The Republican Party Is SCARED WITLESS Of The Donald Trump-enstein They Created

From the earliest planning stages of the 2016 Republican primary, the party has demonstrated a foreboding fear of the public finding out anything useful about their candidates. To the contrary, they are more worried that what voters might learn will only make them nauseous. So the party honchos severely shortened the debate schedule and limited media access to friendly venues, particularly Fox News which was given more of the debates (five in all) than any other network. Additionally, the other networks were required by the Republican National Committee to include conservative co-sponsors and moderators, a requirement to which Fox was not held. This is the unmistakable behavior of a party that’s afraid of American voters.

Donald Trump GOP

Over the course of the campaign the RNC has repeatedly made decisions that affirm their state of fear. RNC chairman Reince Priebus admitted that the party was set on transforming what is supposed to be an open dialog that provides voters with an informative look at the candidates, into a PR vehicle that functions more like propaganda. If Republicans want a fully scripted television farce, they should be forced to buy the time like any other telemarketer. But Priebus was focused on producing GOP infomercials saying that…

“The thing that is ridiculous is allowing moderators, who are not serving the best interests of the candidate and the party, to actually be the people to be deposing our people. And I think that’s totally wrong.”

In his view the debates were there to serve the interests of the party, not the voters. Any attempt to draw out anything substantive from the candidates was frowned upon. That’s why after a contentious debate hosted by CNBC, the RNC revoked the only remaining debate scheduled for NBC. The party was punishing the network for doing its job.

This week National Review published a special issue entitled “Against Trump” that contained a series of short essays making the conservative case for ditching Donald Trump. The issue featured your favorite wingnut authors who were generally opposed to Trump’s lack of conservative credentials, principles, or any platform details. The issue opened saying that…

“Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.”

It’s somewhat disarming (and a little heartwarming) to see a right-wing publication describe their party’s front-runner as a strong-man akin to Stalin or Mussolini. But coming from a source with diverse conservative voices like Glenn Beck, Bill Krystal, Erick Erickseon, and John Podhoretz, didn’t stop the RNC from striking back and “disinviting” the magazine from co-sponsoring an upcoming debate with CNN. Since when does a party committee get to decide for a news organization who they partner with? This is an unprecedented intrusion into the jurisdiction of journalism, and CNN is just as complicit for capitulating. It makes you wonder if the RNC is also dictating who the moderators are and what the questions will be.

While the RNC was quick to dump the National Review, their inherent prejudice was illustrated by exempting their friends at Fox News from any retaliation. After all, four of the National Review essays came from Fox News regulars Katie Pavlich, Cal Thomas, Dana Loesch, and Brent Bozell. So if you speak out against Trump you can say goodbye to any debate participation – unless you’re Fox News.

The media is shamefully abdicating their role in these debates while the RNC is bending over backwards to placate one candidate to the detriment of all the others. National Review was jettisoned solely because of the perceived slight of Donald Trump. Trump was also a prominent objector to NBC hosting a debate. He was also the reason that the New Hampshire Union Leader was removed as a co-host for an ABC debate. Perhaps the RNC should change their name to the Trump National Committee. Or maybe the Republican National Wusses.

But that wasn’t the end of it. A few weeks ago Trump tried to get the RNC to cancel a GOP primary debate on Univision, which was a bold move considering that Univision was never scheduled to host one. Trump had already banned all Univision employees from his golf resorts, an optically disturbing action that prohibited minorities from his country clubs. What’s more, Trump has also threatened that if Telemundo was involved with a debate he would walk. It remains to be seen if he will follow through on that threat since Telemundo is currently listed as a co-host for CNN’s debate. If Trump succeeds in getting Telemundo axed there will be no GOP debates at all that included any minority news organization.

Most recently Trump tweeted this about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly: “Based on @MegynKelly’s conflict of interest and bias she should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate.” He seems not to know what a conflict of interest is, but as for bias, he is simply referring to his objection to an entirely appropriate question she asked him in the first GOP debate. She asked him to explain his many derogatory references to women. He dodged the question and complained about political correctness, and after the debate he accused Kelly of having been hormonal. That led to a prolonged series of attacks on her. If Kelly worked for some other network it would probably have already been removed as a debate host. However, as established above, Fox News will not likely suffer any consequences.

