Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:29 am

Looking for reasons why mass murderers commit their heinous acts has devolved into something of a parlor game with both sides playing it to some extent. But since being a liberal automatically qualifies you as a psychotherapist and an expert diviner of an individual’s intent, the left is much better at blaming the right for these slaughters than conservatives are in positing more philosophical and - dare I say - reality based motivations for these tragedies.

A whole cottage industry has grown up on the left in finding motivations for these tragically sick individuals that always seem to track back to at least one of the following:

  1. Talk radio
  2. Conservative “hate speech”
  3. “The Gun Culture”
  4. Conservatives are mentally ill
  5. Opposing liberals is the same as wanting them dead

The right’s favorite whipping boys are much different:

  1. Sick society
  2. Violence on TV and movies
  3. Poor parenting
  4. No conceal carry laws
  5. God has disappeared from public life

I won’t entirely dismiss Dave Neiwart’s thesis that, in this case, scare tactics by the NRA and some conservative commentators that Obama was going to confiscate weapons may have affected this obviously sick individual in a way that played to his paranoia. But there is no evidence and none likely to emerge that this was the catalyst that set him off on that day at that time. The broad brush strokes of motivation used by most of the left on this incident are ridiculously simple minded and fails to take into account that in dealing with a diseased mind, there is no telling what will be the trigger that causes him to abandon all reason and attack police officers.

A key piece of evidence that this is an individual who wanted to use the police to commit suicide and his fear that Obama would take his guns was a lot less of a motivating factor than many on the left are crowing about today:

Perkovic, 22, said he got a call at work from him in which he said, “Eddie, I am going to die today. … Tell your family I love them and I love you.”

Perkovic said: “I heard gunshots and he hung up. … He sounded like he was in pain, like he got shot.”

One would think that if there was a political element to his true motivations, he would have made some grand statement of intent a la Sirhan Sirhan or McVeigh once he believed he was going to die. Instead, he told his best friend exactly what most suicide victims write in their notes which, while not conclusive, certainly points to alternate motivations for his crime.

Yesterday, I dismissed out of hand a New York Times columnist who attempted to tar conservatives with promoting revolution and violence by using illogic, twisting the facts, and “veiled hate speech.” He also believed conservatives were trying to recruit members for militias. It was pure hyperbole that deserved to be ridiculed - especially his notion that Chuck Norris, Michelle Bachman, and Glen Beck are conservative “leaders.”

But just because idiots like Charles Blow peddle their partisan poison doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been a lot of loose talk by conservatives about Obama that has leaned toward the hysterical rather than the logical. There is a perfectly reasonable, factual, case to be made against what the president has been doing since he took office without resorting to calling him a “communist” or even a “socialist” despite his bank and auto company grabs. With those corporations, we are talking about a matter of degree when it comes to socialism. Before Obama even took office those industries were heavily dependent on government for their success. Obama, being a far left liberal, has simply taken the next step and begun to dictate to them who they can hire as CEO’s, how much they can pay their executives, and whether or not they have to file bankruptcy. It is a form of corporate socialism that this country has been moving toward since the end of World War II.

Krauthammer got it right:

Second, there is every political incentive to make these interventions in the banks and autos temporary and circumscribed. For President Obama, autos and banks are sideshows. Enormous sideshows, to be sure, but had the financial meltdown and the looming auto bankruptcies not been handed to him, he would hardly have gone seeking to be the nation’s car and credit czar.

Obama has far different ambitions. His goal is to rewrite the American social compact, to recast the relationship between government and citizen. He wants government to narrow the nation’s income and anxiety gaps. Soak the rich for reasons of revenue and justice. Nationalize health care and federalize education to grant all citizens of all classes the freedom from anxiety about health care and college that the rich enjoy. And fund this vast new social safety net through the cash cow of a disguised carbon tax.

Obama is a leveler. He has come to narrow the divide between rich and poor. For him the ultimate social value is fairness. Imposing it upon the American social order is his mission.

I have been saying this since Obama became a serious candidate for president. He seeks a fundamental restructuring of the relationship between citizen and government that will fall far short of socialism and reflects the same liberal goals that have been the hallmark of the movement since the New Left became ascendant in the 1970’s. America has a leveling tradition that dates back to colonial times - long before the world became aware of the concept of “socialism.” The social democracy that Obama is seeking will accomplish this “leveling” at the expense of a truly free market while limiting the individual citizen’s choices in everything from education to health care.

