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4/29/2010
Why Some Conservative Bloggers Should Take a Long, Cold Shower
CATEGORY: Politics

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice

Did you hear? President Obama called out a SWAT team to threaten tea party protestors in Quincy, Illinois yesterday.

Don’t believe me? Ask premiere conservative blogger Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit writing on Andrew Brietbart’s Big Government website who headlines his piece “Team Obama Calls Out Swat Team on Tea Party Patrioits:

The SWAT Team was called in today at the Quincy Tea Party Rally. Obama was speaking at the convention center this afternoon.

Unreal.

Yes Jim - unreal. But not because President Obama ordered the local police to do anything. What is truly unreal is your laughably over the top description of the situation.

Perhaps a calmer, more rational description is in order. From the local Quincy paper:

There were a few tense moments when the crowd moved west down York toward Third Street after the president’s motorcade arrived. A Secret Service agent asked the crowd to move back across the street to the north side.

When the crowd didn’t move and began singing “God Bless, America” and the national anthem, Quincy Deputy Police Chief Ron Dreyer called for members of the Mobile Field Force to walk up the street.

The officers, mainly from Metro East departments near St. Louis and dressed in full body armor, marched from the east and stood on the south side of York facing the protesters.

There was no physical contact, and the officers did not come close to the crowd, but there were catcalls and more than a few upset tea party members, including a woman who shouted, “This is communism!”

No ma’am. This is America. And refusing an order from the Secret Service is a serious matter. Imagine lefty protestors doing the same thing and I’ll bet you would be coming down on them like a ton of bricks.

Hoft makes the point that the protestors were not only peaceful, but looked the part as well with many grandmothers and oldsters in attendance. They may have been peaceful but not following the clear, lawful orders of the authorities to move to the other side of the street unnecessarily raised the temperature of those who swore an oath to give their life in defense of the person of the President of the United States. They can be forgiven much when carrying out their duties in that regard, including paying visits to bloggers who joked about killing President Bush.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Sara Jane Moore, the innocent looking 45 year old woman who took a potshot at President Ford. Moore was upset at what she thought was the war being waged on the left and looked no more a threat than my pet cat Snowball. Or how about Reagan’s attacker John Hinckley? The guy looked like some poor dweeb standing around waiting for the rain to fall on his head.

How does the way someone “looks” make a damn bit of difference as to whether or not they are a threat to the president’s life?

As for the president or anyone associated with his administration having a hand in siccing the “SWAT Team” (they were police dressed in riot gear) on the tea party crowd, that’s just plain nonsense. The police, mobilized as a routine part of the president’s security arrangements, moved between the protestors and the venue and stood there looking pretty bored after the tea partiers refused to obey the instructions of the Secret Service. If you want to second guess the Secret Service, I suggest you should have access to the same information that they do, as well as understand the nuances of their security arrangements.

Dana Loesch, an hysteric on normal days, goes far off the deep end as she breathlessly informs us:

Word is that Secret Service from inside the venue and the presidential team pressured local law enforcement, who were against the idea. Local cops were overruled, I’m told by various sources, including a few members of local press. [Blogger Michelle]Moore reported that she overheard Secret Service telling the riot squad to “push them back, out of sight.“

Loesch isn’t much of a journalist. Here is Moore’s description:

In addition, the Secret Service told the Riot Police to “push the crowd back as far as you can, out of sight.”…..So, this is what your dear leader thinks of YOU America. He doesn’t want to even see your face or know of your existence if you don’t agree with his policy.

Did Moore “overhear” the Secret Service telling the “riot squad” to push the protestors back out of sight? I don’t get that at all from Moore’s report. It sounds like hearsay to me which, if you’ve ever been to a protest, rumors like that sweep through a crowd like wildfire only to be proved bogus a short time later.

And I might add that during a presidential visit, if the Secret Service orders the police to move, they move. If what both Loesch and Moore are saying is true about the Secret Service telling local police to move the protestors - and then failing to do so - it would be a serious breach of protocol. All the more reason to think that both women were repeating rumors, or more likely, exaggerating their paranoid fears for effect.

