Pissing Off Liberals

Mike Huckabee’s statement about Obama’s Kenyan upbringing is another example of a right-wing shibboleth, or tribal affirmation. John Quiggin at Crooked Timber has an excellent piece on how the absurdity of shibboleths serves reinforce tribal membership. Building on that essay, David Roberts at Grist examines the tough time media has dealing with this kind of tribalism:

There’s one thing we haven’t learned from climategate (or death panels or birtherism). U.S. politics now contains a large, well-funded, tightly networked, and highly amplified tribe that defines itself through rejection of “lamestream” truth claims and standards of evidence. How should our political culture relate to that tribe?

We haven’t figured it out. Politicians and the political press have tried to accommodate the shibboleths of the right as legitimate positions for debate. The press in particular has practically sworn off plain judgments of accuracy or fact. But all that’s done is confuse and mislead the broader public, while the tribe pushes ever further into extremity. The tribe does not want to be accommodated. It is fueled by elite rejection. [emphasis mine]

I haven’t read a more cogent explanation of why pissing off liberals is a key part of the right wing playbook. Since wingers are parties to a hidden truth, it’s critical that their most widely-held beliefs be forcefully rejected by their opponents, otherwise the “truth” would no longer be accessible only to in-group members. When a liberal is mad about climate denial, Obama’s Kenyan roots or the HCR bunkum, it just reinforces their out-group status. Couple that with stenographic media constantly on the hunt for both sides to a story, and we have our current political disaster.

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74 replies
  1. 1
    Poopyman says:

    Ooooh! I like this. The problem remains what to do about it, however. As we’ve seen, trying to educate or engage these people with facts just drives them further into their position.

    Until they decide to grow up, I don’t see a way past it, even if the MSM openly laughed at them.

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Haven’t read the links yet — I will — but the title and premise of “Pissing Liberals Off” reminds me that I was hoping yesterday to see some discussion of the GOP House decision to “un-green” the Capitol. NancySMASH had initiated things like energy-efficient light bulbs and vending machines, and recyclable biodegradable food containers in the House cafeteria. Repugs have apparently decided to return to Styrofoam cups. Haven’t heard yet whether they’re going back to incandescent bulbs, but we know how they feel about those curly sociaIist light bulbs.

    I can’t think of any reason other than Pissing Off Democrats for going back to Styrofoam coffee cups. But I expect, if asked, they’re going to make a business case for the change.

    Is there a big difference in price? Upfront, maybe a slight difference at the consumer level, but presumably the House of Representatives would enjoy some economies of scale. But the long-term cost differential is, of course, much bigger (given that Styrofoam doesn’t degrade and emits toxic fumes if you burn it).

    Any envronmental economists out there who have some snappy counter-arguments to the Styrofoam-doesn’t-cost-as-much-as-recyclable-biodegradable-cups ? Or do we indeed simply chalk this up as another attempt to POD and go about our business?

  3. 3
    September says:

    This piece by Frank Schaeffer explains it better, especially when combined with a reading of Nixonland.

  4. 4
    WereBear says:

    Once upon a time, your basic tinfoil hat loony was given an apartment over the garage and everyone pretended not to notice them. Now that they have their own political party, a la Blackadder, AND our “authorities” pretend they are perfectly sane, I think we should join the Mad Hatter and tell riddles, because honestly, it’s living in a Vonnegut novel at this point.

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    I’m repeating myself here, but we’re in classic cognitive dissonance territory. Group cohesion beats reality, and it’s not a close fight.

  6. 6
    someguy says:

    Maybe conservatives like pissing off liberals because they hate us. Consider the possibility it isn’t political doctrine but personal preference.

  7. 7
    Punchy says:

    This “do whatever liberals hate” is taking on some ridiculous, absurd extremes in Missouri, where they are trying to reverse a voter initiative to regulate dog breeders, thus allowing any and all dog abuse, while ALSO completely eliminating almost all restrictions on child labor.

    It’s like they want to go back in time, but somehow decided to skip the 1950’s and instead head directly for the 1850s.