But conservatives have either ignorantly or deliberately misconstrued Obama’s true intent and have engaged in their own version of BDS. My worry is twofold; that such wild talk enables sickos on the radical right - emboldens them - and makes them believe that killing the president would be doing the world a favor and make them popular. (The FBI and the Warren Commission believed that the atmosphere of Kennedy hate in Dallas played a large role in JFK’s assassination.) The second point is that talk of gun grabbing, dictatorship, canceling elections (or using ACORN to mount a nationwide, massive vote stealing campaign), and even violence has, as a consequence, an unknown effect on the mentally ill that walk our streets. In this sense, it is nothing specific. Instead, it is the permeation of the air waves, the internet, and other media that surrounds the nutcases and speaks to them in ways that it doesn’t speak to normal people.

Fools like Charles Blow don’t get it. Even long time observers of the far right nuts like Neiwart draw too simple a conclusion regarding the effect of this kind of wild talk.

But it doesn’t seem to matter to conservatives who use gross exaggeration and hyperbole to describe what Obama has been doing. Sticking to the facts of Obama’s disregard for tradition and our first principles will get us a lot farther in debate than referring to Obama as a communist. And eschewing the violent language and monumental distortions coming from some on talk radio but especially the internet might serve to lower the temperature and give liberals something else to talk about besides falsely identifying conservatives as the motivating factor in every massacre that will occur over the next four years.


  1. I Don’t completely agree with your conclusions but I do respect your understanding that the right-wing blowhards out there (some of whom are rightly called wingnuts) are not making things any better. I am an independent and those such as Malkin, Bachmann, etc., do very little but ensure that I never, ever associate myself with any political party they’re associated with.

    (Hamsher, Nicole Belle, etc., do the same for the Democrats, so I am an equal opportunity criticizer here)

    There’s plenty to criticize in both camps although I remain a little more partisan when it comes to conservatives simply because the far left fails to debate honestly, having invented their own language and yardsticks to measure conservatives and using those tools to set up parameters for discussion that proceed from false premises.


    Comment by Russell Miller — 4/5/2009 @ 9:45 am

  2. “There‚Äôs plenty to criticize in both camps although I remain a little more partisan when it comes to conservatives simply because the far left fails to debate honestly, having invented their own language and yardsticks to measure conservatives and using those tools to set up parameters for discussion that proceed from false premises.”

    Oddly enough, Rick, that’s the exact same reason I remain a little more partisan when it comes to liberals.

    Heh - the prism is reflective towards one’s own biases it appears.


    Comment by Russell Miller — 4/5/2009 @ 11:21 am

  3. As usual, a reasonable and insightful look beyond the rhetoric and ridiculousness.

    Thank you especially though for hitting on the NRA for its scare tactics. I would much rather see them focus on building up membership through all 50 states, especially those with excessive gun control laws or states not friendly to armed self-defense.

    By growing local movements in each state to overturn these horrendous laws, the NRA can raise its membership rolls, fundraising and national prominence without resorting to silly scare tactics that make us look like nuts and fools.

    Comment by Eddie — 4/5/2009 @ 11:35 am

  4. Niewert notes that the shooter’s best friend’s page recommends Protocols of the Elders of Zion among other books. I’m going to guess that he turns out to have been a fan of “Patriot” radio, like Alex Jones. I don’t think Jones qualifies as conservative or liberal; he’s out on the paranoid fringe.

    I do think that Glenn Beck is problematical (as is Lou Dobbs). Conspiracy kooks are used to being laughed at by the media; if there’s somebody out there with a Fox News or CNN soapbox saying there might be something to the FEMA death camps or the North American Union, it could give just enough impetus to somebody already deranged.

    Comment by Pat Curley — 4/5/2009 @ 11:40 am

  5. Great post.

    Responsibility is individual. If you pull the trigger you are responsible.

    But individuals are also responsible for what they say and write. That includes saying or writing things that incite.

