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8/31/2010
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: CONSERVATIVE REVIVAL OR FALSE DAWN?

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, Monica Showalter, and Jazz Shaw to discuss the “dry run” terrorist attack and the question about conservative revival.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 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 4:45 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

LOOKING FOR ISLAMOPHOBIA IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
CATEGORY: FrontPage.Com

I have another article up at FrontPage.com this morning. It’s about what I call the “Premature Evisceration” problem of many on the left who seem unable to hold their fire against the right long enough for all the facts to emerge and save them the embarrassment of a humiliating walk back.

A sample:

Consistency is considered a virtue in most cases. But when it comes to jumping to conclusions and accusing the right of being responsible for the actions of mentally unbalanced people who become violent and commit hate crimes, or seem inspired by the far right fringe, the Left has demonstrated an ideological uniformity that turns virtue into embarrassing idiocy.

Call it “premature evisceration,” as the Left on several occasions has risen up in its self-righteous might to smite the right for its perceived “hate speech,” only to tiptoe away later with egg on its face when it was discovered that things were not quite as they seemed at first blush.

[...]

The one problem in all of this is that Mr. Enright himself fails to serve as a poster boy for right-wing rage against Muslims — something leftist critics would have known if they took a deep breath and waited a couple of days before storming the battlefield, attacking Park 51 opponents and accusing them of responsibility for the crime.

Enright is one very disturbed young man. He had apparently gone on a bender prior to the stabbing incident and was so drunk at the time of his arrest that police couldn’t process him and shipped him off to Bellvue psychiatric hospital. He has since been moved into a psychiatric ward for evaluation. Journals that came to light written by the suspect detailed his 35 days in Afghanistan and authorities say “the notes do not include anti-Muslim rhetoric.”

By: Rick Moran at 11:16 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

8/30/2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND THE ILLUSION OF TOLERANCE

I have a new piece up at FrontPage.com and in it, I take to task Mayor Bloomberg for some outrageous comments he made late last week about the Park 51 project at an Iftar.

A sample:

Bloomberg, as with politicians on both sides of the Park 51 issue, is seeking to make political hay out of the imbroglio. There are very few things politicians enjoy doing more than posturing, and this goes double for lefties who can’t resist demonstrating their street cred when it comes to what they perceive as moral issues. They believe that being down with racial and other oppressed minorities, as well as fashionable religions like Islam, imparts an authenticity to their politics that raises their moral masquerade to a level beyond the grubby, conniving jostling for power to the sublime and elevated plane of revealed truth.

This notion of undeniable truth has taken a fantastical turn lately as the latest argument in favor of Park 51 makes the rounds of the leftist punditocracy; we better support the project or Muslims around the world won’t like us.

Bloomberg again:

Bloomberg brought home the point that the propaganda war now being waged on Islam in America threatens to undercut our counterinsurgency battle for “hearts and minds” in Iraq and Afghanistan. “If we do not practice here at home what we preach abroad–if we do not lead by example–we undermine our soldiers,” he said. “We undermine our foreign policy objectives. And we undermine our national security.

Apparently, Park 51 opponents are not only mouth breathing rubes who hate Islam, but now we’re gumming up President Obama’s extra good foreign policy while stupidly inviting the jihadis to attack us. If I were Bloomberg, I’d lock these people up before the world goes up in flames as a result of their machinations against innocent Muslims.

Read the whole thing.

By: Rick Moran at 10:58 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

8/28/2010
THE TEA PARTY AS INHERITORS OF MLK’S LEGACY?

To those predisposed because of ideological animus to dismiss the notion of the tea party movement being the true inheritors of Martin Luther King’s dream, you might as well click away now. But if you want to engage on this issue in a reasonable manner, discussing the pros and cons rationally, you are invited to read on and ponder both the irony and the efficacy of these claims as they relate to history as well as current events.

