The news in the final days of the campaign offers scant hope for rightbloggers. Still, most are rooting like mad for the home team. That’s a normal American response to any competitive event, and relatively healthy.
What’s less normal and healthy — by conventional standards — is a wounded defeatism in some quarters that pushes blame (and punishment) for political events away from the usual suspects (that is, the candidates and the media), and onto ordinary citizens.
Here’s a case in point: National Review‘s Jay Nordlinger says, “We’ve heard talk about race riots, should the Democratic ticket lose. And I’ve always wondered: Why does no one ever call that racist — to assert that, if their preferred candidate loses, black Americans will run riot?” He seems to think only leftist Erica Jong has brought it up.
Nordlinger doesn’t get around very much — rightbloggers are already on riot patrol. “As I live in the Chicago Area, I’m ‘hunkering down’ for the riots that are sure to ensure — whether or not Obama wins or loses,” says NoBamaNation. “If Obama Loses the Left Will Riot,” says Ray Thomas. “Vote Obama, because if you don’t blacks will riot,” says Drew D. “I guess I can now be called racist.” “I want more than anything to watch them fall in the midst of the
Obama Victory Celebration Obama Pity Riot,” says Political Republican Opinion. “Obama and his supporters are showing as much political civility as the citizens of Paris prior to the Bastille,” says The Council of Conservative Citizens, calling for their readers to “stop our recession into a dark and ugly future,” presumably by any means necessary.
And that’s just from the past few days. In the final hours before their presumed electoral Armageddon, the rightbloggers’ last, desperate assaults have sprayed fire at all kinds of collateral targets.
Ann Althouse, for instance, tackled comedy writers “who have held their fire because they so want Obama to win. Comedy first, you traitors to your craft.” Dr. Helen — a psychologist who had previously suggested that, if Obama’s “socialistic policies” were victorious, “productive people” such as herself might “go John Galt” (that is, “cut back on what they need, make less money, and take it easy so that the government is starved for funds”) — entertained the idea of stiffing waiters “as a way of ‘going John Galt.'” (For the less committed, “just tipping less” was offered as a “compromise.”)
Commentary found Obama voters disloyal to what they presumed should be such voters’ natural home on the right. First, the unrich — and the rich, too: Abe Greenwald hailed a commenter who wrote, “I absolutely cringe when I see BO ask for a show of hands: ‘Who here makes less than $250k?’ I guess he doesn’t ask who makes more than $250k because he doesn’t want the poor jerks who fess up to be stoned to death before he leaves the podium… The man clearly does not want to be the President of people making more than $250k. And yet. like lemmings. a bunch of them will vote for him.” It’s enough to make a fellow punctuate improperly.
Then the Commentariat went after American Jews who weren’t voting the right way — that is, were voting as American Jews traditionally do. Schmuel Rosner, having previously observed that Obama was doing well among these voters, elucidated with a study purporting to show that “American Jews who vote are thinking less about Israel these days.” A disgusted commenter added, “The secular Jew has left all his ‘Jewishness’ behind, except for maybe Chinese dinner at Christmas time.” Meryl Yourish pleaded with her Obama-leaning co-religionists, “If you can’t bring yourself to vote McCain, then choose a third party candidate. I’d rather see you throw your vote away than vote for Obama.” Such a deal!
Some rightbloggers were steadier on the trigger, and directed their last-minute attacks on the candidate himself. But as their previous charges of socialism obviously weren’t doing the job, they had to scramble for new armament.
At National Review, Victor Davis Hanson complained that the Obama campaign had insufficiently informed Americans about… Michelle Obama, whom Hanson claimed had been “sequestered” lest she be heard “denigrating both the American system at large or the values of other Americans.” (Press mentions of Mrs. Obama recorded by Google News at present outpace those of Cindy McCain 7,584 to 5,207.) Hanson also claimed Obama himself, and Joe Biden, had been similarly sequestered. (No word, unfortunately, on how he felt about Mrs. Biden’s level of media exposure.)
TigerHawk proposed to terrify the electorate by suggesting that Obama will appoint as his Secretary of State John Kerry, who received over 59 million votes in the 2004 Presidential election.
Most piquantly, Steve Schippert at Wizbang said he was “growing very tired of being accused of being some sort of racist because I am white and I oppose Barack Obama…” Schippert, who teaches school, said Obama is hurting his students by “leading them to support another man” — presumably himself — “rather than believe in themselves” — because if they believed in themselves, they would surely vote against Obama, who “could use 13 weeks of Marine Corps boot camp.” There’s real change! To prove his point, Schippert provided a video of a black guy who agrees with him.
Other, less imaginative rightbloggers continued to peddle the old stories of Obama’s alleged affair, the mysteriously unavailable Michelle Obama African tape (API’s latest: “API has reminded Fox News Network of the responsibilities that the News outlet took upon themselves in connection with the Michelle Obama tape”), Obama’s lack of American citizenship (“I don’t know what to make of it… but wanted to put it out there”), that the Obama campaign had copied its logo from a hilariously dissimilar Weather Underground symbol, that Obama is the love child of Malcolm X (literally!), etc.
One thing’s clear: While these folks have had a poisonous net effect on American politics, there’s not much they can do about the election now. So let’s see what happens there, and return to them in the aftermath. Whatever the result, it’s a cinch they’ll continue to offer a grim sort of entertainment, whether they’re howling in triumph, or in defeat.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 3, 2008