacking Obama over the failed Times Square car bomb, a questioner asks him why Obama shouldn’t be called a ‘domestic enemy.’ Here’s the transcript and video, both via Think Progress [emphasis in original]:

QUESTION: My question is – and this is something I personally don’t understand – if it’s a naïve question then I apologize: in light of what Obama has done to leave us vulnerable, to cut defense spending, to make us vulnerable to outside enemies, and to slight our allies, how (pause) – what would he have to do differently to be defined as a domestic enemy? (applause)

CANTOR: Listen, let me respond very forthright to that: you know, no one thinks the President is a domestic enemy. (boos)

Cantor is a savvy politician and, to his credit, he denies that the label is appropriate. But he doesn’t do so until after he laughs at the suggestion that Obama should be called a “domestic enemy” and lets his smile linger while the crowd laughs along.

Then they boo him for saying that the democratically elected president should not be called an enemy of the country. Had this exchange not been in front of cameras, do you think he would have just stuck with his first instinct?

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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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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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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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