It’s an interesting effort at spin for tea party types to claim kinship with Dr. King. They in no way began the movement with that archetype in mind, nor had they expressed much interest in what engaged Dr. King and his civil rights movement. We were told it was all about “spending” and “taking the country back,” and “adherence to the Constitution.” These are, for the most part, worthy and vitally necessary issues for citizens to agitate for and against, but hardly touches the meat of what King and his followers were seeking.

Nevertheless, there are echoes of King’s social movement in the advocacy of the tea party. The goal of the civil rights movement was to open the eyes of the American people to the plight of their fellow citizens of color while agitating for a change in government policy that would help realize the goal of ending state-sponsored oppression. As for the tea party movement, it seeks to raise awareness among the American public of what they perceive to be the threat of big government while changing policy to reflect their ideals of a smaller, less intrusive government.

An interesting irony is the belief of tea party opponents that a “smaller” government would necessarily make enforcement of modern civil rights legislation more difficult. Given the animus of many tea party folk toward what is perceived as the overbearing hand of government in enforcing what they believe is discriminatory policies aimed against whites, that may be a valid criticism. In shrinking government, no doubt a prime target would be enforcement agencies like the EEOC whose quotas and mandates in attacking perceived discrimination have raised legitimate questions about how best to achieve what the left calls “social justice.”

There have been interesting debates recently about the meaning and intent of “social justice” as it relates to the law and politics. Clearly, the concept of “social justice” means different things to different people, and a dispositive resolution to that debate is not sought here. But there can be little argument that the means to achieve social justice employs the “positive rights” doctrine so much in opposition to the “negative rights” the Founders supported in creating a government that would ensure liberty.

Briefly, Wikpedia explains the difference between positive and negative rights:

[P]ositive rights permit or oblige action, whereas negative rights permit or oblige inaction. These permissions or obligations may be of either a legal or moral character. Likewise, the notion of positive and negative rights may be applied to either liberty rights or claim rights, either permitting one to act or refrain from acting, or obliging others to act or refrain from acting.

In short, an “activist” government vs. a “Leave me the hell alone” government.

Almost by definition, employing “positive rights” to rectify perceived wrongs in society means growing the size and scope of government to meet the requirement of forcing others to act, or permitting the government to intervene. Redistribution of wealth, ending historic advantages enjoyed by straight white males in employment and education, and grouping Americans into racial classifications to delineate “protected classes” of citizens all require a gigantic government to compel the rest of America to comply.

Is this what Dr. King had in mind? You will get an argument from racialists like Reverend Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other special pleaders in the civil rights movement. But clearly, King saw a different America than the one those gentlemen and their white, liberal, guilt-ridden elitist allies are trying to create.

I found this comment in an excellent New York Times piece about the Glenn Beck rally today revealing:

On his radio show, Mr. Beck said he had not intended to choose the anniversary for his “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday but had since decided it was “divine providence.”

Dr. King’s dream, he told listeners, “has been so corrupted.”

“Judge a man by the content of his character?” he said. “Character doesn’t even matter in this country. It’s time we picked back up the job.”

He later added: “We are the people of the civil rights movement. We are the ones that must stand for civil and equal rights, justice, equal justice. Not special justice, not social justice. We are the inheritors and protectors of the civil rights movement. They are perverting it.”

The words are compelling but the reality is quite different. The question that has never been debated or addressed by politicians is simply this; what is the best way to achieve the kind of society for which Martin Luther King spent his life trying to build and died in that dream’s service?

Glenn Beck and the tea partiers believe that America has matured to the point where much of the civil rights legislation and regulation of the last 45 years can either be scrapped or reformed (weakened). As proof, they offer the presidency of Barack Obama as exhibit one. Now that we have elected a black man president - largely as a result of whites voting in favor of his candidacy - the need for quotas and other measures to “level the playing field” for minorities who have been historically discriminated against has virtually disappeared, according to many in the tea party movement.

I am sure Dr. King would have scoffed at such a notion. Just as he would have scoffed at the modern interpretation of “social justice.” King was an eminently practical man who knew that America would have racial discrimination long after he left the stage. His belief that change would come only when the hearts and minds of Americans were turned from hate and that only through Christian love and charity would that change be effected animated much of his leadership. That, and a cunning politician’s grasp of what was achievable through “direct action” led to historic civil rights legislation that began the process of reversing 300 years of oppression.

