Monday, July 05, 2010

Is Rahm Correct In Predicting That The Right's Vicious Attacks On Obama Will Cause Sane Americans To Rally Around Him Despite His Poor Performance?

>


I hope you watched the George Carlin American Dream video yesterday (or will click the link and watch it now). It's a classic critique of how wrong "the American experiment" has gone. Several people asked me why I didn't use it as a jumping off point to attack Obama's corporatism and toadyism. Aside from being a clear if-the-shoe-fits kind of statement, there's something else that keeps us from piling on to Obama as fully as we probably will eventually. John Amato and David Neiwert hit on it very powerfully in their must-read new book, Over The Cliff-- How Obama's Election Drove The American Right Insane. It comes down the same tribal reasons I found myself holding my nose and rallying around Clinton, another conservative Democrat who served the ruling elites as well as most mainstream Republicans would. Who really wants to be in the same "tribe," even tangentially, as these folks?
Eric Boehlert, writing for MediaMatters.org, captured the essence of what the “Birther” controversy was really all about:
Viewed in a vacuum, the movement seems like the nutty fringe. But viewed in a larger historical context, birthers share obvious ties to traditional right-wing assaults on previous Democrats, and birthers have all the marks of a GOP Noise Machine creation. The movement is about a larger, more sinister attempt to paint Obama as illegitimate, foreign, and suspect (i.e. not like you and me). To portray him as “a gratuitous interloper,” as radio host G. Gordon Liddy put it. As someone who isn’t who he says he is. As-- let’s face it-- the Manchurian Candidate, with all the evil connotations that come with it...

And it’s about the disturbing role media figures like Dobbs play when they act as the bridge-- as the transmitter-- between the radical and the mainstream. When they legitimize the craziness, if only in the eyes of the crazies themselves. As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted this week, “The home run for conspiracists of any stripe is when their ideas can leave the lunatic fringe and enter the mainstream.”

In that respect, the explosion of right-wing conspiracism and McCarthyite smears that followed Obama’s election was remarkably similar to the events that followed Bill Clinton’s election in 1993-- the onslaught was predicated on a series of viral memes whose purpose was to delegitimize Obama’s presidency. In the case of Clinton, the conspiracy theories created a narrative depicting the president as an amoral, womanizing conniver who was plotting to hand the national sovereignty over to a cabal of New World Order conspirators. For Obama, the meme evolved into a depiction of the president as a radical communist (or socialist or even fascist) who “hates America,” a man with Muslim sympathies similarly plotting to resign our national sovereignty.

The groundwork for this meme, as we’ve seen, was laid during the 2008 campaign. But it took on a life of its own after the election.

Even before the inauguration, Sean Hannity went on his nationally syndicated radio show and announced he was organizing a would-be force to attempt to stop Obama from enacting “radical” policies, calling his show the outpost of “the conservative underground.” Fellow radio host Mike Gallagher similarly promoted an effort by a far-right online group called Grassfire to present a petition announcing that signers were joining “the resistance” to Obama’s presidency.

You can expect us to watch Obama and his team closely, report the crap and not go nuclear until he actually does something that will fundamentally cripple whatever there is of a progressive movement, like his Social Security scheme.

Labels: ,

12 Comments:

At 5:55 PM, Anonymous DrDick said...

Well and aptly put. As much as I am disappointed and often pissed off at Obama the the rest of the party leadership, the prospect of the Republicans in charge fills me with sheer horror.

 
At 6:47 PM, Blogger quixote said...

until he actually does something that will fundamentally cripple whatever there is of a progressive movement

There are two hallmarks of dictatorship: detention without trial and torture. Obama continues both, not passively, not because he just somehow hasn't got around to stopping it, but actively. That's not just crippling, it's lethal. And not just to progressives. To the whole essence of the country.

If McCain were doing that, the Democrats would at least make feeble fighting noises. Now they're enabling it. The attitude seems to be that they can't do anything else. The other side is "worse."

Obama uses that horror of worse treatment. His attitude is "get over it." Where else are you gonna go?

The left half of the country seems to be stuck in the mindset of an abused wife, putting up with it for the sake of the children.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Our only power is to leave, just like the wife, but by god we can do that. Elect progressives to Congress where possible, let a Republican get the White House. Make a pig's breakfast of it and the politician's will stop taking you for granted.

We have to stop falling for the lesser of two evils nonsense. They're using it to keep giving us crap.

 
At 7:16 PM, Anonymous darms said...

Funny thing though, Bush2 really was an amoral sociopath, Case In Point his lies WRT Saddam & the whole Iraq war sh*t. Yet all we talk about is Bill Clinton & lies. How about David Vitter & his diaper/prostitute fetish? No, that f*ckker got reelected.

 
At 7:44 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Well and aptly put. As much as I am disappointed and often pissed off at Obama the the rest of the party leadership, the prospect of the Republicans in charge fills me with sheer horror.