  8. 8
    stuckinred says:

    @someguy: and versa visa

  9. 9
    piratedan says:

    “I’m in with the Out crowd, I go where the Out crowd goes”…

    who knew that these guys were the anti-hipsters?

  10. 10
    LGRooney says:

    Education? What will the response be if they’re kids are embarrassed by them a/o laugh at them?

    No, it is up to the press. They must be held liable for their job as presenting the news and discerning & exposing the truth from the lies, the science from the mythologies, the economists from the politicians, the myth-makers from the grounded, etc.

    The problem is rooted in the hipster quality associated with being a rebel in this country. Those rebels used to present new ways of thinking about things, new theories, new dress codes, new products, but not new facts. The simpletons took their jealousies of hipsterdom and turned them into a crusade screaming for attention, “Look at me!” They didn’t understand the complexities in thinking or doing things differently and just thought that whatever notion popped into their head demanded attention because, damn it, it wasn’t conventional. It also wasn’t rooted in any creative or pragmatic thought processes.

    The entrenchment occurred when someone realized they could make a buck off the loons and gave them their own political movement, their own newspapers, television networks, radio shows, publishers, and think tanks. Of course, since they are simpletons, they were easily rolled into doing the bidding of those out to destroy them politically and economically, but they can’t let go of their beliefs that they must be right because they can see the validation all around them.

  11. 11
    BH says:

    I have an idea. All people who deny climate change should be called, at every opportunity, “climate change denial idiots.” All those who deny evolution should be called “evolution denial idiots.” You get the idea. These people are deeply stupid, and they take pride in their stupidity. Call them what they are, and maybe, just maybe, someone will notice.

    Anderson Cooper is trying it with the word “lying,” and it may just catch on.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Punchy:

    Actually, I think they’re aiming more for the 1250’s, myself. Just to be sure to avoid the Renaissance, you know, by at least a century.

  13. 13
    PurpleGirl says:

    Canada continues to be the saner country: Canadian regulators announced last week they would reject efforts by Canada’s right-wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.

    http://readersupportednews.org.....-of-canada

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com.....e-news/art

    This effectively keeps Murdoch and Fox News from setting up shop in Canada.

    (via Susie at Urban Guerilla)

  14. 14
    ornery curmudgeon says:

    Bleh. The mainstream media isgetting by with it again, being called ‘stenographers’ and ‘being on the hunt for both’ sides (there are only two, remember!). This is whistling past the graveyard anymore. Lots of bodies in there now.

    The media is owned by corporations, and other corporations own shares of each other. Mass communication is a very useful tool for covering up truth, distracting from it, distorting it, or simply making up untruths convenient to their owners. When overt enough and motivated by the desire for power, it is called propaganda, and the best of it is subtle and difficult to call out.

    This is not a thing to overlook, it is not a natural thing, and it has appeared only lately in our mass-communication society. See the 1920’s for the intro. America does NOT have a free press, and if we are going to try to conduct a society without a free press at least we need to acknowledge it.

    Otherwise you will sound like mrmix et all, somehow remaining perpetually clueless while circling within striking distance of reality, managing to routinely offer decent analysis that sums up to nothing at all in terms of effectiveness or solutions.

    Time to see what’s going on and face it. Seeing that the original purpose of blogs was to correct the corrupt media, it is almost impressive how far we’ve not come.

  15. 15
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    You all are over thinking this. These people are just frightened little children. The only way they can be the hero of their life story is to become the oppressed victim. Therefore whatever liberals do must be oppressing them. “Help help, I’m being repressed!”

  16. 16
    WereBear says:

    @PurpleGirl: Chee, I wish we had such a law!

  17. 17
    Poopyman says:

    @piratedan:

    who knew that these guys were the anti-hipsters?

    Yeah. Who knew?

  18. 18
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @ornery curmudgeon:

    America does NOT have a free press, and if we are going to try to conduct a society without a free press at least we need to acknowledge it

    No, America has a free press. In fact you allude to it in your last paragraph.