King saw anti-discrimination measures such as affirmative action as temporary, inoffensive means to an end; the start of achieving equality with the white majority in the economic sphere. As it was originally designed by the Kennedy administration, affirmative action was voluntary, somewhat limited, and simply required that when examining candidates for employment, all other criteria being equal (experience, education, etc.) that the job should be given to the minority candidate in recognition of past wrongs.

This well meaning but impractical idea eventually gave way to compulsory “goals and timetables” in the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administration, and ended up as the mandatory quotas and mandates we have today. In discrimination cases, the burden of proof is now on the defendant to show that no discrimination was intended. Sometimes, even that isn’t good enough to avoid penalties.

Clearly, neither the tea party movement or contemporary special interest groups like the NAACP grasp the essence of Dr. King’s message of redemption and change. Nor does the application of positive rights lead to a more just society. Indeed, “social justice” may more accurately be defined as “government justice” in that it is the federal government that chooses to actively intercede on behalf of those minorities who have been historically oppressed.

There is no design to change the hearts and minds of Americans - quite reasonably because such a task is beyond the ken of any government. All government can do is mitigate against the effects of racism, the effects of discrimination. They cannot advance the notion of a color blind society, or a society where women are on equal footing with men, or where gays have the same opportunities as the rest of us. To believe otherwise, as apparently some who are passionate advocates for social justice do - is on par with believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Any government big enough and strong enough to demand that a citizen think and act a certain way defines tyranny.

No, the tea party movement are not the inheritors of Dr. King’s legacy. His dream may have been similar, but he certainly would have objected to the tea party folk invoking his name to advance an agenda that, in some ways, would turn back the clock on progress.

On the other hand, King would have been equally concerned about how social justice advocates have twisted his message to include strictures and caveats that have little to do with “justice,” and everything to do with reserving goodies for favored interest groups.

It is a sad testimony about the legacy of one of the greatest Americans who ever lived that 42 years after his death, no one can quite decide just what that legacy should mean.

By: Rick Moran at 11:55 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

8/27/2010
ON BEING AMERICAN ENOUGH
CATEGORY: PJ Media, Politics

My latest is up at PJ Media and in it, I return to familiar territory; trying to debunk the notion that President Obama is less of an American, or doesn’t love America, or is anti-American.

First, a couple of excerpts:

But the question isn’t whether the president’s vision of what American can be is different from that of most of the country; the question revolves around that vision’s legitimacy as emanating from deep within the American soul, and whether it fulfills a longing in the American heart for “true” justice and equality.

The Founders were eminently practical men, well read in the classics, believing they had learned the lessons of history about the dangers of concentrated power and the evil of which all men are capable. It’s what historian Page Smith refers to as a “Classical Christian Consciousness,” where recognition of man’s fallen state as well as a dose of public virtue were more likely to keep us free than the alternative. This he described as a “Secular Democratic Consciousness,” heavily influenced by the European enlightenment, saw man as basically good and his faults correctable.

Having faith in the ultimate goodness of mankind and the perfectibility of its institutions was the vision of the Jeffersonians, while the majority of the Founders believed in creating safeguards against the depredations of evil men and guaranteeing the natural rights of citizens. The resulting clash over the centuries of these two visions as the best way to achieve justice and liberty has defined an America that lurches between spurts of progressive reform and conservative restraint and retrenchment.

Barack Obama’s ideas are firmly rooted in the former of these visions. It is a belief that government institutions are perfectable; that the unintended consequences of his massive efforts to tear down the old and build up the new in health care, finance, the free market, and other areas are controllable and indeed, necessary in order to achieve the ultimate goal of creating a “more perfect union.” Whatever huge dislocations arise because of his policies must be accepted so that his notions of “justice” and “equality” can evolve.

It has become de rigueur on the right to complain that Obama wants to turn America into a Euro-socialist paradise. That’s half true. The president wants to use some of the tools that European social democracies use in order to fulfill his vision for America.