    One person yells “Fire!” in a crowded theater and is responsible for the panic that follows. Within that panicky crowd, however, each person is individually responsible for choosing to push an old lady aside.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 4/5/2009 @ 12:43 pm

  6. A good, fair article Rick. Theres whackjobs on both sides of the partisan divide, each one trying to be more outrageous than the other.The governments not going to take our guns. Theres no push for this on the Democrat side. If I believed there was I wouldn’t vote Democratic. The NRA gins this up to increase membership, and the rightwing talking heads(not you Rick) rail to their masses to help the gop cause.Obama is a hardcore liberal, further to the left than I am, but the choice between Obama vs John McCain and the trainwreck from Alaska was a no-brainer. If the country doesn’t like the direction Obama is taking us, the midterms in 2010 will show us.

    Comment by Joe — 4/5/2009 @ 1:06 pm

  7. The dimwits on KOS and DUD are playing up that the shooters were conservatives. Guess they want to forget that the democrats formed the KKK and fund it to this day. The only KKK officer in congress is a democrat. The conservatives had to fight the KKK and democrats (one and the same) to pass civil rights laws giving blacks the right to vote everywhere. Conservatives are open about their feelings and support of the country. Democrats hide in back rooms to do all of their dealings, mostly in the dark of night as congress did to pass the latest spending bills that will put Americans in slavery. Did any conservatives vote for the ‘forced volunteer’, aka slavery, bill pushed by O’Dumbo?

    Comment by Scrapiron — 4/5/2009 @ 1:58 pm

  8. DUD=Democrat Underground Druggies.

    Comment by Scrapiron — 4/5/2009 @ 1:59 pm

  9. Well, did I call that one or what?


    “Believing most media were covering up important events, Mr. Poplawski turned to a far-right conspiracy Web site run by Alex Jones, a self-described documentarian with roots going back to the extremist militia movement of the early 1990s.”

    Comment by Pat Curley — 4/5/2009 @ 3:35 pm

  10. Great article and first and foremost my condolences to the victim’s families.

    Comment by funny man — 4/5/2009 @ 4:09 pm

  11. Many on the right are fearful that Obama is rather cleverly using the baloney-slice approach to the stepwise adoption of more and more, deeper and deeper socialism. Thus any baby steps today, can lead to ever longer steps tomorrow, without putting the majority of citizens on the alert to what is happening–until it is too late.

    It is perhaps unfortunate that Obama’s minions sometimes speak in arrogant voices about regulation, control, and takeover of an ever widening band of private sector firms. Such talk has the effect of stoking the fears of the right.

    Then too, there is little trust on the right for the Obama administration eventually backing out of these controls at some point and returning such firms fully to the owners and the free market. They may hand GM back only if GM cuts itself down to Cadillac and Chevrolet by direction or coersion of the government.

    We have seem only the opening moves in this chess game, and the incremental signs are not encouraging at all. Let us fire people as a precondition of government support! We may eventually have to pry the government out of most major firms’ business to get back our partially mixed, but mainly free market economy.

    That is, if we can.

    Comment by mannning — 4/5/2009 @ 9:38 pm

  12. Socialism, First amendment, Second amendment. Rick take some time and lay some depth on us here brother. You have chunks of possibly three to four articles going on here,and I think you would do a great job elaborating on them further for us.

    A hazard of blogging for me these days.


    Comment by the Fly-Man — 4/6/2009 @ 5:07 am

  13. Or the shooter was simply NUTS! The man was a lifelong “loser” who couldn’t keep a girlfriend or sustain a meaningful life. That’s a dumbfuck problem, not one of political ideology!

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 4/6/2009 @ 9:25 am

  14. I agree with you completely about the utter ridiculousness of the paranoia that is present in some conservatives today. There is an almost fanatical vein of anti-Obama rhetoric that can only hurt conservatism in the long run.

    That said, there is one thing that has been overlooked by many commentators on this shooting: The shooter (Richard Poplawski) had been dishonorably discharged from the Marines and was once subject to a protective order for abuse. Either of which alone is sufficient to disqualify him from being legally permitted to own firearms. This _can’t_ be a case where Poplawski was “afraid that Obama would take his guns” as some in the media have said. He can’t have been worried about Obama making firearms illegal because, for Poplawski, they were _already_ illegal. The portrayal of Poplawski in the media as someone who was afraid that guns would become illegal just doesn’t gel in light of these facts.

    Comment by Aaron Meyer — 4/6/2009 @ 11:55 am

  15. Do you also subscribe to Chicken Little’s theory the sky is falling. How good a friend are you of Mr. Willis?

    Comment by Thomas Jackson — 4/7/2009 @ 6:55 pm

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