[Update: Trump is hinting that he might boycott the upcoming GOP debate on Fox News unless they drop Kelly as a moderator. He’s saying he might hold his own televised townhall to compete with it. Fox is, so far, refusing to capitulate saying “Sooner or later Donald Trump even if he’s president, is going to have to learn that he doesn’t get to pick the journalists. We’re very surprised he’s willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly.” Fox deserves credit for standing firm, and it’s pretty cagey of them to accuse Trump of cowardice, but don’t bet on Trump sitting this out. However, the RNC, which demanded the exclusion of the Union Leader in New Hampshire, has said they are keeping out of this dispute because – well, it’s Fox News]

What this tells us is that Reince Priebus is the weakest Republican Party chairman in decades. He is letting Trump dictate the terms of the campaign. And the other candidates are keeping their mouths shut. They are all too afraid to demand that their primary be conducted with neutrality and integrity. It is a pathetic display of cowardice by a party so feeble it’s at risk of blowing away. And the thought of facing aggressive questions, even from other conservatives, makes them scurry into the crevices in the floorboards like cockroaches surprised by the light.

Good luck to them when they eventually face actual opponents in the general election. They will be utterly unprepared for battle having sheltered themselves in a cocoon of limp rhetoric that all stems from the same cultish mindset. That may be sufficient to draw support from Republican dimwits who thrive in those pools of ignorance, but it is a recipe for crushing defeat when the broader electorate votes in November.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Racists In The Tea Party Are No Longer “Proud To Be A Teabagger” (w/Classic Video)

A couple of days ago President Obama spoke at a town hall in Los Angeles to a group of young, tech entrepreneurs. His prepared remarks enumerated some of the economic and social successes of his administration. But he also took questions from the audience, including some that led into a bit of politics.

In one particularly notable exchange, the President observed a serious flaw in the devolution of the Republican Party.The question addressed ways “to encourage more immigrants with technical skills to be able to work legally in the United States?” Obama responded at length about the numerous contributions of immigrants to America. Then he wondered aloud about the Republican Party’s hostility to people and policies that the nation needs to progress.

“it’s anybody’s guess how Republicans are thinking about this. If they were thinking long term politically, it is suicide for them not to do this. Because the demographics of the country are such where you are going to lose an entire generation of immigrants who are looking around and saying, you know what, that party does not seem to care much about me and my life. And I think the smarter Republicans understand this. Short term, though, they’ve got a problem, and the Tea Party and others who oftentimes express virulently anti-immigrant sentiment.”

Obama on Immigration/Tea Party

By facing head-on the inherent racism of the Tea Party (which is really just another faction within the GOP). Obama has embraced an observation that has been all too apparent to anyone paying attention, but often was left unsaid. Earlier this year News Corpse documented the overt racism infecting the right-wing after Fox News asked for some evidence of it.

Fox News - Tea Party Racism

But that wasn’t the only hit the Tea Party took that day. During a gubernatorial debate in Connecticut, the GOP candidate alluded to an article that criticized Democratic incumbent Dannel Malloy. This prompted Malloy to provide more information about the publisher of the article saying

“The publication you’re talking about is a right-wing tea bag organization. You know it. I let you repeat the same story twice. Why don’t you tell the whole story when you tell stories?”

That accurate characterization set off yelps of hurt feeling by right-wingers, including those at the rag in question, the National Review. Contributing editor Jim Geraghty complained in a tweet…

“Remember when ‘Tea Bag’ was considered an obnoxious thing to say? Can I call the governor of Connecticut a ‘Left-tard’ now?”

Of course, the right has been using derogatory language against the left freely for years. This may be the first time they asked for permission. The NR’s publisher, Jack Fowler, joined in the whine-fest with a column condemning Malloy’s use of the Tea Bag label. However, what all of these crybabies forget is that Teabagging was a term that was originally adopted and promoted by the Tea Party. Even an article in the National Review, dating back to December of 2009, affirmed the term’s derivation saying…

“The first big day for this movement was Tax Day, April 15. And organizers had a gimmick. They asked people to send a tea bag to the Oval Office. One of the exhortations was ‘Tea Bag the Fools in D.C.’ A protester was spotted with a sign saying, ‘Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.’ So, conservatives started it: started with this terminology. But others ran with it and ran with it.”

