Welcome Dave Neiwert and John Amato, Hosted by Watertiger.

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread.  - bev]

Over the Cliff: How the Obama Election Drove The American Right Insane

To say that the election of the first African-American President of the United States has brought the crazy and racist termites out of the woodwork would be an understatement. Angry, willfully mindless and hateful, they came scuttling to the surface before the last polls had closed back in 2008. Allegations of an illegitimate candidacy and other wingnut conspiracies exploded across the right side of the blogosphere even before the presidential oath of office had left Obama’s lips (both times), and the vitriol ratcheted up exponentially through the early days of his tenure.

It didn’t stop with the words. The Secret Service saw a dramatic uptick in violent threats within days of Obama’s election, and any rational person could make the correlation between the hate being spewed on the airwaves and the subsequent attempts at physical violence. While fanning the very inflammatory rhetoric they claimed they were the victims of, the Right’s windbag pundits such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin, with the willing assistance of the quisling media more concerned with appearing “fair and balanced” than objectively reporting on these controversies, countered the reality-based community’s arguments with a more venal form of “I know you are, but what am I?”:

The preferred narrative  when it came to these violent acts committed by right-wing extremists was that these were all “isolated incidents” with no connection, no set of radical belief systems that wove them together, and most of all, nothing to connect them to the hyperbole from mainstream conservatives. As Glenn Beck said, these were just nutcases who had nothing to do with anything he or his fellow right-wing pundits told people.

Perish the thought. If you dared harbor or express it — as Beck also made abundantly clear — then you were just trying to silence and oppress poor helpless right wing pundits. That was the conservative way, and it was about to become one of their favorite and most repeated themes.

Radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s ignominious departure from the air waves earlier this week is proof of this culture of reverse victimhood. After spending over 10 minutes berating a black caller with the “n” word, Dr. Laura was “forced” to resign. Her borg-like acolytes, shaking their ignorance of American constitutional law like a shiny new rattle, insisted that it was Dr. Laura, not the caller (and the African American community in general), who was the real victim here, and that her verbal abuse was protected by a heretofore unknown First Amendment right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater.

The “victimhood” populace’s unwillingness to think analytically, partnered with its eager gullibility and simmering racism, made it vulnerable to manipulation by the most cynical part of the Republican Party that, after 8 years of unchecked power, found itself outside the gates. The lies were spun with alarming speed and took root almost instantly. Even today, 1 in 5 Americans believe that President Obama is a Muslim.

The “scary black man” who was born in Indonesia, Kenya, and Hawaii, was simultaneously a Muslim, Christian, Fascist, Communist, Socialist and Marxist — did we mention he was black? — and was here to take their guns, their women, their money, and their rights. No matter that not one of these claims was even remotely justifiable. As Neiwert and Amato note, “it’s not easy to ‘debunk’ the existence of something for which there is simply no evidence of its existence in the first place.” What was important was that the far Right was energized and not used to critical thinking — which made for easy pickings by the craven, monied, right wing leaders who took advantage of this growing tide of nativistic anti-intellectualism. The Tea Party movement, with its roots in the conservative ideology of producerism, was born.

John Amato and Dave Neiwert are no strangers to this particular psychosis that afflicts the Right. Journalist, author, and blogger, Dave Neiwert has spent the past ten years covering the radicalized right wing for venues such as Salon, the Washington Post, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as for his own blog, Orcinus.  John Amato, founder of the highly influential and always informative political blog, Crooks and Liars, was the video blogging voice of reason before Youtube was a glint in its creators’ eyes. The two have combined their formidable reportage skills at Crooks and Liars, and we are all the better informed for it.

In Over the Cliff: How the Obama Election Drove the American Right Insane, Dave Neiwert and John Amato chronicle the Right’s rapid descent into madness, and it’s a hair-raising ride. Please join me in welcoming old FDL friends John and Dave to Book Salon.

198 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes David Neiwert and John Amato, Over the Cliff: How the Obama Election Drove The American Right Insane”

BevW August 21st, 2010 at 2:02 pm

David, John, Welcome back to the Lake.

Watertiger, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Dave and John and thank you both for being here today to discuss the book!

egregious August 21st, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Welcome to Book Salon, good to see you!

dakine01 August 21st, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Good afternoon John and Dave and welcome back to FDL.

Hey WT, good afternoon to you as well.

John and Dave, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but how do you respond to all the right wingers who continually say “Oh, it’s just a few bad apples/sick individuals/ducking phrase du jour?” (and please forgive me as I’m sure you answered this in the book)

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I’ll put this question to our authors:

The theme running through this book seems to confirm the Right’s cult of victimhood. Even though Caucasians are still the majority in this country, albeit probably not for much longer, is it fair to assert that racism is the underlying motivator for the Right’s collective nervous breakdown?

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Hey all–

Thanks for having us! We’re having a lot of fun talking about this book because we think it’s an important one for progressives to read.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:07 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 6

It’s great to “see” you, Dave!

Blue Texan August 21st, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Welcome, Dave & John!

Scarecrow August 21st, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Welcome good friends.

Is there a cure for this insanity? It doesn’t seem to be enough that you/we/others keeping pointing out how nuts they are and how much they’re hurting the country.

So what else needs to be done. What more can folks like us do? What does the rest of the media need to do. HELP!

Elliott August 21st, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Hi David!
Hi John

I don’t know why I’m surprised the right wing went over the cliff over Obama’s election.

Is there any cure for this psychosis?

(great post watertiger)

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:10 pm
In response to watertiger @ 5

Hey wt, good talkin’ –

I don’t think it’s just racism but rather right-wing authoritarianism — of which racism is a subset — that’s really dominating the scene. So one of the underlying contexts of most of the attacks on Obama is white dread — the fear of 2050, when they will no longer be the majority of this country. This upsets their “natural order” of things, which includes white privilege and cultural homogeneity. So racism is part of it, but in fact reflects a broader cultural fear.

Elliott August 21st, 2010 at 2:10 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 9

jinx

TobyWollin August 21st, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Welcome Dave and John! And I think the “Totally Over the Cliff Right Pundits” wake up every morning and light a candle and says a thank you prayer for the election of Barack Obama.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Hi everybody! So good to be here.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I’m also curious to know whether there is any way to convince the media that promoting the hate speech of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. is not really in its best interests.

Blue Texan August 21st, 2010 at 2:12 pm

All I have to say about your book is — there are extremists on both sides.

