Monday, September 13, 2010

To Conservatives Like Gingrich Anti-Colonial Attitudes Have Always Been Anathema, Going Way Back To 1775


I can't count the number of times we've covered Mike Lux's brilliant book, The Progressive Revolution this year. That's because Lux elegantly draws the bright red line between our nation's mainstream progressive traditions and the conservative reactions to them. This past weekend, thanks to off-the-rails, right-wing polemicists Newt Gingrich and Dinesh D'Souza, America got a taste of the reactionary vision of America. The two of them, trying to imply President Obama is an illegitimate president and was born in Kenya and is like a Mau Mau, accused him of anti-colonialist views. D'Souza, who has a disgraceful public history of supporting apartheid in South Africa, isn't any more deranged than the pseudo-intellectual Gingrich.

As Lux reminds his readers, there were conservatives back in colonial America too. Many of them fought alongside the British and against George Washington. After they lost the War Ig Independence, wealthy conservatives scurried back to England, while thousands of others went to Canada and the Bahamas. I guess it would be a stretch to call it "ironic" but an awful lot of Georgia traitors packed up their slaves and resettled on the Caribbean islands. Conservatives hated the Declaration of Independence, hated the Revolutionary Wall, hated Washington, Jefferson, Franklin... hated America-- they still do, to this day-- hated freedom, hated liberty, hated the Bill of Rights with a passion... That's the tradition from which Gingrich and D'Souza were speaking when they denounced President Obama as an anti-colonial Kenyan Mau Mau over the weekend. Even David Frum was embarrassed by his right-wing colleagues.
With the Forbes story and now the Gingrich endorsement, the argument that Obama is an infiltrating alien, a deceiving foreigner-- and not just any kind of alien, but specifically a Third World alien-- has been absorbed almost to the very core of the Republican platform for November 2010.

Rush Limbaugh has been claiming for almost 2 years that President Obama is bent upon “redistribution” and “reparations.” Following D’Souza, Gingrich has now stepped up to suggest that this redistribution is motivated by anti-white racial revenge. If Obama wants to expand health coverage and create government make-work projects, and tighten bank regulation it’s not because he shares the same general outlook on the world as Walter Mondale or Ted Kennedy or so many other liberals, living and dead, all of them white and northern European. No, Obama wants to do what he does because he thinks like an African, and not just any kind of African but (in D’Souza’s phrase) “a Luo tribesman.”

It is to vindicate this African tribal dream that Obama wishes to raise the taxes of upper-income taxpayers and redistribute money away from these meritorious individuals. D’Souza contends that Obama is acting to vindicate his father’s supposed dream of overthrowing the global order and ending the global domination of the white race over other peoples.

...Obviously I don’t know, but I’d venture that Gingrich’s words were not a one-drink-too-many rhetorical excess. Through his career, Gingrich has emphasized the use of harsh and stereotyping language to draw political contrasts, as in the famous 1996 GOPAC memo.

Earlier this year, Gingrich deployed the phrase “secular socialist machine.” Adopting as his own D’Souza’s new epithet about “the ideology of the Luo tribesman” revs Gingrich’s attack into a higher gear. It would be very characteristic of Gingrich to road-test the new concept with friendly journalists and audiences. If they applaud, we’ll hear more of it.

...But remember: Newt Gingrich no longer leads the congressional Republicans. Of course he wants to see Republicans elected (and to receive credit for helping to elect them). But as he prepares to run for president, he has other priorities – and other problems. Gingrich endorsed TARP. He has acknowledged that human activity is warming the globe. He attempted to work with Hillary Clinton on healthcare reform and with Al Sharpton (!) on education. He endorsed Dede Scozzafava in the NY-23 special election. As Speaker, he joined Bill Clinton to pass the S-Chip program, a big expansion of the healthcare entitlement. And then there is the tangled complexity of his personal life. Gingrich must feel very vulnerable to the kind of attack from the right that has slammed so many Republicans this year.

So it’s his mission now to present himself as the most ferocious right-winger in the race. Confident (over-confident) that he can best Sarah Palin among business-minded and ideas-minded Republicans, he wants to deny her or some other Tea Party style challenger any footing to attack him as a compromise-minded moderate. Calling President Obama a Kenyan fits into that strategy.

What it does to national unity and to distract the president from solving the problems conservatives left him to deal with is another matter entirely.

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At 3:18 PM, Blogger Ahab said...

D'Souza was promoting his "anti-colonialism" smear against Obama at this weekend's Faith and Freedom Coalition conference too.

The right-wing memes that have been circulating over the past few months (accusing President Obama of being insufficiently Christian, Muslim, anti-colonialist, etc.) all seem intended to stereotype him as insufficiently American and subversive. The sad thing is, people embrace these memes!

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anti-colonialism is good but it's a smear to call someone an anti-colonialist.

Just as freedom is slavery, war is peace, and progressives have always been at war with colonialism (like when they advocated expanding American colonies in the late 19th/early 20th centuries).


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