It’s the day before the 2016 presidential election and I can say, as a longtime observer of rightblogger behavior, that this may be the craziest I’ve seen the brethren since they announced in the run-up to the Iraq invasion that we’d be greeted as liberators.
Like the warbloggers of old, the current Trump fans’ ravings are a mix of willful lies and wishful thinking. While the Trump-averse rightbloggers crouch with their heads down, moaning if Trump wins at least he’ll make liberals sad and Germany I mean conservatism will be stronger after this, mark my words, the Trumpkins are stacking bullshit like it was for a firebreak to save their homes.
In the days before any election, partisans stretch truth badly in both directions. But Trump fans’ hostility to verifiable fact, probably inspired by that of their boss, is off the charts.
I mean, check out this story from “AmericaNews24” headlined “Denzel Washington Switches to Trump Shocks Hollywood-, Speaks Out Against Obama.” The premise is bullshit, as are the quotations attributed to Washington. But even better: the base URL for the site is “breitbartt.co.” That’s right — the trumpscammers are now trumpscamming each other with lookalike URLs! They’re like bums trying to pick each others’ pockets.
And in the final week of politicking, things were even worse.
There was Obama’s famous handlingof a heckler in Hershey, Pennsylvania — shown on tape to be gentle and respectful, and eventually calming the crowd that had been booing the heckler, but described by Trump as “screaming” and a “disgrace.” Trump’s Twitter minions reinterpreted it as you’d expect, e.g., “The way #Obama handled his heckler was terrible! He mocked him, lost control of crowd, increased hate, looked unhinged & weak.”
The pros in the Trump camp, however, were more artful about obscuring the truth. For example: “Watch: President Obama Yells At His Own Supporters For Shouting Down Trump Protester,” headlined TownHall. “Kudos to the president for standing up for the protester’s free speech rights, but shame on him for lecturing his own supporters like they’re a bunch of adolescents,” said TownHall reporterCortney O’Brien. “You call that leadership? No — and it certainly isn’t a very encouraging tone for Clinton’s campaign. The last thing she needs is more negative optics…”
Other rightbloggers took the same line (“Obama battles unruly crowd“) and William Kristol of the Weekly Standard used it as proof of his highly counterintuitive headline theme, “Obama’s a Dud On the Stump.” That the crowd took a minute to follow his lead, Kristol said, showed they “preferred heckling a Trump voter to being heckled by the president.” Give Kristol credit — that’s not just bullshit, that’s USDA Prime bullshit.
You probably also heard that on Saturday the Secret Service hustled Trump offstage in Reno, Nevada, because someone yelled “gun.” You probably also heard that there was no gun — just a “Republicans for Trump” protestor who raised his sign and says he got the shit beat out of him before the Secret Service scooped him up and let him go.
Well, rightbloggers didn’t hear that last part (“Assassination Attempt On Donald Trump!… Clinton mafia want to stop him by any means!”) or, if they did, knew that The Truth was Out There, and spent Saturday night scouring Wikileaks for the name of the beaten protestor, Austyn Crites, eventually finding it on a list of people who bought books from global policy shop Stratfor, which led to a full-on Questions Remain situation.
“Apparently it was a rolled up poster [he held],” one genius at Trump Reddit deduced. “But the motion was clearly intended to agitate people and I’m assuming incite a beating so the HRC campaign can whine about how violent Trump rallies are.”
“So somehow Crites was associated with Stratfor, a CIA-linked intelligence gathering company with all sorts of nasty links,” said Scott Creighton of American Everyman. Gasp! Maybe he also bought books from Amazon, run by infamous libtard Jeff Bezos!
Trump diehards the Last Refuge claimed Crites “attempted to rush the stage,” and noted that he went to the University of Chicago, doubtless because the Obama/Alinksy/Frankfurt School connection is a key element of far-right theology.
“Austyn Crites’ photo on Facebook is new as well as his account because he is wearing the same clothes he wore to the rally in his Facebook photos,” Joe Hoft said at Gateway Pundit (no, not Jim Hoft, Joe Hoft — either Jim’s got a relative in on the grift, or he’s trying for plausible deniability).
Meantime rightbloggers churned all other available bullshit, hoping to alchemize a formula for victory.
Take Hillary’s emails, which are on the verge of achieving Benghazi status as a story no one wants to hear anymore (especially since Comey ignominiously backed off on Sunday). When Fox News’ Bret Baier had to retract his “bombshell” report of a coming FBI Clinton indictment, Hot Air’s Guy Benson shook a fistful of rhetorical straws, claiming the charge was only “quasi-denied” because NBC’s Pete Williams, in his report on it, “couches his language with a number of softening caveats. There isn’t ‘really’ an active probe, he says, adding that ‘few’ would characterize the inquiry as an investigation.”