Sincerely,

David Broder

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:12 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 14

Yes! We have acquired John!

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Look at all the kool katz that are here.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:14 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 11

So how does one combat right-wing authoritarianism? Because as we’ve seen, trying to placate them doesn’t work.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:15 pm
In response to Blue Texan @ 16

You KILL me!

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:16 pm
In response to watertiger @ 15

I think the media is afraid to call out the teabaggers and their mouthpieces because they fear that they will be targeted ala Town Hall madness from last August so, NO, there is almost no way to convince them.

Scarecrow August 21st, 2010 at 2:16 pm

So, is the craziness getting worse? Seems to be, and it’s going mainstream. John King seems compelled to give the crazies free air time, rather than just report on their craziness. So is the model for cable/media behavior making it worse?

Blue Texan August 21st, 2010 at 2:16 pm
In response to watertiger @ 20

PS.

Michael Moore.

-Michael Gerson & Kathleen Parker

Ruth Calvo August 21st, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Hello, John, Dave and watertiger.

Don’t you think that the bizarre nature of the total disconnect with reality that the wingnuts are showing is scaring the U.S. public away?

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:17 pm
In response to Blue Texan @ 16

I’m sure Howard Kurtz will back that up…

RBG August 21st, 2010 at 2:17 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 6

Great to see you at FDL.

I couldn’t stop chuckling when I read “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”.

Scarecrow August 21st, 2010 at 2:17 pm
In response to Blue Texan @ 16

Hey, no fair. I get to be Dan Balz and Broder. You were supposed to be Peggy Noonan and Palin.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:17 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 9

What do do?

Well, the first item on the list is to be informed and to get others informed, which was why we wrote the book. I think this step is really the essential one, because I don’t think you can read Over the Cliff and not reach the conclusion that we’re not dealing with Politics As Usual anymore.

Y’know, for years America has been governed by a conservative-liberal ruling coalition that has been in place since FDR. But what has become abundantly clear is that the Right no longer intends to share power with the Left. They consider us unfit for holding power, and they really do mean to destroy us. Hence the abundance of eliminationist rhetoric.

I think this should be a wake-up call to all the Pelosis and Reids and Obamas out there who think they can “reach out to Republicans” and expect to get anything back besides a bloody stump. Democrats have got to quit playing around with “bipartisanship” and start providing some real leadership.

Blue Texan August 21st, 2010 at 2:18 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 28

I think this should be a wake-up call to all the Pelosis and Reids and Obamas out there who think they can “reach out to Republicans” and expect to get anything back besides a bloody stump.

Amen.

You think President PostPartisan gets it?

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:18 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 22

That’s the most disheartening thing of all. (It’s not only CNN by the way.) Real far right extreme insanity is being mainstreamed into America like never before.

Blue Texan August 21st, 2010 at 2:19 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 27

The Quitter doesn’t even acknowledge the extremists on the right. She pulls that old “The Founding Fathers Were Right-Wing Extremists, Too” crap.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:20 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 22

Yeah, absolutely. In fact, I think the whole NYC mosque dustup is a classic demonstration of how thoroughly Fox rules the airwaves and thus the media herd. CNN and MSNBC would not be bothering with this story were it not for the fact that Fox kept banging on that drum.

Kathryn in MA August 21st, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Ha! I JUST NOW got my copy out of the mailbox. Am looking forward to reading it, and listening in on this conversation.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:20 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 28

Seriously, how did the policies of the New Deal survive for years without being labelled “socialist” (by sane people)? Suddenly, Obama, who isn’t even espousing the “radical” ideas that FDR had, is a Socialist.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:20 pm
In response to Blue Texan @ 29

President PostPartisan doesn’t get it. He could do away with Social Security and they would call it an evil plot to fool conservatives.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:21 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 33

You won’t be disappointed. Trust me. Infuriated by all the insanity, but not disappointed.

Leen August 21st, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I had watched Obama closely during the two years while he was in the Senate. He played it safe almost all of the time. Could not figure out what everyone was so excited about.

How would you describe the campaign teams ability to package Obama as the candidate of “hope and change”. When there was absolutely no evidence to back up those claims that this would be the case.

Ruth Calvo August 21st, 2010 at 2:22 pm
In response to watertiger @ 34

Here in N. TX. they’ve been called socialist since I was a little girl.

Scarecrow August 21st, 2010 at 2:22 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 30

What’s been the response to your message from any of the MSM folks. Do you think they see the danger and their role in exacerbating it? Or don’t they know? or care?

Travis Disaster August 21st, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Doesn’t focusing on marginal actors on the right distract from the fact that those in power (Obama, the DNC) have expressed little-to-no interest in solving the fundamental problems that are burdening our nation? Republicans might be big and scary, but everyone claiming responsibility for the abomination of a health insurance industry enhancement bill has a (D) behind their name. Can we really learn anything new from braying “Glenn Beck sure is evil!” at each other ad infinitum?

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:23 pm
In response to watertiger @ 34

Destroying the New Deal has been the Extreme Right’s obsession ever since it passed, but they didn’t have AM hate radio and FOX News to promote their views and rewrite history with. Imagine if there were 1000 Father Coughlin’s during FDR’s time broadcasting 24/7.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:24 pm
In response to watertiger @ 34

Well, of course they were denounced as “socialist” at the time by the likes of Henry Ford and the usual Captains of Industry. It was only after everyone saw that they worked that everyone realized the label was ludicrous. Then we forgot.

Blue Texan August 21st, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Those aren’t marginal actors on the right on the book’s cover. Those are its leaders.

TobyWollin August 21st, 2010 at 2:25 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 28

I really do think that one of Obama’s problems is that he is someone who got where he is because he learned the lesson early of getting white people to not feel threatened by him and learn to like him. He really did seem to come into office believing this DESPITE the GOP’s reciting over and over that they would not cooperate, that they would not help, that they would do everything in their power to stop him from accomplishing anything. They have never stopped giving that message. The Far Right has not stopped reciting all the garbage (birthers, et al.)that they have been doing since before the election. You have to give them credit for staying on message – it’s not a message that will help the country or put American’s back to work, but it IS a message and they own it. The only problem is that because Obama et al. will not push back against it – they are still doing the ‘can’t you guys come out and play with us? We’ll let you have the ball” thing. Perhaps it is just too scary to really get his head around the fact that these people are scared of HIM, hate his guts, see him as the worst thing to ever happen to the country, and are doing everything to bring him down, even if it means sending the country into the toilet.

ratfood August 21st, 2010 at 2:25 pm

reply to Blue Texan @ 31

In fairness you can never be certain which Founding Fathers she is referring to, could be Moses and Abraham or the John Birch Society.