    Blogs are today’s free press. Just like the small presses of a MUCH earlier time, some small presses are honest, reliable, informative, and so forth. Others are sensationalist, untrustworthy, well, you get the picture. A LOT of small presses way back when were biased presses — presses who supported or opposed parties or cliques or businesses.

  19. 19
    Scott says:

    Only thing I don’t understand is how the sane portion of society is supposed to fight back against this.

  20. 20
    Steve says:

    @WereBear: Imagine how such a law might have been interpreted and enforced under the Bush Administration.

  21. 21
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I tend to think that the only answer in these situations is that they have to be crushed to an unconditional surrender the way the Japanese and Germans were. I also think that is what they want to do to us. And until Democrats figure out that utterly crushing them at the polls is the only way we’re going to have a chance to beat them – even though the country is rigged against liberals winning – then they won’t change.

  22. 22
    Ash Can says:

    This helps me understand the dynamics behind that UMich study of how contrary facts reinforce, rather than correct, some people’s erroneous beliefs. Pointy-headed intellectuals/lamestream media/depraved liebruls telling me I’m wrong? Well, all righty then.

    Roberts is right. It’s about time the media started treating these nuts as the wacked-out cultists they are, and started looking elsewhere for serious debate on the issues of the day.

  23. 23
    cleek says:

    the press, both corporate and bloggish, is run by people. and people are biased, fallible, and corruptible. so, there is absolutely no reason to expect any kind of objectivity from either. it’s up to readers to determine who can be trusted on which topics and who can’t.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ash Can:

    It’s about time the media started treating these nuts as the wacked-out cultists they are, and started looking elsewhere for serious debate on the issues of the day.

    That’s NOT the job of the media.

    The job of the media is to generate profit, not to inform anyone. You broadcast what attracts eyeballs, which results in ratings, which drives advertising rates, which in turn generates revenue, and therefore profit.

    That’s what it is all about.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ash Can:

    It’s about time the media started treating these nuts as the wacked-out cultists they are, and started looking elsewhere for serious debate on the issues of the day.

    That’s NOT the job of the media.

    The job of the media is to generate profit, not to inform anyone. You broadcast what attracts eyeballs, which results in ratings, which drives advertising rates, which in turn generates revenue, and therefore profit.

    That’s what it is all about.

  26. 26
    El Cid says:

    The tribe gets all jumpy excited here in Georgia again.

    ATLANTA — Georgia is the latest state to propose legislation that questions whether President Barack Obama was born in the U.S., joining 10 other states who have measures that want more proof before his name is put on the 2012 ballot…
    __
    Georgia Rep. Mark Hatfield, a Republican, said he still doesn’t know if Obama is eligible to serve as president, and 92 of his GOP colleagues and one Democrat support the bill introduced Monday.
    __
    “Most people feel it’s an issue to a significant enough portion of our population that it needs to be addressed by the state,” Hatfield said. “It is, in a sense, a response to … the sitting president and his inability or unwillingness to release his original birth certificate.”…

    What this does is allow the Georgia Secretary of State the authoritay to decide whether some uppity Muslim-sounding Negro is Constushally allowed to run for Preznit in Johjah.

    If said Secretary thinks it ain’t right, then in the electoral vote time, if an elector votes for someone that Mister / Madam SecreState holds to be a furriner, that elector will face criminal charges.

    Since I saw no one else had typed in the text, here is the relevant section of the bill. (PDF)

