Category Archives: right wing

Sh*t Wingnuts Believe

The cavalcade of stupid that is Wingnuttia has reached new heights in recent weeks. I’ve had half a dozen pieces of dumbfuckery randomly land in my lap lately, which makes me think the FWD:ing of the revolution has hit overdrive.

This is the kind of crazy stuff that usually falls from the mouths of dim bulbs like Michele Bachmann: FEMA camps! Death panels! Etcetera. So I’m thinking maybe some Weekly Word News writers have found gainful employment at the RNC.

Here are few of the choicest ones:

• The White House officially declared 9/11 Grandparents Day.

I saw this one posted over at the Free Republic, including a link to President Obama’s presidential proclamation declaring Sept. 11. 2011 Grandparents Day. And isn’t Obama’s Grandmother a Kenyan socialist Muslim? Of course she is. Well it all makes so much sense now! To arms, Wolverines!

Actually, Grandparents Day has been celebrated in the United States since 1978. It is always the first Sunday after Labor Day which, in 2011, happened to be Sept. 11.

• Obama is ceding oil-rich Alaskan islands to Russia! Because … he hates America! And he’s a big, fat Commie! And … well, typical black man, taking all our good shit and giving it away to his lazy friends!

I saw this one posted in several places, including the blog of Jim “Dim” Hoft, the dumbest man on the internets, though some Paultards have flogged it as well.

Actually, the islands were officially “ceded” to Russia in 1991 by then-president George H.W. Bush. (Actually, it was a boundary dispute, but it had nothing to do with Obama anyway).

• Ring! Ring! Ring! It’s Obamaphone! Yes that’s right, your crazy winger uncle believes that President Obama is giving free government cell phones to welfare recipients, because Obama is all about taking your hard earned money and giving free shit to those lazy, shiftless black people.

This one started over at the Rush show (Google it, I ain’t sending traffic over there). But it’s debunked over here. Another program started by previous administrations that nobody had a problem with until there was a black man in the White House.

• The Obamas gave up their law licenses to avoid ethics charges that they lied to the Illinois Bar. This one also started in some crackpot corner of the internet, was swallowed whole by the rubes, and regurgitated at places like Free Republic.

It’s not true.

I dunno, do liberals send this stuff out? I never get this kind of stuff from my lefty friends.


Filed under right wing

Maybe Loyalty Oaths Aren’t Such A Bad Idea

Anti-abortion zealot Randall Terry (of Operation Rescue fame) is apparently running for president as a Democrat.

As a challenger to President Obama.

Why, pray tell? So he can run television ads featuring bloody fetuses during the Super Bowl. Yes, you read that right:

The spots will feature the type of hysterical “THIS IS AN ABORTED FETUS!!!!1” imagery typical to anti-abortion rights materials, even though most of the images will show very late term fetuses and the vast majority of abortions (88%) occur within the first trimester. Further, many women who abort late in their pregnancies do so because of a heartbreaking set of circumstances that interferes with a wanted pregnancy. No one just skips on into the abortion clinic at 20 weeks, giddy with excitement and glinting with bloodthirsty anti-baby rage; no one enjoys having an abortion at all. And whatever stories are behind the images Terry plans to use are undoubtedly complicated and sad. But facts have never gotten in the way of Randall Terry’s crusade to ruin hot wings and bean dip permanently for everyone.

The ads won’t be airing nationally, because Terry’s nutbaggery could be rejected by the networks at a national level. But in 40 major markets, the ad must be allowed to air. That’s because Terry’s running for President as a Democrat challenging Barack Obama, and federal law requires local TV stations to air ads of candidates in time slots that occur within a 45-day window of the state party’s primary election. And because the Super Bowl lies within the 45-day window in many markets, if Terry can muster up the funding, Super Bowl viewers from coast to coast will be treated to some unappetizing, mood-killing and misleading propaganda.

Holy Nipplegate, Batman! Yes, Randall Terry loves children SO much he’s going to traumatize them with his sick and twisted advertising campaign. I would not want to be on the switchboard of the local affiliates forced to air this ad. This is the kind of stunt that just pisses people off, instead of winning them to your cause. Which, no doubt, is why he’s running as a Democrat. Clueless Americans who’ve never heard of Randall Terry will direct their rage at the political party least affiliated with this nutball.