That vision, as I point out in the piece, is 100% American. The 19th century Utopian societies that sprang up around the country were ultimately efforts to change America into a society that was perfectly just, equal, and tolerant. From the Shakers to the Transcendentalists, the connecting thread was to alter the definition of what it meant to be American, and in the process, a new society would be created where all could share in the nation’s bounty, free from prejudice and racism as well as capitalisms more unattractive features.

Beyond the Utopians, there is the progressive movement of the early 20th century who believed in the perfectibility of human institutions like government through the application of scientific principles, and the “New Left” ideological forebears of the president who truly sought something closer to a Euro-democracy than we have now. Obama’s vision for America was influenced by all of these and more.

The real beef people have with this piece is simple; I don’t hate Obama enough. I don’t think he’s a Communist, or that he’s Muslim, or that he wasn’t born here, or that he wears women’s underpants. I can’t see his horns or his tail, I don’t believe in my heart of hearts that he is deliberately trying to destroy America, and I don’t believe that he is the worst president in history.

Of course, that was the point in writing the piece - an article in which I am very, very tough on the president but realize that most of his agenda has, in one form or another, been pushed since the New Deal. Just because socialist countries have national health care doesn’t make those who advocate it socialists. There are plenty of conservatives who support Medicare and Social Security - two programs in one form another that are very popular in socialist countries. Does that make those conservatives socialists?

It pains me to think that Obama’s “not American enough” critics actually believe you can quantify patriotism, or are truly ignorant of our history and are unaware that Obama’s vision for a different America is not new at all. What’s changed is that he was able to soft pedal his radicalism, hiding it brilliantly with euphemistic rhetoric and fuzzy headed talk of “change.”. That, and the extraordinary weakness of McCain’s campaign as well as the previous 8 years of cronyism, mismanagement, and incompetence.

It is disheartening to read the comments to my article. What possible good is done by ignorantly pushing the idea that one can judge another American’s love of country, or dedication to its core principles? If Obama were as bad as many of these numbskulls say he is, why aren’t they out starting a revolution? Why don’t they grab their guns and “take their country back?” If we are in as much danger as they say, we can’t wait for the next presidential election, we must act NOW!

I know that if I believed what they say they believe, I wouldn’t be sitting in front of this monitor and keyboard. I’d be out fomenting rebellion. And if fat old me would do it, why not them?

The reason is that they are not serious about their language. It sounds good, makes them feel important, but in the end, their talk of Obama being a Communist and ruining the country is drama. Their dull, drab, hopeless existence needs excitement so they pretend their president is something he is not - sort of like 13 year old drama queens who need attention. Otherwise, they’d be in the streets rioting and doing everything possible to get the man responsible for “ruining the country” out of the White House.

I am not a drama queen. I prefer reality and reasoned debate (usually). Those who have disappeared down this impossibly deep rabbit hole need to start clawing their way out or the vast majority of the country who doesn’t think Obama a socialist or a communist, and who don’t think he is deliberately trying to destroy the country, will make their views known in no uncertain terms when they vote.

And nobody rational votes for anyone supported by crazy people.

By: Rick Moran at 10:41 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

8/25/2010
PAKISTAN’S REAL DISASTER

My latest at FrontPage.com is a piece on the political fallout from the flooding in Pakistan.

A sample:

The first fortnight of the unfolding calamity saw a Pakistani government frozen by incompetence, lack of leadership, and bureaucratic inertia. In the first 10 days of the disaster, the government managed to deliver 10,000 food packs that fed 80,000 people out of the more than 2 million who were already destitute.

Zardari only stoked the rage Pakistanis were feeling against the government when he left the country at the beginning of August — just when the floods had gone from bad, to worse, to catastrophic — to pay a visit to David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy. A trip to Great Britain and France might ordinarily give a boost to the flagging popularity of a Pakistani president, but in this case, it had the opposite effect. Zardari arrived at Heathrow dressed in casual clothing, looking for all the world like a bored tourist. And then between conferences with officials, he helicoptered off to spend a little time at his fabulous chateau in Normandy owned by him and his late wife Benazir Bhutto.