    (A) A certified exact copy of the candidate’s first original long-form birth certificate that includes the candidate’s date, time, and place of birth; the name of the specific hospital or other location at which the candidate was born; the attending physician at the candidate’s birth; the names of the candidate’s birth parents and their respective birthplaces and places of residence; and signatures of the witness or witnesses in attendance at the candidate’s birth.
    __
    If the foregoing described certified exact copy of the candidate’s first original long-form birth certificate is not attached and the candidate’s affidavit indicates that a first original long-form birth certificate for the candidate does not exist, the candidate shall attach certified exact copies of other original documentation, including, but not limited to, the candidate’s birth records, adoption records, baptism records, Social Security records, medical records, school and college records, military records, and passport records showing, either individually or collectively, that the candidate meets the natural born citizenship, age, and residency requirements prescribed by Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution. The candidate shall not attach certified or other copies of nonoriginal documents or records;
    __
    (B) Recitations in the affidavit attesting that the candidate has never been a citizen of any country or nation other than the United States of America; that the candidate has never held dual or multiple citizenship; and that the candidate has never owed allegiance to any country or nation other than the United States of America; and
    __
    (C) Recitations in the affidavit that specifically identify the candidate’s places of residence in the United States for at least the preceding 14 years.

    The “long form” birth certificate is nothing more than the old fashioned one that was a standardized sheet on which they wrote (calligraphy, sometimes typed, etc) the traditional stuff, the footy prints and such.

    And if you don’t have a copy made from that actual primordial sheet, then somehow you are no longer an actual borned in the USA type person according to the Constitution.

    So, all you states — not just Hawaii — moving to Electronic Birth Registration, such as Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, and maybe all the others, fuck you, you can’t be Preznit.

    Unless you’re a right wing white guy.

    I’m also curious as to how the SecState will determine whether or not the candidate’s statement that he has never owed allegiance to the Kenyonesian caliphate anti-colonialist nation.

    In addition, does pledging allegiance to the Confederacy count?

  27. 27
    Bort says:

    What an absurd notion. Why would they want to piss off the Democrat party?

  28. 28
    El Cid says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Funny enough, when the original John Birch society nuts popped on the national scene, the overwhelming majority of Republicans and the establishment media dismissed them as the nut squad.

    For an example, this.

  29. 29
    creolechild says:

    As long as we have Internet access, and blogs, where we can discuss issues that the MSM is ignoring, we have the power and ability to ensure that lies, omissions, and misinformation, are challenged and corrected.

    Think about the events in Wisconsin. There was a corporate-driven, media blackout during the early stages of the protest. Where did people learn about breaking developments in Wisconsin? From the Internet. Which, by the way, is where I also began seeing more and more people realizing that traditional news venues cannot be relied upon as sources to provide relevant and/or truthful coverage of issues that effect us. Hopefully, this trend will continue so we shouldn’t become discouraged but double-down on getting accurate information out to the public via FaceBook, twitter, and blogs.

    Remember, the corporations have the financial resources but we have numbers (think: people) on our side.

    It may not seem like much given that corporate-owned media has the financial resources and capital to promote their ideology. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t fight back.

  30. 30
    eemom says:

    @cleek:

    it’s up to readers to determine who can be trusted on which topics and who can’t.

    it’s up to voters to determine which candidate can be trusted not to fuck them in the ass, and look where that got us.

  31. 31
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @El Cid: Why don’t they go ahead and accuse him of being from Atlantis. Ultimately, what they are saying is that no nigger born in the United States could ever win the presidency: they’re just not smart enough. He must have come from somewhere else.

  32. 32
    El Cid says:

    @Ash Can: People who claim to independently believe that we really landed on the Moon, versus it all being made up in a soundstage, are of course dupes or agents in on it. The more they deny it, the more we know who they are.

    Anyone decrying the lunacy of Scientology is a suppressive robot and speaks lies. The most energetic ones are sent by organizations who fear Scientology’s truth.

    Anyone who calls Qaddafi a dictator is a CIA puppet. The louder they say it, the more we know they are being fed propaganda by the Israelis.

  33. 33
    WereBear says:

    @Steve: @WereBear: Imagine how such a law might have been interpreted and enforced under the Bush Administration.

    NOT is the word which springs to mind.

  34. 34
    mem from somerville says:

    I’ve been spending time looking into ways to combat lies of this nature. I’m afraid the research isn’t good. This is an article from a few months back, but the story hasn’t changed:

    How facts backfire

    My context is that I’m trying to battle anti-science and pseudo-science claims of various sorts. And for a long time I just thought if we taught them, and showed them facts, eventually they’d come around. That’s not the case.

