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 Post subject: The GOP's Wingnuts
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:50 pm 
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Paul Waldman: 'The GOP's wingnuts'
Friday, February 25 @ 10:37:41 EST
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By Paul Waldman, Progressive Trail

Had you happened by the Conservative Political Action Conference taking place at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington this past weekend, you would have been able to hobnob with representatives of the entire spectrum of conservative American thought, from the right to the far right to the really far right. And you would have seen the leading lights of the Republican establishment rubbing shoulders with the most radical reactionaries in America. There was the vice president of the United States—and Ann Coulter, who regularly calls for the murder of those with whom she disagrees. There was Karl Rove—and Gary Aldrich, the former FBI agent and author who claimed Hillary Clinton hung crack pipes from the White House Christmas tree. There was Republican Party chair Ken Mehlman—and right-wing dirty trickster David Bossie. There were nine U.S. senators—and the authors of a passel of anti-Clinton hit books. And those were just the official speakers.

Yet you won't hear anyone asking prominent Republicans to "distance themselves" from the wingnuts in their midst. Reporters and pundits won't be fishing out controversial statements from CPAC conference speakers and asking elected Republicans to repudiate them. Conservative writers won't be penning magazine pieces advising the RNC to hold the center by purging activists whose views are "outside the mainstream."



But the story is far different on the left, where the circular firing squad is a regularly scheduled event. This is not to say that conservatives don't sometimes go after their own, but the critical difference is this: The right purges its moderates, while the left purges its liberals.

Part of this can be explained by the fact that at the moment, Republicans are in power and Democrats are retooling. And every now and again, a lone voice like that of Christine Todd Whitman will bleat from the wilderness that the GOP shouldn't get too in thrall to its radical religious wing. But Whitman's argument and her book were completely ignored by conservatives. It's My Party, Too now stands at a tepid #859 in the Amazon rankings.

Contrast that with the reception given to a recent article in The New Republic by editor Peter Beinart, in which he instructed Democrats that they needed "a sustained battle to wrest the Democratic Party from the heirs of Henry Wallace"—most particularly Michael Moore and the leadership of Moveon.org. Beinart's piece became the topic of extended debate and discussion on the left, after which he was given a mid-six figure advance by Harper Collins to turn the article into a book.

It would seem that membership in the left—who gets to be a part, whose part is important, and who needs to have their membership card revoked—is a matter of debate in the way it isn't for the right. Of course, the right has its internecine battles too, but not only do they take place mostly out of the public eye, they're about whose issues will dominate the agenda—not who gets to come to the party.

Liberals face two key problems: first, they have allowed the right to define them, and second, they have put virtually no effort into defining the right.

Turn on conservative talk radio or conservative cable news and you hear an endless dissertation on the evils of the left, much of which is focused on the idea that liberals are the "elite." Limbaugh, Hannity and their compatriots scour the countryside looking for a college professor or Hollywood actor who said something stupid or unpatriotic, so this heretofore obscure nobody can then be held up for ridicule and contempt. Consider the story of Ward Churchill, an academic of little discernible accomplishment or influence, whose potential speech (on what topic no one seems to know or care) at a small college in upstate New York has led to a deluge of feigned outrage. The Lexis/Nexis database contains more than 800 references to Churchill in American news outlets since this story began on Jan. 28—and that doesn't even include talk radio. In the last month, every single episode of The O'Reilly Factor save one has featured some discussion of Churchill (no telling why Bill dropped the ball on Feb. 10).

The message of this relentless campaign couldn't be clearer: liberals are radical elitists who hate your values, think you're stupid and want to run your life. And the response from at least some liberals is, "Oh yes, please forgive us. We'll get started on that purge right away."

Of course, there's a difference between Ward Churchill and Michael Moore—some people actually listen to Moore. But there's also a difference between disagreeing with someone and starting your own campaign against them. Imagine if liberals spent as much time working to publicize the radicals on the right as they do wondering which mouth on their own side they'd like to stuff a sock in.