Then again, I doubt any ads will actually air. My money says Terry is in it for the PR value.


Filed under abortion, conservatives, right wing

For The Birds

A couple weeks ago a friend forwarded along this hilarious video sent him by a wingnut buddy. You can now see it over at

It’s one of those tortured analogies people often devise to justify being assholes. Here’s this guy comparing his bird feeder to unemployment benefits. He put up “da boid feedah” and ach! Da boids, dey made a mess! On da patio! And next to da bahbecue! And da poop! Everywhere! And da boids, some of ’em, dey turned mean! Dive bombin’ and everythin’, dese ungrateful asshole boids! Ach! After all I’d done for ’em, too! Offa my lawn! I took down de boid feedah and problem solved! No more poop! Yay!

And this, my friends, is how we solve the unemployment problem! Just stop giving people unemployment benefits and they magically go away. Amiright?

Hilarious. Funnily enough, I happened to watch this video on the same day that I had gone down to my local retailer and picked up about 50 pounds of bird seed for my own feeders. So as I’m filling my feeders and hearing my avian friends chirp excitedly in the trees I thought to myself: you know what? I’ve been feeding birds in my backyard for years and I’ve just never had these problems. I don’t have bird nests in inappropriate places, nor is my patio covered in bird poop. And none of my birds have ever dive-bombed us when the feeders are low. Funnily enough, I just have never had this man’s experience with the local wildlife. I wonder why. Maybe, just maybe, this tortured analogy was pulled out of somewhere other than reality.

It’s a popular wingnut myth that, during the Second Great Depression when unemployment has been stuck at a stubborn 10% or so (and is most certainly higher than that, because people who have given up looking are no longer counted), somehow people have no jobs because they’re lazy. Somehow, people who have never had to take unemployment are just convinced that the benefits are so generous that people would rather sit back in the La-Z-Boy and just wait for those checks to roll in than get off their asses and work for a living.

Indeed, this week we heard that same idea from Tennessee’s own smug, self-righteous Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, aka the “Shadow Governor,” referring to unemployment benefits as “a lifestyle” because someone told him there are jobs but no applicants out there.

Hey, Ron Ramsey: I’m going to call bullshit on that little anecdote. Mr. Ramsey needs to pony up here. You know of someone with job openings? Give us their name and phone number. Put it in the paper. Betcha anything they will be overwhelmed with applicants, just like the 5,000 people who showed up for 1,600 jobs at Nissan this week.

I dare you. No, I double dare you.

You know what else I’m calling bullshit on? This:

Ramsey’s event also spotlighted his Web site documenting anti-business state government decisions.


“The ironic part about this is we will have some people get on the Web site and call us and then we will ask ‘Can we use this publicly?’” Ramsey said of the information collected by the Web site. “Most people don’t want to be cited publicly. … They are dealing with the Department of Revenue, the Department of Environment and Conservation, and think there will be repercussions.”

Really? Well, I guess if you say so, then! Clearly government is the problem, not the solution, says the man who has devoted months to gun nuts and blocking peoples’ voting rights, but didn’t do one thing to actually help the state’s employment situation. We’ll just take your word for it! Unless, like our friend with “da boid feedah,” you’re just making shit up. Wouldn’t put it past you one bit, either. But we’ll never know!

Hey guess what: I have this super-secret story too, about how all of the knuckle-dragging homophobic Muslim-hating Neanderthals in our state legislature have kept businesses away from the state of Tennessee. Someone whose name rhymes with “Pierrot Brevada.” But when I asked them if I could go public with it, they all said they didn’t want to be cited publicly, either.

What a coinky-dinky.

Here’s a thought: let’s stop blaming people in desperate straights straits for the economic situation. Let’s recognize that we are in the middle of the Second Great Depression right now. Taking away people’s unemployment benefits is not going to solve the unemployment problem. It’s just going to inhibit people’s ability to buy food, medicine and pay their rent. How that’s supposed to solve anything, I have no clue.


Filed under right wing, Ron Ramsey, unemployment

Heads We Win, Tails You Lose

So, let’s make sure we have this straight:

• The FBI raid on Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar panels, is proof that Obama is a “crony capitalist” and a crook;

• The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s raid on Gibson Guitars is a politically-motivated attack on a “job creator.”