And that’s not all. The dean of rightist commentators on Fox News, Charles Krauthammer, referred to “tea bag demonstrations” during a segment of the network’s signature news hour, Special Report, back in October of 2009. Fox’s Tea Party correspondent, Griff Jenkins, who actually rode around on the Tea Party Express bus for the summer, was also known to use the term. But the most blatant embrace of the terminology came in the form of a slickly produced video that proudly declared “I’m proud to be a Teabagger.” It consisted of a variety of allegedly average Americans taking the pledge of pride in the term.

Consequently, it’s somewhat disingenuous of them to feign outrage when somebody utters the words to which they previously swore allegiance. The Tea Party owns Teabagging, but what’s worse is that they own the racism and ugliness that has been a hallmark of their movement. And as the President said, it is political suicide given the demographic changes that are taking place in the country. Without significant reforms, it is only a matter of time before those changes engulf the GOP and make it an irrelevant footnote in future elections.

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Smearing The ObamaCare Navigators

Fox News is heavily invested in derailing the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). They have devoted hundreds of hours of airtime and editorial disinformation aimed at creating a climate of fear in order prevent Americans from learning about and exercising their rights under the new law. The rabid right is so desperate to crush access to affordable, effective health care that they have launched a “Fright Offensive” of unbelievable proportions. The latest example of this is an article on the Fox Nation website with the histrionic title “A Ton of ObamaCare Navigators Are Criminals.”

Fox Nation

For over 50 more documented examples of blatant lies by Fox News,
get the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available at Amazon.

No kidding? So the ghastly prospect of engaging with ObamaCare will now force you to fraternize with criminals – a ton of them. And the evidence of this shocking state of affairs? Well, it’s a little thin to say the least.

The Fox Nationalists linked their posting to an article on the ultra-conservative National Review Online (NRO). The author is Jillian Kay Melchior, a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. The Franklin Center is a Koch brothers-funded enterprise that disseminates right-wing propaganda to the media. In her slanderous article Melchior lays the groundwork for a wholly unsupported proposition that the people recruited to assist citizens with ObamaCare enrollments are a “fishy” and unsavory collection of outlaws. She says that…

“One in seven of New Mexico’s certified Obamacare navigators had a match in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, according to public records obtained by National Review Online.”

Well, there you have it. ObamaCare is a thinly-veiled assembly of hustlers just waiting to exploit innocent health insurance consumers. This would be even scarier were it not for the paragraph just below that reveals that…

“A hit in the NCIC does not necessarily reflect a criminal conviction. The database can include, for example, arrest records and criminal cases that were dismissed or led to an acquittal, according to the FBI.”

That fact, however, doesn’t deter Melchior from continuing her fear mongering with an ominous warning that ObamaCare Navigators have access to personal information “including Social Security numbers, financial data, and health records.” Of course, this is also true about the employees at every insurance company. In fact, sensitive personal data is accessible to tens of thousands of workers in banks, retail stores, phone companies, etc. But NRO didn’t bother to look into their NCIC records. Neither did they look into the criminal past of members of congress like Rep. Darrell Issa (the most virulent inquisitor of the Obama administration over phony and manufactured scandals), who has a long criminal rap sheet himself. And if Melchior bothered to investigate the nefarious wrongdoers of Fox News she might have found this:

All this proves is that, in any large organization that employs human beings, there will be some percentage who do not meet the standards to which the organization aspires. Their only responsibility is to conduct reasonable inquiries into the suitability of each applicant and perform due diligence to protect those they serve. The ObamaCare programs do just that, as stated in the article by a representative of the New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance (OSI).

“The OSI receives navigator applications from New Mexico’s health exchange, running them through the NCIC system by name, date of birth, and Social Security number. Applicants who have committed a significant financial crime or were listed on the sex-offender registry are automatically disqualified.

“For other navigator applicants who trigger NCIC hits, three OSI experts then review the results, assessing on a case-by-case basis whether a navigator should receive certification. For example, a 20-year-old shoplifting conviction for an otherwise upstanding citizen might not be disqualifying, while a recent fraud charge could be.”