Scarecrow August 21st, 2010 at 2:27 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 41

I wonder is that’s it, though. Millions of people listened to FDR’s detractors, and he was called a socialist. The difference is that millions more believe FDR was actually on their side, and against the corps, whose hate he welcomed, without sending Tim Geithner out to say he didn’t really mean it. It may be the difference is not the media then vs now but FDR vs Obama.

The diagnosis drives what you think about the remedy, no?

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Can either of you explain producerism to the commenters? Because it seems to me that it’s a key element in how the far right is succeeding in getting their message out.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Well, if you want to understand why progressive initiatives are continually blunted, watered down, and gutted by a corporate-dominated process — which I think is what you’re describing — you need to understand how the enemies of those initiatives manipulate the public and the political process to achieve their ends. It’s especially important to understand why and how corporate elites are able to use cultural wedge issues to persuade working-class voters to side with them instead of with the progressives who are championing their interests.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:29 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 46

Yeah, because I think the ultimate remedy is to revive left-wing populism.

onitgoes August 21st, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I look forward to reading your book.

For quite a while now, I (and probably many on the left) have been witnessing the domination of the media, our governmental instituions, our churhes and even businesses by what I would call rightwing, Christian Dominist fanatics. At first it seemed as if the rightwing media mainly aired the fanaticism because it was “exciting” and therefore “newsworthy.”

But lately these extremists and their viewpoints have become “center stage” and presented as if their fanatical, inflamed rhetoric not only is “reasonable” but should be taken quite seriously. This is combined with the media deliberately ignoring or hiding other points of veiw, mainly from the left, but these days even from the so-called center.

And it results in issues we see this week: the Parc51 madness being “defended” by Howard Dean in the name of “dialogue” and Dr. Laura S. being treated as a victim by the Larry King show.

Where does this end? It is certainly not leading in a good direction.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:30 pm
In response to ratfood @ 45

“Which founding fathers? Why, all of ‘em!”

EdwardTeller August 21st, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I’ve read all Dave’ books now. This is the best. My secret favorite might still be Strawberry Days. Read most of Over the Cliff down in Washington earlier in the month.

I like this from Alan Grayson’s review:

They show that the right wingers are not conservatives, they are anarchists.

The only law the right wing believes in is the Law of the Jungle. No schools, no hospitals, no job programs, no nothing. Their idea of nirvana is Mogadishu.

Travis Disaster August 21st, 2010 at 2:30 pm
In response to Blue Texan @ 43

They may lead their movements but they’re not elected officials. Most people don’t even know who Michelle Malkin is- guessing she was just picked because she makes wacky faces. I feel like focusing on the worst of “the other side” is tribalism where what is called for, in our current situation, is the ability to call out problem policies regardless of which “team” is backing them.

ratfood August 21st, 2010 at 2:30 pm
In response to watertiger @ 51

lol!

Blue Texan August 21st, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Palin is the presumptive nominee. Limbaugh is the leader of the conservative movement. Malkin is the most-read right-wing activist. Beck is the media leader of the Tea Party movement.

EdwardTeller August 21st, 2010 at 2:32 pm
In response to watertiger @ 51

she comes across more accurately in the original German.

newdealfarmgrrrlll August 21st, 2010 at 2:33 pm

thanks! this book is on my purchase-soon list.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:34 pm
In response to Blue Texan @ 55

And Dave and John don’t limit their analysis to the “mediots” in the book – they discuss how the Republicans nurtured the Tea Party movement, only to see it spin wildly out of control.

onitgoes August 21st, 2010 at 2:34 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 48

It’s especially important to understand why and how corporate elites are able to use cultural wedge issues to persuade working-class voters to side with them instead of with the progressives who are championing their interests.

With respect, I think we mostly understand why and how the corporate interests are doing this. It can be summed up by saying: they have the money, the power and own the airwaves, plus they have the ability to astroturf, for ex, the Tea Party movement to do their bidding. Plus they are deeply embedded in the church and government institutions.

So: where do we go from there? WE here on the left see it and get it. Trying to explain it to others usually leads to poo-pooing and name calling (to put it mildly). It seems as if most citizens have dug into their positions, and the ongoing rightwing drum beat just gets louder.

Riffin' Man August 21st, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Is it still safe to be a liberal/progressive in America? Sometimes, I have this sinking feeling that we’re just making it easier for the fascists to find us when shit ultimately hits the fan. Who’s got our back?

Scarecrow August 21st, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Dave, John — the left seems fractured now — the still loyal/patient vs the really getting impatient vs the already disgusted. Is our disunity playing a major role in the propagation of the craziness? Or to put it another way, suppose we were all hanging together at “somewhat impatient” (whatever that means) or “stay together progressive.” Do you think a more unified left collectively could be slowing down the nuttiness, doing a better job a neutralizing/marginalizing it? Or is its rise largely independent of what we’re going through?

eCAHNomics August 21st, 2010 at 2:35 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 48

Can’t do much, even if you understand the problem, in a winner-take-all 2 party system, with the corps controlling both parties.

Travis Disaster August 21st, 2010 at 2:35 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 48

Fair enough, but I don’t see Harold Ford, Rahm Emmanuel, Claire McCaskill, (sometimes) Ed Schultz, Joe Klein, or any of the other countless Democrats who have sought to attain the same goals you describe (silencing left voices). I think there’s a lot of conflating of party affiliation with standing on the political spectrum going on in the arena of left-leaning (or centrist) political discourse. As to your last point about “the progressives who are championing their interests”, I certainly hope you’re not referring to Obama or the current DNC leadership.

EdwardTeller August 21st, 2010 at 2:36 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 61

excellent question.

Lorraine Watkins August 21st, 2010 at 2:36 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 49

Yeah, because I think the ultimate remedy is to revive left-wing populism.

IMHO. It’s the only remedy.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:37 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 39

They don’t care. Edward Wasserman wrote this riveting piece that we used in our book on pg 260. It sums up the media in a nutshell by saying there is no “news judgement” anymore:

As the saying goes, what really matters isn’t what people think, it’s what they think about: Debunking falsehoods is fine, but the more that news media embrace it as if it’s a cure-all, the worse we’ll all be. The solution isn’t to refute, it’s to ignore. End the practice of rewarding the most sensational, the most irresponsible, the most baseless allegations with top-of-the-news billing. The media bury worthwhile news all the time; how about burying the worthless stuff?