Is that right? Just trying to make sense out of the these contradictory right wing narratives.


Filed under right wing

The Tennessean Strikes Again

More corporate astroturfing from The Tennessean? I know, y’all are shocked!

Our local fishwrap ran a hit piece on electric vehicles today, using the National Center for Public Policy Research as its source. This group is another one of those right-wing think tanks funded by the usual suspects (Scaife, Olin and Bradley foundations, as well as Philip Morris and ExxonMobil). They have an anti-environmental agenda, and have been on the, um, “leading edge” of climate change denial since the ’90s. They’re pro-fracking, pro-drilling, and anti-endangered species. Their president is Amy Moritz Ridenour, who recently found her way over here to comment on my “There Is No Light Bulb Ban” post. Basically these are people who if they saw a butterfly floating by, they’d stomp on it.

I’d forgotten about Ridenour’s NCPPR connection (funny, since it was just a few days ago. D’oh!), but I remembered they were in the news for laundering Tom DeLay’s travel money. The organization set off big Jack Abramoff bells with me, as well. So I Google’d. Ah yes: Abramoff was a former board member and used this organization to distribute some of his Choctaw donations:

Another scholar whose Abramoff Fellowship has gone largely unquestioned is Amy Ridenour, who was and remains president of the right-wing National Center for Public Policy Research. Ridenour received some unwelcome attention last year when she testified before a Senate committee investigating Abramoff’s activities. The subject was a $1 million grant that Abramoff, a longtime friend of Ridenour’s who served on her board, funneled from his client, the Mississippi Choctaw Indian tribe, through NCPPR. Some of the money ended up in Abramoff’s pocket. Ridenour testified that she was unaware of the latter transaction. But why did she agree to let NCPPR be a front group for these contributions in the first place? And why did she similarly agree to put NCPPR’s imprimatur on a congressional junket that Abramoff led to Great Britain, one that famously included a stop at the St. Andrews golf course in Scotland? (Ridenour has said she didn’t know in advance about this side trip.)

Ah, well. That’s all water under the bridge. But you know, it’s a little odd that The Tennessean never even identified the NCPPR as a conservative group — something I believe the organization itself openly admits. Their website identifies them as a group

supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.

Isn’t that code for, “Hey we’re a conservative group supportive of the Republican Party!” You’d think The Tennessean would have mentioned their source’s partisan leanings. Sadly, no.

And as for Bonner Cohen, the “senior fellow” they quoted? Let’s ask SourceWatch:

Bonner Cohen headed EPA Watch, which received funding from Philip Morris. He purported to edit EPA Watch as an independent newsletter published and distributed by the non-profit American Policy Center, but in fact it was a publication of the APCO & Associates PR Group, originally owned by Philip Morris’s Washington legal firm, Arnold & Porter (ie A&P Co = APCO)

During this time he shared the work with Steve Milloy (“Junkman”), who was running the organization known as The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), which purported to be a grass-roots, sound-science organization, but which was originally a tobacco industry front (run also by APCO) pushing a “sound science” line.

Milloy clearly wrote a number of the articles published in EPA Watch, and Cohen eventually became listed as President of TASSC when it moved from being a vehicle just for defense of the tobacco industry, to having a wider agenda, opposing government attempts to regulate a number of polluting industries for the benefit of public health.

A Philip Morris document states that EPA Watch was an “asset” established to assist Philip Morris achieve a broader impact than just on the issue of second-hand smoke. Another Philip Morris document argues the need to “develop a plan for EPA Watch / Bonner Cohen as expert on EPA matters, i.e. regular syndicated radio features on EPA activities.”

Oh, so in other words, another corporate astroturfer. Yeah, we figured as much.

The only thing that would make this more perfect is if The Tennessean got Bonner Cohen to write a “Tennessee Voices” column.

Hey, Tennessean: you still suck. But don’t worry, you’re apparently in good company.


Filed under astroturfing, electric car, media manipulation, right wing, The Tennessean

>Viva La Difference

>You know what this whole Fake Koch prank tells us? When the right wants to embarrass the left they must resort to severely edited videos doctored with the intention of misleading viewers, and which completely misrepresent actual events. When the left wants to embarrass the right they just need to capture the right speaking honestly.

Funny, that.

Adlai Stevenson was right all along.