It’s no secret that both the late Mrs. Bhutto and Zardari were spectacularly corrupt politicians. Mrs. Bhutto was sacked in a military coup by General Musharraf largely because of corruption while Zardari — known in Pakistan as “Mr. Ten Percent” — who has already served 8 years in jail on corruption charges, is still under a cloud even as president.

What all this added up to was a monumental political miscalculation on the part of Zardari that if it doesn’t directly threaten the stability of the government (most observers dismiss the idea of a military coup) it nevertheless opens the door to massively increased influence by two other concerned parties in Pakistani politics; the military, and the fundamentalist Islamist parties.

As I explain, the rising popularity of the military as a result of their response to the crisis will make it more difficult for the civilian government to rein in their influence on national security and foreign policy, while complicating our own relationship with the Pakistani armed forces. We need their cooperation to not only facilitate our efforts in Afghanistan, but their behind the scenes sharing of intelligence about the Taliban and al-Qaeda has led to many successful drone strikes on enemy targets inside Pakistan.

As for the Islamists, they have their own agenda - and it doesn’t include helping the government to change people’s minds about their pitiful response to the calamity. There is some question as to whether the extremist’s success in rehabbing their image will translate into votes for the fundamentalist parties - many observers believe incompetence and corruption by the government are more of an inducement for people to look at the religious parties than any good works done by terrorist outfits. But the political messages of both are similar, and the government ignores this at their peril.

By: Rick Moran at 8:46 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

8/24/2010
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 Dan Riehl of Riehl World View, Vodkapundit Stephen Green, American Thinker’s Larrey Anderson, and Scott Elliott, The Blogging Caesar. We’ll look at the hot political stories making news today.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 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 4:37 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

8/21/2010
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH WITH THIS MOSQUE FOOLISHNESS

Alright - everybody has made their points…

SEVERAL DOZEN FREAKING TIMES!

How many ways can you call the right intolerant and bigoted? Or refer to the left as Islamofascist sympathizers? Or moan about the degeneration of religious liberty in America? Or warn about creeping Sharia law?

Build it. Don’t build it. Move it. Bah! Everyone has an opinion. That opinion has been expressed ad infinitum. No nuance has been neglected. No angle uncovered. No stupid, silly insult or smear has been left under the mossy rocks from which they sprang.

And yes - it’s time for a few quotes from the “Dead Parrot Sketch” (with apologies for altering the text):

Mr. Praline: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this mosque argument wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! It’s bleedin’ demised!

Owner: No no! It’s pining!

Mr. Praline: it’s not pinin’! It’s passed on! This mosque argument is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to every blog, every newspaper, every TV broadcast, every magazine, every column by pundits both serious and unserious, it would be pushing up the daisies! It’s metabolic processes are now ‘istory! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-MOSQUE ARGUMENT!!

This has not been “Recovery Summer.” It has been “The Summer of the Silly Mosque Imbroglio.” We have all weighed in on the subject several times. The debate was interesting for about 72 hours. But after that - after every conceivable argument both for and against had been made - shouldn’t we have dropped the subject and come back to reality?

That reality is certainly interesting enough without the fake wailing on both sides about loss of the “tradition” of American “tolerance” for other religions, or the threat to the “sanctified” site of Ground Zero (within eyeshot of stripper clubs).

As for the latter, the extraordinary tone deafness of the mosque builders has been exposed and the public has rendered its verdict. For the former, surely people are joking when talking about tolerance for other religions in America, right?

This would come as news to the millions of Catholics, Jews, Mormons and now Muslims who have been murdered, burned, violently attacked, and generally discriminated against in the most vicious, nauseatingly open manner throughout much of American history. I would say to my friends on the left that there is a far more colorful history of religious bigotry leading to violence in America than there is of any kind of “tolerance” for faiths other than the dominant Christian sects.