No SWAT team. No threats to protestors. No phalanx of menacing riot police bearing down on tea partiers with billy clubs - the kind of police threat I experienced several times in my youth. Simple, routine security that you will see the world over when a national leader pays a visit.

But damn, that’s just not good enough. We need drama! We need to be seen as being oppressed! We need to wave the bloody shirt from the battlements! We’re Patriots ready to spill our blood in defense of …something!

Moe Lane calling the riot police “SWAT” also, and writing about the innocent grandmothers in the crowd as well:

You know, I remember a day when we had a President who wasn’t fundamentally afraid of the American people, and so do you.

If he’s talking about President Bush, WTF? Is he brain dead? With Moe, it’s hard to tell sometimes. His mouth moves but nothing intelligible comes out.

I don’t like President Obama. He is a liar, a bully, a radical who sneers at our traditions and history while seeking to fundamentally alter the relationship between the citizen and the government in Washington, D.C. He is the antithesis of everything I believe about the United States, and whose policies are an anathema to prudent government, presidential decorum, and wise policy making. He is a nightmare from which I sincerely hope we awake in 2012.

But lying, exaggerating, getting hysterical - real or feigned - about stuff like this tea party protest makes me ashamed to be a conservative. We can strenuously oppose this president without descending into the muck of idiocy and quicksand of hyperbole. Nothing happened at that tea party protest that threatened anyone’s liberty or constitutional rights.

Making it seem otherwise only makes these bloggers look ridiculous.

By: Rick Moran at 11:27 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

4/27/2010
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: NO UNDOCUMENTED TURNS!

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Larrey Anderson of the American Thinker, Jazz Shaw of the Moderate Voice, and Vodkapundit Stephen Green as we discuss financial regulatory reform and immigration laws.

The show will air from 7:00 - 9:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 5:09 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

SHOULD WE PHONE E.T.? HAWKING SAYS NO
CATEGORY: PJ Media

My latest is up at Pajamas Media, a little change of pace on Stephen Hawking’s recent comments regarding the possibility that any space aliens we contact might be hostile.

It is an old debate in the SETI community - one I discuss in detail:

A sample:

Brin thinks that the active SETI proponents are being, if not irresponsible, then misguided in their efforts at this kind of interstellar outreach. In an article for Seed magazine, David Grinspoon quotes SETI pioneer John Billingham, a senior scientist at the private SETI Institute in California, as advocating that we adopt a Hippocratic Oath when it comes to reaching out to the cosmos: “First, do no harm.” Billingham believes that “[a]t the very least we ought to talk about it first, and not just SETI people. We have a responsibility to the future well-being and survival of humankind.”

And that’s the bottom line. Hawking, Brin, Billingham and others in the passive SETI community are upset that the active SETI proponents are refusing to even discuss their plans either at meetings or in the more formal setting of the IAA. They are dismissive of concerns about the nature of extra-solar intelligence and whether, as Hawking speculates, it may be hostile.

Incredibly, the major resistance to discussing the issue is coming is coming from a small group of Russian scientists who believe that it is perfectly logical to assume aliens would be benign due to their adherence to “universal altruism”:

By: Rick Moran at 9:30 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

4/26/2010
A LESSON FOR OUR POST-MODERN MEDIA ENVIRONMENT
CATEGORY: Media

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice

This is one of the more amusing stories about modern media you’ll ever read.

Today was supposed to be “Everybody Draw Muhammad” Day on the internet, where those with a creative bent were to draw the prophet in caricature or representationaly, ostensibly to stand in solidarity with the creators of South Park who were threatened by Islamic bullies for dressing Muhammad up in a teddy bear outfit on their cartoon show.

But the two individuals responsible for thinking up the idea and promoting it are having second thoughts about their role in starting this phenomenon. The idea went viral with a bullet and the results scared the daylights out of the two:

In declaring May 20th to be “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day,” Seattle artist Molly Norris created a poster-like cartoon showing many objects — from a cup of coffee to a box of pasta to a tomato — all claiming to be the likeness of Muhammad.