There, however, the problem isn’t so much with reporters, it’s with their bosses, the ones who insist on running the screaming footage from “town meetings,” on giving dramatic lies a prominence they don’t deserve — ensuring an audience, but while ensuring the lies a public life no reasoned refutation can end.

“He said, she said” has always been a dubious way to report the world. “We say” helps, but only a little. The real solution is simple: It’s called news judgment.

These crazy stories should never make it on cable news….

eCAHNomics August 21st, 2010 at 2:38 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 65

How?

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:39 pm
In response to watertiger @ 47

The best way I can explain producerism is to hold up Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged as the classic model of the producerist worldview — that is, all of us poor lesser benighted souls, the ordinary people, are best served by exalting and empowering the “producers”, the captains of industry who will nobly provide us with work.

Producerism is the narrative that distinguishes right-wing populism from left-wing populism: Whereas the latter’s narrative describes economic elites (particularly corporate/industrial elites) who systematically oppress and indenture the productive working- and middle-class people, right-wing populism sees two twin pincers — a conniving cultural elite, and a parasitic underclass — crushing the producers of the middle class. Their heroes are always folks like Henry Ford and John Galt.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:39 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 66

taking “if it bleeds, it leads” to new heights?

onitgoes August 21st, 2010 at 2:40 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 67

Agree: how? I think we’ve all made suggestions here and have done some different actions – supporting Halter against Lincoln stands out. But still… it’s small potatoes at best and only marginal steps forward, if that. And then we get berated for it by the powers that be in the DNC.

Travis Disaster August 21st, 2010 at 2:41 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 70

Perhaps posting dozens of videos of Glenn Beck saying crazy things can resolve the fact that the DNC has no interest in actually moving the party platform forward. It’s a popular theory, at least.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:42 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 68

Is “parasitic underclass” code for darker-skinned people? Or just anyone who happens to fall upon hard times and requires government assistance?

AdamPDX August 21st, 2010 at 2:43 pm

The L. Douglas Wilder gubernatorial victory in Virginia drove the right wing insane there. Among other awful incidents not long after Wilder was elected was the bigot outrage over putting a statue of Richmond native tennis star Arthur Ashe’s on Monument Ave. Racists literally showed up to sit in the Richmond city council meetings in hoods and sheets for that one.

Falwell’s Liberty University and CBN/Regent University were created in the aftermath.

There is a precedent.

eCAHNomics August 21st, 2010 at 2:43 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 70

That’s why I ask “how.” I’ve been hanging out here for several years & seen & participated in a lot of the actions, all to NO avail (not even small potatoes). The right gains power by leaps & bounds.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:44 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 68

And why can’t they see that what the captains of industry have done is nobly offshore all that work?

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:44 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 61

This isn’t about the “left” or how we feel about President Obama or how upset Liberals are. It’s a calculated response by the right to take votes away from the Democratic Party. It’s been their MO since the new right was formed under Goldwater, continued through Nixon and then escalated by the College Republicans led by Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist in the 80′s.

onitgoes August 21st, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Yeah, ok. And then what?

Frankly I do find it somewhat refreshing that we don’t spend a lot of time here hashing over Beck, although Beck does have tremendous influence and sway over those who listen to him.

Travis Disaster August 21st, 2010 at 2:46 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 76

In light of the Obama administration’s track record, is there a considerable downside to the Democratic Party having “their” votes “taken “away”?

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:46 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 68

David and I are Prodcuers right now with our new book..lol

onitgoes August 21st, 2010 at 2:47 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 74

Well, I was counting the Halter – Lincoln primary results as “small potatoes,” but one could certainly argue it’s not even that.

With our voices pretty effectively silenced and our marches and demos not getting any airtime (even with huge crowds in numerous cities): yes, then what? I agree. Then what? We have been kicked to the curb, silenced and marginalized.

I’m at a loss to figure out what the next move is.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:49 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 61

Yeah, great question indeed. Too bad I can’t really give you a definitive answer.

What I will say is that the disunity on the Left hasn’t helped. But I also think there’s been a tendency not to realize what’s hitting them. People let out a big sigh of relief after the 2008 election, and I don’t think anyone was prepared for how vicious and relentless the Right has been in response.

In a lot of ways, as TobyWollin noted above, this is all a product of who Obama is, particularly embodied in his approach to “post-racial politics”: Obama really has bought into the view that racial issues are best dealt with by addressing them as universal issues. He really won’t talk about race at all, and he downplays the role of racism in the attacks on him. Which means, for the right-wing authoritarian worldview, that they basically win by default. And indeed, because he’s been so timid about race, they’ve had a field day romping about and pushing the envelope for the open expression of racist sentiments.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:50 pm
In response to watertiger @ 72

The former.

nahant August 21st, 2010 at 2:50 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 68

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged as the classic model of Science fiction at least that is how I viewed it then and still do. Science Fiction a make believe story about some far away land where the elite are totally in charge and peons are just that peons!! Dumb shits don’t realize it is Science Fiction after all!!! ☢☠

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:51 pm

The book isn’t about policy Travis Disaster, but if we want to have Michele Bachmann and D. Issa holding hearings every week for the next two years at least then it’s not a problem, but I want to stay away from debating legislation if we can. I certainly have many issues with Team Obama.

AdamPDX August 21st, 2010 at 2:51 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 76

I don’t think so. I don’t know if some of the Tea Baggers are capable of a calculated response right now.

I was a volunteer for the Wilder campaign. I watched the whole awful mess happen. I was horrified. I left Virginia for good. I had been working in FM music formats. Took a chance on a AM sports talk start-up in Vegas just to get out.

Lorraine Watkins August 21st, 2010 at 2:51 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 48

Great analysis

if you want to understand why progressive initiatives are continually blunted, watered down, and gutted by a corporate-dominated process

Yes it is quite a lot to surmount but as the discussion has evolved we realize that democracy has overcome such in the past.

One thing that disturbs me is how often we liberals are so astounded by the insanity of the spokesmen for the corporates (the hard right) we too often just fall on the floor laughing and write them off. Books like yours will help to remind us of how deadly serious this really is.

eCAHNomics August 21st, 2010 at 2:51 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 81

disunity on the Left hasn’t helped.

What Left is left?

