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In the world of Right-wingnuttery, it is considered important to espouse only fundamentalist religious views: gays are evil, abortion is evil, Obama is the Antichrist, and Halloween is a symphony for the devil in which demons hide in candy and take over kid’s souls, turning them into Satan’s Little Helpers, ie witches.
But there’s Christine O’Donnell bragging about once being a witch and having picnics on a satanic altar, so here comes Glenn Reynolds, A-1, top o’ the heap RW blogger, bigger than Powerline and Mad Michelle combined, to tell us – and all his soon-to-be-ex-fundamentalist friends, I suspect – that witchcraft ain’t so bad. I mean, whatever evil lurks in those covens, being “a witch is better than [being] a Marxist. Which is undoubtedly true.” (Via Ray Edroso)
Apparently, backing up an embarrassingly incompetent and hopelessly insane TeaBag whacko is more important in the the RW World than any sort of religious belief one might hold. One wonders what the Values crowd is going to think about Glenn’s wholesale embrace of black magic.
Paul Krugman reminds me to remind you that the VRWC is still fully operational. In fact you can see it playing out RIGHT NOW in “The Great (Fake) TeaBag Caper“.
[I]t turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.But that’s nothing new, and AstroTurf has worked well for Republicans in the past. The most notable example was the “spontaneous” riot back in 2000 — actually orchestrated by G.O.P. strategists — that shut down the presidential vote recount in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.
This is, of course, precisely the technique they used to drown the newspapers of 1983 in letters and demonstrations and (canned) phone calls demanding that they stop “picking on” St Ronnie. Paul may only go back as far as 2000 but I go all the way back to the beginning.
Ronald Reagan was neither an intelligent nor a well-read man. When members of the Congress first met him in person, almost universally their first impression of him was that he was astoundingly ignorant. He knew nothing about how government actually operated, nothing about other countries, nothing about treaties, and little about the functions of his own agencies. In The Power Game (1989), Hedrick Smith draws a clear picture of a man who was extremely good at acting the role of a “president” yet lacked nearly all the knowledge and most of the governing skills one would consider minimum in the leader of the most powerful country on earth. Or any country, for that matter.
In other words, Ronald Reagan was pretty much a stooge/figurehead. He looked good on tv but the real work was being done by others. Reagan bragged about being a “delegator” and he was. He delegated virtually every responsibility of his office to others. On closer inspection his vaunted political skills, for instance, turn out to have been not his but Bush Family consiglieri James Baker’s, at least in the first term. Baker beat back his sillier ideas and protected him from his own political and intellectual stupidity. When Baker left in the second term to become Treas Sec his place was taken by a member of the California Mafia Reagan had brought with him to DC, Atty Gen Edwin Meese, who had been Reagan’s Chief of Staff when he was Gov of California. Meese was an ideologue, not a politician. Like most far-right ideologues, including Saint Ronnie, he looked down his nose at politicians and made no attempt to cultivate members of Congress. As a result of his arrogant naivete, Reagan’s so-called “political skills” deserted him in the second term and in pretty short order we had the public relations disasters and Constitutional crises of Bitburg, Reykjavik, and Iran/Contra. Among others.
But if his political skills actually belonged to someone else and his intellectual quotient was negligible, it’s undeniable that he looked good on television. He was the Grandad we never had, the old man whose pithy comments sounded like wisdom if you didn’t think about them for more than 12 seconds and who gave you quarters for ice cream cones when your parents wanted you to wait til after supper. He was sweet, he looked harmless, and if he said stupid stuff once in a while (OK, a lot), he was nevertheless kind and mostly harmless. We liked him. And we didn’t like it when the press kept picking on him, making fun of him for saying that trees pollute and debunking his funny stories, like the one about the welfare queen and her Cadillac. So what if it didn’t happen? So what if she didn’t even exist? So what if he heard it at a cocktail party for his rich corporate executive sponsors and believed it? What difference did that make? Leave the guy alone.
