Kevin Drum (via) on the likely upcoming summer of hate:
July and August of 2010 were a festival of xenophobia and racial rage from the news organs of the right. Among the topics that generated wall-to-wall coverage on a serial basis that summer were (1) the New Black Panthers, (2) Arizona’s new immigration law, (3) the “anchor baby” controversy, (4) the “Ground Zero” mosque, (5) the Shirley Sherrod affair, (6) a new upwelling of birther conspiracy theories, (7) Glenn Beck’s obsession with Barack Obama’s supposed sympathy with “liberation theology,” and (8) Dinesh D’Souza’s contention — eagerly echoed by Newt Gingrich — that Barack Obama can only be understood as an angry, Kenyan, anti-colonialist. Plus I’m probably forgetting a few.
But last summer was pretty quiet. Maybe the right had finally learned its lesson? As it turns out, no. Apparently it’s just that 2011 wasn’t an election year, so there was no point in pushing racial hot buttons all summer long. But 2012 is very much an election year and things are heating up early this time around. I’m speaking, of course, of the latest race-baiting pseudo-exposé on the right: the long-promised video demonstrating just how radical Barack Obama was back in his Harvard Law School days — and probably still is, though of course he’s cannily learned to hide his radicalism from the sheeple now that he’s president of the United States.[….]
[I]n early 2010, would you ever have guessed that the New Black Panthers would be feted with a multi-week run on Fox News? Or that something called the “Ground Zero mosque” would suddenly burst into prominence based on the hysterical blog posts of Pamela Geller? Or that we’d spend a couple of weeks talking about “anchor babies”?
The GOP base is not excited about Romney, but after a few months of race-baiting and conspiracy mongering, they’ll be pumped up to turn out in droves this November; they’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more xenophobia.
Democrats need to find a way to make Republicans pay for doing this. Establishment media will play the-both-sides-do-it game, Politifact may rate the claim “it is not clear where Obama was born” as partly true, and remember that time in 2004 when the anonymous MoveOn member drew a Hitler mustache on a Bush poster? But every hate-fest needs a scapegoat group, and if the scapegoats are women or immigrants (as seems reasonably likely), we should be able to make the Two Months Hate backfire the way the war on women has.
I’m almost loath to say I wish a motherfucker would, though, since last time this happened a Congresswoman coincidentally got shot in the head. Anyway, it’s coming whether we like it or not. Get ready.
So, xenophobia is the new cowbell? Interesting theory. Don’t fear the creeper, baby.
Even Santorum is realizing that culture war is pretty much the only issue the Republicans have left to run on. And he’s saying it publicly.
Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor
So say we all. And making the media pay for the ‘both sides do it’ false equivocation BS would go a long way towards accomplishing this.
Rush Limbaugh’s career may or may not be in perma-downturn after the past few weeks. But even if he does manage to crawl out of his current pit, his pull will never be the same: He “bled” in public. So now, everyone knows that he’s human, and not invulnerable. Seeing as how that’s a major attribute of his particular brand, I don’t see how he ever gets back to what he was before.
Datapoint: SNL parodied Rush Limbaugh last night, for the first time that I can recall. That wouldn’t have happened if the savvy staff over there didn’t smell blood and weakness.
I’d post something relevant here, but I wouldn’t want to offend Belafon’s (formerly a Republican) sensitive delicate balance of commentary here at BJ.
Republicans are voting against someone and Democrats are voting for someone. Anybody but Obama is their focus and by anybody they mean a n y b o d y !
Well? maybe not Mitt.
The Bearded Blogger
Up until the last election cycle, hate got the GOP more votes than it cost them. Already in 2008, and more so in 2012, the more they hate, the more voters they will alienate. I think Obama should put Biden on State (which is what he wanted originally) and go with a VP that is female, hispanic or both. The hate which would ensue, which is already getting old with middle america, would go a long way towards making the GOP a rump party in the near future.
I agree it’s going to happen, people like Jerome Corsi and the swift-boaters are deeply imbedded in the Republican party. And, if the economy continues to recover, culture war and racism are really the only things they’ve got left.