    I’ve moved on to going after the sources with more energy: “increase the “reputational costs” of peddling bad info”.

    No idea if that’s working either. But it’s worth a shot.

  35. 35
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @El Cid:

    So, all you states—not just Hawaii—moving to Electronic Birth Registration, such as Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, and maybe all the others, fuck you, you can’t be Preznit.

    You forgot the state that makes this the ultimate piece of Irony.

    Georgia uses electronic birth registration.

  36. 36
    cleek says:

    @El Cid:
    i love this. Presidential qualifications should be based on the presence of a non-standardized document which might not even exist due to factors far outside the reach of the potential candidate.

    i’d bet that no small percentage of Americans can’t produce their actual, original, BC, nor can they get a copy of it. a “certified non-original” document is all you’re going to get.

  37. 37
    cleek says:

    @eemom:
    well, that’s how democracy works.

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    If I were a European, I’d be encouraging my government to arm itself in light of the continual outbreaks of batshit insanity in the United States.

  39. 39
    lou says:

    @El Cid: And that pretty little certificate is not the official state birth certificate. I learned that the hard way the first time I applied for a passport. I brought the hospital birth certificate with my wee little footsies imprinted and fancy calligraphy to the post office. They laughed me on to the street. So I had to contact the state of Ky, which sent me a cert that looked like Obama’s, only blue.

  40. 40
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @cleek: Agreed. I can hardly wait till Republican nominees find themselves having the same little problem.

    The other clause that causes me to laugh is the one about dual citizenship. Precedence matters and Obama is the THIRD president to have dual citizenship by virtue of the nationality of his parent. The previous two were Buchanan and Arthur. (I’m ignoring those who were born prior to the founding of the nation, of course.)

  41. 41
    Bob says:

    Belief in a supernatural thingy.

  42. 42
    zzyzx says:

    @El Cid: This is the big one:

    that the candidate has never held dual or multiple citizenship

    Some random guy suddenly discovered that that’s what natural born citizen meant in some 18th century text, so all of a sudden, there’s a new test for being president that no one had heard of before Obama; being born to a Keyan father meant he also was given British citizenship.

    If that passes, and I’m Iran or North Korea, I declare every American also to be a Korean citizen and that would be it for the Constitution…

  43. 43
    zzyzx says:

    @Kirk Spencer: They’re going after Arthur too actually, but they never explained how we survived that.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    BretH says:

    In the same interview he makes mention of the other Tribal Myth that Obama “offended” the British by sending back the bust of Churchill. Yet I see no mention of that one – it just gets passed over like it is just common truth.

    I swear it’s like trying to kill cockroaches in a Bronx apartment.

  46. 46
    Ash Can says:

    @El Cid: Measures like these have the side benefits of pandering to the racist/xenophobic/anti-Muslim/anti-Dem crowd, to be sure, but what they really amount to is a last-ditch effort being made by Republicans who know damned well that the GOP candidate field for the 2012 general election has nothing but a couple of tumbleweeds blowing through it. If they can somehow keep Obama off the ballot in a few states, then the GOP has a plausible chance of prevailing. In other words, they know that the only way they can win is to cheat. It’s kind of amusing, really.

  47. 47
    zzyzx says:

    Is there anything that can stop – say – Wisconsin from passing a law saying that only winners of the Republican primary process shall be put on the ballot?

    If they can have extra-constitutional requirements on there, why not that?

  48. 48
    Maude says:

    @zzyzx:
    As long as they’re white and love Jeebus.

  49. 49
    cleek says:

    every President up till Martin Van Buren was a British citizen at birth. Martin Van Buren was the first to be born after America was established as a country.

  50. 50
    Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    @Punchy: @Punchy: Speaking of Missouri, the state legislature is currently in the process of repealing ANOTHER voter-approved initiative to raise the minimum wage, so that the conservadicks can cap it. Like the puppy mill recall, this represents a complete repudiation of the express will of Missouri citizens.

