Welcome Guest | Register | Login

Betting Against America

"Bookmark



Something gross is happening on the right.

After eight years of referring to critics as the “Party of Defeat”, “Anti-American”, and whatever else, it seems many of them just don’t think they can possibly be guilty of the same thing.

I can’t tell you the moment it started. But I first noticed in April, during the Somali Pirate hostage fiasco. As soon as word got out that Captain Richard Phillips was being held hostage, conservative talking heads and political gurus were foaming at the mouth for something to go wrong – anything, really – so they could place the blame on President Barack Obama.

Glenn Beck, on his own Fox News show, April 9: “We have become so politically correct that no one would even dare sending the Marines to fight pirates.”

Newt Gingrich, on “This Week”, April 12: “We ring our hands, talk about illegal convention, and hope that someday, internationally, somebody will do something.”

Brit Hume, on “Fox News Sunday”, April 12: “What an image it presents to the world, of this great military power unable to – so far – cope with this problem.”

Of course, Captain Richard Phillips was freed by the U.S. military on the afternoon of April 12 and three Somali pirates were killed by snipers.

The conservative talking point then became, “Why is the media giving Obama credit on this issue?” even when Shane Murphy, second-in-command aboard the seized ship, referred to Rush Limbaugh as “disgusting.”

Around the same time, conservatives became angry when a Department Of Homeland Security issued a report warning of  “right wing extremism.” The memo cautioned of militias and white supremacists, anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists committing acts of terrorism in the United States.

The conservative anger following the report was, as I’ve said in previous op/eds, phony outrage – a symptom of both parties, more often by the right, in which pundits deflect a real issue by purportedly becoming incensed at a fake issue they create out of thin air.

The Bush administration ordered the DHS to research and write the report of right wing extremism late in its second term (a left wing extremism report was already prepared), and it wasn’t completed until the Obama Administration took over. But conservative talking heads were hoping enough Americans were unaware of this fact that they could use it. This ignorance, according to phony outrage doctrine, then snowballs, can sink approval ratings, and ultimately comes back up in time for an election.

Conservative blogger and commenter Michelle Malkin called the DHS report a “piece of crap report.”

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich said, “The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired.”

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol called the report “juvenile.”

Radio host Michael Savage joined with conservative Christian legal group, The Thomas More Law Center, and filed a lawsuit against DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Since the report was published, some peculiar, saddening events have occurred. On April 4, a 23 year-old man named Richard Poplawski shot and killed three Pittsburgh police officers after a standoff at his house. According to his friend Edward Perkovic, Poplawski feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on the way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.”

On May 31, Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who performed abortions, was shot and killed in his church. The man who allegedly killed him, Scott Roeder, later said in custody: "I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal.” Bill O’Reilly, before the murder, had accused Tiller of being guilty of “Nazi stuff,” calling him “Tiller the Baby Killer.”

On June 10, 88-year-old white supremacist James W. von Brunn walked into the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. and killed security guard Stephen T. Johns. Von Brunn once wrote a book alleging there was a Jewish “conspiracy to destroy the white gene pool.” He helped spread and write emails during the 2008 presidential campaign which alleged Barack Obama was born in Kenya and “created by Jews.”

So, is it really a shock that people are starting to put two and two together? CIA Director Leon Panetta tells The New Yorker, in its June 22 issue, of former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s recent attacks on the Obama Administration: “It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point.”

The facts are the facts. I understand the criticisms of the Obama Administration as I understood the criticisms of the Bush Administration. However, critical as I was, I never believed the Bush Administration was trying to kill me. Believing such of the Obama Administration is not just counter-productive, it actually incites violence.

Make no mistake. For the last four months, a host of conservatives in and out of the media have been betting against America, and losing.

Television news is officially not about news anymore – it’s (like this column) about opinion (the difference being, this column admits it). As political pundit Stuart Rothenberg recently wrote for Real Clear Politics, “America’s cable networks have concluded…that most viewers don’t want straight news and analysis as much as they want to hear what they already think or to watch predictable partisan attacks.”

Of course the examples mentioned above are going to occur. Our news programs have regular features dedicated to how “fascist” our president is. Otherwise normal people (people I know, as you probably do) received, believed, and re-sent mass emails which stated presidential candidate Obama was a Muslim extremist intent on giving Osama bin Laden a seat on the Supreme Court. Washington Times columnist Frank J. Gafney, Jr. recently stated that he still believes Barack Obama is a Muslim, an opinion literally based on nothing.
Words have consequences. When psychopaths receive these hysterical emails, read/watch/listen to these outrageous statements of opinion presented as fact, they’re inclined to do something about it. When political party leaders say they want the president – and by extension, America – to fail, or they pass judgment before evidence arises, compare our president to Hitler for shock value, they hurt this country and become much worse than any liberal caricature they could have possibly come up with over the last eight years.