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:51 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 82

Sigh. That’s what I thought.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:53 pm
In response to nahant @ 83

Did you read that post about “Cheap Labor” Conservatives?

The conservative movement is only interested in ‘working families’ as a way to line their pockets with gold. Excuse me, I didn’t mean to promote Beck’s big money maker.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Well, actually, I don’t think you can understand why Democrats — particularly those from suburban and rural districts — are so timid without watching Glenn Beck and Fox generally. Because when they hear from their constituents, it’s often crap generated and hyper-fed by Beck et al. When right-wing extremism becomes commonplace talk among millions of Americans, that in fact has a powerful political effect, because everyone, Democrats included, feel that gravitational pull.

Lorraine Watkins August 21st, 2010 at 2:54 pm

We have to forget Obama and most of the Washington elected. Form our movement and choose our leaders, even if th ey don’t get elected right off. Support them out there talking and getting the message out.

Scarecrow August 21st, 2010 at 2:55 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 81

Okay, but the “left” is split about things like what financial reform or health reform should include, what they should have included. They’re not really divided about racism or lying about Obama’s birth/religion, etc. So you seem to be suggesting that even though we agree on this stuff that’s driving the right, we weren’t really prepared for how vicious it would be.

Well, it’s obvious to all now. What does an effective “united” response from the left look like?

Travis Disaster August 21st, 2010 at 2:55 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 84

Would those Bachmann and Issa hearings yield legislation that would force Americans to tithe on a monthly basis to a for-profit, virtually unregulated industry of middlemen?

My quibble isn’t policy, per se. It’s more a sense that discussions of the nature of “boy that Ann Coulter sure is crazy” do little more than to distract from the fact that the Democrat’s emperor has no clothes. To put it flatly, what is gained from pointing and screaming at the defeated right when the empowered slightly-less-right (Democrats) are the real culprits?

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 2:55 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 82

I agree.

Lorraine Watkins August 21st, 2010 at 2:55 pm

It’s clear we can’t just sit around waiting for the Democratic Party establishment to come up with Godot.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Do either of you think the Tea Party will last past this election cycle? Or, now that it’s gotten away from their control, will the Republicans try to kill it with fire?

eCAHNomics August 21st, 2010 at 2:57 pm
In response to watertiger @ 96

What’s the diff? This is the future of U.S. politics.

AdamPDX August 21st, 2010 at 2:59 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 87

There is no “Left” in the United States.

There’s right wing extremists and Center Right.

Eisenhower supported a 90% top tax bracket.

Goldwater, JFK, and Nixon supported 70% top tax brackets.

Obama and every Democrat except Kucinich and Barbara Lee are to the Right of Goldwater and Nixon on economics.

Peterr August 21st, 2010 at 2:59 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 81

Welcome back, Dave!

Your comment @ 28 seems appropriate here as well, as the WH seems not to understand it: “we’re not dealing with Politics As Usual anymore.”

Who, in the administration or on the Hill, seems to understand this?

Ruth Calvo August 21st, 2010 at 2:59 pm
In response to watertiger @ 96

From the pace of its present meltdown, it seems that it will be gone before the election cycle as anything with any unity. Last I looked, everyone was seceding from everybody else’s bag.

tesseral August 21st, 2010 at 3:01 pm

The lead story on the NPR website this morning asked “Is Obama a Muslim?”. There really is no hope without some drastic change in the media landscape.

Riffin' Man August 21st, 2010 at 3:02 pm
In response to Ruth Calvo @ 100

Or is the Tea Party just a poorly organized first try to be followed by something more effective/terrifying?

nahant August 21st, 2010 at 3:02 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 89

Not completely but skimmed.. I agree they are only interested in “Cheap” labor.. All that unions worked and died for rights are in jeopardy.
There was once was a time that corporations cared for their workers and over my working career I have seen the “worker” become so much chattel with a net cost That had to be driven down…

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:02 pm
In response to Peterr @ 99

Alan Grayson understands it for sure and is not afraid to say it.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:03 pm
In response to tesseral @ 101

They really asked that?

Ruth Calvo August 21st, 2010 at 3:05 pm
In response to riffinman @ 102

As long as they continue to wear silly hats and run against demon Pelosi, I do not see anything to take seriously.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:05 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 105

Everybody’s vying for eyeballs and ad revenue, it seems.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:05 pm
In response to watertiger @ 96

I think they are here to stay as long as someone is able to make a buck out of them.

Peterr August 21st, 2010 at 3:06 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 104

Alan also gets painted as a wild-eyed flame-throwing rookie, and thus is listened to only slightly more than folks like you and Dave.

Any others, perhaps with more tenure in DC?

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 3:07 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 92

Start being populists ourselves. Outflank them. Energize our own troops. It has to be a ground-up thing, because top-down, as Obama has amply demonstrated, doesn’t work for progressives. It always gets outplayed by money/power interests.

Look, ultimately Obama has to be our vehicle for enacting change, so it would be stupid to separate ourselves from him. What we clearly have to do is force him to be progressive. And we won’t do that until we start getting out large numbers of people to support the progressive agenda. I think those people are there if we energize them.

How to energize? First, blunt the right-wing noise machine. Then pick up the cudgel of economic resentment and beat them about the head and neck with it. Because, by God, it was right-wing “small government” conservative governance that drove this country right into the economic ditch, and we should be mad about that. We’re only not because we have timid Democrats leading us who won’t make that case. So we need to make it for them — loudly, relentlessly.

AdamPDX August 21st, 2010 at 3:07 pm
In response to tesseral @ 101

Things keep going downhill this fast and Americans may be forced to deal with a corrupt hostile media the same way Corrie Aquino’s supporters did in the Philippines.

They walked in and took it. Then they broadcast their own damn news.

Phoenix Woman August 21st, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Similar psychoses manifested during Clinton’s term. Remember how defensive Rush got when anyone dared suggest he and his brethren and cistern may have helped egg on Timothy McVeigh and Company?

Phoenix Woman August 21st, 2010 at 3:09 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 110

“If it is to be, then it is up to me.”

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:10 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 112

And Beck is exponentially more destructive and defensive these days.

eCAHNomics August 21st, 2010 at 3:12 pm
In response to Adam503 @ 98

Yep.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:12 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 110

What would you suggest as the first step in blunting the noise machine?

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 3:13 pm
In response to watertiger @ 96

I think they’ll completely co-opt it, since that was the plan all along. The Tea Party movement was really just a way for the GOP to rebrand itself in order to become electorally viable again. And you know what? It seems to have worked. Problem is, the GOP is now largely a right-wing populist entity.

