Take a moment to remember the Bush years, and the way liberals talked about our 43rd President. As we recall it, Bush was regarded as a dummy and, if not a bloodthirsty rightwing radical himself, at least an enabler of same. Occasionally you’d hear him called a fascist, which rightbloggers would laugh off as a symptom of “Bush Derangement Syndrome” (“epidemic in New York’s Upper West Side and the tonier parts of Los Angeles,” said Charles Krauthammer in 2003).
Flash forward now to the second Obama Administration, which makes the Bush Years look like the Era of Good Feelings. After years of warnings that the Kenyan Pretender was hoarding ammunition and forming death panels to put all his enemies into FEMA camps, there is literally nothing rightbloggers won’t believe about Obama.
Last week may have been a high-water mark in this regard, as some perfectly ordinary politicking, the legal and tax problems of some prominent conservatives, and a ridiculous statement by a venture capitalist combined to spur the brethren to declare themselves and their allies, the rich and powerful, victimized by Democrats.
On January 24 the Wall Street Journal published a letter by rich guy Tom Perkins, who wished to “call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich’… Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”
This loony letter was roundly mocked by everyone… except rightbloggers, who thought Perkins’ comparison of liberals to the Nazi SA was apt.
“The Konservativ Kristallnacht is here,” cried Flopping Aces. “First they came for Romney donors. Then they came for the Tea Party. Then they came for Obama critics. Then they came for those critical of Obamacare. Then they came for the Friends of Abe. Then they came for the big names in Conservatives. Conservative Kristallnacht…”
There was the obligatory picture of Obama as Hitler, and then the remedy: “It is super-important that the GOP take the Senate and contain the fascist beast that Barack Obama has become,” said Flopping Aces. “It would be highly gratifying for the GOP to retake the White House and visit upon these far left radical democrats the grief they have heaped upon conservatives.” Well, like Walter Sobchak said, at least it’s an ethos.
(The “Friends of Abe” reference is to a conservative Hollywood group whose tax exemption has been delayed, which is widely referred to as a “blacklist,” the meaning of which has apparently greatly changed since the 1950s, when it meant victims would be prevented from working for many years.)
“Barack’s Pogrom: The Rising Tide of Hatred Against the ‘Evil’ One Percent,” raved Donald Douglas of American Power. “Herr Barack has been exhorting his progressive Brownshirts to violence since taking office. (Before taking office, actually.)” As evidence, Douglas linked to a rightwing report of Obama’s “troubling ties to, and longtime relationship with, the unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist [Bill Ayers]” — yeah, that one — and Obama’s paraphrase of a quote from The Untouchables, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” which seems like an old political home truth, not to mention something of which the NRA would approve.
“And it’s all coming to a head this year, ‘Obama to make inequality the defining issue of 2014,'” Douglas continued. “Bring it you leftist scum. Just f-king bring it.”
At National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy claimed Obama was giving “the Pitchfork Treatment” — and, further down, ‘jihad” — to financial services giant Standard & Poor’s, whom the DOJ was prosecuting for fraud in relation to the 2008 financial crisis — which, McCarthy explained, had nothing to do with banker malfeasance: “Of course, the root cause of that crisis was government coercion of the financial sector,” he wrote. “Uncle Sam pressured financial institutions to extend mortgages to poor credit risks — pressure that left-wing activists, such as a young lawyer named Barack Obama, capitalized on by bringing lawsuits that alleged racial discrimination against reluctant lenders.” This will be familiar to connoisseurs as the right’s ooga-booga alt-explanation of choice for the financial crisis: Activists giving houses to black paupers to wreck the economy, while arbitrageurs looked on in helpless perplexity.
It wasn’t only Democrats who were ganging up on the rich, either. At Fox News, Adam Shaw denounced “Pope Francis’ war on aspiration.” For one thing, the Pope declared, “Oh how I long for a poor Church for the poor!” which Shaw called “a perfect summary of Francis’ papacy, a primary theme of which has been a peculiar dislike of prosperity.” Howe also attacked the pope’s “typically derisive attitude toward the American quest for self-development… an attitude that is often encountered among rich European liberals.” We remember when conservatives tried to convince Catholics that they had mutual interests, before the pope went commie. Guess they don’t need the votes.
