Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rachel Maddow: The Republicans' Small Angry Tent

Rachel Maddow talks about the support which is now being expressed towards Joe Wilson, after he shouted "You lie!" at the President.

Maddow: While many of his Republican colleagues in Congress express their disapproval of what Congressman Wilson did, a steady stream of well-wishers descended upon the congressman‘s office in D.C. today to say quite the opposite. Among them were radical anti-abortion activist Randall Terry and members of the Montgomery, Alabama Tea Party Patriots. Congressman Wilson also found a wealth of support from conservative outposts on the online machines.

Today, the conservative Web site Palmetto Scoop began giving away “I‘m with Joe Wilson” t-shirts. The RedState blog dubbed Congressman Wilson, quote, “A great American hero,” urging its readers to “open our wallets for Joe.”

For his part, Congressman Wilson released a YouTube video tonight incredibly trying to raise money off his newfound notoriety saying, “I will not be muzzled,” and railing against, quote, “the liberal who is want to give health care to illegals.”

The Republican party have been at pains to distance themselves from Wilson, with Mark McKinnon complaining that it is unfair to judge the Republicans based on the actions of a few nutjobs, as both party's have nutjobs in equal measure. But the support Wilson is receiving from many in the conservative base - where there are already bumper stickers calling for his presidency in 2012 - leads me to believe that Wilson does not represent a minority at all.

Obama has hardly been president long enough to justify the astonishing amount of bile and hatred which is being directed towards him - the claims that he is a socialist, that he is not even a real American - are all so vindictive that one can only presume that this is the Republican reaction to losing power, and that this is why they say they want, "our country back". They mean a country run by conservatives and based on conservative values.

Nor is this the first time that the Republicans have turned into a party of nutters the millisecond they were removed from office. We actually witnessed all of this during the presidency of Bill Clinton:
In 1994, Jesse Helms, then-Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, claimed that "just about every military man" believes Clinton is unqualified to be Commander-in-Chief and then warned/threatened him not to venture onto military bases in the South: "Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He better have a bodyguard." The Wall St. Journal called for a Special Prosecutor to investigate the possible "murder" of Vince Foster. Clinton was relentlessly accused by leading right-wing voices of being a murderer, a serial rapist, and a drug trafficker. Tens of millions of dollars and barrels of media ink were expended investigating "Whitewater," a "scandal" which, to this day, virtually nobody can even define. When Clinton tried to kill Osama bin Laden, they accused him of "wagging the dog" -- trying to distract the country from the truly important matters at hand (his sex scandal). And, of course, the GOP ultimately impeached him over that sex scandal -- in the process issuing a lengthy legal brief with footnotes detailing his sex acts (cigars and sex talk), publicly speculating about (and demanding examinations of) the unique "distinguishing" spots on his penis, and using leading right-wing organs to disseminate innuendo that he had an abandoned, out-of-wedlock child. More intense and constant attacks on a President's "legitimacy" are difficult to imagine.

Nothing that the GOP is doing to Obama should be the slightest bit surprising because this is the true face of the American Right -- and that's been true for a very long time now.
It didn't just become true in the last few months or in the last two years. Recent months is just the time period when the media began noticing and acknowledging what they are: a pack of crazed, primitive radicals who don't really believe in the country's core founding values and don't merely disagree with, but contest the legitimacy of, any elected political officials who aren't part of their movement. Before the last year or so, the media pretended that this was a serious, adult, substantive political movement, but it wasn't any truer then than it is now. All one has to do is review their behavior during the Clinton presidency -- to say nothing of the Bush years -- to see that none of this is remotely new. Nothing they're doing to Obama is a break from their past behavior; it's just a natural and totally predictable continuation of it.
It is for this reason that people shout, "You lie!" at Republican rallies whenever Obama's name is now mentioned, it is for this reason that Republicans today flock to Joe Wilson's office.

This is simply what they do when power is denied to them. They refuse to accept the legitimacy of other people's opinions when these opinions do not accord with their own. Their world does not rely on facts, which they consider suspect, but on beliefs. You either share their beliefs or you don't; and, if you don't, then as far as they are concerned you can't be a "real American".

But the notion that these people are a minority of the Republican movement, or that it is unfair to judge that movement based on these people's actions, is simply fanciful when one looks at the fact that they treated Clinton in the exact same insane way.

This is simply what they do. And one would have to have amnesia to pretend that this is surprising.


Here, echoing Glenn Beck - that searing right wing intellectual - one of the 9-12 supporters tells us that Obama is a racist who will oppress white America.

As I say, facts mean nothing to these people. Beck has told them, based on no facts whatsoever, that Obama is a Communist/Socialist/Fascist, and that's good enough for them.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

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