Thursday, January 25, 2007

GOP Talking Point Number One

Here is some choice driftglass. Gawd, I love the way he writes.
today I was booming down the wide boulevards of my city and overheard Neal Conan facilitating this round of mutual masturbation between former Senators Alan Simpson and George Mitchell, each nostalgizing about the Good Old Days and generally pinin’ for the fjords.

Then I pulled over and made a little sick behind some nice lady’s rose bushes.

Then I cleansed my palate with a little Zepplin and resumed my rambles.

Here is what they said (all quotes are rough and approximate except, where I have just made stuff up to make the old guys sound more lively.)

The program was called “Crossing the Divide: Partisan Politics on Capitol Hill.”

[...]

And then, completely unprompted, our host helpfully leaps in with this:
“I would suspect to be fair that there are at least a few Democrats who have an ideology of their own too…”
To which the caller replies:
”Yes. I agree. I just couldn’t think of one though.”
The discerning ear can now hear the penny drop.

“To be fair…”?

driftglass translation: Whatever explicitly Republican high crimes, scandals, lie or treasons are under discussion, Something Very Bad will happen to me if I don’t automatically and doctrinally butt in with no evidence whatsoever and assert that, somehow, Democrats are equally bad.

This is GOP Talking Point Number One, repeated so incessantly and so ubiquitously that it has reached the point of reflex.

Everyone is equally partisan.

Equally to blame.

Equally unreasonable.

Everybody knows that…except for some mysterious reason no one can lay hands on a single metric that shows this to be true.

And why? Why this persistent, voluntary blindness?

Well, for the GOP the answer is obvious. I mean, since they can now force the bar to be lowered and the ire to be raised uniformly and robotically for everyone every time they and only they are caught naked, in the apse, fisting the Easter Bunny, they can start every national race no worse than dead-even with any competitor.

But with others – with those who do not follow anything political very closely at all – I think the answer is really very simple. They want to believe it because to believe otherwise is terrifying.

[...]

And the implications that flow from this unhappy revelation that we are two, distinct Americas now -- and that while one is certainly flawed and squabbling and timorous, the other America – the Red/Fox America -- has become so existentially monstrous that it is now inimical to every value we claim to cherish -- are so terrifying to normal citizens that they will not accept it.

And so with the eager help of Hate Radio, Fox News and the Mainstream Media, they invent a bedtime story to help them hide the ugly truth. An opium dream that is now faithfully parroted by every Broder and Brooks and Friedman and Neal Conan in the land. This lie that no matter how low the GOP sinks, somehow, some way the Democrats are equally and oppositely terrible.

Equally steeped in sin and intolerance.

Equally to blame for every bad thing.

[...]

Got it? The question Jim asked is about the dangers that come when Religious Zealots get into politics.

And since political extremism jacketed in fundamentalist religious fanaticism is a particular disease of the Right, this is a clearly a shot right into Simpson’s Party’s political wheelhouse.

So how does Simpson answer?

First he rambles uncomfortably and incomprehensibly all over God’s Little Acre and back again (for Simpson-watchers, this is a sure sign that he is about to lay out a fat line of bullshit), and then fires back with this:
“I can tell ya, when you have zealots on both sides, and they’re getting’ pumped up on one side by Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken on the other, you got problems in River City.”
Really?

Rush Limbaugh “returned to radio as a talk show host at KFBK in Sacramento, California” in 1984.

That was 22 years ago.

Al Franken began firing back in the same medium as Limbaugh when he began anchoring a show on Air America, which did not even exist until 2004.

That was two years ago.

So Rush had a twenty-year head start. And in that time his imitators created an entire, integrated radio/teevee/print/cable media Universe based almost entirely on egging the pig people on to mindlessly hate Liberals and blame queers and “feminazis” for every evil on Earth, real or imagined.

For twenty years a polyglot witchbag of sociopaths, Christopaths, Neocons, drunks, demagogues and whores have gotten rich and re-elected by banding together to demonize Liberals and tell the scum of the nation over and over and over again that being the scum of the nation is a noble calling. Or, to misquote H.L Menkin, “No Fox executive ever went broke overestimating the hateful stupidity of the pig people.”

And for twenty years – while the mass purveyors of carefully calibrated hate and rage and xenophobia on the Right gathered more and more power and got more and more vulgar and vicious in their rhetoric – what did the Left try to do?

We tried to find common ground. To meet our opponents half-way.

To compromise…with people who sneered at the very idea of working together and said quite openly that compromise was “political date rape”.

While the Emperor of Weaponized Bile, Newt Gingrich, took over the House with a campaign explicitly based on calling Democrats “traitors” at every opportunity, and Limbaugh was being honored as the “Majority Maker” by those House Republicans, we on the Left were still trying to do and be all the nicey-nicey things that Alan Simpson is now all weepy and wistful for.

And it didn’t work. And while we played by Marquis of Queensbury, the orcs laughed in our faces, overran the joint, and bequeathed to us as its apotheosis the worst, most despicable, most incompetent, most Constitution-loathing Administration in American history.

Al Franken and Air America did not arise in a vacuum. The came into being as a desperate, eleventh-hour attempt to fight back against a twenty year multimedia blitz of unremitting, unrebutted Conservative lies and bigotry.

They arose because no one in the Mainstream Media had the guts to take on the GOP Propaganda Machine head-on. Instead, the MSM collaborated, because collaborating in the Big Lie was a much better, safer career move.

Progressive Radio arose because politicians like Alan Simpson were, for twenty years, perfectly content with looking the other way and harvesting the electoral fruits of the poison tree that their Conservative/Christopath/Racist Hate Radio, Hate TeeVee, Hate Satellite, Hate Cable and Hate Publishing so lavishly watered and fertilized.

Because the GOP was never concerned with the destruction of political comity…as long as it was working to their advantage.

As long as all of the screeching Orwellian hellfire was coming from the Right, they never said a fucking word.

But now, finally, after twenty years of unilateral disarmament, now that the Left has at last decided to fight back hard, suddenly old Republican loons like Simpson get all gooey for the glory days of cellulose collars, nickel candy bars, whale-bone corsets, heroic cavalry charges and a politics of gentle, ruffled fisticuffs followed by brandy, cigars and top-shelf hookers.

Suddenly it is “zealots on both sides” that have torn his beloved Temple down.

Well fuck you, Alan Simpson. Fuck you sideways for your bogus hand-wringing and crocodile tears.

And fuck you, George Mitchell, for sitting there with your thumb up your ass and allowing your good, Republican friend to spread this Big Lie unchallenged right under your nose.

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