  51. 51
    PTirebiter says:

    Howard Dean was on with Joe Scarborough this morning defending Huckabee as a sane, good guy who just got caught up in an unfortunate moment. It was Dean’s contention that it’s easy to forget one’s larger audience and play to the crowd on hand. Dean said he’s done it himself a number of times. Maybe Trent Lott’s tribute to Strom Thurmond can be excused afterall. He’s just a born people pleaser

  52. 52
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    If I were a European, I’d be encouraging my government to arm itself in light of the continual outbreaks of batshit insanity in the United States.

    I’ve been expecting this since the arguments between the Bush Admin and NATO partners over the Iraq invasion in 2003. Ultimately the only reliable mechanism for enforcing a belief in science and empiricism on an otherwise unwilling population is somebody who doesn’t like you and has more accurate artillery.

  53. 53
    Pangloss says:

    Check out the album cover on the 1964 debut from the right wing folksingers that called themselves The Goldwaters.

  54. 54
    Bill D. says:

    And until Democrats figure out that utterly crushing them at the polls is the only way we’re going to have a chance to beat them – even though the country is rigged against liberals winning – then they won’t change.

    Not a chance. Next time around, such a crushing will be seen by them as a stolen election (ACORN, illegal immigrants, etc.) and will be used as a justification for a violent uprising on their part to “save” America. Lots of these folks have guns, and they believe that their opponents are evil and want to destroy America. The rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, et al. in recent years will be all the justification thta they will need for such violence.

    It’s not going to be pretty.

  55. 55
    Chris says:

    @Ash Can:

    This helps me understand the dynamics behind that UMich study of how contrary facts reinforce, rather than correct, some people’s erroneous beliefs.

    Yep. That’s the essence of conspiracy-based logic – any facts pointing out that you’re wrong are simply part of the conspiracy.

  56. 56
    gnomedad says:

    This is well put:

    The sorts of people who are Monckton boosters have one thing in common–they want to be perceived as the sort of no-nonsense iconoclasts who aren’t afraid to question the status quo. ”So what if 97% of climate scientists think humans are significantly affecting the global climate? If you want me to believe it, you’re going to have to prove it to me!” they say. That would be fine, except that when we are dealing with a complex, technical subject, it generally takes several years of very hard work to get to the point where you can make informed judgements about conflicting expert opinions. Most people are way too lazy for all that work, so if they don’t want to defer to an overwhelming majority of the experts, they start pretending. That is, they find plausible-sounding sources of information that go against the status quo, and then pretend that their favored sources blow the consensus out of the water via an irresistible barrage of logic and facts. In reality, these people don’t have a clue who is right–they just pick whatever side fits their preconceived notions or political ideology. In doing so, they leave themselves wide open to be taken in by anyone who will tell them what they want to hear and make it sound “scientific” to a non-expert.

  57. 57
    Frank says:

    Daily Kos has posted an interesting article today on a long-range plan instituted in 1999 by Dick Armey to erode liberal institutions: Planned Parenthood, unions, etc. This article says that the Rethugs. have been lying and ignoring facts while welcoming rejection by liberals and the media — in the hopes of confusing the sheeples…. Do we progressives have any such devious long-range plans to do damage to these regressive, pro-corporate creatures? Are we relying on faith in the intelligence of our fellow citizens and the accurate reporting of the media? Are we bringing (metaphorically speaking) a knife to a gunfight?

  58. 58
    Chris Andersen says:

    My wife asked me the other day to explain why Sarah Palin remains so popular amongst her (ever smaller) cadre of followers. I struggled for a while to come up with a reason, until I struck on this very thing. The thing that Palin’s followers love most about her is that she pisses off the right people.

  59. 59
    Frank says:

    Regarding my post #57, I mean “do some damage to these measures being employed by Republican think tanks (if that’s not an oxymoron).

  60. 60
    LGRooney says:

    @Bill D.: This is America, plenty of liberals are well armed, too. The right wingers who would use violence to solve their issues are vastly, vastly outnumbered in terms of absolute number of people and weapons.

