Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Party of Responsibility

Is up to its usual tricks:
The Weekly Standard responded to the incident, not with condemnations, but with accusations. The Weekly Standard's John McCormack argued the swastika may have been painted by a liberal to generate sympathy for Scott. "[G]iven the fact that the Nazi imagery so neatly dovetails with the left's smearing of health-care protesters as fascists, isn't it more likely that this act of vandalism was committed by one of Scott's supporters?" McCormack asked.

No, it isn't. Given that lots of these protesters carry signs comparing Obama to Hitler (BTW, great way to endear yourself to the ~60% that view the guy favorably), and that the likes of Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are making the comparison routinely, I don't think it's unlikely that the teabaggers did this. To be fair, it's not impossible that this was some sort of agent provocateur, but like all conspiracy theorists McCormack disregards Occam's Razor, which tells us that the simplest theory that fits the facts is most likely the correct one. Not always, of course, since sometimes we don't have all the facts. But the facts, such as they are, point to a teabagger.

I must admit that I'm really tiring of this nonsense. We are in a dangerous situation here, with a cynical conservative establishment serving up misinformation that they have to know is wrong. Okay, Sarah Palin is a complete moron and might believe in "death panels" but most Republican congresspeople aren't that dumb. Most Republican pundits aren't that dumb. These are people whose jobs it is to stay informed on the issues, but they are spreading this nonsense deliberately because they think that they can benefit off it. Fox News wants more viewers, Hannity wants more people to buy his book, Boehner wants the base riled up so that they vote next year, etc. Of course, there are reasonable points to be made against healthcare reform, but these people aren't making them. They're making absurd, fabulist points against some mythical reform, and the Republican base, which is apparently unable to stop listening to the people who lied to them constantly during the Bush years (or that actually prefers it when their leaders just lie to them, which is a saddening thought but increasingly plausible) accepts it all uncritically.

What is clear is that the GOP not only thinks so little of its own base, but also that they view them less as their bosses and more like a prop to be used to drive home talking points. And evidently they think so little of their own supporters that they'd prefer to see them fall apart with paranoia and rage, rather than tamping down on the crazies and encouraging measured, reasoned skepticism. And the Republican base has been so worn down by election losses that the blind followers are, in fact, the only people left in the GOP, so their leaders' assumptions are largely correct. I often wonder where the real leadership is in the Republican Party, but at some point it begs the question of whether the party is capable of discovering effective leaders at this time--today's departure of Jon Huntsman from the political scene after being demagogued for supporting civil unions (!) being a case in point.

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.