There's no better time than the present for Democrats to think seriously about who they are and how they'd like Americans to think about them. But if they go about recasting their image without also working to shape the image of conservatism at the same time, they'll only be fighting half the battle. The fact that Republicans don't worry about how radical their fringe is means that there's plenty of ammunition just sitting there. Show Americans the orgy of hate-mongering and creeping fascism that is today's radical right and they'll recoil in disgust. Force Republicans to embrace or repudiate their radical supporters and they'll be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Then we'll be getting somewhere.

Paul Waldman is editor in chief of the Gadflyer.

© copyright 2005 www.ProgressiveTrail.Org

Reprinted from The Progressive Trail:
http://www.progressivetrail.org/article ... dman.shtml

Catherine

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 3:40 am 
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But it doesn't stop there. Those on the left are so polite to the right they have to keep emphasizing that Joe Blow is 'my good friend, for whom I have great respect'!

Well, I don't have respect for any of them. When your aim is to make people miserable, the more people you can destroy the happier you get, they deserve no respect. This party of regressive radicals is out to destroy our country and have those few monied people, their friends, own everything while everyone else withers in the dust.

There is an evilness in the regressive radicals that smothers any and everything that is good and decent. It is about time the left started saying so.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 4:04 am 
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I agree, dori. That's one of the problems with the Democrats and/or anyone who disagrees with those in power...they're too nice. It's as though they ask permission to be upset or angry! And the news media are falling right into the same line. Remember how Sam Donaldson used to give Ronald Reagan such a hard time at news conferences? Bush has yet to have a hard time at a news conference...at least not since the April, 2004 conference when he couldn't think of a single mistake he'd made as president. :roll: Now, he gets away with a planted male prostitute/news reporter wannabe just to ask him soft questions. Where's the outrage?

We've got to stop turning our butt cheeks for the endless whacking of the Republican elephants' trunks.

Polite society ways have no place in the political arena of today...not if we're going to have any kind of a chance of defeating the Neocons.

Catherine

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"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
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"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 4:24 am 
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I asked a couple of people today, people who normally keep up with the news, if they knew of Gannon's history. They did NOT.

Why is this information not getting to the people.

The Catholic church put an insert into their bulletin the Sunday before election day with a 'guide for Catholic voters'. It had the five non-negotiable issues listed and in detail said Bush backed their view, Kerry did not. I got this from a member of that church--a member who was outraged at her church stepping into the political arena.

Will that church put an insert into their bulletin about Gannon and his ties to the WH? You can bet they won't! They love the money they are getting from the government.

You cannot serve god and mammon.

Guess which of these that and many other churches choose.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 3:28 pm 
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On "Being nice":

Did you see the Senate Confirmation Hearings on Condie Rice and Chertoff and Gonzales? Except for a few, all the other Demos were being nice. Some (like Barbie Boxer) took Condie to the mat (as well she should have). John Kerry did not play nice with Condie. Those others (especially Joe Biden), had unkind words but then voted the Bush Nominees in. WHAT A JOKE! He looked like a fool sitting up there playing to the cameras like he was soooooo angry!

I don't care what the Repubs say, George W DOES NOT deserve to have all his nominees confirmed especially when they lie and have possibly approved toture methods. I know the Demos are not in the majority but they can put up some kind of procedural fight. They refuse. Maybe they feel it is best to let the Repubs have their way and just "F" everything up so bad, the Demos will be voted in in 2006 and 2008 because even the Repubs will be so pissed. Thank goodness for John Kerry and Babs Boxer. I hope these two don't do anything to make me take this back.

They ought to play that Simon & Garfunkel song when she enters the room as her themesong! "In the clearing stands The Boxer. . . . .! "

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 4:38 pm 
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Good points, Matt...did you see the video link I posted in the Audio/Video forum entitled Bill Maher on Gannon?

Biden is one of the guests on the show...take a look at his timid shrug when he says the chairperson of the Senate judiciary committee has to call for an investigation of Gannon...and probably won't.

No balls...at all.

Catherine

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"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac

"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


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