  61. 61
    Chris Andersen says:

    @Scott:

    Only thing I don’t understand is how the sane portion of society is supposed to fight back against this.

    You certainly can’t do it by trying to rationalize it. And you can’t get pissed at them because that is what they want. And you can’t mock them because that just reaffirms the feelings of those who already think they are idiots without actually getting through to the idiots.

  62. 62
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    I tend to think that the only answer in these situations is that they have to be crushed to an unconditional surrender the way the Japanese and Germans were. I also think that is what they want to do to us. And until Democrats figure out that utterly crushing them at the polls is the only way we’re going to have a chance to beat them – even though the country is rigged against liberals winning – then they won’t change.

    I agree. We have to thoroughly destroy them and their operation in terms they fundamentally understand. Complete and total electoral devastation is the surest way to do that.

  63. 63
    celticdragonchick says:

    @LGRooney:

    This is America, plenty of liberals are well armed, too. The right wingers who would use violence to solve their issues are vastly, vastly outnumbered in terms of absolute number of people and weapons.

    I hope so. Some of the parallels I see with the state of affairs in the Weimar Republic scare me to death, and I am deeply worried that we as a nation are vulnerable to a right wing populist/nationalist despot. The use of scape goating with respect to gays, union members and religious minorities while promising to rebuild America to resemble some mythic past construct are right out of the right wing authoritarian playbook from the late 1920’s. I have certainly seen enough threats of armed violence from the Redstate crowd to believe that there will be willing brownshirt recruits if the right charismatic leader calls for it at the right time.

    I do happen to be one of those well armed liberals (and a GLBT person), and I will not be chased from my country without a fight if it comes to that…but I can’t say that I am hopeful.

  64. 64
    El Cid says:

    @Frank:

    Do we progressives have any such devious long-range plans to do damage to these regressive, pro-corporate creatures?

    No. Big business and the right wing in the late 1960s and early 1970s began a process to roll back the economic achievements of liberals and Democrats and unions for working and middle classes, and the conservative and religious fundamentalist movement to roll back the gains of ethnic and women’s and assorted religious freedom movements.

    They didn’t mind that it would take decades. They were willing to create an entire structure of institutions and political process influence and manipulation and establishment media domination and control (and attacks against any non-right-wing tendencies within them) and fund it and work on it for generations.

    Liberals and Democrats unions have not done so. Elite liberal and Democratic institutions and party leadership because they fundamentally disagree with the notion.

  65. 65
    El Cid says:

    @lou: If you ran for President in Georgia, I’m sure the biggest test by the Secretary of State would be if you were white enough and right wing enough.

    If not, you might just be a Kenyan.

  66. 66
    RalfW says:

    This is the whole dealio, really.

    When NPR reports that “union activists are fighting to retain collective bargaining, a move that Republicans say is needed to cut the budget” (as a mild example), they’ve totally bought the false line that bargaining is the crux of the budget problem.

    NPR covers its ass (barely) by the careful placement of say above, because the journalist probably really knows that it won’t fix the budget. But since reporting now means dutifully scribing he said/she said, with little context, the shibboleths take root and flower their noxious pollen.

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    sparky says:

    @ornery curmudgeon: Time to see what’s going on and face it. Seeing that the original purpose of blogs was to correct the corrupt media, it is almost impressive how far we’ve not come.

    heretic! don’t you know that blogs exist only to provide platforms to criticize other peoples’ writings? doing something about it or reporting is for idiots. after all, we make our own facts here on the intertubz.

  68. 68
    sparky says:

    oh and one other thing–i think the Grist piece above is close, but gets it wrong in a fundamental way. because i am somewhat surprised that the motivation of Rs/reactionaries seems not so well understood, i offer this as explanation: Rs have created their own world, but this is in a sense a natural consequence of human frailties and losses. these people have fashioned a value system of ressentiment and in a remarkably short time.