Such depictions are radioactive as many Muslims believe that Islamic teachings forbid showing images of Muhammad.

“I am Mohammed and I taste good,” says the pasta box in the cartoon. On top of the cartoon images (but no longer on her website) was an announcement explaining the rationale behind the event.

“In light of the recent veiled (ha!) threats aimed at the creators of the…television show South Park (for depicting Mohammed in a bear suit) by bloggers on Revolution Muslim’s website, we hereby deemed May 20, 2010 as the first annual “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,” the original artwork reads.

On Friday, Norris told a radio talk show host in Seattle that she came up with the idea because “as a cartoonist, I just felt so much passion about what had happened…” noting that “it’s a cartoonist’s job to be non-PC.”

That passion, it appears, has lessened. And fast.

Her stark website today reads: “”I am NOT involved in “Everybody Draw Mohammd [sic] Day!”

“I made a cartoon that went viral and I am not going with it. Many other folks have used my cartoon to start sites, etc. Please go to them as I am a private person who draws stuff,” she writes.

A rather fundamental question would be if you didn’t want it going viral, why submit it to the media in the first place? Honestly enough, Norris answered “Because I’m an idiot.” But really, who can say what will strike a nerve and become a hot item? Those who come down on her for this have the benefit of 20-20 hindsight. Even the criticism that posits the notion that if Norris doesn’t know the internet by now, she really is a dummy doesn’t hold water. If people could figure out ahead of time what would go viral, they would be in great demand among advertising agencies and corporations. But nobody knows what combination of time and circumstance leads to gold.

Then there’s the Facebook page of Jon Wellington:

While he was still associated with his own event he said: “To me, this is all about freedom of expression and tolerance of other viewpoints, so I hope you’ll help make this a sandbox that anyone can play in, if they want. I don’t think it’d be right under the circumstances for me (or anyone) to censor inflammatory posts *ahem*, but let’s be welcoming and inclusive, mmkay?”

Apparently the posts weren’t “welcoming” enough, as on Sunday morning he announced his departure from the cause. “I am aghast that so many people are posting deeply offensive pictures of the Prophet,” he writes. “Y’all go ahead if that’s your bag, but count me out.”

Did he think people were going to post flattering images?

That’s what Facebook user Douglas Armstrong wondered too. “You created an event inviting people to submit pictures of Mohammed,” Armstrong wrote. “And apparently you’re so new to the Internet that you didn’t foresee what would happen?”

Although Wellington had abandoned his cause, he apparently was sticking around to answer questions. To Armstrong’s question, Wellington responded: “I guess I had more faith in human nature than was warranted.”

Mr. Wellington is in a little different position. If he didn’t realize that there are thousands of bigots trolling websites who could potentially post vile representations of the prophet, then he truly is ignorant of the internet.

Obviously, his faith in human nature is misplaced.

It would be easy to point to a lesson in this - treat everything you write as if millions will see it - but if you wrote with that in mind all the time, you would be pretty vanilla. No, stuff like this goes viral because no one expects anyone else to see it. That’s its charm. And it will be that way as long as the internet plays the kind of role it does in our media landscape.

By: Rick Moran at 2:11 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

4/24/2010
THE CONSERVATIVE MATRIX VS. THE MACHINE WORLD

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice

First in a series.

This post by Julian Sanchez started an internet conversation/debate on what he calls “epistemic closure” on the right.

Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!) This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also renders the conservative media ecosystem fragile. Think of the complete panic China’s rulers feel about any breaks in their Internet firewall: The more successfully external sources of information have been excluded to date, the more unpredictable the effects of a breach become. Internal criticism is then especially problematic, because it threatens the hermetic seal. It’s not just that any particular criticism might have to be taken seriously coming from a fellow conservative. Rather, it’s that anything that breaks down the tacit equivalence between “critic of conservatives and “wicked liberal smear artist” undermines the effectiveness of the entire information filter. If disagreement is not in itself evidence of malign intent or moral degeneracy, people start feeling an obligation to engage it sincerely—maybe even when it comes from the New York Times. And there is nothing more potentially fatal to the momentum of an insurgency fueled by anger than a conversation. A more intellectually secure conservatism would welcome this, because it wouldn’t need to define itself primarily in terms of its rejection of an alien enemy.