Filed under Fake Koch, right wing

>Today’s IOKIYAR: Asian Parody Edition

>Hey I know we’re all accustomed to hearing Rush Limbaugh spew intolerant, racist, bigoted nonsense. It’s like, “Really? In other news, water is still wet.”

So I really didn’t give two thoughts to Rush’s mockery of Chinese President Hu Jintao or the Chinese language, which he did not once but twice and which went on and on and on and on for what felt like a painful eternity.

But something seemed awfully familiar about the whole thing, and then I remembered when Rosie O’Donnell was raked over the coals by conservatives for essentially the same thing. Michelle Malkin, I recall, took special umbrage at O’Donnell’s insensitivity, even calling her an “obnoxious hypocrite” in this video:

So I’m sure Malkin will be all over Rush Limbaugh, right? Ha ha, don’t be silly. That stuff is just for liberals! IOKIYAR.

Okay, big deal. Conservatives are always reaching for their Faux Umbrage Concern Kits when a liberal does something, then looking the other way when a conservative like Limbaugh does the exact same thing. But I’m really sick of this stuff. And it’s not just the conservative media, either.

When Rosie O’Donnell does something like this, it’s front page news everywhere! It sparked a huge outcry from all quarters: the Asian American Journalists Assn., New York City Councilman John Liu, even hitting tabloids like People magazine. Liu even sent Barbara Walters this letter demanding that she hold O’Donnell accountable. It was a huge freaking deal and we didn’t hear the end of it for a week until O’Donnell had apologized three times.

Why is there no outrage about Limbaugh’s comments, save from the usual lefty quarters — Media Matters and the like? Why no articles in People magazine or demands for accountability from the Asian American community? Are we just so accustomed to Limbaugh saying racially charged, offensive things that he gets a pass? Why? Why does he get a pass? Why the double standard?

Mind you, I’m not saying Rosie O’Donnell shouldn’t have faced criticism for her parody in the national media, but if that’s the case then Limbaugh should too. It’s always this way and it’s pissing me off. Why is the Left always held to a higher standard than the guy who makes $40 million a year and has one of the highest rated radio and TV shows in the country and who is basically the de facto leader of the Republican Party because every time he says “jump” they say “how high?” Why is accountability always, always a one-way street in the national discourse? Why is the media always so quick to make an icon of the Left look bad, and so quick to ignore it when someone on the right does the same thing?

And here’s another thing: if the right wingers are going to call for the fainting couches every time a liberal does something, but completely ignore it when one of their folks does the exact same thing, doesn’t that signal an utter lack of credibility? Shouldn’t we just ignore them the next time they call for the the Faux Umbrage Concern Kits? Why are right wing pundits never called to account for that?

I know, you may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one! I’m just tired of seeing this same play over and over again.


Filed under media fairness, racism, right wing, Rush Limbaugh

Umm … CNN?


Via Doug at Balloon Juice:

I would not be shocked if Palin eventually makes up some crazy story about an attempted attack on her, maybe along the lines of the Ross Perot story about how the Viet Cong tried to put a hit on him.

And her appearance on Hannity on Monday will be the perfect opportunity for her to tell us how oppressed and beleaguered she is by the big, mean liberals.


Predictably, CNN Correspondent Erick Erickson hated on the President’s speech in today’s column. No big shocker there. But he really wallowed in the mud on this one:

Out there somewhere is someone who would love to kill Governor Palin. God forbid they do it. But you and I both know there is some crazy MSNBC watcher and Media Matters reader who even now is dreaming of doing so.

And should they try, we can be equally sure of something else. The left will be divided into two camps: (1) bitch deserved it and (2) not my fault.

It is unfortunate. I hope it never happens. But you and I both know the reality in which we live.

Wow. Way to go, buddy. You really topped yourself this time. Way to take the whole “civil discourse” stuff to heart. As if Sarah Palin were even important enough to bother with. Well, maybe in her own mind, but really. Can you imagine? Most of us ignore her, except when the mainstream media insists on shoving her latest ghost-written Tweet or Facebook post in our faces. Then we point fingers and laugh. Not quite the same as assassination but then again, maybe it is to people like Erick Erickson.

I think those three paragraphs say a whole lot more about Erick Erickson than they do about the Left, Media Matters or MSNBC. And I can’t help but wonder why this hack still has a job on CNN.

