Saturday, April 18, 2009

The right-wing death cult

By Rick Morris

Barack Obama, November 6, 2012: "And most of all tonight, I'd like to thank Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the folks at Red State for making my re-election possible!"

Don't think it can happen? Then you're wrong, because at the moment, it's the likeliest outcome, and for people like myself who oppose the overwhelming majority of Obama's policies on substantive public policy grounds, it's nothing short of infuriating.

I've written about many elements of this previously: the GOP's insistence on looking obstructionist for obstructionist's sake notwithstanding having no power to obstruct Obama right now, the right's shameless overlooking of so many Bush Administration moderate and even liberal policies, the endlessly stupid Republican "kitchen sink" attack approach on Obama last year rather than the targeted and effective approach I advocated and the continuation of the asinine "kitchen sink" approach this year.

The common thread is that so-called conservatives are getting drunk on their own venom right now and it's hurting the cause tremendously. In many ways, it's like the Browns fans who years ago doubled down on support of Butch Davis even after he had been exposed as the biggest buffoon ever to roam NFL sidelines. When things aren't going your way, you've got to examine your approach.

After a year of attacks on Obama so unfocused that they could have been excerpted from a Tourette Syndrome tirade ("Celebrity!" "Reverend Wright!" "Socialist!"), the group so aptly named years ago "The Stupid Party" by right-wing journalist M. Stanton Evans evidently aspired to continue living up to that tag. So many opponents of the president are so out of it right now that they didn't even realize that Obama was letting himself be thrown into the briar patch by getting into a feud with Rush Limbaugh -- whose unbelievably unproductive line about hoping Obama fails gave Democrats every opportunity to slime the hapless Republicans.

But it didn't end there. Limbaugh's "Amen Chorus" propelled him to a nationally-televised slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) when he defiantly belched out his line yet again. And his flunkies at Red State (who never missed a chance to suck up to George W. Bush, even while he was putting everything conservatives had worked for over the course of decades at risk with his ineptitude) then self-righteously picked up the mantle and implied that those who also didn't want Obama to fail were squishes of some sort. Again, mighty rich coming from the "George W. Bush is God" chorus.

Think about the implications of their ill-considered proclamation. Of course, nobody with a brain wants Obama to succeed in inflicting policies on the country that will bring harm. I hope that he doesn't succeed in implementing most of his policies, although I know that he will. But that's not what they're saying! They're simply saying, "I hope he fails." Really? So, by definition, if we get into a military crisis with North Korea or Iran or somebody like that, you hope he fails? And if that's not the brainless thing that you mean, why on earth would you not qualify that in some way?

For the life of me, I don't know why Republicans are making it so easy for Obama to continue to marginalize opposition to this administration. I'm not saying not to criticize this administration on substantive grounds, because to do so is like shooting fish in a barrel. I'm not saying that there shouldn't be Tea Parties, because they were a great manifestation of patriotism and activism (and one of the most prominent people involved in them, Glenn Beck, is a truly intellectually honest opinion leader who is quick to proclaim the failings of BOTH political parties).

But I am saying that such statements and actions should be counteracted in some small way by giving credit where it is due when appropriate. One example of this might be Obama's decision to put aside his infantile opposition to warrantless wiretapping on the campaign trail and realize that the real world demands pragmatic approaches to fighting terrorism. This reversal was a great move on his part and the right is wrong to try to demonize anyone who tries to balance their copious criticism with encouragement on occasion.

And I am saying that even if the Limbaughs and Hannitys of the world can't put aside the juvenile worship of George W. Bush that animates their hatred of Obama, the rest of the right wing would be wise to do so. It's quite funny that I saw so many conservatives over the past few years who swore that under a Democrat president that they would never succumb to the "Bush Derangement Syndrome" that drove the wackos like Daily Kos -- and yet, here we are in the spring of 2009 with so many Bizzaro World Kos types littering the right side of the spectrum.

What's most unbelievable about all of this is that the folks most vehement in espousing their public hatred of all things Obama are apparently the ones who are the least secure in their public policy convictions! I can afford to sit back, take a deep breath, and only attack Obama here and there because I know full well that his policies won't work for this country and that time will bear this out.

Moreover, even though most of my friends are fairly apolitical, most also tend to have similar views to my paleocon ones on the rare occasions when we talk politics, so they would certainly be persuadable anti-Obama voters (having said that, though, persuadable voters are the ones most likely to be alienated by over-the-top partisanship, as evidenced by the stated wish of FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones to punch Sean Hannity in the nose notwithstanding the fact that Jason is right-of-center on many issues). Oh, and you know what else persuadable anti-Obama voters don't like? Racism aimed at the First Family in the form of a shot at "The First BabyMomma." Minus any kind of handy scapegoats, Obama should not be in a strong position for re-election because of the negative effects that his policies will have on the country.

So why would anyone on the right volunteer for the role of Obama scapegoat? Limbaugh I understand at least, because he's just a businessman who doesn't really care about the harm he's doing. His plutocratic wealth is growing by the day as his ratings increase and that's his bottom line, protestations about his "beliefs" notwithstanding. But I don't see anybody else (aside from possibly Hannity) growing wealthier by being a useful idiot for Barack Obama. So I ask again, why would anyone take on that role willingly -- and how are they going to live with themselves when they succeed in inflicting four more years of this administration on the country?

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