Predictably, conservatives don’t like being compared to Communist Chinese. But in that one brief passage. Mr. Sanchez has crystallized one of the major problems with modern conservatism; what I term its “negative feedback loop” of information exchange. Epistemic closure, by any other name, is an echo chamber effect; a disease that afflicts both sides but that, for some reason, is especially virulent on the right.

But Sanchez goes beyond the obvious to posit the notion that the very reality inhabited by the right is a Matrix-like construct, created out of the resentments and false assumptions made by conservatives about the world around them. There is the objective reality of Zion and then there is the Machine World that sort of looks like Zion but is the result of bearing a false consciousness about the way the world truly works.

The result? A herd mentality that brooks no criticism lest the sleepers awaken to their dilemma and realize all is not as they have imagined. Where for years they have believed Zion was the dream and they were living in the real world, they simply cannot make the psychic leap of faith and logic to embrace the same reality the rest of us accept. Hence, their ill treatment of apostates and total dismissiveness of liberal critics.

It is hard to argue with a lot of that. Even Jonah Goldberg accepts some of Sanchez’s critique:

Now, I think there’s some merit to what Sanchez says here. As the recipient of lots of email from people who insist I’m an apostate to conservative orthodoxy and from lots of people who insist I’m a leading enforcer of conservative orthodoxy, I have some appreciation for both the reality and the mirage of what Sanchez calls conservatism’s movement toward epistemic closure.

But what I find rather astounding and perplexing in these sorts of autopsies or vivisections of conservatism are how so many people claim there are problems for conservatism that are in fact simply facts of life for all human associations and movements. It’s like a physician describing the anatomy of Belgians as if they were somehow different from Ukrainians.

Jonah is right - up to a point. His problem is one of degree. The level of epistemic closure in, for example, the Catholic priesthood is far less a denial of objective reality than that found on the American right today. The Matrix like world inhabited by talk radio hosts and listeners, where Barack Obama is not just wrong but deliberately trying to destroy the country, has no counterpart in any other milieu of which I am aware.

The level of hysteria regarding Obama and the Democrats on what passes for the mainstream right is truly astonishing. Are we really “that close” to becoming a Marxist dictatorship? Is health care reform the end of American liberty? Is Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals really a liberal playbook being followed religiously by Obama on how to take over the country? Is the Obama administration a “regime?” Is it a “gangster government?”

This is but a sampling of the reality propounded on a daily basis by the cotton candy conservatives on talk radio, and eagerly lapped up by conservative listeners in the tens of millions. This, and worse, is written daily on conservative blogs and websites, reinforcing the reality as it is recognized and delivered by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other big names on the right.

The light of knowledge and objective reality cannot penetrate the screen set up by the gatekeepers of information trafficking because to do so would obviate their own cockeyed view of the world. The closed circle grows ever tighter around adherents as they deliberately shut off opposing perspectives, even when offered by those who are putatively on their side. To protect themselves from straying too far from the reality they have invented, they skewer critics - even on the right - with charges that they are liberal, or RINO’s, or their motivation is born out of jealousy and hate for the successful puindits who promulgate their warped worldview.

Jim Manzi:

I started to read Mark Levin’s massive bestseller Liberty and Tyranny a number of months ago as debate swirled around it. I wasn’t expecting a PhD thesis (and in fact had hoped to write a post supporting the book as a well-reasoned case for certain principles that upset academics just because it didn’t employ a bunch of pseudo-intellectual tropes). But when I waded into the first couple of chapters, I found that — while I had a lot of sympathy for many of its basic points — it seemed to all but ignore the most obvious counter-arguments that could be raised to any of its assertions. This sounds to me like a pretty good plain English meaning of epistemic closure. The problem with this, of course, is that unwillingness to confront the strongest evidence or arguments contrary to our own beliefs normally means we fail to learn quickly, and therefore persist in correctable error.