So the ObamaCare administrators are doing exactly what is necessary to insure the security and safety of private data. Nevertheless, without any evidence of criminal wrongdoing by even a single ObamaCare Navigator, in the past or while performing their current duties, Fox News has made a blanket, declarative statement that “A ton” of them are “criminals.” It’s a brazenly dishonest smear that unfairly impugns good people who have chosen to help others acquire access to life-saving medical care. And it simultaneously seeks to sow suspicion of people and programs that were created to improve the lives and health of every American.

This is typical of how Fox News works tirelessly to spread fear that is based solely on conjecture and innuendo. They invent scandals from sentence fragments and foment outrage from deliberately falsified reporting. It’s a practice that does a disservice to anyone foolish enough to watch the network, but it does an effective job of keeping them squarely in the camp of fools – frightened, anxiety-ridden fools.

Race, Politics, And The Conservative Cognitive Breakdown

“The greatest hope that most Americans — including Republicans — had when Barack Obama was elected president was that the election of a black man as the country’s president would reduce, if not come close to eliminating, the racial tensions that have plagued America for generations.”

Fox NewsWhat strain of myopic lunkheadedness could have produced that appalling misunderstanding of racial politics? There is no one with a functioning brain who could ever have thought that just by electing an African-American president, racial tensions would be eliminated. That is such a shallow analysis of modern society that no amount of shame would be sufficient to heap on the author. The only explanation for expelling such an idiotic notion is that someone is looking for a contract with Fox News.

The quote above is the opening paragraph of uber-rightist Dennis Prager’s column in the National Review, and it demonstrates how acutely myopic conservatives are when attempting to grasp the complex issue of race. Prager is actually stunned that “The election, and even the reelection, of a black man as president, in a country that is 87 percent non-black — a first in human history — has had no impact on what are called ‘racial tensions.'” But where he got the idea that sending an African-American to the White House would weave some sort of magic spell over the country that would eliminate racism is simply incomprehensible.

What makes this even more dumbfounding is that the truth is readily apparent in so many aspects of our national profile. If anything, Barack Obama’s election exacerbated racial tensions in some constituencies. People who were predisposed to prejudice hardened their views. Borderline racists slipped across the line and succumbed to their latent bigotry. Amongst politicians and pundits, racial agendas became more aggressive and rhetorical attacks, both blatant and subliminal, multiplied. Shortly after Obama’s inauguration the FBI reported an unprecedented increase in the number of assassination threats. The most simple minded observer ought to have recognized that Obama did not win 100% of the vote, and that the nearly half of the electorate that voted against him contained the same amount of bigots as before the election.

Prager goes on to assert that “racial tensions,” which he dismissively puts in quotes, are actually the fault of African-Americans. He says that the notion is “a lie perpetrated by the Left.” He claims that the term is “a euphemism for a black animosity toward whites and a left-wing construct.” This effort to pretend that racism doesn’t exist, except in the minds of the victims, is commonly found among racists who seek to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the lingering hatred in American culture. According to Prager, blacks are just insufficiently grateful for the generosity shown them by the majority white population. After all, we let them have their president, didn’t we?

Prager has some company with Richard Cohen of the Washington Post whose column today made some equally lunkheaded assertions. His piece titled “Racism vs. reality,” was a defense of racism wherein he declared that he “can understand why [George] Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize.” Cohen was referring to Martin’s hoodie, but he might as well have been referring to his skin, because Cohen’s premise was that there is justification for being suspicious of young black men.

Cohen berates politicians who fail to “acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males,” noting that “We know them from the nightly news.” However, that widespread fear is largely a product of the distinctly biased representation of African-Americans on the nightly news (and all through the day as well on Fox News and other cable networks). Cohen’s argument relies on phony statistics that disparage blacks as being more prone to criminal activity when, for the most part, they are just more prone to being prosecuted and incarcerated.

Cohen closes by saying that “There’s no doubt in my mind that Zimmerman profiled Martin and, braced by a gun, set off in quest of heroism.” But then he adds that “The result was a quintessentially American tragedy — the death of a young man understandably suspected because he was black and tragically dead for the same reason.” Understandably suspected? Cohen is alleging that it’s perfectly OK, even understandable, to presume foul intentions just by the color of one’s skin. Isn’t that an outright admission of racism?

In a “Stand Your Ground,” “Racial Profiling” society, it is disheartening to see these kinds of opinions being expressed in mainstream media. The consequences of those combined concepts led directly to the tragedy in Sanford, Florida. And it proves that, contrary to Prager’s moronic rambling, there is much work to be done before racial tensions are eliminated. And it won’t happen because one person gets elected to office.