Adding …. Mr. Beale heard that Erickson thinks some MSNBC watcher “would love to kill Governor Palin” and cracked: “Wait, I though none of ’em have guns?” Which reminded me: I’m always amazed at the right’s two completely contradictory characterizations of us liberals, which they seem able to hold in their minds at the same time. We’re either weak-kneed surrender monkeys who are “soft on defense,” want to offer therapy and understanding to our enemies, and can’t be trusted to keep the nation safe OR we’re the whacked out anarchists rioting in the streets and fomenting civil unrest.

Cognitive dissonance much?


Filed under CNN, conservative bloggers, Erick Erickson, right wing, Sarah Palin

>The Wingnut Welfare Gravy Train Rolls On

>Judith Miller, once of the lofty New York Times, is now a correspondent for … wait for it … Newsmax. You know, the conservative rag peddling black helicopter conspiracy theories funded by Richard Mellon Scaife. It’s only slightly more credible than WingNut Daily — but not much.

This news has prompted me to wonder what happened to the rest of the Iraq War boosters.

• Dick Cheney and Halliburton narrowly skirted bribery charges in Nigeria by forking over a cool $250 million the day before Christmas:

Meanwhile, the Nigerians still wanted a pound of flesh, and because it appears to be easy for a multibillion-dollar energy company like Halliburton to throw money at problems, that’s what they seem to have done. Halliburton and KBR will pay $32.5 million to the Nigerian government and $2.5 million to the Nigerian lawyers, and release some frozen assets in a Swiss bank account to the Africans. Total payout: about $250 million.

In return, Cheney, Halliburton, and KBR can walk away from the situation, and the Nigerians get even more than the original $180 million from the former vice president’s company.

Remember: Halliburton and KBR already pled guilty to those $180 million bribery charges in a U.S. court. I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea that someone is able to avoid jail time for bribing Nigerian officials with $180 million by …. paying Nigerian officials $250 million. Oh well, nothing to see here, move along folks ….

• Donald Rumsfeld is doing the rubber chicken circuit/book tour that is part of the Wingnut Wurlitzer. He (or, more likely, his publicist) has been teasing his pending memoir with coy Tweets which the neocons at the Wall Street Journal have been eating up like ice cream. When the book comes out it will be promoted heavily at conservative media outlets like, well, Newsmax, which frequently offers subscribers tomes such as this one at steep discounts. Neat how that works.

• John Bolton returned to his office at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank, and in that capacity is spouting his nonsense on the Wingnut Wurlitzer. Serving just 16 months as United Nations ambassador — too crazy even for Republicans like George Voinovich and John McCain, his nomination was filibustered and he was a recess appointment — it seems the conservative media has found Bolton a useful stick to poke at the Obama Administration. His frequent criticism of things like the START treaty and defense spending cuts are dutifully reported across the Fox landscape. Falling upwards, indeed.

• The disgraced/disbarred Scooter Libby appears to have disappeared into a black hole, though with the new Valerie Plame flick soon to hit theaters, I’m sure someone will drag him out of his undisclosed location. The Wingnut Wurlitzer is always looking for fresh meat.

• Paul Wolfowitz always creeped me out. The whole comb-licking thing just made we want to throw up in my mouth. Forced to resign from the World Bank in 2007 after some serious ethics breaches were discovered, he has also joined his buddy John Bolton at the American Enterprise Institute as a “visiting scholar,” where at least one observer noted his lack of productivity. In his position he pens the occasional op-ed for papers like the London Times and Wall Street Journal, all part of the glorious Bush Administration Whitewash Campaign designed to protect the legacy of the most disastrous Administration in this country’s recent history.

If you’re detecting a pattern here, well, join the club. Conservatives through their “non-partisan (wink wink) think tanks” and established media outfits like Fox News and Newsmax are able to get their message out across the world. This is the Wingnut Welfare Gravy Train, where no fail is too big, no embarrassment too great, no policy too disastrous to keep the conservative family from closing ranks and enveloping their failed leaders in a warm, fuzzy embrace.