Case in point; try telling an inhabitant of this alternate reality that Obama is not a socialist, that the government has taken over only a tiny slice of the economy, and that if you value the meanings of words, you would desist from trying shoehorn the president and the Democrats into a definitional construct that is false from the word “go.”

“Obama lover” would be the first response, followed quickly by “RINO.” There currently isn’t a vocabulary on most of the right that would encompass dealing with internal criticism of this kind. The very nature of criticism has been turned on its head as ideological bona fides must be established before the critic is accepted. Thus, the echo chamber remains secure and the negative feedback loop intact.

It will take a national leader of the stature of Reagan to break through this morass and restore some semblance of objective reality to movement conservatism. The Republican party may triumph at the polls in November, but it will be no thanks to the mainstream right who have embraced a worldview that is at odds with what most of the rest of us know to be true.

By: Rick Moran at 9:12 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

4/23/2010
PETER BEINART’S WEIRD DISCONNECT BETWEEN POLITICS AND POLICY
CATEGORY: Politics

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice

Center-left pundit Peter Beinart is perfectly OK with the idea that the Democrats may get clobbered in this year’s midterms. He writes that he’s happy enough that the Democrats have passed health care reform, the stim bill, and most likely, the financial reform package:

All of which makes me feel… pretty darn good. There’s a tendency, especially on television, to judge policy by how it affects politics. That’s because most pundits don’t like judging policy on its own merits. First, it’s hard, since policy questions are often complicated. Second, such judgments undermine the pretense of objectivity that many analysts cultivate. Thus, talking heads often respond to policy questions with political answers. The host asks “Are the Democrats making a mistake by pushing this health-care bill?” And instead of answering: “They sure are, this sucker will euthanize Grandma,” the talking head says, “Well, the polls look bad, this could really hurt them this fall.”

I don’t happen to believe that the Democrats’ policy successes are the reason they’ll get hurt this fall. They’ll get hurt because they run Washington, and Obama has been president for more than a year, and as a result they now own the terrible economy. And since many of their big policy initiatives—the stimulus package, the auto takeover, the bank bailouts, even health-care reform—are being judged on whether they’ve rapidly improved the economic fortunes of average Americans, they look like failures. But even if someone could prove that Obama’s big policy victories were, in and of themselves, politically disastrous, I would still say it’s an excellent tradeoff.

“Judging policy on its own merits?” What planet did Beinart drop to earth from? It is the real world consequences of policy where politics enters the picture. And whether Beinart acknowledges it or not, some of those consequences are scaring people half to death.

Massive debt that no one knows how to pay off, changes to the fundamental relationship between the citizen and the federal government, worries about the relevance of the constitution - all of this and more is a factor in people’s political calculations above and beyond whether it will be easier for them to get health insurance. And, I dare say, when many of them find it much more difficult to get a mortgage or a credit card as the financial reform bill will almost certainly make it so, they won’t be so enamored of much of the policy in the first place. Nor if the Democrats push cap and trade through the senate that promises to add an unknown amount to everyone’s electric bill - Heritage says as much as $1800 a year - will people be dancing in the streets over these “policy successes.”

If Mr. Beinart chooses to believe that the bad economy is the only thing standing between the Democrats and a smashing mid term victory, someone should wake him up pronto. He has apparently slept through the last year’s debates over not just the policy of health care reform, but the consequences of that policy to individual freedom and our future. Perhaps Mr. Beinart has heard of the tea party movement? Or maybe he’s so in love with the skewed narrative being advanced by his fellow leftists that he can dismiss their concerns so readily.

It’s not just the effect on people’s lives that citizens judge the efficacy of a policy. That may be what the liberals are counting on, but if that were the case, the health care bill would be riotously popular. The idea that people should be grateful for these gifts from government fails to recognize that Americans are particular about some things, and one of them is their rock ribbed belief in a government that doesn’t try to do too much. Call it a belief in “small” government if you wish. It is the recognition that the more government tries to do, fewer choices are presented to citizens. You don’t need a PHD to know that less choice means less freedom. Americans figured that out 221 years ago and have not changed since.