    The slave revolt in morality begins when the ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to values: the ressentiment of those beings who are prevented from a genuine reaction, that is, something active, and who compensate for that with a merely imaginary vengeance.* While all noble morality grows out of a triumphant affirmation of one’s own self, slave morality from the start says “No” to what is “outside,” “other,” to “a not itself.” And this “No” is its creative act. This transformation of the glance which confers value—this necessary projection towards what is outer instead of back onto itself—that is inherent in ressentiment.

    imagine for yourself “the enemy” as a man of ressentiment conceives him—and right here we have his action, his creation: he has conceptualized “the evil enemy,” “the evil one,” and as a fundamental idea, from which he now also thinks his way to an opposite image and counterpart, a “good man”— himself! . . .

    This “bad” originating from the noble man and that “evil” arising out of the stew pot of insatiable hatred—of these the first is a later creation, an afterthought, a complementary colour; by contrast, the second is the original, the beginning, the essential act of conception in slave morality—although the two words “bad” and “evil” both seem opposite to the same idea of “good,” how different they are! But it is not the same idea of “good”; it is much rather a question of who the “evil man” really is, in the sense of the morality of ressentiment.

    Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, ss.10-11.

  69. 69

    […] sundries Pissing Off Liberals » Mike Huckabee’s statement about Obama’s Kenyan upbringing is another example of a right-wing […]

  70. 70
    David Brooks (not that one) says:

    @MattF:

    we’re in classic cognitive dissonance territory. Group cohesion beats reality, and it’s not a close fight.

    So, what does that say about this group? Don’t we have a list of shibboleths that are just reinforced when someone else proves us wrong? I think if we were honest we could come up with a few.

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    Brachiator says:

    I haven’t read a more cogent explanation of why pissing off liberals is a key part of the right wing playbook.

    Why does anyone think that pissing off liberals is important? The GOP wants to win elections and change public policy. And yet, some liberals are still up somewhere thinking that Republicans give a rat’s ass how they feel about things?

    There is a strange reverse projection at work here. Maybe there are liberals who get joy from goading conservatives. I don’t know, maybe they are insulated from feeling the effects of a weakening economy, and so can indulge their empty little dreams of self-importance.

    But the simplest explanation for the Huckabee Shuffle is that it is another attempt to stay on message, to speak to the Real Americans(tm) who find it shocking, appalling that a black man is president of the United States, and who look to all the little cracker princelings and the Great White Mother, Sarah Palin(r), in hope that “their” country will be rescued from the exotic, foreign interloper and returned to them.

    Group cohesion is just a fancy term for appeal to white bigotry.

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    Mike Kay (True Grit) says:

    @PTirebiter: Dean has become a clown.

    He yells and screams about Robert Gibbs but then becomes an apologist for filth like Huckabee.

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    cleek says:

    @David Brooks (not that one):

    So, what does that say about this group? Don’t we have a list of shibboleths that are just reinforced when someone else proves us wrong?

    yes, we do.

    but naming them is a good way to start a flame war.

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    RTWinAZ says:

    I am a Union member in a Right to Work state (Arizona). I stand united with my Brothers and Sisters in Wisconsin. We want to keep what we have fought for over the years in America.
    Gov. Walker has opened the eyes of many Republicans, I am one of them. The thinking had been that Republicans would make reasonable budget cuts, not destroy people’s lives by lying about a false budget shortfall. I can (now) see that Walker’s tax breaks to big business created this problem, not unionized public workers. I have lost faith in the GOP to look out for the working class in America.
    Your comments on blogs like this will help others like me to see what’s really going on in America. We are worried too, just give us a little credit for being able to re-educate ourselves. We are not your enemies; we are your neighbors and co-workers who have not been able to see through the BS of the Right’s pundits until now.
    A common ground is beginning to take shape to finally unite differing political views. The Workers’ Rights debate in America has opened the door for us to work together.
    Continue to “state your case” with logic and reason and our eyes will be opened. Insults and slurs will turn us away from the facts we need to make better political choices in the future.
    Again, I appreciate the comments here and hope that I can continue to look on the internet to really get the news from the “heart” of America.

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