Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Crazy Base

Booman: Cyclical Craziness
I thought there was something about the Clintons that made people on the right crazy. At the time, the press reported this as some kind of generational thing. Clinton was the first president too young to have served during World War Two, and this was supposed to be a big deal. Other accounts focused on Clinton's humble beginnings in Arkansas as a reason the snobs didn't accept him in DC. A last explanation was that Clinton had some moral shortcomings (mainly with the ladies) that offended the morally upright. Whatever the cause or blend of causes, it is now clear that the crazy response to Clinton was at least partly do to the mere fact that he wasn't a conservative Republican.

I think we can expect from now on that whenever a Democrat is elected president, that the far right will simply not accept it and will begin agitating for state's rights. The second a Republican in elected president, they'll fall mute. The pattern is established, and I don't think it will change any time soon.

Neiwert (C&L): Beck steps up the eliminationist attacks on progressives as health-care reform effort comes to a head

Well, I just got to spend ten blissfully Glenn-Beck-free days in China, which is probably the only place one can safely escape his wingnuttery these days. It's quite a different world there, and certainly nothing like what Beck himself frequently depicts it as (more on that later).

And what better way to reacclimate myself to the USA than to turn on Fox the afternoon of my return and watch yet another of Beck's patented eliminationist attacks on progressives -- followed the next night by yet another?

Ah, some things never change, do they?

On Monday, Beck continued his current theme that "progressives are a disease" by ripping into the effort to push health-care reform through Congress. He again warned that America was being destroyed from within by progressives:

Beck: I was, way back then, I said that America could never be destroyed from the outside. I remember the day that I said it because it was September 11th, and people were freaking out, and I was on my radio program and I said, militarily there is no equal, don't worry, if the world tries to attack us, and we've decided we're not going to bother with smart bombs, we'd control the world in a heartbeat, but that's not who we are.

Don't worry. The only way to destroy America is to rot it from the inside -- collapse our system from the inside. It's got to be one of us that brings us to our knees.

When I said that, I was trying to give hope to people. But I didn't have the full truth, because little did I know that there were people, our own countrymen, who are already here who are on the inside who actually want to do that -- bring our country to its knees. That's insanity.

... Progressives -- progressives are the ones that say you've got to rot America from the inside. You have to be inside in order to bring her down. It has been the plan the whole time. Make progress -- baby steps. Well, progress from where to what? From the Constitution to a democracy. We're not a democracy.

So now that it's happening, why is America surprised? They've been clear for a hundred years. Radical progressives are infecting America! By deceiving unsuspecting people on their true intentions!

A little later, he used the disease metaphor again to describe health-care reform:

Beck: What they're about to pass is not a tumor. Because the doctor can come over here and say, 'Yeah, there's a tumor here, and we've got to go in and cut this out.' I don't know if you can cut this tumor out. Maybe not. But you can try. But what they're about to pass is a bloodstream disease. It will be injected into our system and it will be incurable.

Then on yesterday's show, he continued (h/t Media Matters) to attack the health-care reform effort:

Beck: I think they're gonna pass this thing. They are gonna do whatever it takes to pass this, and they're not going to go the traditional way, they are gonna go the way of snakes and cockroaches. They're gonna crawl out in the cover of darkness, and they're going to pass this, make it happen one way or another.

In case anyone needs reminding, here's how I explained the nature of eliminationism in my last book, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right:

What motivates this kind of talk and behavior is called eliminationism: a politics and a culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas in favor of the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through suppression, exile, and ejection, or extermination.

Rhetorically, eliminationism takes on certain distinctive shapes. It always depicts its opposition as beyond the pale, the embodiment of evil itself, unfit for participation in their vision of society, and thus worthy of elimination. It often further depicts its designated Enemy as vermin (especially rats and cockroaches) or diseases, and disease-like cancers on the body politic. A close corollary—but not as nakedly eliminationist—are claims that opponents are traitors or criminals and that they pose a threat to our national security.

Eliminationism is often voiced as crude "jokes," a sense of humor inevitably predicated on venomous hatred. And such rhetoric—we know as surely as we know that night follows day—eventually begets action, with inevitably tragic results.

Beck, of course, has a long history of using such rhetoric to attack progressives:

It's almost enough to make you want to go live in China, isn't it?

John Cole: Heckuva Job, Atlantic

I was really good and didn’t read McMegan for a while, but for some reason or another, I started up again. Today, Megan reacts to the following video:

Basically, teabaggers and health care advocates were on two sides of a street each doing their thing about health care reform, and a man with Parkinson’s sat down in front of the teabagging fools. They proceeded to berate him and throw money at him and basically act like scumbags. Megan’s response:

No matter how frail his condition, could the fellow on the ground possibly have been seriously endangered by having two bills hurled his way?

