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Stupid Republican Thing of the Day (12/20/10) December 20, 2010

Posted by monty in politics.
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In what is sure (and unfortunately) to become a regular feature, here’s the first in an open-ended series documenting how ridiculous and irrelevant the modern Republican party has become.  On a side note, anyone want to wager how many of these in an average week will involve Sarah Palin?

*****

Sarah Palin: “Michelle Obama Wants the Government to Take Away Our Dessert!”

Okay, I’m paraphrasing, but not by much.  From CNN:

Sarah Palin is again taking aim at Michelle Obama over her anti-obesity campaign, taking the opportunity in Sunday’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” to land a diss against the first lady’s efforts to improve nutrition.

While making s’mores at one point during Sunday’s episode, the former Alaska governor proclaims the marshmallow and chocolate treat is “in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.”

It’s not the first time Palin has taken a job at Mrs. Obama over her campaign to discourage fattening foods, especially from public schools. The former vice presidential nominee told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham last month that “the first lady cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat.”

This is how bizarre the GOP’s anti-government rhetoric has gotten, where an observation that our country – and, increasingly, our children – has become dangerously obese can only be seen as an attempt by the government to control your life.  They may not be bright, but Sarah Palin has helped the Republicans corner the market on petty and mean-spirited.  Will someone please make this woman go away?

*****

Current listening:

Asobi Seksu – Fluorescence (2010)

Last movie seen:

Ghostbusters II (1989; Ivan Reitman, dir.)

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Me, I Disconnect from You December 7, 2010

Posted by monty in Uncategorized.
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I just don’t know what to think about Obama anymore.

I’ve been a political cynic as long as I can remember.  When my high school had a mock trial for the 1990 midterm elections, I wrote a lengthy diatribe on the ballot about how any election was simply a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils and it didn’t really matter what person was in office.  Apparently my handwriting was more recognizable than I thought, because later that day a history teacher accosted me in the hall, screaming about how I was “dead wrong.”  So much for the secret ballot.

My general indifference continued through the 1992 election and ’96 elections (I was pro-Clinton, but was I really going to be pro-Bush or -Dole?), and I didn’t really get my dander up until the Bush debacle in 2000.  Even then, it wasn’t so much an endorsement of the Democratic party on my part as much as it was disgust at the nimrod who had been swept into office on the back of the Supreme Court.

It took Obama to get me excited.  He was going to fight for universal health care, closing Guantanamo, and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  He was smart and funny, he was young, and he seemed willing to go to the mat in defense of those things in which he believed.  I threw my weight behind him whole-heartedly, and, like many in this country in 2008, I believed.

But now?  Not so much.

It started with the administration’s handling of the health care bill – drawing out that debate torturously month after month; finally, after all that consternation, passing a candy-ass simulacrum of a real health care bill; and then, in a final insult, not campaigning hard behind it, weak as it was, to let the public know that there actually was some good stuff in it.  So now we have a health care bill that hardly anyone knows anything about and which the administration doesn’t seem interested in touting.  The perception seems to be that it’s a bill wreathed in shame, even though it’s at least a step in the right direction.  But the mishandling of the process and the shortcomings of the final product have to be laid at the feet of Obama and his party, who were unequivocally in control of Washington during the debate.

My disillusion got up a full head of steam as soon as I learned about Obama’s education policies.  I’ve discussed this issue in more detail elsewhere on this blog, so I won’t rehash the past now.  One thing I will say, though, is that the intervening months between that post and this one have only made me sadder and more frustrated.  Obama has doubled down (through Education Secretary Arne Duncan) on the idea that more testing is the key to a better education.  I’m reminded of the quote by the late, great James Moffett, which went something like this: “Frequently measuring your height doesn’t make you taller.”  As usual, teachers have been left almost entirely out of this conversation, so now we have the new Common Core Standards (developed by the very testing companies that stand to profit from them), a push to evaluate teachers based on the test scores of their students, and a misguided belief that if we just throw enough money at charter schools, everything will get better overnight.

(And, as a side note, you should all be glad I wasn’t blogging a couple months ago when NBC aired its propaganda hack job, “Education Nation,” which practically gave Davis Guggenheim’s anti-teacher, anti-public school puff piece Waiting for “Superman” a blow job on national television.  I was not a happy fella that week.)