National Review Writer’s Racist Notion of ‘Intelligent, Well-Socialized Blacks’ (IWSB)

The excerpts below are from an article titled “The Talk: Nonblack Version” by John Derbyshire. It is presented by Derbyshire as a rebuttal to the conversation many African-American parents have with their kids to help them avoid trouble with racist people or institutions they may encounter. However, the only thing that Derbyshire accomplished was to expose his nauseating prejudice and ignorance. Be prepared, as you read this, for some of the most repulsive rhetoric you will ever hear outside of a Klan lynching.

(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.

(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).

(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.

(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.

(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.

(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

(13) In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.

Derbyshire is a writer for the conservative National Review. It is incomprehensible that they could keep him on the payroll after publishing this disgusting piece of trash. While some of their staff and editors have criticized Derbyshire, there is no indication that he will be terminated, suspended, or otherwise held accountable.

The first consequence for this atrocious column should be for Derbyshire to be forced to forfeit any IWSB’s he may have acquired. Then he should be forever associated with an acronym that better suits him: Ignorant Racist White Fuckwad (IRWF). [Note: African-Americans are not required to collect IRWF’s as amulets or for any other purpose.]

[Update] National Review does the right thing and fires Derbyshire.

The Idiotization Of The American Right

In May of 2008 I wrote a manifesto for aspiring politicians and those who would seek to be leaders in America. It isn’t as easy as it may seem. Amongst the not particularly obvious parcels of advice was this admonition on education:

Education is a key component in this new paradigm. It is absolutely critical that you not have too much of it. And never, ever use the word paradigm. Once the American people get the impression that you know more than they do about issues like economics or foreign policy, you’re disqualified from service. Achievement and expertise only spotlight how different you are from ordinary Americans.

An article today in the New Yorker highlighted a segment of this tendency toward doltishness. It’s an interesting read on the long-standing tenets of what is currently called the Tea Party, but which has its roots in extremist anti-communists and Birchers from the 1950’s and before:

“The political universe is, of course, very different today from what it was during the Cold War. Yet the Birchers’ politics and their view of American history – which focussed more on totalitarian threats at home than on those posed by the Soviet Union and Communist China – has proved remarkably persistent. The pressing historical question is how extremist ideas held at bay for decades inside the Republican Party have exploded anew – and why, this time, Party leaders have done virtually nothing to challenge those ideas, and a great deal to abet them.”

The reason party leaders are embracing these old-school red-baiters is because they see short term electoral gains by doing so. But they are ignoring the greater risk of encouraging people to reject traditional measures of leadership and the skills required for effective public administration.

Today it remains politically necessary to align yourself closely with an electorate that you regard as morons. If you have a degree from a reputable academic institution you might as well look for a vocation other than public service. When it comes to political office in America, Harvard and Yale graduates need not apply. This point was made movingly by Anne Applebaum, a conservative writer whose work has been featured in the National Review. She said in part…

“Despite pushing aside the old WASP establishment … these modern meritocrats are clearly not admired, or at least not for their upward mobility, by many Americans. On the contrary … they are resented as ‘elitist.’ Which is at some level strange: To study hard, to do well, to improve yourself — isn’t that the American dream?”

Apparently not. Especially to Dark Ageists like Jonah Goldberg who harbors an overt preference for stupidity, as evidenced in his books. Goldberg is also with the National Review, as well as a Fox News contributor. In his column at NRO he disputes Apllebaum’s proposition with a typically shallow argument that avoids the substance of her article. He attempts to defend the disparagement of “elitists” (i.e. smart people) by separating them into two classes: those he agrees with and those he contends are “bossing the country around.” He accuses Applebaum of spiraling off into a “wacky celebration of higher education.”

What a nutcase Applebaum must be for celebrating higher education. She is clearly out of touch with average Americans who don’t hold advanced degrees from Ivy League schools, as does Applebaum, a summa cum laude graduate of Yale (Golberg attended something called Goucher College). Goldberg goes on to complain that…

“…it’s only one subset of Ivy Leaguers that seems to bother anybody on the right: the lawyer-social engineers-journalist-activists they churn out by the boatload. No one begrudges kids who’ve made good from tough backgrounds. What bothers lots of Americans is when those kids then think they are entitled to cajole, nudge, command and denigrate the rest of America. To date, I’ve seen not one instance of Tea Partiers denouncing engineers, physicists, cardiologists, accountants, biologist, archeologists or a thousand other professions who’ve emerged from elite schools. Because those people aren’t bossing anybody around.”