You can always go home again, if you’re a neocon wingnut (Scooter Libby being the sole exception). The American Enterprise Institute will give you a home and get your op-eds published in the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, London Times, New York Times, not to mention conservative outfits like the Weekly Standard. Your memoirs will be published and your name will be in the Rolodex of every Fox News booker. Your appearances on Hannity (and even the occasional network bobblehead show) are a given. This is how the legacy is protected, even promoted.

The right-wing has this established, well-funded infrastructure which assures the continued influence of people who by all rights should have been tossed away when they were discredited. I mean, you started a fucking war based on lies, misinformation, faulty intelligence. You were colossally wrong and people died and the national treasury was raided. We have spent and will spend trillions of dollars on your fuck-up. Some folks think you should be in jail; at the very least you should be kicked out of the club. But that’s not how it works in Wingnuttia.

Meanwhile, we’ve kicked Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod off Liberal Mountain for … well, what, exactly? If these folks were conservatives their calendars would be full of speaking engagements, television appearances, and their op-eds would be in every influential newspaper in the English-speaking world. They’d be working on their memoirs and they’d have regular features in The New Republic and The Atlantic. But Google “Van Jones” and all you get are attacks from conservative blogs like Hot Air.

There simply is nothing comparable on the left to the Wingnut Wurlitzer. I don’t know why that is, except perhaps the perpetual myth about “liberal media” and so forth. I think this more than anything is the biggest challenge the left faces moving forward. And while I’m not the first to observe this, I can’t for the life of me understand why no one has done anything about it. You can’t win the argument if you can’t even get your message out.


Filed under conservatives, Iraq War, media, right wing

>Courage & Anger

>Frank Rich’s column yesterday, “Gay Bashing At The Smithsonian,” brings to mind an issue which has troubled me for some time. And that’s the issue of courage.

Rich discusses the removal of the late artist David Wojnarowicz’s work from an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. He writes:

When his mentor and former lover, the photographer Peter Hujar, fell ill with AIDS in 1987, Wojnarowicz created a video titled “A Fire in My Belly” to express both his grief and his fury. As in Haring’s altarpiece, Christ figures in Wojnarowicz’s response to the plague — albeit in a cryptic, 11-second cameo. A crucifix is besieged by ants that evoke frantic souls scurrying in panic as a seemingly impassive God looked on.

This is the piece that was originally included in the Smithsonian’s exhibition, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” which is advertised as “a serious examination of the role sexual identity has played in the creation of modern American portraiture.” The National Portrait Gallery yanked “Fire in My Belly” from its exhibit in early December after the Smithsonian caved to a manufactured piece of outrage which I daresay few Americans even heard about.

Back to Rich:

Like many of its antecedents, the war over Wojnarowicz is a completely manufactured piece of theater. What triggered the abrupt uproar was an incendiary Nov. 29 post on a conservative Web site. The post was immediately and opportunistically seized upon by William Donohue, of the so-called Catholic League, a right-wing publicity mill with no official or financial connection to the Catholic Church.


It took only hours after Donohue’s initial battle cry for the video to be yanked. “The decision wasn’t caving in,” the museum’s director, Martin E. Sullivan, told reporters. Of course it was. The Smithsonian, in its own official statement, rationalized its censorship by saying that Wojnarowicz’s video “generated a strong response from the public.” That’s nonsense. There wasn’t a strong response from the public — there was no response. As the museum’s own publicist told the press, the National Portrait Gallery hadn’t received a single complaint about “A Fire in the Belly” from the exhibit’s opening day, Oct. 30, until a full month later, when a “public” that hadn’t seen the exhibit was mobilized by Donohue to blast the museum by phone and e-mail.

The museum caved. They caved. Why?

Time and again we see groups (and politicians) cave in the face of such obviously manufactured political theater. Where is the courage? Who thinks capitulation is a winning strategy, that it does nothing more than ensure future fake campaigns?

Why was Shirley Sherrod asked to resign so quickly last summer? Why was Van Jones thrown under the bus? Why do our Democratic leaders and institutions cave to the right wing noise machine, time and time again?

Why do they act so afraid that some pundit somewhere is saying something mean about them?

The fact that Republicans are allowed to do the same (or worse) without any pearl-clutching in the media proves how politically motivated these “fauxtrages” are. It’s all about framing, fear-mongering, indulging in stereotypes and retreading that well-worn path allowing the majority to pretend it is a persecuted minority, thus redirecting anger to a more politically expedient target.