Do you think that this is something that only happened in the dim, forgettable past? In his book Making of the President 1960 - just 50 years ago - Theodore H. White relates a story about some good liberals who had gathered in an upper west side apartment in New York to discuss who they would be supporting for president. Stevenson supporters all in 1952 and 1956, these good, conscientious liberals could see that their hero was just not going to make it to the White House and they were discussing the pros and cons of backing John Kennedy.

There was a serious discussion among these Enlightened Ones about whether a Kennedy presidency would mean that the Vatican would be running the country if JFK were elected - whether a US Catholic president would have “divided loyalties.” To even ask the question is bigoted and intolerant, demonstrating a towering ignorance of the Catholicism in America (A little further removed, try reading something about the campaigns of 1924 and 1928 featuring Catholic Al Smith).

Massacres of Mormons, murdering Jews, burning witches - this pious nonsense about mosque opponents going against American “traditions” of religious tolerance is absurd. Equally nutty is the idea that the mosque represents the advance of sharia law in America, or of giving in to extremists. One conservative group has called for not only canceling this mosque project, but actually getting the government to pass a law forbidding the construction of any mosque, anywhere in the US.

One assumes they would be “tolerant” enough to allow existing mosques to remain standing.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is still jacked, business is as close to being at a standstill as possible without us falling back into recession, millions of gallons of oil is still floating around in the Gulf, Americans are livid at both parties, Iran continues to defy the world and toddle toward having the capability to build a bomb, Hezballah is threatening war with Israel, there are unprecedented, catastrophic floods in Pakistan, the heat is killing dozens in big cities, Afghanistan continues to bleed…

And - OMIGOD - the Mooslims are trying to build a mosque while the fascist right opposes the brave, tolerant, saintly left in their efforts to stand up for religious liberty, or something.

I’m not asking for people to get along. I’m demanding we get serious about what’s really happening in this country. We have a president who has taken 5 vacations this summer, leading a party that is trying to desperately hide its failures, who are opposed by another party that hasn’t had an original idea about the economy since Ronald Reagan was president. Kafka wouldn’t dare touch this fairy tale. Picasso might come up with something suitably ugly and misshapen to reflect the tragedy of this situation, but even he would be at a loss in trying to capture the utter helplessness most Americans feel right now as they watch this idiotic exercise in futility grind on and on.

As long as this story is flogged on the internet, the mainstream media will feel compelled to cover it, comment on it, and continue to whip up a frenzy about it - at the expense of highlighting the actual news of this summer of our discontent. Perhaps because of the complete collapse of the president’s policies, and the dearth of solutions offered by Republicans, partisans from both parties would prefer this idiocy to continue.

But at some point, we have to come back to earth and deal with a genuine economic crisis that is causing people to lose faith in government, faith in themselves, and faith in America.

And the building of a mosque is more important than this?

By: Rick Moran at 8:48 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

8/20/2010
OBAMA’S MUSLIM OUTREACH BEARS INTERESTING FRUIT

When Barack Obama became president, he promised to try and change the relationship dynamic between Islam and the west. His goal was to build bridges, lessen hostility, create trust, and generally lower the decibel level of conversation between the two cultures.

There can be little argument regarding the president’s goals. The great struggle in which we are engaged against Islamism can only be won if we bring the hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims who only want to be left alone to practice their faith and live their lives by their own lights to our side. Muslim distrust of America - a distrust that predated by many years the administration of George Bush - is an impediment to making progress against those who think no more of beheading a Christian as they would stepping on an ant on an anthill.

So let us grant the president his good intentions. That doesn’t excuse his shocking myopia, his crippling naivete, or his ludicrous, almost childish trust in the intentions of characters like Ahmadinejad, Abbas, or even his old friend, the Arafat apologist Rashid Khalidi. At some level, the president either believes in the infallibility of his own judgment or in the power of his sincerity overcoming the fanaticism of our enemies.

It doesn’t really matter because his approach has been proved wrong by events. The Iranians are still building the bomb while laughing in the president’s face; Abbas is playing him for a fool, using the president to pressure the Israelis into concessions - only to renege and get the US to go back and pressure the Israelis some more; and if anything, all the president’s efforts to show tolerance and forbearance toward Muslims hasn’t budged the needle of hostility directed against the United States and our policies, although Obama himself is more popular personally among Muslims than his country.