This is not a healthy development. The last mass right-wing populist movement in the United States — one that, like this, made huge inroads with established political parties — occurred in the 1920s. It was called the Ku Klux Klan.

I suspect the Tea Parties will stick around after 2010 to act as a kind of purity-testing Politburo for the new, populist GOP.

Peterr August 21st, 2010 at 3:13 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 110

Obama seems quite happy to disassociate himself from progressives (See Johnsen, Dawn, or Gibbs’ recent comments). That makes it quite difficult for him to be our vehicle of change.

In addition to beating the right about the head and neck, progressives need to be able to exert a little pressure on the WH as well.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:17 pm
In response to Peterr @ 118

We should demand to see his birth certificate. Maybe then he’ll respond. /snark

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:18 pm
In response to Peterr @ 109

Jack Conway, who is after Baby (Rand) Paul

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 3:19 pm
In response to watertiger @ 116

Give our book to your friends, of course. [grin]

Look, we really need to have some accountability in the media these days. We need to start shaming journalists into doing the job of policing their profession, because the rise of Fox demonstrates just how utterly they’ve failed in that task. I mean, here we have a propaganda network that misinforms and outright lies 24/7/365, it’s plain as the nose on our faces, and yet no one in the profession is willing to point this out.

It also wouldn’t hurt to start making some of these boycotts stick. These people are just so deeply irresponsible it’s well beyond anything remotely acceptable.

Kathryn in MA August 21st, 2010 at 3:19 pm
In response to watertiger @ 116

Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert are brilliant at blunting the craziness. We should be quoting them every time someone quotes Rush or Beck.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 3:20 pm
In response to Peterr @ 118

Completely agree. That’s part of forcing him to be a progressive.

dakine01 August 21st, 2010 at 3:20 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 120

Conway doesn’t have any DeeCee tenure though so will just be another junior senator even if he does beat Paul

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:21 pm
In response to Peterr @ 118

A failing of the left wing blogosphere was not to demand certain things from Obama before he was endorsed. Too many people were not paying attention to his voting record in the Senate. A few of us didn’t endorse him during the primary, but not enough cared. I think there were those that were fooled by that f’d up National Journal report that called Obama the most liberal member of the Senate.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Here’s a question for you guys.

How much violence will fill the country if Obama is reelected in 2012? Remember how depressed you were after Bush beat Kerry? Their depression could lead to more planes flying into government buildings. Just a thought.

tesseral August 21st, 2010 at 3:23 pm

In response to John Amato @ 105

Actually, the headline reads Obama’s personal faith leaves public wondering.. Nevertheless, they are feeding the fire. I agree with the Wasserman quote @ 66.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:23 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 122

And they are not journalists.

Peterr August 21st, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Dave and John, the 2008 election marked the passing from the scene of the old guard of the Evangelical rightwing leaders. Falwell had died, Dobson was in the midst of retiring, and folks like Rick Warren, Franklin Graham, and others have been jockeying for position as The Voice of the Christian Right.

The twin big religious slams at Obama were that he was (a) the wrong kind of Christian (that is, Jeremiah Wright was his pastor) and (b) a Muslim. Never mind that these are both mutually exclusive — do you see other places where the election helped drive the American religious right insane?

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:24 pm
In response to tesseral @ 127

Almost the same thing. It’s really, really sad.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:25 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 126

And how quickly will the usual suspects beat a retreat to avoid being blamed for fanning the flames?

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 3:25 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 125

Tho it must be said at the same time that when it came to a progressive agenda checklist, the best guy in the 2008 field was … John Edwards.

Aiiiieeee!!!!! There’s a hair-raising prospect now, eh?

I was OK with Obama but I never was deluded that he was much more than a centrist Democrat.

Mebbe we need a better field to choose from.

Riffin' Man August 21st, 2010 at 3:26 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 117

Yep, more effective and more terrifying. It’s only a matter of time, before they give up the silly hats for something more uniform and brandable (hmmm, perhaps a brown shirt).

Are our institutions strong enough to overcome the crazy? I’m not confident.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:27 pm
In response to Peterr @ 129

The Religious Right dominates the GOP now so I’d say every bill that passes drives them a little more insane even if it’s not generally considered part of a religious debate.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Ralph Reed is setting up shop now with his own tea party group coming to a website near you.

tanbark August 21st, 2010 at 3:29 pm

American right???

It’s turning out to be driving the american left insane.

nahant August 21st, 2010 at 3:29 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 126

Not a good one but valid.. These crazies are just that crazy ya know Armageddon and all.. They would welcome the violence and say it was in the name of Jesus…
“How many have died in the name of Jesus”???

tesseral August 21st, 2010 at 3:30 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 125

I really can’t believe that anyone on the left was fooled by the “most liberal senator” canard. I remembered that they had said the exact same thing about Kerry.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:30 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 121

Buy it in bulk. lol

Cellar47 August 21st, 2010 at 3:30 pm
In response to nahant @ 83

Alice Rosenbaum didn’t write science Fiction. She transcribed her hallucinations.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:31 pm
In response to tesseral @ 138

Yes they did, but it works on the general population. That’s why I tore it apart every chance I got.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:32 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 132

I agree wholeheartedly, but it’s hard to find candidates with enough spine . . . or money . . . to challenge the corporate interests. Grayson has his own fortune, so he can afford to be a flamethrower.

President Bloomberg? (NYC resident who shudders at the thought)

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:33 pm
In response to watertiger @ 131

Bill O’Reilly’s role in Dr. Tiller’s murder is well documented in our book and he tap danced around it all the way.

They will raise the bloody shirt.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:34 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 139

Hey, I’m buying a few for my family. Not that they need any convincing. ;-)

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:34 pm
In response to nahant @ 137

And they justify their actions accordingly.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Hi Dave! Hi John! Hi WT, great intro.

What can we do to get this book into the hands of the mainstream media? All fun aside, they seem unwilling to recognize that there’s an illness abroad in the land, and you’ve pinpointed its source.

Thanks for a great read.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:35 pm
In response to tanbark @ 136

It gets me mad that people of religion are so easily fooled by their leaders.

Cellar47 August 21st, 2010 at 3:36 pm

O’Reilly’s role in aiding and abetting Dr. Tiller’s murder should be brought up at every available opportunity. “Bill O’Reilley, who believes in murdering those who disagree with him,” would be a good way to do it.