But I also think there’s a good chance it’ll backfire. We’ve seen several cases where pressing the old buttons just didn’t work, and doubling down made it worse. It’s entirely possible that trying it again and again will get people thinking–what’s going on here?
too hot baby
I think this year’s town hall shout-fest will be about the birth control regulations and health care reform. They’ll be screaming freedom, fascism and femi-nazis. That all this is due to the Kenyan usurper trying to dictate to those Real Americans will make 2010 seem pleasant.
When the lies get so big
And the fog gets so thick
And the facts disappear
The Republican Trick
Can be played out again
People, please tell me when
We’ll be rid of these men!
The Bearded Blogger
@Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor: Strategic considerations for “making them pay” are important, but the fact is that their shtick just got old. Pushing hate has simply reached the point of diminishing returns, after fifty years or so.
Mr Stagger Lee
Reading an article about the diversity of a company in my boyhood home, the comments were mainly about the lack of “Americans”(wonder what that term means,sportsfans?)working at the place. Xenophobia and racism is the last card, the GOP will play, but it might be the Ace in the Hole, that may bring victory or stave off total disaster. Of course it will never occur to the idiots of Licking County Ohio, that these businesses will prefer these so called non-‘muricans, to the natives.
I’m pretty sure that the strategists in the GOP wish that the birth control issue had never come up, or at least that it could have been confined to screaming “religious freedom!” over and over again. Instead, we have major blowback consisting of women fleeing the GOP in droves (a several percentage point shift in the polls, which is a lot when we’re talking 50% of the population) and advertisers treating Limbaugh as if he was carrying bubonic plague.
I guess what I’m saying is that the GOP brain trust can certainly be relied upon to gin up a whole series of “outrages”, but their problem right now is that their base is so hysterically fanatical that they’ll dial the outrage right past 11 all the way up to 12, and say things that even the nitwits in the press will recoil in horror at.
Obama will win this election by a larger percentage of popular vote margin than he won by in 2008.
Let me know when you are ready to make a wager.
Oh, is the war on women over? I’d give even money it’s the focus of the Two Months Hate. I’ll be we can find video of Obama hugging one.
@gnomedad: Worse than hugging. There’s video of him giving a woman (a black woman, even!) a ‘terrorist fist jab’.
I lost a friend over this when he was appalled that I thought right wing politics were a factor in Giffords’ shooting. But of course, the GOP and right wing have always been able to rely on an unstable lone wolf to do what they wish while maintaining innocence. It’s easy to do because it’s the fate of all humanity versus shooting that doctor or killing that gay.
It probably goes without saying that this exfriend is a conservative straight white Christian male. He’s never heard a dogwhistle in his life.
I’m bookmarking this and shoving it up his ass if/when shit gets ugly.
@MattF: Things are getting better, people remember it was Republicans that fucked stuff up, but people still feel economically insecure. Even the ones with a hard on for hating have other priorities.
He forgot to include all the hate we’ll hear from the PL.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Corner Stone: Never been a Republican. I do like how you’re worried about someones feefees now. Mostly, you just don’t have a comment to make. For once.
At a time when there is obviously real governing work to be done, particularly on economy issues, Santorum talks about campaigning on other issues instead for purely tactical reasons. This is really going to make Mr Frothy look like someone who cares about what’s important.
Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor
@The Bearded Blogger:
Agreed: A squid neuron, stretched out and repeatedly stimulated with a needle or a shock eventually gets used to the stimulus and stops responding.
It’s good to know that the low-information voter’s neurons might be as adaptable as a squid’s neurons, after all.
Am I the only one seeing a Geth – Quarian parallel here?
Mr Stagger Lee
@Gex: That makes two of us, I feel I will lose some friends over this, one of them convinced that Sheriff Joe will prove that once and for all the Birthers were right. I want more than a victory for President Obama, I want *ss-kicking on a scale that will drive the tea-party, into Jonestownesque frenzy(well that is my fantasy)
slim's tuna provider
it’s not clear that we have much agency in resisting these lies. the fact that limbaugh went a step too far and bullied a goody-two-shoes white chick (which you never, ever, do in america) was an unforced error, not anything that “we” did. all evidence seems to indicate that resistance to swiftboating and birtherism was and is largely ineffective, as is resistance to people liking everything about the AMA and hating “obamacare”. obama has already pushed on issues that are clear, uncomplicated wins (saving the auto industry, leaving iraq, etc.) not clear what your average white collar dem douchebag (me) can do other than push the “donate” button.