Some of the brethren put up a brave front. After Senator Chuck Schumer attacked the Tea Party, Fox News had a “former Navy Seal” on TV to rattle off rightblogger boilerplate (“you’ve also have Huey Long, which was king fish. who was also, his big thing was wealth redistribution. and those were hate-mongers. and you’ve got the KKK who was Democrats and left-leaning people, Margaret Sanger…”). Caleb Howe‘s play-by-play at The Right Scoop was everything a homer could hope for: “The liberal on the panel begins to chuckle his objection, because in the face of the ugly truth about Democrats, the only thing he can do is try to laugh off history,” he reported. “…But guess what liberals? You called down the thunder. Well, now you’ve got it.”
Thunder ain’t much without lightning, but you go with what you’ve got. And what the brethren had was bad news they made a blessing by proclaiming their victimhood.
Some days back New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on a radio show that “extreme conservatives” didn’t belong in New York State. Rapping “extremists” has been political bread and butter since Goldwater went down in flames but, this being the era it is, dozens of the brethren stepped up to claim the mantle of extreme conservatism, and to say Cuomo was being prejudiced against them.
“If you are a believer in the U.S. Constitution, just remember they are talking about you,” said Doug Patton at Right Wing News. “In New York, conservatives are ostracized, marginalized and victimized,” said Selena Owens at WorldNetDaily. “…they’re diseased. Eradicate them… [Cuomo] also expects New Yorkers to fall in line with his politics and wholly espouse abortion rights, anti-gun legislation and a pro-homosexual agenda.”
“I’m not sure Cuomo would have made such a remark if the new boundaries of liberal intolerance had not been set clearly by President Obama,” analyzed Keith Koffler of White House Dossier. “…Cuomo was merely expressing the opinion, and the hostility, that characterizes baseline liberal thinking about conservatives. Send the to Mississippi with the rest of the wingnuts!”
When New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended Cuomo, the Center for Western Journalism reported, “Socialist NYC Mayor Backs Cuomo’s Ban On Conservatives.” They added, “After Cuomo’s comments, numerous prominent conservatives – and countless other patriotic Americans – began to consider the feasibility of moving to a more welcoming state.” Praise Satan, we may get those cheap rents back! (Many of the brethren also plumped a story that de Blasio has devoted insufficient snowplow resources to the high-income Upper East Side of Manhattan because he hates the rich; “Flaky Socialist NY Mayor Bill De Blasio Wages Class Warfare One Snowflake at a Time,” yelled Bryan Preston of PJ Media.)
James O’Keefe, Breitbart’s old video pest, got into this act by announcing, per Fox News, that the state Department of Labor “has hit his office in Westchester County, N.Y., with demands for financial documents for months.” The DOL said they do that to everyone who hires contractors, and that O’Keefe had been dodging their requests, but never mind that: “[O’Keefe] compared it to IRS targeting of conservative groups nationwide,” Fox News went on, and you know how the brethren feel about that.
“Is Gov. Cuomo Targeting James O’Keefe?” asked Bryan Preston, and apparently the answer is yes, as Preston reproduced an entire O’Keefe fundraising pitch based on it (“The harassment is never-ending, and it is expensive to keep defending. Would you consider donating $25…”). “Cuomo begins Targeting Conservatives, Starts with Filmmaker,” said Politisite. “Barack Obama has transformed America into the one spelled with a KKK,” blathered Don Surber.
When the Department of Justice charged right-wing author Dinesh D’Souza with campaign finance fraud, claiming he’d been paying people to contribute to a candidate so that he could get around the legal contribution limits, rightbloggers declared there was nothing to the case — even though the candidate people think D’Souza was funding, Wendy Long, has apparently agreed to testify against him, and his own lawyer described his actions as “an act of misguided friendship” — and blamed the prosecution on Barack Obama’s mean streak.
