Ready on Day One: Rightbloggers at the Inauguration


This week rightblogger Robert Stacy McCain said: “So far as I can tell, conservatives aren’t going through anything like the grief/angst/outrage that Democrats went through after the 2000 and 2004 elections. There may be activists who would like to generate that kind of reaction, but most conservatives have got real lives — jobs and families — and don’t go in for the sturm und drang stuff like those 28-year-old gay grad-student types who attach themselves to the Democratic Party like barnacles to a ship’s hull.”

We don’t know whether McCain’s odd reference to gay graduate students evinces grief, angst, outrage, or just a peculiar personal obsession. But a peek at our archives shows that, contrary to McCain’s assertion, rightbloggers have not been so occupied with their jobs and families that they couldn’t spare time to ferociously attack the Obama Administration since before it existed. And their reaction to the very first half-day of the real thing further demonstrates that they retain hilariously strong feelings about the recent change in government.

Attend the coverage by highly popular rightblogger Michelle Malkin. She began her day with rage at Obama flags (“But now that the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and O-ld Glory have been redefined, it’s all cool. Or as the Obamedia puts it, uber-cool”). She then offered an “Inauguration Cliche Watch” and “Obamedia Orgy Watch.”

When the action began, Malkin gave a play-by-play of “the Obamapotheosis” (“Again with the ‘humble’ stuff… He’s back in his rhythm with help from the teleprompter… Wallet feeling emptier by the second… And again with the ‘humility’ thing… Speech fizzles out”). When Rahm Emmanuel thumbed his nose at someone, she compared it to Obama’s invocation to “put away childish things.”

Follow-up speaker Reverend Joseph Lowery playfully referred to the old rhyme “if you’re brown, stick around…” and Malkin attacked his “glib racialism,” and that of bluesman Big Bill Broonzy. Then Malkin got mad that there was a picture of Obama at the White House website.

Malkin has a job and a family, but clearly it hasn’t calmed her down any.

Now let’s see how the occasion was marked by the Republican activists of RedState — presumably all good family men and gainfully employed. At 5:00 a.m. on Inauguration Day, Erick Erickson asked if Obama’s offer to Joe Biden (alleged by Mrs. Biden on Oprah) of his choice between the offices of Vice-President and Secretary of State was a “Federal crime.” At 9:10 a.m, Leon H. Wolf said, “I hope that [Obama] keeps the country safe from a terrorist attack. Beyond that, however, I hope that Barack Obama is a failure as a President.”

Then commenced a RedState live blog, containing historical perspective (“We had similar coverage for Clarence Thomas’s Appointment, right?”), media criticism (“I would expect MSNBC to do something like that, but Fox?”), calls to action (“Don’t forget everyone: Today, eat at McDonalds against Card Check”), observational reporting (“I was fine until I saw that smug ‘i’m better than all of you’ look”), and of course textual commentary (“Hey bud, we faced down Fascism ONLY with bullets and tanks,” “when the levies break, i don’t want to go to my neighbor’s house,” “Sounded like a Nationalist Socialist” “‘Brown can stick around’?! What the heck is that?! Just continuing the racialism, I guess”).

At least Mark Impomeni found something to like in the inauguration: “So help me God.” More properly, he liked “So help you God?” — Chief Justice Roberts’ set-up line. An atheist had been suing to remove the God-words from the oath, and Impomeni was impressed by Roberts’ sticking with them: “The Chief Justice is a rock star, unafraid to flout a pending lawsuit in front of millions of people, the entire Congress, and the new president.” The new president? Didn’t he want the words in, too? Sure, but that didn’t mean much to Impomeni: “Doubtless, he would have made Obama say the words even if Obama didn’t want them included.” One wonders why Roberts didn’t make Obama pledge to protect the unborn while he was at it.

Francis Cianfrocca announced “What America is Losing Today” — that is, “one of America’s oldest ideas: a robust confidence that a civic-minded people, when left to pursue happiness according to their own lights, will produce an ordered society, free of tyrannies of every kind. The very idea of freedom is now under suspicion.”

Jeff Emanuel said of Reverend Lowery’s speech, “It was likely inevitable that at least one of the many aging leaders of the civil rights movement would use his time in the limelight today to make an effort to keep the embers of the race-based flame wars from being extinguished once and for all.” (Flame wars? Well, these guys do spend a lot of time on the internet; maybe they think the protesters in Birmingham were hosed with emoticons.)

Later Emanuel took refuge in sarcasm: “To the Hollywood actors, the liberal blogosphere, and my more leftward-leaning fellow Arena contributors: welcome to the party. Most of us recognize that America is America, however much hate you may harbor for its leaders, and have supported it the entire time…” He pledged that his opposition to Obama “won’t stop him from being ‘my president too,’ or me from patriotically supporting my own country.” His colleague Warner Todd Huston followed up with “Why I Want Barack Obama To Fail As President.”

The next morning, RedStaters recapped by noting that the inauguration crowds left trash behind (“A Sneak Preview of the Clean, Earth-Friendly Goodness we Have to Look Forward to Under the Earth-First/Mother Gaia Crowd”).

And Robert Stacy McCain — celebrant of the mellow Right — did his part on January 20, rounding up inauguration outrages (did you know that “many journalists have been celebrating Obama with their Facebook status updates”?), and denouncing “Obama’s Gay Agenda” (aka “the Lavender Mafia’s wish list”), Michelle Obama’s inaugural dresses, Obama’s speech, etc. He asked his readers if they remembered “all those MSM stories where reporters were quoting ‘experts’ about the potential for a white-supremacist assassination attempt during the inauguration” (without providing links to some, even though he’d only recently posted about an actual Obama assassination threat under the curious headline “Media hypes assassination fears”).

Yet at the American Spectator, McCain made another claim of conservative sangfroid, this time in the more specific context of outdoor protests. “Under normal conditions, the typical Republican voter is politically inert,” he wrote. “He turns out to vote in November, then goes back to working and paying taxes.” He quoted P.J. O’Rourke’s jape about Republicans eschewing protests “Because we have jobs!” “That’s the simplest explanation,” said McCain, “for why there will be few if any Republican protesters at Barack Obama’s inauguration festivities.”

There is of course another explanation: why expose yourself to the elements and scream insults at the powers that be, when you can blog to the same effect? It’s easier, you can do it while on the job or among your family, and someone might pay you for it. Better still, if you’re tapping computer keys instead of marching around with a sign, you have a better chance of convincing people (and even yourself) that you’re not just some kind of nut.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 26, 2009

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