First of all, we need to note that Goldberg’s allusion to cajoling, nudging, and bossing people around, would likely be regarded as leadership by coherent and thoughtful persons. I’m not sure how you could take charge of a situation, persuade skeptics, and implement solutions, without someone like Goldberg accusing you of being dictatorial. The brainiacs he knows must be wallflowers who keep their opinions to themselves.

However, the big lie in his comments is his enumeration of academic achievers whom he says that Tea Partiers have never denounced: Engineers, like those who develop green technologies and alternative fuels? Cardiologists and biologists, like those who advocate for stem cell research? Accountants, like those who recognize that building the middle class is a better path to prosperity than trickling-down? Physicists, like those who know that the universe is billions of years old and not 6,000? Biologists and archeologists, like those who regard evolution as science and creationism as religion?

It is startling that Goldberg can seriously assert that he has not seen “one instance of Tea Partiers denouncing” folks like these when they are frequently and fiercely castigated by Tea Partiers, Republicans, conservatives, and other adherents to the brand of Neo-Neanderthalism that he practices. The only way that someone could not have seen that is if he were willfully blind or acutely ignorant.

On second thought, Goldberg’s assertions aren’t that startling after all. But they are representative of a mindset that cherishes ignorance and devalues intelligence, insight, and achievement. He is the poster child for the New Idiocy that the American right has embraced. He is emblematic of the Tea Party syndrome wherein they holler at high decibels about the Constitutional rights they are certain they are losing, but can’t name a single one, or how it’s been lost. These are the same people who go batty over the President’s citizenship even after seeing his birth certificate. These are people who think that fascism and socialism are the same thing. These are people who believe whatever Glenn Beck tells them to believe. These are the people of whom H.L. Mencken spoke when he said:

“As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

That’s a milestone we already reached with the last administration. And now that we have an actual Harvard educated president, the Tea Baggers are pining for the days when they had leaders who were more like them (i.e. stupid people).

The NeoCon Plan To Save Obama’s Presidency: Bomb Iran

If you weren’t already repulsed by the rampant cynicism and callousness of the uber-right in America, then an article just published in the National Review should do the trick.

Notorious NeoCon, Daniel Pipes, penned a column that purports to be offering President Obama advice on how to improve his favorability ratings: Bomb Iran!

The notion that any president should order military engagement for the purpose of shoring up polling numbers can only be acceptable to far-right vultures like Pipes. But Pipes is serious about this. The article is not titled “How to eliminate the Iranian Nuclear Threat.” It is titled “How to Save the Obama Presidency.” He even cited as an example the polling bump George W. Bush got after 9/11:

“Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush’s meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama’s feckless first year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene.”

This advice from Pipes could not be more wrong, both morally and strategically. On the moral scale, Pipes is suggesting that the President put the lives of American troops at risk for political gain. He argues that this would be “a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him.” Why Pipes thinks that that is an appropriate justification for war, he never adequately explains.

But Pipes is also wrong from a strategic standpoint. He asserts that such an attack “would require few ‘boots on the ground’ and entail relatively few casualties.” This shallow assessment ignores the obvious lessons of past military debacles in the region. It is particularly surprising given that Pipes himself admitted that he had misread the risks associated with the war in Iraq. In his article in April of 2003, he belittled admonitions from regional experts that the invasion of Iraq would exacerbate tensions, escalate terrorism, and aid the recruiting efforts of Al Qaeda. He dismissed those warnings saying, “Actually, the precise opposite is more likely to happen.”

Pipes predicted few casualties in Iraq as well. He also bought in to the myth that the war would be short, would reduce terrorism, would produce stability, and that the Iraqis would greet us with candy and flowers. We all know now that the experts were right and Pipes was grievously wrong, as he himself admitted three years later in an update to his original article.

Will we have to wait another three years for Pipes to confess that his fatally flawed judgment failed him again? It certainly hasn’t stopped him from making a similarly erroneous assessment with regard to Iran. And this time he wraps it in a grotesquely political cloak to conceal his true intentions.