And now there’s this deal with the taxes, adding more to the deficit and lining the pockets of the people who got us into this fiduciary mess in the first place, all in the name of playing nice with a political party that’s going to tar and feather Obama no matter what he does.  What – did he really think that he was going to wipe the slate clean with Boehner and crew by extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich?  If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that trying to “compromise” with the GOP is a zero-sum game.  If Obama cured cancer, they’d lambaste him as a Socialist for using tax dollars to do so.  Extending the tax cuts for the rich was a craven thing to do – and he can deny this all he wants – all in the name of political expedience.

I’m mad at the Republicans too, don’t get me wrong.  But in a way I’m less angry with them because I’ve come to expect them to obstruct and, as the party of old rich white dudes, I can’t fault them for playing to their base.  I only wish Obama had the courage to do the same.  Because, see, right now he doesn’t need the Republicans to defeat him.  The Democrats in general, and Obama in particular, are the most self-defeating bunch of ninnies I’ve ever seen.  Instead of taking the fight to the Republicans and drawing a line in the sand about their beliefs, they bow and scrape and kowtow as though it’s going to make any difference.  The result is twofold, with neither half being any good.  They give the Republicans more or less exactly what they want, and in the process, the very people who trusted Obama, who believed in him, who voted for him, are being told that their faith was misplaced.

I know – and so, likely, does Obama – that I don’t have a real choice here.  It’s not as though I’m going to vote for the Republicans in 2012.  And it’s not as though a vote for a third party candidate amounts to anything except a feeling of smug superiority as I exit the voting booth.  So it’s either not vote at all, or vote for the guy who’s not as bad as the crazy bitch from Alaska, the rich Mormon, the fat Bible thumper, or the disgraced lunatic.  It’s not a choice at all, but it’s what we’re going to be faced with in a couple years, and it’s unbelievably disheartening to see how quickly I’ve become cynical again.

Thanks, Obama.  Bang-up job you’re doing.

*****

Current listening:

Rjd2 – Since We Last Spoke (2004)

Failed Suicide Club April 20, 2010

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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Sometime in the last couple weeks I made a conscious decision to stop getting so aggravated by the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement. For much of 2009 and the first few months of this year I feared for my sanity whenever I turned on the news.  I’ve never been one to talk to myself – or to inanimate objects – but recently all it would take would be an appearance by Sarah Palin or Eric Cantor or Michele Bachmann (or the unholy triumvirate of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Ann Coulter) to get me frothing and barking at the TV screen like … well, like a member of the Tea Party.

But at some point I realized it was a waste of energy and emotion to get so worked up over a party whose only purpose is to obstruct the Democrats’ agenda, and whose anger exists without any recourse to reality.  I could work up a self-righteous head of steam in an honest debate with someone who is genuinely informed on the issues and who holds an opinion that’s grounded in facts.  But all you have to do is listen to Mitch McConnell or Mike Pence or any of the wingnuts in attendance at a tea party rally to realize that you’re not dealing with sane people who genuinely want to constructively solve America’s problems.  It’s all about getting angry and fucking shit up – physically or legislatively, it doesn’t matter.

So even though my reaction now is to laugh whenever I hear or see virtually anyone representing the GOP or the Tea Party, there have been a few things coming across the wires in the last several days worth mentioning.  So bear with me as I try to pull them together.  I might be able to connect the dots, but I make no promises.

1) There’s a solid piece at Daily Kos comparing the current Tea Party to this country’s last viable third party movement: those who supported Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential election.  The gist of the article is that the two movements are nothing alike.  The third partiers in ’92 sprang up in support of Perot, instead of in support of a nebulous cause like “Give me back my country!,” which is really just anti-Democrat sentiment disguised as patriotism.  Perot’s supporters were truly bipartisan in nature, rejecting Republicans and Democrats alike.  For instance, over a third of those who voted for Perot voted for either Walter Mondale in 1984 or Michael Dukakis in 1988 (or both).  Today?  Only 5% of those in the Tea Party self-identify as Democrats.  Similarly, roughly 57% in the Tea Party view George W. Bush favorably (with only 27% viewing him unfavorably), but in ’92, Perot’s supporters viewed both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton unfavorably.

The point?  It’s time to put an end to this myth that the Tea Party is a multi-hued, technicolor, rainbow coalition of concerned Americans who are peeved at government in general.  It’s not.  It’s a bunch of Republicans who are pissed that Obama’s in the White House, and are trying to brand their version of far-right craziness as ultra-patriotism.  Period.  Most of these people don’t give two shits about the Constitution, not in any real way.  They live in a fantasy world where the Constitution grants rich white dudes the inalienable right to do whatever they want, and the rest of us just have to deal with it.  That’s patriotism, Tea Party-style.

