The rhetoric that comes out of these conservative gatherings is alarming. At the Tea Party we had immigrant-bashing, gay-bashing, conspiracy theories, birthers, and a lot of anti-Obama anger framed in apocalyptic terms. CPAC follows the same script, it’s just different scenery. Here’s Darrell Issa, doing his best to fan the fear:
“I intend to use every resource of my office to make sure that this Administration does not escape serious, thorough, and consistent oversight of its policies, its use of taxpayer money, and its aggressive determination to impose a foreign ideological vision on the people of the United States," he says in his prepared remarks.
What “foreign ideological vision” would that be? We don’t know, because the reporter never asked, or if he did, he didn’t get an answer.
Now here’s Jim DeMint framing the national situation as
"a battle between the American people and Democrats.”
A “battle.” Huh.
What I heard on TV was DeMint call the Democrats to task for their “unprecedented power grab.”
What? You mean the election? The one your side lost?
This is nothing new. The conservative language is one of fear, one that incites action, and it’s well thought out. Here’s Jim DeMint from last year’s CPAC conference:
Earlier this week, we heard the world’s best salesman of socialism address the nation.
Obama had been president all of five weeks.
Let that sink in for a minute. It certainly set the stage for the next eight months’ worth of “Obama is a Socialist” rhetoric.
How do they get away with this constant drum-beat of anti-Democratic Party, anti-liberal, anti-Obama bile at conservative gatherings? Back in 2004 I remember liberals being criticized--constantly--for being “too angry.”
How come no one outside of a few liberal bloggers and the occasional journalist points out this hypocrisy? How come no one ever calls these folks on their angry rhetoric?
How come no political leader--the head of the DNC, perhaps--ever steps up to say, “what are you people smoking? Socialism? You cannot be serious!”
You know, if no one on the national stage ever challenges this right wing lie factory, then the point has been ceded. You’re letting them get away with the lies. You have allowed them frame you.
Maybe it’s not the media’s job to call the CPAC/Tea Party crowd to account for their rhetoric (at least, not 100% of the time). But someone needs to. Liberals need to stop being so damn polite and worried about "decency" all the time and start realizing that it’s a damn war to the other side, so time to start acting like it’s a war on your side.
Are you afraid Rush Limbaugh will have a sad? Will Glenn Beck have an even bigger sad? Limbaugh said today that
Joe Stack "sounds just like any liberal Democrat," writings "almost word for word" like Obama, Pelosi, Reid
That's a pretty outrageous claim. Has no one stepped up and said, no, it's not true? Not close to true?
Glenn Beck poured “gasoline” and lit a match to demonstrate his take on what Obama was doing to “the average American.” This wasn't challenged because, I guess, of some lame idea that to address it was to validate it. But people, it's been validated already. It's out there.
This constantly-unchallenged over the top rhetoric is dangerous. It fans the flames of populist anger. We're dealing with a low-information populace, and if no one ever challenges the idea that “Obama is a socialist” then the talking point is left out there to fester. Ultimately it creates right wing nutballs who burn their McMansions down before flying a private plane into the IRS building.
It results in people like Warren "Gator" Taylor who took hostages at a Virginia post office.
It encourages the Timothy McVeighs and James Von Brunns and Scott Roeders and Eric Rudolphs. You can’t scream “Obama is destroying the country, Democrats are evil baby killers, everything wrong with the country is the fault of liberals” 24-7 and not expect something to happen.
So what I want to know is: who is going to counter this hate speech? Who is going to step up on the national stage and say enough already?
Why haven’t we done it yet?