Exactly so, and I agree.

But that is how Rahmbo and company cynically suck up to the corporatists who've almost destroyed this country, solely for a share of their corporate cash.
~

 
At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does Rahm predict about the very real "enthusiasm gap"? At this point, I loathe almost every incumbant Dem, starting with my senator (and friend of bankers everywhere), Chuck Schumer.

Obama has proved to be the biggest and most bitter disappointment since I started voting almost 40 years ago. This time, I really feel like I've been suckered. They aren't even pretending to honor their campaign promises.

Now we have the mounting assault on Social Security -- led by the Democrat Obama, no less! Why is the public in such a fugue state? It's as if we're all rabbits paralyzed by the mesmeric reptilian predator gathering itself for the strike.

And I keep asking myself, what exactly is better -- getting stabbed in the front by Republicans or stabbed in the back by Democrats? Never have I felt as bitterly cynical about American politics and Democrats in particular as I do now.

 
At 10:21 PM, Blogger Blue said...

"You can expect us to watch Obama and his team closely, report the crap and not go nuclear until he actually does something that will fundamentally cripple whatever there is of a progressive movement, like his Social Security scheme."

Yes, by all means let's wait until after he's done massive damage to "go nuclear". What's the tipping point?

 
At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am getting really tired of being threatened with the probability of some truly Right-wingnuts being elected if I don't go out and punch the ticket for the Dems this fall.
Ya know what? Been there, done that, and where did it get us? We find out that the Public Option was off the table before the table was even set. We mustn't "look back" -- that would be perilously close to accepting responsibility for the immoral acts committed in the name of the USA. Neither can we close Gitmo, or release any obviously innocent detainees, because after all -- if they weren't radicalized before, they sure are now, and we just can't risk their righteous anger.
Corporations are given the same rights as people, and money is "free speech". Despite all the happy talk about green jobs, new infrastructure, investing in alternative energy, our politicians and our taxpayer supported police and fire personnel act like the private security forces of BP in keeping journalists away from sites in the Gulf and in Texas.
Middle class and working class people must pay for the mistakes of the wealthy and the corporations, and we have no voice.
Personally, I'd rather be screwed by someone I had the sense to vote against than by someone I honestly believed was going to change the status quo.
And there's your Dem voter apathy, folks. Why bother? No one is listening to us, anyway.

 
At 2:01 AM, Blogger treebark said...

as far as I am concerned, Obama can go to hell. I will vote for a Republican before I won't vote for Obama.
Do me a favor and drop the "fear the mean Republicans they will eat you." If a Democrat, wants to act like a Republican, then they are done! the only way to teach a Democrat a lesson, is apparently for them to lose.
I will not be conned again!

 
At 5:04 AM, Anonymous Nemo said...

10:29 Anon has reached the point many of us have. The Elite play all sides against the middle, as in 'middle class', and have been successfully doing so fro quite a long time. They've gotten real good at it.

I am reminded of a scene from a very bad attempt at bringing Fran Herbert's Dune to life. The chief, cartoonishly-portrayed bad guy is detailing how he'll have his governor, a hulking, brutish nephew, squeeze the populace of a downtrodden (but strategically important) planet into abject misery, so that they'll scream of a svaior...which the chief bad guy will supply by sending his much smoother other nephew, who's even more ruthless, just slicker about it.

First we get Bush Too, who f-s things up so bad, people cry out for a 'savior'. Then we get Obama. Look familiar?

 
At 5:09 AM, Anonymous me said...

"Is Rahm Correct In Predicting That The Right's Vicious Attacks On Obama Will Cause Sane Americans To Rally Around Him Despite His Poor Performance?"

I don't know about others, but for me, the answer is not just no, but HELL NO.

There's only one thing that would cause me to vote for that worthless son of a bitch, and that is if he turned around 180 degrees and started doing what I want him to. But I'm not holding my breath.

And believe me, waiting until a year before the election does NOT count.

 
At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Pants McCracky said...

This idea that progressives should hold our fire on Obama really depends on the idea that Obama, or his power structure, feels any threat from progressives in the first place. Which they don't. They know most of us will come out and vote for Democrats, out of fear of a Republican victory, no matter how much they crap on us.

In fact, it's arguable that Obama wants progressives to bitch and moan and pile on him, because that just raises his standing with centrists.

In any case, we can talk endlessly about the most judicious way to wield this phantom power we believe we have, but the sad fact is, we're not players at this table. We gave up whatever leverage we could have had during the health care debate. So there's really no point in talking about "going nuclear" when all we've got is fireworks.

 
At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama's Re-Election Promise

The promise of "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage" can be traced to Hoover's 1928 Presidential campaign.
Well, Obama has twisted these words and is promising that if he is re-elected there will be "a chick in every car and some pot in every garage!"

[read the above on the net - Rae]

 

Post a Comment

<< Home