Benson, on the other hand, asserted that “it appears as though the FBI’s reopened email probe is turning up new and relevant evidence, that some form of FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation is open (to one extent or another)” [emphasis added]. Now, that doesn’t sound couched at all, does it?
Fake equivalence was another popular favorite. At the Federalist, Mollie Hemingway‘s column was headlined “3 Ways The Clinton Campaign Became The Trump Campaign,” and subtitled “The Donald Trump campaign has featured conspiracy theories, insults, and claims that voting systems are rigged. That is exactly like Clinton’s.”
Trump “is always talking about rigged systems,” see, and “Clinton operatives” complained about Comey’s unprecedented interference with a national election. Same diff! And true, Trump’s a birther and thinks Ted Cruz’s dad killed JFK, but Clinton — get this! — thinks Trump is in league with Vladimir Putin, when at every turn Trump has denounced Putin as “a leader far more than our president has been,” “always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond,” etc.
Despite this shitstorm, large numbers of presumed Clinton voters ran gauntlets of Republican voter suppression to early-vote, which angered National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg, who found their willingness and ability to go to the polls anti-democratic.
After all, Goldberg argued, “one might wonder why people who decry the rise of ideological polarization and partisanship are so eager to make it easier for hardcore partisans to vote… Every day we hear pious actors, activists and politicians talk about the solemn and sacred duty to vote, and yet everyone wants to make voting easier and more convenient… Nothing truly important, never mind sacred and solemn, should be treated as a trivial convenience.” Like, what if you could just roll out of bed and go to church? It would take all the divinity out of God!
After a Clinton appearance with Jay-Z and Beyonce, we got pretty much what you’d expect for the honky hordes: “REPORT: ANTI-COP BEYONCÉ TO CAMPAIGN FOR HILLARY CLINTON IN OHIO” raved Breitbart.com (“As Breitbart News previously reported, Beyoncé has spent years stoking anti-police sentiment”). “The Clinton crowd was quick to scram once the music went silent,” claimed Tom Tillison of BizPacReview, who also asserted that a simultaneous Trump rally outdrew Clinton’s based on the testimony of “social media users” such as “Deplorable C Buskirk.”
“Jay-Z Drops The N-Word While Campaigning For Hillary Clinton,” cried Hannah Bleau of Chick on the Right, who apparently had never heard rap music before. “This is what Hillary is doing less than a week before Election Day,” she closed, “Inviting foul-mouthed rappers to campaign alongside her.” Whereas if you follow Trump you can get that kind of language from the candidate himself!
And there was the Marina Abramovic thing — in which, because Clinton operative John Podesta was once invited to the famous performance artist’s “Spirit Cooking” event, it was claimed Clinton and everyone around her were witches. (Life’s too short, here’s the explanation.)
LifeZette straight-up asserted that “Podesta attended ‘Spirit Cooking’ event” despite Podesta’s denial, probably on the theory that if the story is sufficiently nuts, ordinary rules of evidence don’t apply. “Podesta’s participation in ritual occult magic raises serious questions about his morals,” continued LifeZette’s Edmund Kozak. “It could also explain the Clinton campaign’s barely disguised antipathy toward the Catholic Church.”
“It Begins… Hillary Clinton ‘Spirit Cooking’ Posters Pop Up in Los Angeles,” said Jim Hoft (yes, Jim, not Joe this time; Joe probably had to help Mom rake the leaves). Rightwing posters in Los Angeles, as regular readers know, are an ancient bit of rightblogger fakery meant to make their most insular memes look like they’re going viral.
But as with the Obama heckler, some of the pros twisted rather than broke the truth. “IS PODESTA INTO SATANISM?” asked Catholic League uberscold Bill Donohue. “There is no evidence that John Podesta ever participated in, or was a devotee of, Satanism,” he admitted. “But that doesn’t close this issue entirely,” because Podesta has “a friendly relationship” with Abramovic, and though Podesta claims to be Catholic, “personally,” said Donohue, “I never met a ‘practicing Catholic’ who associates with occult gurus such as Abramovic.” Also, Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin! If that doesn’t turn you off Clinton, Donohue will show you some dismembered fetuses.
“Observers note Podesta’s Catholicism as a reason why he likely didn’t participate in any Satanic ritual,” said the Daily Caller’s Betsy Rothstein. “But in this election cycle, one can’t be too sure of anything.” Questions Remain!
On and on it goes. Election eve will be wingnuts ghost-dancing around a bonfire of bullshit. Soon enough we’ll see whether it did them or their candidate any good. (Or not — if Trump wins, I think it will have less to do with the strats and tacs of rightbloggers, and more to do with Original Sin.) Win or lose, though, I can guarantee you this: These guys are never getting any less crazy.