Peterr August 21st, 2010 at 3:36 pm
In response to watertiger @ 144

Some in my family would love it, but at least one would burn it.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:36 pm

You can send copies to your local media or ask them to review it.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:36 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 147

My solution to this whole not-at-Ground-Zero, NIMBY, not-a-mosque would be to ban all houses of worship, everywhere in America. I mean, someone’s gonna get offended wherever you want to put one, right?

Cellar47 August 21st, 2010 at 3:36 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 147

Well in my book religion is all about being fooled to begin with.

Cellar47 August 21st, 2010 at 3:37 pm

An excellent idea, Teddy!

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:38 pm
In response to riffinman @ 133

And as the bad economy hurts our families, it’s also putting more MSM type news services out of business which opens the door for more phony news services to fill the void.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:39 pm
In response to Cellar47 @ 152

Wasn’t Jesus all about helping the poor? Apparently now he’s only interested in the free markets.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:40 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 155

That’s buff, not-gay Republican Jesus you’re thinking of.

Cellar47 August 21st, 2010 at 3:40 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 155

One of my favorite T-shirts reads “Jesus Protect Me From Your Followers”

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 3:41 pm
In response to Peterr @ 129

Well, this kind of gets back to my earlier remarks about authoritarianism, since the religious right is definitely an expression of that: Authoritarians fundamentally believe that we ordinary people need to obey figures of authority as the essence of social order, that the external restraining power of authority is necessary to keep men’s evil nature in check. Bowing to authority is their great ordering principle. This was why they questioned Bush critics’ patriotism — and why the election of unacceptable authority figure like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama creates so much cognitive dissonance for them. It makes them almost literally nuts.

So they of course embark on these great campaigns of delegitimization (Clinton was avaricious and amoral and probably criminal; Obama is a radical Marxist/socialist/fascist who is secretly a Muslim) which are aimed not just the personal figures themselves but at progressives generally (this is why paying attention to the Glenn Becks out there can actually be pretty important).

It’s also why they make a big fetish out of the Constitution — which becomes their substitute Authority Figure that they can place above the President whose authority they not only dispute but resolutely reject. This is why the Founding Fathers stuff and the Revolutionary War motif is so essential to the Tea Parties. Their real president is John Adams, not Barack Obama.

So far, most of this has been very secular in nature. There have been only hints of religious issues in the right’s new populism, though the Bart Stupak dustup at the end of the HCR drama certainly made clear that it’s a powerful undercurrent.

And I know Ralph Reed is out there putting together his “Faith and Freedom Coalition,” which is all about wedding the religious right with the Tea Parties. So look for many more explicitly religious issues to start arising in a Tea Party context.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:41 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 135

People around here are no doubt tiring of me saying it with regard to just about everyone, but — seriously! — why isn’t Ralph Reed in prison?

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:42 pm

He knows the right kind of people/

ratfood August 21st, 2010 at 3:43 pm
In response to Cellar47 @ 152

Right, each false premise becomes easier to swallow than the last. Eventually people conclude that reality is entirely subjective and cherry-pick the beliefs which appear to validate their prejudices.

bgrothus August 21st, 2010 at 3:44 pm

The electoral benefit I saw from the Obama campaign was that (for whatever reason) young people really were into it. I was not excited by Obama so much as hopeful that he would bring a new group of voters, in significant numbers, to the polls.

There is a movement to try to bring those voters back. They must (according to Kennedy School of Government at Harvard) vote three times to become regular voters. Sadly, many of them are very turned off to voting again.

This is a similar situation that I saw after the 2004 debacle. Move On had organized so many new people to knock on doors, then after being defeated, they all gave up. I was at a couple of meetings with them after the election, and they had no interest in local politics, change at the local level. They were defeated once, that was enough.

I see a similar disconnect with young voters. That is something we should come to understand and figure out what to do. I am not a believe in the third party idea, though I too am feeling discouraged, and I have been doing this a very long time.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:44 pm
In response to Cellar47 @ 157

Amen!

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:44 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 158

Speaking of authoritarian culture, I recommend Peterr’s write-up on this story about soldiers being punished for not attending a Christian rock concert at Fort Eustis.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:44 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 158

Reed’s always been a bridge between the true believers, the corporatists, and the con-men. I’ve wondered where he’s been in all this; his connections to Dick Army through Abramoff are pretty clear. Do you think they waited to roll Reed out until the recent announcement about DeLay’s not being federally indicted?

Cellar47 August 21st, 2010 at 3:46 pm
JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:47 pm
In response to bgrothus @ 162

There are young groups working towards that end. I was talking to a young organizer who said that many younger people still like Obama, but that their demo are more passive in their expressions of political outrage. Maybe it’s the invention of the computer. They don’t respond like us DFH’s did back in the day.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:48 pm
In response to bgrothus @ 162

There’s nothing like breaking a promise to turn off a young person newly intrigued by their role in the body politic. And, on LGBT issues alone (where all the young people I know are like, man, WTF?) Obama looks like just another politician. If the young voter has any inclination to dig beyond the OFA emails and cheerleading, it’s hard to find a promise kept from the 2008 campaign.

I worry a lot when I think about young people like Hillary Clinton, who was a Goldwater Girl, and where they ended up in our political discourse. I think there’s a boomerang effect that the GOP could benefit from, if they could step out of right-wing Crazyville for even a moment.

bgrothus August 21st, 2010 at 3:48 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 167

They also are not facing the draft.

Peterr August 21st, 2010 at 3:49 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 158

The fetish with the Constitution from the Religious Right is a malleable thing.

I posted here at FDL this morning about compulsory attendance at a Christian rock concert (including the obligatory evangelical preaching that is a central part of such events) by members of the US Army. Those who chose not to attend were punished for their choice.

Similarly, you can’t wave the habeas corpus protections under the constitution simply by pointing your finger at someone and shouting “terrorist!” (Or at least, that’s the way it ought to be.)

Riffin' Man August 21st, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Our belief that we could never become another Chile, Guatemala, etc… is just another example of American Exceptionalism.

John, David thank you for “documenting the atrocities.”

Peterr August 21st, 2010 at 3:49 pm
In response to watertiger @ 164

Thanks, wt!

AdamPDX August 21st, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Along with a little public education on the many historic crucified gods that rose from the dead from that region of the world that were born near the Winter Solstice.

It’s wasn’t “The Son of God” that was born on X-Mas and rose again. It was “The Sun.”