2) On a related note, the GOP is now clearly aware of some of the more virulent, violent protest signs at the Tea Party rallies, and are busy trying to point out that some left-wing protestors used similar rhetoric against Bush. Okay, first off, they’re absolutely right.  There were definitely some nutcases comparing Bush to Hitler and Satan, and calling for either his death or his incarceration.  You’ll get no dispute from me there.

The Democrats, as should be expected by now, are handling this all wrong. In the article linked above, the Dems’ response is to question the veracity of the signs.  This is profoundly stupid, and is akin to the Republicans’ current strategy, which is to claim any signs espousing violent or racist rhetoric against Obama is being done by liberal infiltrators who just want to make the Tea Party look bad.  In other words, rather than denounce the violent racists in their midst, the GOP would just rather blame the Democrats.  Again.

What the Democrats should be saying instead is this: “Look, we get that there were some idiots who said Bush was like Hitler.  And we know that Code Pink consists of a bunch of transsexual drama queens whose protests are annoying even to the people who agree with the issues in principle.  But the fundamental difference between those groups and the Tea Party is that these liberals protestors were the fringe of our party.  They’re the half-dozen lunatics and twerps that give all of us a bad name.  But the Tea Party is your base. These are, almost to a person, stalwart conservatives, who worship at the altar of Bush and Reagan, who festoon their bodies with American flag regalia, and who believe there’s nothing sexier than a firearm clasped by a blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan in an Uncle Sam hat.  18% of Americans identify with the Tea Party.  Toward the end of his presidency, only 25% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Bush.  The margin of difference there is razor-thin.  The Tea Party is the Republican Party is the Tea Party.  They’re indistinguishable from one another.  Which means – guess what? – the Republican party is littered with violent racists who are primarily angry that there’s a black man in the White House.  We have our crazies, too, but our crazies are the disorganized fringe.  Your crazies make up the foundation of your party.  Job well done, Republicans.”

3) Much was made of the recent poll demonstrating that Tea Party members are wealthy older white males.  No shit.  Really?  Perhaps more surprising was the finding that, grammatically incoherent and rhetorically obtuse protest signs notwithstanding, they’re also educated.  One thing I’d like to point out, though, is that there’s a difference between being educated and being intelligent or informed.  I have a high level of education, but I’m not too swift when it comes to certain things outside my purview.  You don’t, for instance, often hear me spouting off about quantum physics.  If I don’t know much about something, I tend to keep my mouth shut.  I’m a good listener.  But the Tea Party, despite whatever level of education its individual members possess, don’t seem to know much about the government or taxes or Obama’s citizenship or, you know, any of the issues they’re supposedly protesting.  To wit:

  • Only 41% believe Obama was born in the United States (Hawaii: not a state, apparently).
  • 64% of them believe their taxes have been raised (despite the fact that the economic stimulus package contained the largest middle class tax cut in history).
  • Two-thirds are climate change deniers (because it snowed in the New England in February!).
  • 40% believe there should be no recognition of gay couples at all (depressing, but expected).
  • 92% believe Obama is moving the country toward Socialism (obvious, what with the Dow being way up and the tax cuts and people finally finding jobs and all).
  • A staggering 73% believe that government aid encourages people to stay poor (because being poor is fun!)
  • And, of course, 59% love Glenn Beck; %66 love Sarah Palin (also: 100% of these believe the sun revolves around the Earth).

The Tea Party may be educated, but does this really sound like the views of an intelligent movement?  What it sounds like to me is the standard GOP party line, and the perfectly understandable opinions of a bunch of people who use Fox News as their primary source of information.

At the top I said I’d try to connect the dots between these three articles, and the obvious picture that develops when they’re combined is this: the Tea Party is indistinguishable from the present-day GOP.  There’s been talk for months about the Tea Party becoming a third party, or wondering to what degree the Republicans should extend an olive branch to the Tea Party, melding the two in the sort of genetic experiment that should be illegal.  This kind of speculation is pointless.  To try and separate the GOP from the Tea Party, or to pretend the Tea Party would be a viable third party, is ludicrous.  The members of the Tea Party are Republicans.  They believe in the things Republicans believe in, support all the usual Republican politicians and pundits, hate all the usual Democratic causes and beliefs, and, when push comes to shove, will vote Republican straight down the ballot, no matter how much they swear up and down they won’t.