Beinart demonstrates an appalling attitude; the belief that policy is an end in and of itself, disconnected from its consequences on ordinary people, and that it doesn’t matter if citizens support a policy because it was advanced and passed for their own good - even if they can’t see how wonderful it is. If they want to punish Democrats for pushing policies they disagree with, that’s regrettable but there’s not a damn thing the rubes can do about it.

Finally, doesn’t Beinart contradict himself here?

This is how our system of government is meant to work. Members of Congress are supposed to get elected so they can pass legislation, or not pass legislation, so they can get elected. If, as looks likely, Congressional Democrats get creamed this fall, pundits will spend Election Night pondering what they and the president did wrong. I’ll be thinking about the stimulus, health care and financial reform, and pondering what they did right.

But isn’t the reason Mr. Beinart will still be happy is because the policy successes are divorced from politics? And if this is so, how does he square that with his theory of “how our system of government works?” The policies passed via legislation by Congress are supposed to be popular so that they can get re-elected. Beinart is saying it doesn’t matter except when it does.

I am glad Mr. Beinart is going to be happy if the Democrats get slaughtered this November. But his nauseating condescension toward the citizens of this country who have to live with the consequences of the policies he is supporting - both known and unknown - is revealing of a mind set more in tune with a monarchy than a republic.

By: Rick Moran at 10:59 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

4/22/2010
RETRACT THE GAY GRAHAM SMEAR
CATEGORY: PJ Media

My latest at PJ Media is up. It’s on the smear against Lindsey Graham by ALIPAC’s William Gheen that Graham is gay and is being blackmailed by the pro-immigration reform to support them.

A sample:

While there has been speculation for years, no one has ever come forward to say they have proof that Graham is a homosexual. Graham denies it. And unlike other gay Republicans who are still in the closet who have been exposed by the professional “outers” in the Democratic Party, Graham has not been fingered.

Those “outers” include perhaps the most despicable character in American politics today. Mike Rogers of BlogActive said today on the Ed Schultz Show that he has “no evidence” that Graham is gay. What’s significant about this is that Rogers’ standards of “evidence” would make Joe Stalin’s show trials look like a model of fairness and impartiality by comparison. If Mike Rogers won’t say that Graham is gay, the fact that Gheen would give credence to the rumor is outrageous.

And that’s all it is — a rumor. Graham is an unmarried male in his 50s and for some troglodytes on the right, that’s enough “evidence” to smear the senator with a charge that they are well aware would do him great harm in conservative South Carolina. Certainly one can oppose Graham based on his positions and policies. In the past few months, several county Republican organizations have censured Graham for that reason.

By: Rick Moran at 11:32 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

4/21/2010
DEMONIZING THE GOVERNMENT LEADS TO VIOLENCE? GET A GRIP, BILL

My first article is up at David Horowitz’s FrontPage.com where I look at the real motive behind Bill Clinton’s sudden interest in political speech inciting violence:

A sample:

Mr. Clinton’s concern for the quality of our nation’s political discourse is touching, if not a little curious. Apparently, the avalanche of hate, violent rhetoric, and invective against President Bush for 8 years didn’t pose much of a danger in his mind. Otherwise, he would have said something, right?

During the Bush years, major figures on the left referred to the “Bush regime” as “fascist,” while insisting that the president was trying to set up a dictatorship. Mr. Bush was regularly hung in effigy at protest rallies, and something of an “assassination chic” arose where the killing of the president became a parlor game for some of the president’s more hip critics.

I don’t recall Mr. Clinton — or anyone else on the left for that matter — raising the specter of political violence as a result of that fantastically exaggerated, hateful rhetoric. Few, if any in the mainstream media raised an alarm that such unscrewed looniness would incite or enable some left wing kook to act out his violent impulses. Not even as the left en mass were screaming about Bush “destroying the country” did we hear a peep from the former president about “demonization” of Bush by his liberal allies.

