Thursday, March 25, 2010

Johnny Come Lately and the Right’s Twisted Vision of America and Hatred for President Obama

Finally, four days after repeated instances of violence and vandalism erupted against the home of one lawmaker’s brother and regional offices of House Democratic members who voted for healthcare reform, after phoned, mailed, shouted, faxed, signage death threats were made against individual House Democrats, after angry protesters hurled vitriol and racist invective against legends of the civil rights struggles John Lewis and James Clyburn, after homophobic epithets were screamed at Barney Frank and xenophobic language shouted at a Latino House Democrat, after an African American House member was spat on by a rabid Teabagger egged on by sign-waving Republicans outside, after Texas Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer yelled “baby killer!” from the House floor at Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, who then received multiple death threats –- and after House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Democratic Whip James Clyburn emerged from their Caucus meeting with Congressional security to denounce the incidents of violence, the climate of incivility, and report on the widespread threats –-

Only then did . . .

House Republican Leader John Boehner, with Eric Cantor, see fit to condemn the violence:
“I know many Americans are angry over this health care bill, and that Washington Democrats just aren't listening. But, as I've said, violence and threats are unacceptable. That's not the American way. We need to take that anger and channel it into positive change. Call your Congressman, go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, make your voice heard -- but let's do it the right way.”
Democrats are not satisfied with the late Republican condemnation of violence, including a severed gas line in the home of Virginia Congressman Tom Perriello’s brother, who has four children. His address was posted online by the Teabaggers. The FBI is investigating. This is the result of a widespread campaign of lies, smears, and misinformation by a recklessly irresponsible (yes, it is an oxymoron) wingnut right:
  • 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist. The belief that Obama is a “domestic enemy” is widely held—a sign of trouble yet to come.
  • 57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim;
  • 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president;”
  • 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did;”
  • 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.”
There is a name for this -- the “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” defined as the “pathological hatred of the President posing as patriotism has infected the Republican Party” from the violent fringes of its Teabagger storm troops. This hatred has now expanded to encompass all of the Democratic Party. This is a short list of those who bear direct responsibility for the incidents of violence, vandalism, and now as Rep. Bart Stupak affirmed, “domestic terrorism:”
  • Teabaggers (rebels without a clue, many packing heat);
  • Republicans who incited this violence with lies and misinformation, and never condemned the racism, the Hitler signs, the gun signs, the Nazi concentration camp signs right in front of their faces;
  • Dick Armey, leader of the astro-turf FreedomWorks Teabaggers;
  • Michelle Bachmann, who called for an investigation of “un-American” Democratic members of Congress;
  • Sarah Palin with her “death panels” lie, crosshair icons to “target” Democratic legislators, and incendiary language “LOAD UP;”
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry talking up “tyranny” and secessionism;
  • Birthers and their campaign to delegitimize President Obama;
  • Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Fox “News,” Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, right wing hate radio, Bill O’Reilly, Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Gretchen Carlson -- the entire wingnut anti-Obama propaganda machine;
  • Joe Wilson, for calling the President a liar, breaking a longstanding tradition of civility in the well of the House, and then raising money off of it;
  • Frank Luntz, a modern Joseph Goebbells, the GOP propaganda minister;
  • RNC and Michael Steel for turning a blind eye to its worst excesses; and on and on and on.
As one Ohio Democratic Congressman who was targeted by the Republicans’ storm troopers said of a careless remark by John Boehner after confronting him: “Words and actions have consequences.” Indeed they do. You cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater. Ever.

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