But it’ll be interesting to see how this conflict continues to play out.  The GOP surely realizes that the Tea Party isn’t exactly a model of civility and decorum, and will continue to be wary of embracing them whole-heartedly.  And the Tea Partiers, who’ve sworn until they’re blue in their jowly, porcine faces that they hate all government, will be slow to align themselves with the GOP, lest they reveal themselves as the hypocrites the rest of us know that they are.  So yeah, I used to get mad at all of this, but now I’m sort of grateful for this wonderfully hysterical gift that just keeps on giving.

*****

Current listening:

The National – High Violet (2010)

Last movie seen:

Kick-Ass (2010; Matthew Vaughn, dir.)

Wounded World November 4, 2009

Posted by monty in news, politics, TV.
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2 comments

ParisHilton_Caulfield_8572072Part of me was ashamed to write about Jon Gosselin and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach the other day.  After all, a huge part of the problem with our celebutard-obsessed culture is that the media keeps giving them attention they don’t deserve.  Jon and Kate, Lindsay and Paris, the whack-job Mormon family who’ve mistaken Mom’s uterus for a broken gumball machine, the dimbulbs from The Hills, and the entire cast of the Twilight movies – they’d all be so much more bearable if their fame was proportional to their actual level of accomplishment.  That means I’d never know who Jon, Kate, Paris, or the Duggard family is, I’d know Lindsay only as the star of the Tina Fey-scripted Mean Girls, the Twilight cast would only appear in Entertainment Weekly articles I skip, and Heidi and Spencer and the rest of The Hills’ demon-spawn wouldn’t register on my radar until Joel McHale ridicules them on The Soup. There’s no earthly reason why any of these people show up on the news.  In a fair and just world, they’d be relegated to media oblivion.

sarah-palinThe same goes for Sarah Palin.  A full year after getting her ass handed to her by voters, she’s still hanging around, like the drunk who doesn’t realize the party’s over.  Her memoir, which we’re supposed to believe she wrote all by her widdle self in the space of a few months – despite the fact that she has yet to string more than three words together intelligibly in public – is currently ranked #3 on Amazon, which means that an unfortunate number of people actually believe she has something important to say about anything.  My guess is that the book will be good for either A) comic relief, or B) a literary drinking game, wherein the reader does a shot every time she uses the word maverick. Like all the names in the first paragraph, there is no reason, none whatsoever – and I’m quite serious about this – that she gets any media attention at all.  I don’t care if McCain chose her as his running mate in a cynical ploy to snatch vaginaed voters away from Obama.  She has yet to say anything of consequence about anything, and the fact that anyone is considering her a serious contender for the 2012 presidential election is testament only to how delusional a segment of this country remains.

There are exactly two choices for how the media should handle these people.  The first is to stop covering them.  It’s a simple solution, elegant and precise.  Don’t report on them, don’t show any photos or film, don’t tell us what they said.  They’re inconsequential, and every second you devote to them takes away a second you could be using to cover something that actually matters.

The other option – and I could conceivably throw the whole weight of my support behind this – is to reveal them as the buffoons they are.  If the NBC Nightly News were to include a 5-minute-long segment called “Daily Dickhead” where the likes of Spencer Pratt or Kim Kardashian were eviscerated through a montage of clips demonstrating their vacuous, selfish ways, I would tune in every night.  Seriously.  Any venture that encourages the American public to ridicule these self-involved twats is a worthwhile one, in my book.

And, incidentally, I would endorse this exact same handling of Sarah Palin.  Somehow we’ve arrived at the notion that being “fair” or being “objective” means treating both sides of an argument as equally valid.  As a result, we get serious news reporting of death panels and teabaggings and town hall meetings filled with angry white people who look like torch-wielding extras from Frankenstein. If the big news outlets were really worth their salt anymore, rather than report on these things as though they were legitimate news, they’d call bullshit on the whole enterprise.  The right-wing is going to paint the mainstream news media as a bunch of far-left pinko commie faggots anyway, so what would they have to lose if Brian Williams came to us on-air one night and said, “Sarah Palin said today in a town hall meeting that Barack Obama wants to kill your grandparents.  What a crazy bitch!”

I think it’s entirely fair to report on death panels and these teabag demonstrations or whatever else the right-wing concocts, but the Big 3 needs to have the smarts and the gumption to really report on them.  They need to show, for instance, how the right-wing is using lies and distortion and charged language to derail health care reform, as well as how Fox News and other Republican groups are organizing these supposedly “spontaneous” demonstrations.  The news bureaus feel, I guess, like they have to report on these things as serious phenomena, when the truth of it is, if they were really reporting objectively, they’d reveal all of it as a serious fraud to prey on voters’ fears of the U.S. turning into a grandma-killing noueveau-Cuba.