Yes, it pisses me off. And with all of that swirling around in my head I turned the page and read Ishmael Reed’s op-ed piece in the same issue of the New York Times (expanded upon at blogs like my second home, The Swash Zone). Apparently, progressives calling for President Obama (and other Democrats) to show some backbone in the face of unprecedented GOP obstructionism need to STFU because we simply don’t understand what it’s like to be a black person in America:

One progressive commentator played an excerpt from a Harry Truman speech during which Truman screamed about the Republican Party to great applause. He recommended this style to Mr. Obama. If President Obama behaved that way, he’d be dismissed as an angry black militant with a deep hatred of white people. His grade would go from a B- to a D.

What the progressives forget is that black intellectuals have been called “paranoid,” “bitter,” “rowdy,” “angry,” “bullies,” and accused of tirades and diatribes for more than 100 years. Very few of them would have been given a grade above D from most of my teachers.

Um, here’s a news flash for you: President Obama has already been dismissed as an angry black militant with a deep hatred of white people. Or haven’t you been listening to Glenn Beck, the very same right wing commentator who cost Van Jones his job? Were you paying attention when Ben Stein came out and called then-candidate Barack Obama an angry black man on Fox News in 2008? No? Well, we progressives were, and we countered those accusations every time. Where were you?

Look, the “angry” label is nothing new, nor is it unique to black intellectuals. Maybe you weren’t paying attention when Republicans called Hillary Clinton “too angry” to win a presidential election in 2008. Karl Rove called Al Gore “one angry dude.” Howard Dean was too angry to be president in 2004 and here he is screaming after a primary win to prove it! We’re “the angry left,” and voters “don’t elect angry candidates,” as former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman famously told ABC News. (For some reason anger isn’t a negative for the Tea Party, though — despite their guns and Town Hall shouting matches and hanging representatives in effigy. IOKIYAR.)

I get that there is a strategy among those in power exploiting cultural stereotypes and stoking fear of the “angry black male” to oppress black advancement in this country. That’s the same reason we hear women are too emotional and gays are pedophiles and all Muslims are terrorists. We all have our baggage and yes, some people’s baggage might be heavier than others. But that doesn’t mean we capitulate to it. Caving to the whims of the hate machine which makes these erroneous claims does not make them go away. It enables them!

This is standard issue right wing framing. Liberals have been labeled “angry” (even “too angry”) for decades, and guess what, we are angry. We were angry when protestors rioted at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and we were angry when we protested the Vietnam War and we were angry when we burned our bras in the 1970s and we were angry when we protested apartheid in the 1980s and we were angry when we protested the WTO conference in Seattle in 2000. Hell we were so angry over the stolen election in 2000 and subsequent Bush presidential misdeeds that we created a bumper sticker about it, which the Tea Party has conveniently co-opted.

It’s okay to be angry. Angry people get things done. I just never understood why being angry was supposed to be a bad thing, anyway. Just because the RNC says it is?

So no, I’m not going to tell Democrats not to be angry because Tweety might have a sad or Joke Line may wring his hands about frothy-mouthed liberal bloggers. Getting angry is okay, if you are fighting for your principles.

This is where courage comes in. Getting back to Ishmael Reed’s op-ed, I have to say I was mighty offended when I read this:

Unlike white progressives, blacks and Latinos are not used to getting it all. They know how it feels to be unemployed and unable to buy your children Christmas presents. They know when not to shout. The president, the coolest man in the room, who worked among the unemployed in Chicago, knows too.

Well damn, there’s a stereotype for you! Here’s a news flash for Mr. Reed: not all white progressives are used to getting it all, either. And I’ll be damned if I’ll be lectured on stereotypes by someone who can’t even recognize one when it pops out of his own keyboard.

Stand up and show some backbone, Democrats. Don’t cave to the right wing noise machine. Don’t agree to a political approach which neuters liberal outrage, and only allows conservatives to get angry. Every time you do so progress takes a step back. Every capitulation emboldens the opposition. It’s OK to be angry and it’s even better to use that anger to harden your resolve.

And I guarantee you that the Republicans are going to say mean things about you. You can take that to the bank. You know what? They’re going to say mean things anyway.


Filed under art, culture wars, Democratic Party, GLBT, New York Times op-ed, President Barack Obama, racism, right wing