Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Golden Nuttie

I propose an award for the wingnuttiest, craziest, not-grounded-in-fact rumor mill hysteria post about Barack Obama by a right-of-center pundit. I think that Tony Blankley is a nominee. He recently wrote a little something for Rasmussen Reports:

"In the Democratic primary, he was a long shot. But a month before the election, his main opponent, Blair Hull, a wealthy Chicago futures trader, was forced to publish divorce papers that revealed, among other charming details, his wife's claim that he had once threatened to kill her.

"In the general election, lightning struck again. His opponent, the engaging Jack Ryan, had run a campaign as a different sort of Republican. But a few months before the election, his divorce papers revealed that, while he might have been a different sort of Republican, he was from precisely the same stable of Obama political opponents. He had, it turned out, once tried to force his former wife to go with him to sex clubs in Paris."

Was Obama really the innocent beneficiary of these rare events?

Let's unpack this here. Did Barack Obama's rise to power involve a little bit of serendipity? Yes, it did. Every politician's career is going to be due in part to luck, to being in the right place in the right time with the right message. But it says something of the right that they've totally exhausted what (evidently little) dirt they legitimately had on Barack Obama, and they've now started speculating on whether or not Obama was somehow responsible for getting Blair Hull to threaten to kill his wife and to get Jack Ryan to take his wife over to the Borg Alcove, if you know what I mean. So, the obvious answer to this question is, "yes." Unless you want to believe...what, exactly? The most obvious answer to me is that, with the exception of Bobby Rush, Obama had some really weak opponents in Illinois.

Of course with the wingnuts it's not about making a cogent argument, but rather about "raising questions" and hoping something sticks. Unfortunately, the right has become so cloistered and solipsistic that they simply cannot engage the public any longer. I find it endlessly fascinating. They are still mistakenly under the impression that they are the tribunes of the people, that they speak for Joe and Jane Sixpack in Middle America. Only the Sixpacks are seeing the markets, they're listening to the news, and they're worried. They could care less about all these insane rumors, and every one that passes is another brick off the wall of what used to be the influence of the right. And the conservative movement will soon enter its richly deserved oblivion--marginalized, discredited, and with a reputation for fabulism and nastiness. When will the American David Cameron have to arrive on the scene to fix up the right?

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.