“Dinesh D’Souza Indicted By Eric Holder’s DOJ,” cried J. Christian “Not MY Attorney General!” Adams at PJ Media. “$500,000 Bond For Dinesh D’Souza – Good Grief – It’s Expensive To Be On Dear Leader’s Enemies List,” babbled The Last Refuge. Jason Howerton of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze uncovered “9 VIOLENT CRIMINALS WHO PAID LESS FOR BAIL THAN ‘2016′ FILMMAKER DINESH D’SOUZA,” including “A MAN ACCUSED OF HOLDING ELDERLY MEN IN A ‘DUNGEON.'”
“Obviously America [D’Souza’s next project] is a book and movie the Regime would prefer we neither read nor see,” ominated Dave Blount at Right Wing News. “The release probably cannot be stopped at this point, but if D’Souza is sufficiently discredited, fewer will listen to his message.” That was the plan all along — to stop the D’Souza phenomenon! “It appears,” huffed Blount in his conclusion, “that mutual disrespect, contempt, and suspicion are all that can be expected between Americans and the statists who have been fundamentally transforming our country.” As the 2012 election results showed that statists now outnumber Americans, we can understand Blount’s sulky tone.
“This isn’t our country anymore — Dinesh D’Souza, James O’Keefe and the 2014 Communist Manifesto,” cried Jennifer Davis at Victory Girls. “It seems Mr. Cuomo is learning a lot from watching our harasser in chief go after his political enemies by using instruments of the state — IRS targeting Tea Party groups ring any bells?… This America is the sad shell being sluffed off of our formerly vibrant nation and unless we all do something and start reversing our course I am afraid that we will continue to get the government we deserve and watch our beloved freedom shrivel up and die on the vine.” America has got to unsluff itself!
“Coincidence: Hollywood’s only conservative group is getting close IRS nonprofit scrutiny,” said Some Guy at Ace of Spades in ominous chiaroscuro. “Another Coincidence: James O’Keefe Group Being Audited by NY. Again. Yet Another Coincidence: Dinesh D’Souza Indicted For Election Fraud. Still Another Coincidence: IRS Proposes New 501(c)(4) Rules That Just Happen to Cover Most Tea Party Groups. Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin’s ‘John Doe’ Subpoenas… If you want to see what American fascism would look like, well this is it,” said Some Guy before the streetlamp guttered out, leaving America in darkness.
“Even if the accused [D’Souza and O’Keefe] are hypothetically guilty of something it is hard to imagine that politics did not play a role in landing them in a pickle,” said Richard Fernandez at PJ Media. Oh, why would that be hard to imagine? “Political considerations and factual innocence are not correlated,” explained Fernandez. “They operate independently of each other. Guilt is a circumstance while political considerations are the circumstance that gets things noticed. For as the saying goes, ‘just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.'”
No, we don’t get it, either, but Fernandez was much clearer about how the Obama Administration “would love to send a chill down every conservative’s spine… Which administration hack would not enjoying watching their rivals react to each knock at the door like the summons of doom?”
And maybe that’s all the reasoning you need, at least if propaganda’s your game: If someone you like gets indicted, or has his tax-exempt status delayed, or hears harsh words, it can’t be his fault; it has to be a criminal conspiracy. Glenn Reynolds, rightblogger kingpin, wrote at USA Today that the crazier right-wing tropes — e.g., “that Chief Justice John Roberts’ sudden about-face in the Obamacare case might have been driven by some sort of NSA-facilitated blackmail” — “would have been dismissable as paranoid conspiracy theory” once upon a time, but now, “while I still don’t think they’re true, they’re no longer obviously crazy. And that’s Obama’s legacy: a government that makes paranoid conspiracy theories seem possibly sane.”
In other words, Obama is so evil that nothing is beyond him, so what you squares consider crazy is conservatives’ new normal. No wonder, then, that the current Republican Presidential front runner is talking about Monica Lewinsky. If it doesn’t matter whether a scandal is true, it shouldn’t matter if it’s 20 years old, either