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I heard that the ‘Casino Jack’ movie killed Reed’s ambition to run for office again since he was destroyed in it. Also, they don’t need Reed as much anymore to convince religious voters to join their causes it would seem.

Cellar47 August 21st, 2010 at 3:50 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 167

I find responding to Obama really hard to do.

The problem wiht the current situation is that it’s impossible to raise rational critcism in the midst of irrational hysteria — like that promulgated by Billy Graham’s spawn.

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:51 pm
In response to Peterr @ 172

As the kids today, with their hair and their music, like to say: GMTA!

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:52 pm

The right never tosses away their wingnuts. They always fund them. That’s something the left never does.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:53 pm
In response to riffinman @ 171

You’re welcome. We wanted to document a piece of history that we thought was important.

BevW August 21st, 2010 at 3:54 pm

As we come to the end of this lively Book Salon,

David, John, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and The Right.

Watertiger, Thank you very much for Hosting this great salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:
The Book
David’s website
John’s website

Thanks all,
Have great weekend.

Cellar47 August 21st, 2010 at 3:54 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 177

The left is like the scientist in the original version of The Thing — trying to “reason” with the giant killer vegetable that wants to drink his blood.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Does your book cover the funding of the right?

How much of all of this rightwing hysteria is provided to America courtesy of Murdoch, that Saudi, and the Koch brothers?

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:56 pm
In response to Cellar47 @ 175

It certainly doesn’t help when the White House keeps stepping in it. There was no reason for the President of the United States (or anyone else, for that matter) to weigh in on a local zoning issue.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:56 pm
In response to Peterr @ 170

Great piece and again, it’s soooo sad. The military has been overrun by religion unfortunately for a long time now, but all we need to see is how they treated Pat Tillman.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I wish I ‘d been here sooner; I’m told though that I need to enjoy the sunny afternoons when they are here, in my new home town. People, do buy this book, though, it explains so much about how we got here.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:57 pm
In response to watertiger @ 182

Or a local Cambridge police matter, for another example.

JohnAmato August 21st, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Thanks BevW and everybody here at FDL. Please give Watertiger a standing ovation!

watertiger August 21st, 2010 at 3:59 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 186

Au contraire, John! Hats off to both of you for this great investigation of the Right.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 3:59 pm
In response to watertiger @ 182

Or anything promoted by Andrew Breitbart, for another.

Recall, though, how smart the WH thought they were in their handling of Sherrod. They are terrified of the right-wing noise machine in ways only veterans of the Clinton WH can relate to (most of them are, so there’s that). But there’s no acknowledgment that having any new media on their side would make a difference for Obama, so they are happy to piss us off, or piss on us if we’re missing the point.

Teddy Partridge August 21st, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Great chat, thanks to all.

David Neiwert August 21st, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Hey, thanks so much to everyone for participating. And a Big Hug to WT. Thanks, all.

nahant August 21st, 2010 at 4:05 pm

David, John, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and keep on keeping it up.. We need your voices.

Kathryn in MA August 21st, 2010 at 4:17 pm
In response to JohnAmato @ 128

They are not corporate owned. Oh, same thing.

Dearie August 21st, 2010 at 4:30 pm

The party’s over, I know, but I can’t resist putting in my 2 cents. I’ve read enough of ‘what is going/went wrong’ and I’m all about ‘how do we take control of this mess?’ I.e., How do we help Obama grow a spine? How do we stop the rightward drift by people we actually supported financially and through our votes? When is THAT book coming out?

tanbark August 21st, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Here’s an assessment of our good, progressive, preznint’s ongoing “ass-kicking” of BP:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/21/gulf-oil-spill-bound-bp-f_n_690060.html

I wouldn’t say it drives me insane, but it sure-god pisses me off.

TomR August 21st, 2010 at 7:06 pm
In response to David Neiwert @ 158

(this is why paying attention to the Glenn Becks out there can actually be pretty important)…It’s also why they make a big fetish out of the Constitution — which becomes their substitute Authority Figure that they can place above the President whose authority they not only dispute but resolutely reject. This is why the Founding Fathers stuff and the Revolutionary War motif is so essential to the Tea Parties. Their real president is John Adams, not Barack Obama.

Fortunately for us, the Founding Fathers believed as we progressives do.

From The Glenn Beck Program on May 28th:

“Once you get into the common good, it’s over. And this is the perversion that every minister, pastor, priest, bishop –every single person in America, every rabbi should be at the pulpit saying the same thing — get away from anyone who talks about the common good. Because the common good — if you put that first, and you reject individual — you are headed for the death camps.”
http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201005280022

The Founding Fathers, including John Adams, felt very strongly about protecting the COMMON GOOD.

Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father and 1st Secretary of the Treasury, Citing David Hume, February 5, 1775:

“‘Political writers,’ says a celebrated author, ‘have established it as a maxim, that, in contriving any system of government, and fixing the several checks and controls of the constitution, every man ought to be supposed a knave, and to have no other end, in all his actions, but private interest. By this interest we must govern him, and by means of it make him co-operate to PUBLIC GOOD, notwithstanding his insatiable avarice and ambition. Without this we shall in vain boast of the advantages of any constitution, and shall find, in the end, that we have no security for our liberties, and possessions except the good-will of our rulers—that is, we should have no security at all.’”

John Adams, Founding Father and 2nd President, Thoughts on Government, 1776:

“VII. Government is instituted for the COMMON GOOD; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”

James Madison, Founding Father and 4th President, Federalist Papers, No. 57, February 19, 1788:

“The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the COMMON GOOD of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust. The elective mode of obtaining rulers is the characteristic policy of republican government. The means relied on in this form of government for preventing their degeneracy are numerous and various. The most effectual one, is such a limitation of the term of appointments as will maintain a proper responsibility to the people.”

George Washington, Founding Father and 1st President, Issued Proclamation, October 3, 1789:

“The second concern for the Founders in drafting the First Amendment was that all citizens should be free to practice their religion freely, without interference from government, so long as that practice does not violate the rights of others or threaten the COMMON GOOD.”

Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and 3rd President, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801:

“During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the COMMON GOOD.”

newtonusr August 21st, 2010 at 7:23 pm
In response to TomR @ 196

This is pretty much a diary all it’s own.
Nicely done.

b2020 August 22nd, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Can we now talk about how his election drove Bygones Habeas Obama insane?

Sorry but the comments are closed on this post