Maybe it’s the heat. Perhaps it’s an al-Qaeda plot that has dumped LSD in public cisterns throughout the country. Or, it could be simple, old fashioned, bat guano crazy wishful thinking.
Whatever it is, the very silly season has arrived on the right and with it, diminishing chances that the American people will drink the same flavor of Kool Ade and join conservatives in giving the Democrats a well-deserved paddling at the polls.
A kind of irrational combination of fear and exuberance has infected the right in recent weeks as the number of vulnerable Democrats grows and the realization that at the very least, the House may fall into their laps takes hold. And if the hysteria was limited to the fringes, one might dismiss it as not worthy of discussion.
Instead, illogical ranting has gone mainstream with a call by former Rep. Tom Tancredo in the Washington Times for the president to be impeached, and now the belief that there may be another American Revolution on the way emanating from the pages of the staid, and usually rational Investors Business Daily.
The probable response of those two media organs would be that these are valid points of view and they are performing a public service by airing them. At least, that’s what the New York Times says when they publish off the wall looniness from liberals.
In truth, they are not valid. They are not rational. They are not sane. Tancredo especially, forces one to ask the question; what country is he talking about?
For the first time in American history, we have a man in the White House who consciously and brazenly disregards his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. That’s why I say the greatest threat to our Constitution, our safety and our liberties, is internal. Our president is an enemy of our Constitution, and, as such, he is a danger to our safety, our security and our personal freedoms.
Now, if you’re familiar with the conservative internet, this is not an uncommon idea. All that’s missing is the charge that President Obama is a Marxist.
Mr. Obama’s paramount goal, as he so memorably put it during his campaign in 2008, is to “fundamentally transform America.” He has not proposed improving America - he is intent on changing its most essential character. The words he has chosen to describe his goals are neither the words nor the motivation of just any liberal Democratic politician. This is the utopian, or rather dystopian, reverie of a dedicated Marxist - a dedicated Marxist who lives in the White House.
That’s right. Tom Tancredo believes the president of the United States is a Commie. He’s not even a pinko. He is a dead red, dyed in the wool, “dedicated Marxist.” Left unsaid, but easily inferred from Tacredo’s unbalanced rant, is that President Obama is deliberately out to destroy the country. This is a Rush Limbaugh talking point and many of his 17 million daily listeners fall for it. One would think a former congressman should know better, but evidently, such rationality requires adherence to a worldview that doesn’t see the political opposition as the reincarnation of the Devil.
Is President Obama intent on “changing [America's] most essential character?” Unfortunately, yes he is trying. He is doing it not because he wants to destroy America but because he thinks he is improving her. This misguided, imprudent, and ultimately doomed attempt to alter the relationship between the people and the government can be opposed rationally (as defending it can be argued without resorting to hyperbole or name calling). Tancredo chooses to believe (or lets on that he believes) that in order to oppose the president, one must resort to hysterical exaggerations and deliberate misinterpretation of Obama’s motives. But doing it the logical way will not garner him headlines or make him a hero on the right.
Such is the level to which conservatism has sunk in some quarters.
There is not a shred of evidence that the president has “violated his oath of office” nor is there a speck of proof that President Obama has committed any high crime or misdemeanor that would even hint at the necessity of removing him from office. He has played hardball politics the Chicago Way, rewarding friends and punishing enemies as any other flag waving, patriotic, devious, two faced politician in America has done in the past. Admittedly, using $800 billion in taxpayer monies to play that game is a rather novel gimmick to protect the jobs of the president’s union friends and benefactors. But “impeachable?” Not hardly.
But Tancredo’s skewed version of reality can’t hold a candle of idiocy to the ideas expressed in this IDB editorial by former Ford-Reagan treasury department officials Ernest Christian and Gary Robbins. The headline - “Will Washington’s Failures Lead To Second American Revolution?” - is really quite deceiving. You will be glad to hear that except for the lede where the authors compare the internet to the colonial Committees of Correspondence and dreamily wonder whether that alone could lead to another revolution, nowhere in that article do the duo defend the premise of the headline.
Instead, they launch an hysterically exaggerated attack on what President Obama has done so far in office:
Barack Obama, however, has pulled off the ultimate switcheroo: He’s diminishing America from within — so far, successfully.
He may soon bankrupt us and replace our big merit-based capitalist economy with a small government-directed one of his own design.
He is undermining our constitutional traditions: The rule of law and our Anglo-Saxon concepts of private property hang in the balance. Obama may be the most “consequential” president ever.
The Wall Street Journal’s steadfast Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote that Barack Obama is “an alien in the White House.”
His bullying and offenses against the economy and job creation are so outrageous that CEOs in the Business Roundtable finally mustered the courage to call him “anti-business.” Veteran Democrat Sen. Max Baucus blurted out that Obama is engineering the biggest government-forced “redistribution of income” in history.
Fear and uncertainty stalk the land. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says America’s financial future is “unusually uncertain.”
What can be said when grown-ups, former government officials no less, resort to such nonsensical hyperbole? How much courage, really, does it take business execs to call the president “anti-business?” If they had released a statement saying that Obama was really Satan, that might take some balls.
And why is anyone surprised at the liberals engineering income redistribution? It’s what they do for a living. Of course, they’re never honest enough to run on such a platform (recall Obama denying as much vociferously and the liberal pile on of Joe the Plumber for asking about it). But electing Democrats to such huge majorities is an open invitation for the government to pick you pocket - in the name of “fairness,” of course.
I confess to not seeing how any of this leads to a revolution. A shooting war between the right wing and the US army would be over very quickly, to the detriment of the wingnuts. Revolution at the polls is more likely, but who’s going to vote for people who spout nonsense like the above?
The Democratic strategy in a nutshell is small enough to fit in one but has the protein of a good, tasty nut. The Republicans want to be mayors of crazy-town. They’ve embraced a fringe and proto-racist isolationist and ignorant conservative populism that has no solutions for fixing anything and the collective intelligence of a wine flask. This IS offensive and over the top, and the more Democrats repeat it, and the more dumb things some Republican candidates do, the more generally conservative voters who might be thinking of sending a message to Democrats by voting for a Republican will be reminded that the replacement party is even more loony than the party that can’t tie its shoes. This is a strategy of delegitimization, not affirmation. It is how you reduce independent turnout. It’s how you fundraise for your own party.
A corollary: the House is not going to save itself for Democrats. Let’s stipulate that House Democrats have passed a lot of legislation. It’s too late to convince voters that all of it was good. So selling is not going to work. If you’ve already decided not to buy an Acura, you’re not going to be convinced just because James Spader’s melifluous voice tells you that it’s the right thing to do. Decision science suggests that the only avenue available to Democrats is to prevent people from making the OTHER choice, too.
Ambinder titles his post “Democratic Message: We may be incompetent, but they’re crazy” which is pretty close to the truth. The problem is that people get mad at incompetents but fear crazies. For this reason, the more that people like Tancredo take center stage for the Republicans, and the more respected conservative outlets like IDB publish nonsense, the more those few voters who might be persuadable enough to turn a GOP wave into a tsunami that would wash away Democratic majorities in the House and Senate look in askance at the right and wonder if they can be trusted with power.