The point being, Mr. Clinton is engaging in an effort to silence and delegitimize critics of President Obama by hinting at violence that hasn’t occurred yet. He is, in effect, setting the stage for a massive backlash against the right and tea partiers if, God forbid, some nutcase were to listen to the voices in his head telling him to kill people and act on those impulses. If this were to occur, we would once again be treated to the entire left playing amateur psychologist and trying to guess the insane person’s “motivations.” The fact that most crazed gunmen don’t need any outside stimuli to perpetrate their crimes is beside the point. Even the idea that the fringe right character plotting mayhem cares what some internet blogger has to say about Obama gains currency when the left engages in its politically motivated hunt for blame.

I don’t discount the idea that speech can lead to violence entirely. I detail the Warren Commission’s efforts to quantify the extraordinary hatred directed against Kennedy in the months leading up to the assassination. Did Oswald feel enabled by the level of vitriol directed against JFK? In the end, the Commission took the politically expedient route and only made passing mention of the idea.

But it is nuts to equate the atmosphere in Dallas with anything having to do with opposition to Obama today among mainstream conservatives. Clinton is trying to cut off debate while setting up a huge backlash against the right if any nutcase decides to act out his radical impulses in a violent manner.

Read the whole thing.

By: Rick Moran at 8:46 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

4/20/2010
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: POLITICAL POTPOURRI

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Rich Baehr of The American Thinker, Fausta Wertz of Fausta’s Blog, and Charlie Martin of PJ Media to talk about the mid term elections and other hot topics in the news.

The show will air from 7:00 - 9:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 3:28 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

Not Hating Obama Enough
CATEGORY: General

This article originally appears at The Moderate Voice

It was just a shopworn political gesture when you come right down to it. Two popular politicians giving each other a man hug at a time when both were riding sky high in the polls. President Obama’s approval rating was still above 60% and Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s numbers weren’t too far behind when the two men embraced at a town hall meeting to drum up support for the stim bill. Both hoped the gesture would cause a little political magic to rub off on themselves, transferring the popularity each was enjoying to their counterpart. To posit anything more than that from this incident is nonsensical.

What has happened to both men since is a story in itself. But because Charlie Crist is mulling over whether he should continue in the Florida senate race as a Republican or run as an independent , the embrace with President Obama has taken on meaning and portent far beyond a forgettable political Kabuki dance. The hug has angered many conservatives and is offered as proof that Crist is unworthy to be a senator from Florida.

Why? Apparently, the embrace was proof that Charlie Crist does not hate — or perhaps does not oppose — Barack Obama…enough. Talk all you want to about litmus tests for abortion, gay marriage, taxes, spending, or anything else. The fact is, the number one litmus test for conservatives to judge a candidate for office is the depth of their partisan hatred for the President and his party.

Any recognition that the president has done something good for the country, or any hint that a politician agrees with Obama on anything, is likely to inspire fits of apoplexy by “true” conservatives against the candidate who dared utter Obama’s name with a positive spin.

I’m not talking about voting for him — something Chris Buckley, Colin Powell, and other nominal Republicans who announced their intention to support Obama during the 2008 campaign have on their consciences at this point. They are part of the problem, and deserve no favors from conservatives or Republicans. They arrogantly dismissed warnings about the ideological nature of the president as well as his far left liberalism. They chose to believe otherwise and most of them, as far as I can tell, regret their choice.

But the presidency is a unique office in that it truly does represent the most fundamental expression of the people in our democratic republic. To strenuously oppose a president from the other party is to be expected. But it is also expected that he deserves support when he does something with which you agree. Only by viewing what Barack Obama does through an excessively partisan lens can one fail to see a couple of instances where the president has done something conservatives can support.

But here’s where modern conservatism has gone off the rails, off the deep end, and has fallen into a pit of poisonous irrationality. By judging politicians using the standard of 100% opposition to the president, conservatives are asking that legislator to go to Washington with his hands tied. If the president proposes something that the lawmaker knows will benefit his district or state, must he oppose the measure simply because it is from a member of the opposition?

Jim DeMint:

“I’m at the point where it doesn’t matter if we win if we don’t believe in anything. … There’s no need to nursemaid somebody to the general election if they’re just going to come up here and vote like the Democrats do.”