Where the president’s outreach policy has met with success is here at home. One in five Americans now believe he is a Muslim, compared to about 12% two years ago. This is a fantastic achievement to nearly double the number of Americans who aren’t sure if the idiotic stories they hear about Obama being a closet Muslim are true or not. And to think Obama wasn’t even trying. Just imagine what he could do if he really put his mind to it.

In truth, there are two forces at work that have conspired to advance this fantastical notion that Obama is a Muslim. The first has to do with the tight negative feedback loop that passes for the dissemination of information among many conservatives.

Call it ‘epistemic closure’ or an echo chamber, the result is that when you get all your information filtered through the same sources - sources that are constrained from questioning the efficacy of the dominant narrative being pushed due to fear of being cast out of the circle - an alternate reality is created where Obama’s Muslim religion, his disloyalty to the United States, even the notion that he is a communist lovechild are accepted as fact or seen as being possible.

These ridiculous facts are fed indirectly by the demonization of the president via mainstream talk radio and the conservative press. “If he’s capable of ‘X’, then it is certainly possible he can be ‘y’” is what passes for reason and logic among the faithful. If Obama is deliberately trying to destroy the economy in order to enslave Americans and make them wholly dependent on the federal government for survival, as Rush Limbaugh has suggested, why is it impossible that he’s a Koran loving Muslim to boot?

The second force at work is related to the first but lies in the perception - even among independents - that the president does not share their values. This is wholly the president’s fault as his fine, moderate rhetoric has given way to radicalism in fomenting an agenda that, by his own admission, seeks to alter the American experiment. In short, there is a disconnect between Obama’s personae as a “moderate” and his actions as a far left liberal.

Despite the belief by the president and his left wing allies that the American people are stupid louts who need to be led to water by the snout, the people’s unease with the president has little to do with what religion he follows, or the color of his skin, and more to do with the idea that Obama’s basic beliefs are at odds with a majority of his fellow citizen’s.

He says he believes in self-reliance, but his actions belie that notion. He says he believes in the grand tradition of American liberty, and yet supports measures that reduce it. He says he believes that America is an exceptional country while letting the world know that we are no different than any other nation. Do we detect a pattern here? There is a titanic disconnect between the president’s rhetoric and his actions. This not only breeds a basic mistrust that is showing up in opinion polls, but also feeds the unreasonable paranoia of those with less charitable attitudes toward Obama.

When nearly a third of conservatives buy into this “Obama is a Moooslim” narrative, my fellow righties should stop wondering why I refer to these specimens as “knuckledraggers” and “loons.” About the same percentage also think that Obama has issues with being constitutionally eligible for office - another jaw dropping notion that proves the existence of a mindless echo chamber on the right that subsumes objective reality in favor of an over-the-rainbow worldview. Fear and loathing are powerful emotions, and as the Obama administration stumbles and bumbles its way forward, the liklihood is that at least among the rabid conservative base (as well as other wayward intellects who are incapable of thinking for themselves), horns and a tail will continue to grow on the president and the perception that he is alien in some way will continue to resonate.

By: Rick Moran at 11:19 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

8/18/2010
ANN COULTER NOT CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH FOR WORLD NET DAILY CONFERENCE

I suppose it was inevitable that the litmus test conservatives would begin purging those who don’t measure up to their very narrow, very limiting agenda. But it’s still something of a surprise to see World Net Daily - the rabid right wing online publication that has become famous for promoting the birther issue - canceling an appearance by the Queen of the Conservative Punditocracy Ann Coulter for what WND refers to as a “homoconflict.”

Conservative superstar Ann Coulter today was dropped as a keynote speaker for WND’s “Taking America Back National Conference” next month because of her plan to address an event titled “HOMOCON” sponsored by the homosexual Republican group GOProud that promotes same-sex marriage and military service for open homosexuals.

Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, said the decision was a gut-wrenching one for his team because of their fondness for Coulter as both a person and writer-speaker.