Pipes freely admits that he has no interest in seeing Obama’s popularity rise. So the suggestion to bomb Iran is not really a gesture of support for the Commander in Chief. It is more likely an expression of Pipes’ own obsession with hostility, and his thirst for blood. It is evidence of his antipathy for the people of the Middle East. And it is affirmation of his inability to form unbiased conclusions on serious matters like war.

For this he would sacrifice American and Iranian lives; he would promote the cause of jihadists; he would destroy the nascent democracy movement in Iran; and he would commit our nation to a third battlefront in a part of the world that is already unstable and distrustful of our motives. He is advising nothing less than a Crusade. And we know what happened the last time we had one of those.

Republicans Flub The Double Reverse Alinsky

For degree of difficulty, I’ll give them a ten, but Republicans are far too incompetent to have risked the political Jujitsu required by their recent exercise.

Saul Alinsky was an activist and author who has been called the founder of modern community organizing. He is said to have been an early influence on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. His book, Rules For Radicals, outlined a program for effecting social change by building organizations that restored the balance of power from the elite to the people.

Early in last year’s presidential campaign, Republicans sought to exploit Clinton and Obama’s connection to Alinsky, implying that there was something frightful about his advocacy of empowering the poor and middle classes. More recently, his name has begun to reappear in a new, seemingly coordinated assault on the President, the press, and any stray progressive activist that might saunter along. The problem is that these conservatives swing so wide of the mark that they only succeed in making asses of themselves. Their approach is so pedestrian that not only do they fail to make their point, the point they make is often antithetical to what they intended. For example…

Jim Geraghty wrote an article for the National Review, The Alinsky Administration, that seeks to associate Obama with the first of Alinsky’s rules: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. But Geraghty’s limited comprehension distills the concept down to nothing more than the allegation that Obama is a politician who seeks to attain power. Shocking, isn’t it?

Geraghty: “As conservatives size up their new foe, they ought to remember: It’s not about liberalism. It’s about power. Obama will jettison anything that costs him power, and do anything that enhances it.”

In addition to missing Alinsky’s point entirely, Geraghty also contradicts the vast conservative confederation that has been hammering away at Obama precisely because of his intransigent liberalism. So while everyone else on the right is trying to convince us that Obama is taking us down the road to Socialism, Geraghty contends that the ideology is expendable in the pursuit of power.

Then Geraghty turns up on the Hannity show and invokes his version of Alinsky’s fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. But in making his case, Geraghty has uncovered a heretofore unknown conspiracy that is under the direction of Obama:

Geraghty: “[H]e’s got everything from ‘The Daily Show’ to ‘The Colbert Report’ to, you know, liberal bloggers, entertainers, Bill Maher. He kind of outsources that aspect of the Alinsky operation.

It may come as a surprise to Jon Stewart et al, to learn that they are mere puppets of the White House Overlord. The administration’s army of comedians must keep a lot of Republicans up at night. And, Heaven knows, the President himself loves to laugh. Bill O’Reilly also picked up the ridicule angle and added NBC as an instrument of Obama’s plot:

O’Reilly: “Enter far-left philosopher Saul Alinsky […] Before he died, Alinsky wrote a book called ‘Rules for Radicals,’ and here is where the politics of ridicule was defined. According to Alinsky, in order to change America into a far-left bastion, traditional Americans must be marginalized.”

Of course, O’Reilly made up virtually all of that. Alinsky not only did not advocate for marginalizing “traditional Americans,” he was their biggest advocate. Then again, O’Reilly’s definition of a traditional American is a wealthy, white, Christian, corporatist, social Darwinian, who gets off on torture and loofahs. But my favorite part, personally, is where O’Reilly says, “Before he died, Alinsky wrote a book…” As opposed to the books he wrote after he died? Thanks for making that distinction, Bill.

If the Republicans are sensitive to being ridiculed, it is only because they make it so easy. However, their disingenuous sniveling is hard to take seriously when they are just as guilty of the practice as the left. O’Reilly has a daily feature on his show wherein he calls people pinheads. The RNC repeatedly cranked out campaign videos mocking Obama as a celebrity, a media darling, or “The One”. Glenn Beck has a recurring series on the “March to Socialism”. Rush Limbaugh devotes most of his daily three hour rant to nothing but ridiculing one Democrat or another. The Internet is awash with images of Obama as everything from a terrorist to a Messiah to Hitler.

