There’s been discussion of Limbaugh’s demented accusation that the crafty masterminds of Team Obama somehow, retroactively to 1993, managed to brand this summer’s Batman-movie supervillain with a name to invoke dark resonances against the GOP contender. Professional media speculation seems divided as to whether Rush is demented enough to believe this tosh, or if he’s just feeding garbage to his deluded listeners. Which reminded me of Jon Chait’s recent NYMag post on “The Paul Ryan Rosetta Stone“:
I have harbored a long and controversy-provoking obsession with the two tomes that played such a formative role in Ryan’s intellectual development. Five years ago, I wrote a book about how anti-tax fanatics gained and kept control of the Republican Party…One small point that appeared in both my book and the excerpt provoked particular ire from conservatives. That was a detailed description of the lunacy of Jude Wanniski and George Gilder, who wrote the two books that defined supply-side economics (Wanniski’s The Way the World Works and Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty).
My argument was that the economic arguments offered in both books is pure nuttery, but because they used economic concepts, and many people feel unqualified to judge economics, the nuttery is hard for non-specialists to spot. But it’s easy to see that they’re nuts because they have a host of beliefs on all sorts of subjects (Saddam Hussein never gassed the Kurds, E.S.P. is real, etc.) which make their general madness apparent to non-economists.
Some conservatives insisted their wide array of insane beliefs is irrelevant to gauging their economic arguments. (American Enterprise Institute’s Kevin Hassett dismissively wrote, “Even if one assumes that a theory has been put forward by an unbalanced person, that fact does not mean that the theory is incorrect.”) The more common objection was that I overstated the influence of Gilder and Wanniski. …
Conservative media, Mr. Sanchez wrote at juliansanchez.com — referring to outlets like Fox News and National Review and to talk-show stars like Rush Limbaugh, Mark R. Levin and Glenn Beck — have “become worryingly untethered from reality as the impetus to satisfy the demand for red meat overtakes any motivation to report accurately.”…
As a result, he complained, many conservatives have developed a distorted sense of priorities and a tendency to engage in fantasy, like the belief that President Obama was not born in the United States or that the health care bill proposed establishing “death panels.”…
In his blog Mr. Sanchez pointed to a comment at redstate.com about the Manzi-Levin hullabaloo that epitomizes the attitude: “I DON’T CARE,” if every fact and figure is correct, the poster wrote; “more importantly, the principles were timeless and correct.”
A philosopher of the Church — or maybe one of the characters from Orwell’s 1984 — argued that when the experience of reality conflicted with sacred principles, then reality must be made to conform. If the world is supported in space by four elephants standing atop the back of a giant turtle, there’s no point in asking what supports the turtle; the believer is serene in the “fact” that it’s turtles, all the way down. President Obama is both so ignorant that he can’t speak without a teleprompter or get respectable grades at the universities to which he was given illicit affirmative-action access, and a criminal mastermind capable of a global conspiracy to forge his own birth certificate… or to arrange for a conservative comic writer to invent a supervillain in 1993 for use against an opponent in 2012. If such were not true, then why would “everybody know” these seemingly contradictory things to be true?
If you can believe the NYTimes, it’s gone viral — and global:
Updated | Tuesday, 10:03 a.m. The news that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s motorcade was pelted with shoes and tomatoes by Egyptian protesters, who also taunted her by chanting “Monica! Monica!” as she left the U.S. consulate in Alexandria on Sunday, delighted conservative bloggers in the United States.
What has attracted less attention, however, is the extent to which the Egyptians who vented their rage during Mrs. Clinton’s visit appear to have been inspired by fears that the Obama administration harbors a secret, pro-Islamist agenda which originated with American conservatives…
In an online conversation on Monday, when Matt Bradley of The Wall Street Journal asked an Egyptian blogger named Sara Ahmed for proof that the Obama administration was “financing” the Muslim Brotherhood, she directed him to a blog post about American aid to Egypt by an ultra-conservative Canadian blogger, Judi McLeod. Ms. McLeod’s post was based on a news story posted on Lucianne.com, a site run by Lucianne Goldberg, an American conservative who played a central role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
As Mr. Bradley pointed out to Ms. Ahmed, though, Ms. McLeod had badly garbled the original news report, which simply said that the U.S. had decided to release $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt’s military in April. Ms. McLeod falsely reported that the money had been given instead to a delegation of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who visited Washington around the same time…
Ms. Ahmed then directed Mr. Bradley to a transcript of a recent conversation between two American conservatives who claimed that Mrs. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, was participating in a Muslim Brotherhood plot “to penetrate our government.”
The conversation was an episode of a Web radio program hosted by Frank Gaffney, who served in the Reagan administration and now leads the effort to block what he calls the Brotherhood’s secret plot to impose Islamic Shariah law on Americans….
[More information, including video, at the link.]
Mirrors and paranoia, all the way down! Can you imagine how Bush press flak Ari “Watch what you do, watch what you say” Fleisher would have greeted a mind-meld between DFHs and unruly, disrespectful non-Americans?