[Editor’s note: After penning the popular “The Official Village Voice Election-Season Guide to the Right-Wing Blogosphere,” Roy Edroso has made dissecting those blogs into a weekly feature that appears here every Monday.]
Both Presidential candidates are already overexposed, so when rightbloggers’ attention shifted last week to their supporting casts — advisers, party elders, and TV comedians — it seemed at first a relief. Alas, even when their targets change, their obsessions and style of argument remain depressingly familiar.
The revelation that Jesse Jackson, believing himself off-mike, said he would like to “cut [Obama’s] nuts out” for talking down to black people, presented a dilemma to rightbloggers: whichever side they took, they’d be giving indirect support to a black guy they hated. Some were spurred to admirable creativity. Vodkapundit suggested that Obama and Jackson had conspired to work a scam on the American people. “Obama needed a way to distance himself from Jackson without actually doing so,” wrote Vodkapundit. “So why not have Jackson do the job for him?… It’s a little kabuki, a little Clinton, and a lot smart.” Likelihood of Success had similar thoughts on the nuts-crack, which apparently were still with him when he wrote his next post: “The thing about the nuts that fall from Obama’s tree, it seems, is you get a good luck [sic] at the unappetizing meat in ’em when they crack open on the hard ground.” (Yuck — on second thought: huh?)
At American Conservative Daily, Eric Golub was still more ambitious, tarring both men with two, or possibly three, ancient prejudices by comparing Jackson to a “jealous woman scorned” and casting Obama as his mate: “Jesse Jackson would not be the first woman who wanted to neuter her cheating husband… apparently [Jackson], Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler are starring in the sequel to the movie about divorced wives…” He counseled Obama to be watchful, as “Bill Clinton still sleeps with one eye open on the rare nights he is forced to sleep next to Hillary.” Later, he thanked the crowd and suggested they try the veal.
Many clearly enjoyed a wallow in vintage Jackson-inspired outrage, and the sort of deep thoughts traditionally inspired thereby (“White blue collar voters, a key constituency that traditionally votes Democratic but is fast to walk out the door and punch the ‘R’ button, often dislikes black politicians” — Dean Esmay; “The black prison rate may not be high enough” — Heather MacDonald). In the end, perhaps reasoning that half a loaf is better than none, they reluctantly gave the round to Obama. Lexington Green of ChicagoBoyz admitted that while he thought “Obama will he a horrible president, somewhere on a continuum between Jimmy Carter and Robert Mugabe,” he had to admit pleasure that “Obama’s candidacy has made Jackson into a nullity” — though “simple demographic attrition would have done it sooner or later,” a mysterious statement upon which we hope Green will someday expand.
If these pickings were slim, rightbloggers fared better with the bawdy jokes Bernie Mac told at an Obama event, and from which Obama later distanced himself. Here they could win by picking either side. They could profess outrage at Obama for allowing Bernie Mac on in the first place (“Obamisogynist hangs out with the like-minded… ” — Conservative Pulse; “Obama was giving us a sneak preview into an Obama White House: entertainment laced with vulgarity, profanity and misogyny” — The Obambi.com Blog). Or they could mock Obama for his PC misgivings over Mac’s material. “Anything that speaks ill of women is sexist, of course,” groused Stop the ACLU. “But you can mock men all you like.” “This was at an Obama event so many panties bunched up,” cracked Don Surber. Wait for it… “And the impact on the women was even worse.”
While Bernie Mac was comedy gold for rightbloggers, they had a harder time getting laughs out of McCain adviser Phil Gramm, the former Senator who called America “a nation of whiners” and said their economic concerns were imaginary. Though the McCain campaign was quick to disassociate itself from Gramm’s remarks, a surprising number of rightbloggers agreed with Gramm’s insulting assessment of their fellow citizens.
“Phil Gramm tells the truth,” said Instapundit. “This is just another example of why I’ve always wanted Phil Gramm to be president of the United States,” said Jonah Goldberg. “Gramm is the one making with the straight talk in this case,” said Protein Wisdom.
These popular rightbloggers wisely kept their defenses short; others, regrettably, could not restrain themselves. At ChicagoBoyz, “Jonathan” said that “despite significant structural problems in the economy (housing meltdown, inflation, oil prices, weak dollar and other policy mistakes), the economy is holding up.” Perhaps sensing that he hadn’t painted as rosy a picture as he’d hoped, Jonathan went directly to blaming the media: “Old media businesses are failing, their employees either being laid off or worried about their jobs… So there is a lot of fear and uncertainty among media people, and that uncertainty gets reflected in news reports and opinion columns.” Finally Jonathan conjured a downside for Obama: “While Obama showed consummate political skill in exploiting the McCain campaign’s missteps,” he admitted, “he revealed in doing so the glibness and extreme arrogance that unnerve some of us.” In case that didn’t convince, Jonathan helpfully added, “The arrogance comes through more clearly on video.” Keep hope alive!
Speaking of our strong economy, another mortgage lender, IndyMac, hit the skids last week. IndyMac’s shady business practices have been well-covered; even the New York Post reported, “IndyMac shares and balance sheet have gotten hammered this year… It sold more mortgages in California than in any other state — and the Golden State is No. 2 in the country in foreclosures — and racked up $900 million in losses because of it.” But, nudged by the Bush Administration and the Wall Street Journal, rightbloggers identified the real culprit: Senator Chuck Schumer, whose June complaint about IndyMac’s shenanigans were blamed for the run on the bank. “Chuck Schumer, bank killer,” said Hot Air; “That is what happens when politicians stick their noses in where they don’t belong,” said Wake Up America; “Maybe, just maybe,” said Wizbang, “things like this could be avoided if the Democrats would stop meddling with the free market… And somehow, Americans keep voting Chuck Schumer & Co. into office.” It looks like Gramm was half right about whining Americans, anyway.