I’d certainly be willing to take such harsh treatment from the nice folks at Progress Ohio.

Great. Get back to us when you have Parkinson’s disease, asshole, and I can find a few people to throw shit at you.

Are we going to have to end up paying these glibertarians to go Galt?

MCJOAN (dKOS): Gingrich Broke the Law?


American Solutions: "Passing Laws Without Voting On Them Is Blatantly Unconstitutional." In an email to supporters, Newt Gingrich's American Solutions for Winning the Future wrote:

Because Speaker Pelosi cannot find enough votes to pass the deeply unpopular ObamaCare bill in a constitutional way, she is hoping you and other Americans won't notice, or won't care, whether she passes ObamaCare in an unconstitutional and blatantly corrupt way.

Her latest plan is called the "Slaughter Rule", which would allow the House to vote on a different bill and "deem" the Senate's ObamaCare bill as being "passed" at the same time as the other bill is passed, without having an actual up and down vote on the ObamaCare bill.

Said Pelosi in an interview: "It's more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know....but I like it, because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill."

Pelosi may like "deeming" laws passed, but passing laws without voting on them is blatantly unconstitutional. [American Solutions email, 3/17/10]

As Speaker, Newt Gingrich "Set New Records" For The Amount Of Self-Executing Rules. According to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars:

When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). There were 38 and 52 self-executing rules in the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995-1998), making up 25 percent and 35 percent of all rules, respectively. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) there were 40, 42 and 30 self-executing rules in the 106th, 107th and 108th Congresses (22 percent, 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively). Thus far in the 109th Congress, self-executing rules make up about 16 percent of all rules. [Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 6/19/06]

Ah, politics. No one personifies the soul-crushing absurdity of what is supposed to be governing like Newt Gingrich.

Madrak (C&L): Tea Party Petitions Court To Remove Sen. Menendez. Is NJ Turning Into California?

I was taking a look at Gov. Chris Christie's budget today and then I saw this. Will New Jersey follow in California's footsteps and start governing by mood ring?

A state appeals court today ruled New Jersey’s secretary of state must accept a petition a citizens group filed to recall U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, but left open the question of whether the removal effort itself is constitutional.

The three-judge panel stayed its ruling to give Menendez (D-N.J.) the opportunity to appeal to the state Supreme Court.. The senator has 45 days to file an appeal but did not say today whether he would. He called the recall effort a "political stunt" that won’t distract him from doing his job.

"This an organization trying to undemocratically and unconstitutionally overturn an election in which more than 2 million New Jerseyans voted," said Menendez, whose term expires in 2012. "My focus continues to be on job creation legislation and delivering a successful extension of my local property tax relief bill."

The court found existing New Jersey law and the state’s constitution both allow U.S. senators to be recalled. For that reason, the appeals court said, the removal effort can proceed. But noting the absence of case law and precedent, it left the ultimate question of the constitutionality of the state’s recall law and amendment to a higher court.

"There are a host of genuine arguments and counterarguments that can be articulated and debated about whether or not the Federal Constitution would permit a United States Senator to be recalled by the voters under state law," the appellate judges said.

"I’m pleased," said Dan Silberstein, attorney for the Committee to Recall Senator Menendez, which is backed by the New Jersey chapter of the conservative Tea Party movement. "I think the appellate court made the right decision on where the case is procedurally."

Menendez’s attorney disagreed.

"The U.S. Constitution is clear that a senator’s term is six years and is not subject to recall," said Marc E. Elias. "The state attorney general correctly argued before the court that a recall is unconstitutional and a clear disservice to voters who take part in a petition process that is invalid. We are pleased the court stayed this opinion until the appeals process is completed."

Think Progress: Bachmann: ‘ people’ are not ‘real people.’

While yesterday’s tea party rally outside the Capitol drew an anemic crowd of about only 300, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) urged supporters to keep up the fight against health care reform for the rest of the week. Bachmann warned that Democrats will bring in “ people” “to really beat the living tar out them” — presumably referring to lawmakers who are not sure how they’ll vote — and called on “real people” to “keep flooding here”:

BACHMANN: What they plan to do is keep everyone here and beat the living snot out of them through Saturday and then try to get the vote on Saturday. That’s their goal. So, the main thing is the more people that can just keep flooding here between now and Saturday to keep the pressure up. Because my guess is they’ll probably be bringing in a lot of people on Saturday to really beat the living tar out of them. That’s my guess. So the more we get real people here, the better.

Watch it (beginning at 0:35):

Bachmann’s “real people” comment is reminiscent of Fox News contributor Sarah Palin’s claim that “small towns” represent “the real America” where people are “pro-America.”

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