What we really need are more Matt Taibbis, the journalist who wrote the fantastic Rolling Stone article about the right-wing’s campaign against health care reform that I posted a month ago.  Taibbi wrote a terrific piece shortly after Palin stepped down as governor of Alaska, but he declined to publish it until now.  Here’s an excerpt:

Palin’s paranoid ramblings and self-pitying tantrums on the way out of office not only didn’t injure her chances for national office, they actually appeared to help, as polls taken in the week after her resignation showed that 71% of Republicans were now prepared to vote for her for president in 2012. Just as she had during the campaign last fall, Palin defied rational analysis by making a primal connection with the subterranean resentments of white middle America, which is apparently so pissed off now at the rest of the planet for not coddling its hurt feelings in the multicultural age that it is willing to embrace any politician who validates its insane sense of fucked-overness.

Nobody understands this political reality quite like Palin, even if she doesn’t actually understand it in the sense of someone who thinks her way to a conclusion, but merely lives it, unconsciously, with the unerring instinct of a herd animal. Palin’s supporters don’t judge her according to her almost completely nonexistent qualifications for serious office, they perceive her as they would a character in a Biblical narrative, a Job in heels with cross-eyes and a mashed-potato-brained husband who happens to spend a lot of time getting shat upon by Letterman and Maureen Dowd and the other modern-day Enemies of Christ.

On some level Palin understands better than any of us that what’s important to her base isn’t how well she does her job or even what she does with her time before 2012, but who her enemies are and how loudly she beats the drum against them – and when the news comes out that these foes have recently driven her to such distraction that she even started losing her hair (reportedly necessitating a recent emergency trip to personal hairdresser Jessica Steele), it elevates her conservative martyr credentials to previously unimagined levels.

As a national candidate she seems to us normal/rational observers mortally wounded, but as a conduit for middle American resentment she may actually have gained in stature, and don’t be at all surprised if she doesn’t emerge with the status of something like a religious figure when they roll the rock back for her inevitable candidacy three years from now.

This is exactly the kind of reporting we need now.  We need the news media to stop acting like every argument is pitched on a level playing field, and that every media personality needs to be treated with the same deference.  We need the media to do the heavy lifting and the critical thinking much of this country is unwilling to do itself.  And that means they need to be ready to point out the people, on both sides of the political fence and in all aspects of the media, that seek to do us harm.

True/Slant–Taibblog (11/02/09): Palinoia

*****

Current listening:

Talking heads true stories

Talking Heads – True Stories

Current reading:

BANR2005-full

Rattawut Lapcharoensap – “At the Café Lovely” (in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005, ed. by Dave Eggers)

There Is a Formula to Your Despair October 3, 2009

Posted by monty in politics.
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After watching this video, can there be any doubt of the virulent hatred the Republicans have toward all things Obama?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the Olympics were all about national pride.  I thought an American Olympics would create hundreds – if not thousands – of jobs, and bring in untold revenue to the city where they’re held and the businesses operating there.  I thought it would be seen as an act of utmost patriotism for a President to lobby in favor of something that would be good for the country, in ways both abstract and concrete.  I thought an American Olympics would be something everyone, regardless of political affiliation, could get behind.

It turns out that sometime in the last nine months supporting the Olympics became just as divisive and traitorous as making sure everyone has reasonably-priced health insurance.  Shows you how much I know.

The Huffington Post (10/2/09): Conservatives Revel in Obama’s Olympic Bid Failure

*****

Current listening:

Built there

Built to Spill – There Is No Enemy

Last movie seen:

The Invention of Lying movie poster

The Invention of Lying (Ricky Gervais & Matthew Robinson, dir.)

How Your Heart Is Wired October 2, 2009

Posted by monty in politics.
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1 comment so far

obama_ad

Let’s talk about anger.

I’m well aware that I spent much of the last eight years in a perpetual state of frustration with the various failings of the Bush administration.  From the way he handled the run-up to the Iraq war to the brouhaha over his authorization of warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens to his condoning of torture to his response to Hurricane Katrina to the way he repeatedly appointed (or nominated) his incompetent buddies to positions of authority. Even the self-satisfied smirk he employed in his speeches made me grind my teeth in agitation.  Even so, here are some things I never did:

I never compared him to Hitler.