“Vote like the Democrats do?” Really? Or is it “vote with the Democrats when the interests of my constituents are served?” Same thing, senator?

DeMint also famously said, “I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.” It is a walloping exaggeration to say that GOP legislators who don’t toe the party line 100% of the time don’t have any principles. That’s nonsense. DeMint and “true” conservatives can deny it all they want but the result of their star chamber judgments about conservatives and Republicans who refuse to join in every wild criticism directed against the president are charges of apostasy and squishiness.

A good example is the casual, inappropriate use of the terms “socialist” to describe the president and “regime” to characterize his administration.

Rush Limbaugh:

And he’s right, my use of the word regime is to connote an authoritarian government. And it fits. It is a regime! They’re governing against the will of the people, the election be damned. Public opinion be damned. The budget be damned. The Constitution be damned. What the hell else is it if not a regime?

I hate to point out the obvious, but if we truly lived in an “authoritarian” regime, Rush Limbaugh would find himself in a camp or prison somewhere. Instead, he has gotten fabulously wealthy spouting nonsense like the above and is adored on the right.

And why should the 2008 election “be damned?” It’s not much of a secret that 63 million Americans voted for Obama for president — about 7 million more than voted for John McCain. If Rush wants to live in an authoritarian regime, he’s making a damn good start on it by refusing to recognize the legitimate leader of our republic. In fact, Mr. Limbaugh’s attitude is consistent with that of a juvenile who didn’t get what he wanted for his birthday and trashes his parents to his friends.

“Regime” is a word used to describe Latin American Banana Republics or Central African dictatorships - not the administration of a democratically elected president whose legitimacy has been confirmed by 63 million of his fellow citizens.

No, it is not seditious to say otherwise. And of course, the Democrats and liberals continuously used the word “regime” to describe the Bush Administration for 8 years. That doesn’t make it right for conservatives to use it. Indeed, it is always a puzzlement when the right apes the absolute worst traits of the left when criticizing the opposition. What is gained by using the exact same criticisms you so virulently objected to when the opposition used them on your guy? The hypocrisy is astounding.

As for the “Obama is a socialist” meme, it’s getting tiresome. When the socialists themselves can’t stand the president, it makes the right look idiotic to call the president something that more than 60% of Americans believe him not to be. I keep waiting for Obama and the Democrats to take over the economy but it just isn’t happening.

Maybe next year.

We used to pride ourselves on our ability to compromise with one’s political foes to pass legislation to benefit the people. Now, it’s seen as a sign of partisan betrayal by the purists on both sides (Joe Lieberman anyone?). At the absolute worst possible time in American history, the inflamed passions of partisan warfare are preventing us from addressing problems that have the potential to bring the US down.

Charlie Crist is not my first choice for GOP candidate for the senate in Florida, Marco Rubio is. Crist should be judged on his record - reason enough to reject him. But when Crist’s coziness with President Obama plays a large role in the animus felt by the right toward his candidacy, something is radically wrong with the purist’s idea of governance.

Politicians have a job to do; represent their constituents in Washington. To do that job well, they must work with the opposition - especially if they are in the minority - to put their imprint on measures that benefit the people in their district or state. If they go to Washington and mindlessly oppose anything the president or congress might do simply because getting something done might reflect well on the party in power, they do not deserve to be re-elected.

Yes, there are some bridges that cannot be crossed; national health insurance reform, cap and trade, EFCA, and some of the more insidious proposals to end run Congress using the EPA and other agencies. The right must stand as one against these injurious policies. But other measures where the right should have input can be improved tremendously. Financial reform, entitlement reform, and other proposals by the president that would benefit most Americans need conservative ideas to work well. Alas, despite opposing Obama on 90% of his agenda, cooperating on these and other measures would sign the death warrant of some Republican’s political careers.

This is the price we pay for our radical, excessive partisanship. By making it impossible to help the Democrats govern, we harm the country. That’s the bottom line. Not opposing Obama “enough” should not be a litmus test for supporting politicians who take their responsibility to govern the country seriously.

By: Rick Moran at 10:10 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)