The reason for Reagan’s huge popularity has always escaped me. He struck me as an incompetent clown who had somehow escaped from the John Birch Society Circus. I could believe California could take a mental midget, raging right-wing fruitcake and professional corporate mouthpiece seriously – everybody in CA is nutz – but it never occurred to me that the country-at-large would do anything but tell him to shut up, go home, eat his porridge and quit bothering the grown-ups. I should have known better. We voted for Tricky Dick twice and he was a paranoid-schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur and a mean streak. But our feeling for Reagan went far beyond mere approval. It approached love, and that baffled me. Still does. But then as a director and actor I’m used to separating actors from the roles they play. The country clearly wasn’t. They fell for all of it, the whole childish performance, cowboy boots and all. In fact, they adored it. And him.
I like Glenn Greenwald and consider his Salon blog a Must-Read most days but his insistent refusal to accept the deliberate nature of right-wing pundit fantasizing has become annoying and his benefit-of-the-doubt criticisms of the MSM and Democratic inactivity may be downright dangerous. Fortunately, his readers aren’t as backward as he is.
Probably not, but his latest column does illustrate perfectly how otherwise intelligent liberals can get trapped into saying incredibly stoopid things.
One of the characteristics that sets liberals and progressives apart from conservatives and of which we are most proud is our willingness to listen. Being a conservative means never having to say you’re sorry, never having to admit you’re wrong about anything no matter what the facts say, and never again having to actually listen to anybody who disagrees with you. You just memorize a few of the standard slogans and shout them as loud as you can, loud enough to drown out critics – and facts. It’s easy.
Left-wingers, otoh, have taken a blood oath of fairness, and they’re just as rigid about its application as conservatives are in despising it. Lefties will listen to anyone with respect, even if they are obviously raving lunatics frothing at the mouth and falling over backwards. And not just listen, mind you, but try to understand their point of view.
It’s all very fair and balanced but it can lead to precisely the same disregard of the truth as he said/she said journalism when you bend over so far to be “fair” that you give the same weight to a lie as a fact just because it comes out of your opponent’s mouth. For instance, Kinsley claims that Libby’s trial came about through a “perjury trap” similar to the one Ken Starr used on Bill Clinton.
Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe‘s resident neocon and a charter member of the Right-Wing Noise Machine, thought the Democratic debate last night was funny because – get this – it wasn’t substantive.
[M]aybe the funniest moment was when the young wife of a New Hampshire soldier serving in Iraq asked the candidates what they would do to rebuild the US military, and Representative Dennis Kucinich vowed to cut the defense budget by 25 percent.
Or when Senator Hillary Clinton, who refuses to take part in a presidential debate co sponsored by Fox News, denounces the Bush administration for having a policy of “we don’t talk to people we don’t agree with or think are bad.”
But in truth, last night’s debate wasn’t funny. It was worrisome. Worrisome that in 120 minutes of talk, not one of the Democratic candidates had anything substantive to say about the global jihad. Worrisome that all but one of the Democrats oppose legislation to declare English the official language of the United States. Worrisome that on the issue they spent the most time discussing — the war in Iraq — not one spoke seriously or responsibly about the consequences of an American withdrawal.
The RWNM has apparently reached the stage when its irony is itself an irony and substance is to be defined as adherence to the loopy unrealities and misogynistic nationalism of the Neocon Fear Patrol. To the RWNM, if a candidate won’t pretend there’s such a thing as a “global jihad” or that English-only legislation isn’t silly political posturing, they aren’t “serious”. Whereas the Republican candidates’ trying to 1-up each other over who would make the US the biggest and worst torturer or who watches more hours/day of the Intelligent Design Cartoon Network and believes more fervently in Tinkerbell is no doubt considered deep philosophical debate, solemn and sublime.
I assume you’ve heard by now about ex-spook and Bush antagonist Ray McGovern’s rather startling statement on Tucker Carlson’s show that he has evidence Li’l Dick was behind the Italian forgery of the Niger yellowcake papers. I say “rather startling” because anybody who sat down and thought about it for five minutes probably figured it out already, so it’s not exactly striking people as something that came out of the clear blue, more like something they suspected all along.
But there’s something here no one is talking about – the context in which McGovern made his remark, and that context truly is startling, at least to me. You can see the whole interview at Crooks and Liars (where else?), and I urge you to watch it all the way through.