I never called him a terrorist.

I never accused him of being a racist.

I never speculated about whether or not he should be assassinated.

Yet all four are those actions are just the tip of a much larger iceberg of hate and intimidation the right-wing is currently employing, supposedly in reaction to Obama’s policies.  But surely you can see this isn’t really about his legislation.  Let’s say, for instance, that you have a logical, reasoned opinion about why his health care proposal is wrong for this country.  My guess is that if you were genuinely concerned about the issue, you would attempt to debate the opposition in a way that intelligently establishes either A) why your proposal would be more effective than Obama’s plan, or B) specifically why Obama’s plan would be ineffective.  That would, I imagine, be an interesting discussion.  I don’t have a complete understanding of the workings of the health care system or the proposed reforms, so an intelligent discussion would be illuminating to me.

But we don’t get that from the right.  Instead, we hear only damning generalities that appear to be based in half-baked conspiracy theories. Obama is a socialist.  Obama wants to kill your grandma.  Obama wants to bankrupt your children.  Obama wants to see a full-fledged government takeover.  The criticisms, such as they are, aren’t about the plan, but about the right wing’s fear and hatred of Obama.

Consider some of the other arguments currently coming from the right-wing. Obama is a Muslim.  Obama was born in Kenya.  Obama wants to use his school address to indoctrinate America’s youth.  Obama wants to give free health care to illegal immigrants.  Combine this kind of thinking with the signs and the rhetoric seen and heard at Ye Olde Tea Bag Party ™ a couple weeks ago – and with the manufactured outrage accompanying something as innocuous as his trip to Copenhagen to argue in favor of Chicago as the host city for the Olympics – and it’s hard to keep insisting, as some in the Republican Party do, that this is all just a reaction to Obama’s policies.

One thing I will cop to immediately is this: I know that there were those on the Left who engaged in some of the exact same extremist dialogue during Bush’s presidency.  And I think they’re just as much to blame for the coarsening of our national dialogue as the people speaking in such a way about Obama.  Comparing Bush to Hitler is stupid.  Hitler was a much better public speaker (zing!).  In all seriousness, though, it’s not productive, and it doesn’t advance any sort of meaningful dialogue.  But I will also say this: Some of the criticism about Bush’s administration was justified, and the facts bear this out.  The 2000 election – and, arguably, 2004 – was won through shenanigans.  Bush, at the very least, manipulated intelligence (or allowed it to be manipulated by others) in order to go to war with Iraq.  His warrantless wiretaps did violate the Constitution.  But I don’t believe, with all due respect to supreme jagoff Kanye West, that the shoddy response to Hurricane Katrina is evidence of racism.  I think it’s evidence that Bush and his buddy that he appointed to head FEMA were borderline incompetent, but I don’t think it’s fair to say he hates black people.

So what’s the difference?  Much of the criticism of Bush focused on things he actually did. As far as I can tell, the only thing for which criticism can fairly be leveled at Obama is his bailout of the banks.  And, I suppose, if you’re a fan of torture and indefinite detention, his desire to close Guantanamo Bay.  But the amount of things Obama’s actually done during his nine months in office is completely disproportionate to the anger directed at him.  A vast majority of the criticism of the right-wing criticism is either delusional speculation or outright lying.

But what really bothers me about all the ranting and raving going on after Obama has only been in office for nine months is the fact that the ranters and ravers sat back for the last eight years and let Bush do anything he wanted, without reproach.  And when the Left criticized him for his policies, we were called unpatriotic.  UnAmerican.  Traitors.  Apparently, to criticize Bush is tantamount to treason; to criticize Obama is the civic duty of any good American.

What the Republicans need right now are the moderates to step up and cool things down.  To chastise the Joe Wilsons and the Michelle Bachmanns in their own party, and to encourage the public to actually – and intelligently – debate policy, as opposed to simply trying to carpet-bomb Obama’s character because they saw Glenn Beck crying on TV the other night.  Because if the Republicans in office continue to allow the fringe to be their dominant voice, I have serious worries about where all this is going to end.  We need look no further than the dead census worker found in Kentucky last week – hanging naked, bound and gagged, from a tree, with “Fed” scrawled on his chest – to see the most extreme outlet of misplaced anger.

Healthy disagreement is a good thing.  But we should all want more – and better – than what we see happening now.

*****

Current listening:

do make say think s-t

Do Make Say Think – Self-titled