I have a feeling (and a hope) that your and Kevin Drum’s estimation of how the “Establishment Media” are going to treat this year’s elections (and particularly the Presidential race) are just a tad off: on the pessimistic side.
The one thing that Our Serious Mainstream Media cares about above all else is their Seriousness – and Drum’s parade of horribles have pretty much all (except maybe the “Ground Zero Mosque” crap) been relegated to the “unserious”
bin by the MSM. If the Obama campaign is smart (and there’s no reason to suggest they aren’t), they will run a “serious” issue-oriented campaign, and let the national media highlight the Republicans’ own nuttery for them: i.e. calling it out AS nuttery when it becomes obvious that overt racism and zany conspiracy theories don’t have much traction outside the 27% fringe as national issues. While congratulating themselves on their awesome Seriousness 24/7.
The GOP will have to walk a fine line on this issue this year. With the focus on contraception and rolling back to clock on women’s progress over the past 50 years, they risk having moderates stay away from their candidates in droves.
With a Ku-Klux muu-muu
In the back of the truck,
If you ain’t Born Again,
They wanna mess you up, screamin’:
“No abortion, no-siree!”
“Life’s too precious, can’t you see!”
(What’s that hangin’ from a neighbor’s tree?
Why, it looks like ‘colored folks’ to me –
Would THEY do THAT . . .
They’ve been doin’ it for years!
The Bearded Blogger
@Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor: LOL
I guess voting for Bush does require sub-squid intelligence…
We’ll get the
Two Guys at One Voting Place In One District In One StateNew Black Panthers voter intimidation scandal again in the Breitbartian’s College Profs Shouldn’t Make Us Home Schooled Think About Hard StuffsVet The President civic service. Joel Pollack all but promised it on the Soledad O’Brian show.
The Bearded Blogger
@Joseph Nobles: Saw that. It’s gonna fall dead flat. The thing that irked me the most was the idea that B.O was evil for “forcing law students” to read law scholars… ridicoulous
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
Preach it brother DougJ!!
I just wish The Blues Brothers could get back together to take the edge off all this shit.
Meanwhile, this billboard in Rock Springs, GA:
@The Bearded Blogger: Careful now… JC might hear you.
After watching “Game Change” (and re-reading the book) it occurred to me that McCain actually did try to rein in the Rev. Wright attacks and didn’t like the Bill Ayers stuff, but let Palin have her way. And as we saw with Crazy McCain Lady, he did attempt to get within an arm’s length of the ugliest elements of that election.
We know that Romney will do anything, say anything, and so this will be a very different election than 2008. Get ready, indeed. It might just be 2010 on steroids.
Gird your loins.
“Effie, brace yourself!” :)
@The Bearded Blogger:
First the law professors came forcing students to read books….
@Thymezone: I made the same offer a month ago. Somehow, no one in the “the election’s going to be super-close” crowd stepped up to take the bet.
I’ll offer another prediction (or set of predictions): DougJ is correct, the GOP will run as nasty a campaign as within memory. The maintream press will over and over insist that Obama will have to respond in kind. But the Obama camp will not; they will run on the improving economy, their many achievements, and Barack’s vastly greater popularity than anyone the GOP could put forth. Despite that, the press will find some ad pointing out the utter craziness of a GOP position, and use that to say Both Sides Are Running Vicious Negative Ads.
In the end, the public will see the truth despite journalistic obfuscation. Obama will be re-elected by a wide margin, and retain his dignity. Which will only inflame the right further.
@JenJen: I disagree. He is hateful and a bigot.
He went on the floor of the senate and railed against gays in the military in the most disgusting terms.
He voted against Martin Luther King Day. Geez, even freaking Noot Gingrich voted for it.