The flood of references to Alinsky is threatening to drown out all other political discourse. It has been taken up by everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Michelle Bachmann to Karl Rove. When you hear Republicans condemn Democrats for some breach of civility, you can lay odds that they are doing the very same thing. Their capacity for projection is legendary. This is no less true with regard to their allegations concerning Alinsky’s rules. But their execution is atrocious. They are so bad, in fact, that they are even contradicted by their own side. Last year, John J. Pitney Jr., also writing for the National Review, penned a column entitled, “The Alinsky Ticket,” wherein he exposed the real perpetrators of this pinko scheme:

Pitney: “Radical activist Saul Alinsky has had quite a season, especially for somebody who has been dead for 36 years. The two Democratic finalists had Alinsky links […] But the candidates who have most effectively applied Alinsky principles are John McCain and Sarah Palin.”

Well, now the cat’s out of the bag. Pitney dropped the dime on the GOP. How can they assail Obama and the Democrats for a strategy that they are employing themselves? Actually, they can do it very easily. In fact, it is rule number one in Karl Rove’s Rules For Reactionaries: Conduct a campaign of dirty tricks, but accuse your opponents of doing it first.

Rightists are now trying to adapt that rule to Alinsky’s teachings, and to disparage Obama and the Democrats. Unfortunately, their ineptitude is so advanced that they can’t execute a successful program. All they are accomplishing is a reaffirmation of their own desperation and lameness. Nothing illustrates this better than the recent proposal by the RNC to rebrand Democrats as the Democrat Socialist Party [shakes head and sighs].

Watch for more hilarity as Republicans continue in their quest to complete the perfect Double Reverse Alinsky – no matter how many times, or how miserably, they fail.

Conservative Common Sense Re: Joe The Plumber

Ever since Pajamas Media hatched the sublimely idiotic publicity stunt of sending Sam “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher to Israel to cover the war, I have read dozens of articles mocking the gesture with richly comic results. That, of course, prompted a flurry of pathetic defenses of J-Plumb by tunnel-visioned right-wingers who mainly argued that Joe couldn’t do any worse than professional war correspondents who only have their education, training and experience to rely on.

But now I have to give credit where it’s due. A couple of publications whose conservative credentials are impeccable are demonstrating that reason can prevail no matter how thick the partisan soup.

The first is the National Review, whose web site featured a link to military blogger JD Johannes. Johannes had an interesting take on Joey the P’s addled assertion that “media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting,” that NRO thought deserved more attention – as do I:

I don’t know what fantasy world Joe lives in, but the media is going to cover a war however they can get access to it. If the U.S. military or IDF doesn’t allow access, you can bet the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida, Jaish al Mahdi, etc. will become the primary distributors of information. Heck, they already are.

While my initial criticisms of Joe were based on the stupidity of his call to muzzle the press, and how that was contrary to the freedoms enumerated in the Constitution, Johannes’ perspective properly points out that, if Joe had his way, the only reporting from a war zone would by the enemy.

The other note of rationality came from a most unlikely source: the Rupert Murdoch-owned Weekly Standard. In a well reasoned article, they pointed out that, a couple of years ago, much of the military brass in Iraq were telling us that everything was proceeding swimmingly when, in fact, things were falling apart. Then the Standard actually credited the press with helping the war effort, even as they shot down Joe’s ignorant blather:

Just think about how Joe’s “media strategy” would have impacted the Iraq War. By late 2005/early 2006, it was clear the U.S. strategy to pull back and turn over security to the Iraqi security forces was premature and Iraq was sliding into chaos […] Like it or not, the pressure from the media forced President Bush to recognize the problem, accept the change in strategy and overrule his military commanders.

In addition to repudiating the Little Plumber Boy, the Standard asserts that Bush was not as committed to following the advice of his generals as he portrayed himself to be. And worse, it was not an informed reassessment of conditions on the ground that persuaded the President to change course, but “pressure from the media,” about whom he is so dismissive.

I can’t say that I subscribe to much of the opinions expressed by these enterprises, but it is encouraging to see that they are not engaging in the typical knee-jerk adulation of Joe the Political Prop as are so many other conservative mouthpieces.