Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New political goldmines: Loonies, liars, haters


By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer

The "lunatic fringe" and their obsessions—Elvis is alive, John Kennedy is a brain-dead patient in a secret foreign sanitarium, U.S. moon landings are fake, water fluoridation is a communist plot, the earth is flat—once were shrugged off with chuckles.

Now, with the anything-goes blogosphere, where inane rumor becomes fact, and with fiendish encouragement from Republican politicians and their conservative shock troops using fear and absurdity as persuasion, lunacy is mainstream.

It's a political goldmine. Combine crazies with haters of government, stir vigorously with generously added lies from rightwing mercenaries, and—presto!—a whole new voting bloc of herded sheep is mobilized.

Sarah Palin tapped into the lode with her crackpot claim that President Obama's "downright evil" health-care plan would create "death panels." Obama's plans also are "socialism," although I'll bet Palin can't define socialism (Webster: "A system or condition of society or group living in which there is no private property.").

Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner is as irresponsible with his dimwitted echo—that Obama plans "euthanasia" for seniors. Boehner gives new meaning to the nickname of his congressional realm, "the lower House."

Fruitcake declarations from Rush Limbaugh are strictly business. Rush's limited value system derives from his oceanfront Palm Beach mansion compound (worth $44 million), a personal $60 million Gulfstream 550 jet and a succession of three wives and who knows how many girl friends. To protect this lifestyle and $50 million-a-year broadcasting contract, Rush constantly elevates nuttiness to keep his ditto heads audience believing, including that Obama is probably an "illegal immigrant."

Aspiring to displace Limbaugh as the premiere airwaves screwball, Fox television's Glen Beck has decided Obama "hates white people," his white mother and his white advisers included.

Scant few Republicans have publicly denounced this insanity. Most GOP leaders delight in grassroots bedlam and insurrection, no matter the peril to orderly government. Since no such rebellious outrage occurred when American civil liberties were authentically threatened by the Bush-Cheney abuse of constitutional rights, rightwing rejection of Barack Obama as the nation's legal president and "take our country back" chants of the white scrums seems to be pure racism.

Inciting hot-tempered, monkey-see, monkey-do rabble to mindless chaos and civil disorder at congressional town halls lays the groundwork for anarchy and inevitable violence against established authority.

You doubt? MSNBC television filmed one such town hall demonstrator brazenly wearing a holstered semiautomatic pistol and brandishing a sign paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson's quote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."




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