He has always smeared people in a McCarthy-like way as unAmerican and unpatriotic for simply dissenting on his precious war in Iraq.
He infamously called his wife a “C*nt” and “trollop” in front of the press corp.
The only reason he corrected the crazy lady was because he knew the event was being broadcast live.
James E. Powell
I am all for preparing for the onslaught. And we already know what the attacks will be because their voters are animated by only a few things: racism, fear of independent women, and xenophobia being the big ones.
But this is not the NFL: in elections it is offense that wins championships.
I’m confident we have a good ground game and Obama is good with the short passes. But I wondering what or who our deep threat is. By that I mean three or four very powerful appeals.
“He killed Obama” would be a good one except that the people who get juiced about killing enemies are not the ones inclined to vote for Obama.
With Romney the likely nominee, “He saved Detroit” is a good one. And let’s get Bob Seger to do an ad.
We need a few more like that to get the House back.
@David Koch: I’m no McCain apologist, and I didn’t find Game Change to be in the least bit sympathetic to him or anyone in his campaign. It’s just that I think Mitt is going to be 20 times worse.
Which is really saying something.
@David Koch: Yep. The “maverick” bucking his own party was the aberration, because McCain was pissed off after the ugly way the Bush campaign treated him. The petulant, thin-skinned warmonger is the real McCain. If he hadn’t been palsy with the press for years, the truth might be more widely known than the myth.
they think somebody’s playing with them.
NOBODY is playing with them.
@James E. Powell:
Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive is not for the Obama Supporter – the base.
it’s for the squishy, fickle, assinine middle that doesn’t have the guts to take a hard stance, and hide behind ‘ independent’.
it’s to remind those clowns that this President has done more in foreign policy in 3 years than Shrub did in 8. So, if those clowns can vote FOR Shrub after he lied us into 2 wars..
then, they can at least vote for the man who ended one of those wars, has decimated Al Qeda, and is trying to wind down the second one.
Democrats have a lot to throw at the Rethugs too. I’m not too worried about the Rethug slime game that’s about to be unleashed. Two can play that game. And I am sure that our side will have more than enough $$$ to throw some tough punches too.
My worry concerns things that President Obama cannot control, i.e., gas prices going up, Israel attacking Iran, the unemployment rate increasing, etc.
I think the biggest surprise the right has in store for them is that Obama will run hard on the Affordable Care Act, and it will work well in his favor. Especially if Romney gets the nomination. Picture him running on (or more characteristically, trying to run away from) a promise to repeal his own healthcare plan. I laugh out loud every time I think about it.
Meanwhile the idiot GOP has set the table for a good healthcare debate in the campaign with their bungling of the contraception flap.
Obama does not have to control gas prices, but he can and probably will control the framing of the issue, and here again, the GOP plays right into his hands. He frames the problem around Wall Street, speculation, oil companies and fat cats and Republican foolishness and turns them into a package of hurt for the GOP candidate. I hope he turns out some ads that show people what “contango” is and how the Koch Brothers are playing with boatloads of oil just to fuck with oil prices for fun and profit.
It’s not clear to me where Romney was born. What planet, I mean.
And that’s just for starters. For example, what exactly was Romney doing in France? Oh sure, I know, missionary work. He had a “missionary position”, you get my drift? What about “gay Paree?” You know, “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?” All that frenchy stuff and all. I mean, “parlay voo”, you know what I’m sayin’? “Oh they don’t wear pants, on the sunny side of France, but they do wear grass, just to cover up their ass”. All that stuff — and more. I’ve got a video.
Did anyone else see the story the other day about the church in Florida who hired a convicted pedophile as a pastor and, when people complained, simply banned children from services? A local community group decided that wasn’t good enough and began protesting those services. That community group? The New Black Panthers. Which makes for some fun rhetorical ammunition the next time Hannity brings them up.
@russ: Exactly, the focus of the GOP electorate is entirely negative. This has long been shown to actually be a depressing factor not a positive one and so, outside of the right-wing “dead-enders”, a lot of right wing indies and other Goopers may decide not to show up. We’ll see.