“Ultimately, as a matter of principle, it would not make sense for us to have Ann speak to a conference about ‘taking America back’ when she clearly does not recognize that the ideals to be espoused there simply do not include the radical and very ‘unconservative’ agenda represented by GOProud,” said Farah. “The drift of the conservative movement to a brand of materialistic libertarianism is one of the main reasons we planned this conference from the beginning.”

Can’t have any of that “materialistic libertarianism” - perhaps better described as “tolerance for other people and other points of view” - gumming up the works of the conservative media juggernaut. I happened to stop by the GOProud booth at CPAC a couple of years ago and discovered that these guys are - with the exceptions mentioned above by Farah - about as mainstream conservative as you can get.

From their website:

GOProud represents gay conservatives and their allies. GOProud is committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy. GOProud promotes our traditional conservative agenda by influencing politics and policy at the federal level.

In fact, if Farah knew anything of the history of conservatism, he would recognize that GOProud’s “traditional conservative agenda” used to define conservatism. It is only recently that bigots like Farah have added gay marriage and - omigod - “sodomy as an alternative lifestyle” to the ever growing number of no-nos the culturecons have foisted on the conservative movement.

Coulter seems a little bemused by the insult. She’s just interested in the cash:

Farah then asked: “Do you not understand you are legitimizing a group that is fighting for same-sex marriage and open homosexuality in the military – not to mention the idea that sodomy is just an alternate lifestyle?”

Coulter responded: “That’s silly, I speak to a lot of groups and do not endorse them. I speak at Harvard and I certainly don’t endorse their views. I’ve spoken to Democratic groups and liberal Republican groups that loooove abortion. The main thing I do is speak on college campuses, which is about the equivalent of speaking at an al-Qaida conference. I’m sure I agree with GOProud more than I do with at least half of my college audiences. But in any event, giving a speech is not an endorsement of every position held by the people I’m speaking to. I was going to speak for you guys, I think you’re nuts on the birther thing (though I like you otherwise!).”

Coulter’s own intolerance has been well documented. But at least she has a notion of what conservatism is all about.

I have stopped referring to people like Farah as conservatives for the simple reason their views are not reflective of any conservative philosophy of which I am familiar. Radicalism is the antithesis of conservatism as anyone who has ever read Edmund Burke’s wrenching critique of the French Revolution can attest. Their idea of “limited government” is radically limited. Their notion of “free markets” is an economic Darwinian nightmare. And their agitation to bomb just about anyone who threatens US interests reveals an imprudence that is most unconservative.

What has driven me and other conservatives to try and marginalize people like Farah is their radicalism may not be the mainstream of conservatism, but it influences the Republican party and the conservative movement much to their detriment. They are not “fringe” actors by any stretch of the imagination, but neither are they close to a majority. They are loud, and they vote, and that makes them important to politicians.

Rejecting those who agree with your agenda 90% of the time is stupid politics. Hence, despite GOProud’s embrace of traditional conservative issues, their sin of supporting gay marriage and the elimination of “Don’t ask don’t tell” in the military trumps their support for conservative economic and foreign policy issues.

Indeed, the Executive Director of GOProud Jimmy LaSalvia gave a very reasonable, conservative answer to why they support gay marriage:

As long as the government is in the marriage business it should treat gay couples as equal to their straight counter-parts. Accordingly, we are pleased with the outcome of the Prop 8 case.

A no brainer, really - which describes Mr. Farah to a “T.”

Radical right wingers like Farah are in the business of reducing the size of the Republican party until it is a distillation of pure right wing wackery. These folks are beyond “epistemic closure” and are in a full blown epistemological meltdown. The don’t create a reality as much as it oozes up from the muck and detritus of their broken and wildly inconsistent worldview - the result of unreasoning hatred for those who are in any way “different” and an illogical ideology that cannot brook any opposition lest it collapse in a disordered heap.

And Ann Coulter isn’t conservative enough for these guys? Something wrong with that picture.

By: Rick Moran at 9:20 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)