Take a pound of primal fear. Combine with a half cup of ignorance, add a bag of outright lies, top with a dash of phony controversy, whip up generously with Fox News and top with a dollop of stupid. The Party of NO might have the recipe for a win in November, if they can stir up the same scared white voters who brought the campaign to a fever pitch for John McCain in 2008 and make more of the general voters forget the GOP's refusal over the last two years of to participate in the governance of this country.
There is good news for drape-measuring speaker-in-waiting Boehner and the Not Obama Party for Everything (N.O.P.E., formerly the GOP).
Corporate America, which doesn't love all the regulations and controls being re-applied to their businesses, has been starving the job market. The Republicans cemented the stonewalling on a small business stimulus package, killing it as well, leaving government as the only place for job creation. To allow voters to get good and angry before November rolls around, Republicans and their backers are creating the problem that they want to "solve."
Their chest-thumping Republican Revolution, a patriotic ballyhoo full of thunder has been a bit shy on specifics as to what they would do differently to actually fix any of the problems that they largely engineered over the last decade or three that they've held the reins of power in Washington.
The Tea Party takeover of the GOP so far has not materialized in the primaries, where Republican incumbents have been holding their own against Tea Party candidates like Rand Paul, who have made enough media gaffes and radical pronouncements to make even Joe Biden say "Golly."
MSNBC had the audacity to show polls ten days ago that countered NOPE's assertion of the second-coming of the elephant. Their poll last week showed that only the South was a NOPE stronghold.
So those whacky mendacity-makers over at Fox News cranked up the scary Muslim mosque-of-evil rhetoric to fever pitch, generating an illusion that might even outclass the best offerings of Chriss Angel.
The story prompted Obama to come out, along with several other prominent politicians from both sides of the aisle, to defend the Constitution. Only Obama and the Democrats took heat for it though. The Fox machine sent its minions to at-risk Democrats to force them to either stand with Obama and our Constitution, or keep their skins.
The skins won, with Congressional chameleons wriggling around the anti-Muslim IMDs (Improvised Media Diversions) that the Republicans had cooked up.
The birthers surged again this week, as did the Obama's-A-Muslim crowd. According to the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, 64% of Republicans and others who disapprove of Obama's job performance label him a Muslim:
Roughly a third of conservative Republicans (34%) say Obama is a Muslim, as do 30% of those who disapprove of Obama's job performance. But even among many of his supporters and allies, less than half now say Obama is a Christian. Among Democrats, for instance, 46% say Obama is a Christian, down from 55% in March 2009.
The belief that Obama is a Muslim has increased most sharply among Republicans (up 14 points since 2009), especially conservative Republicans (up 16 points). But the number of independents who say Obama is a Muslim has also increased significantly (up eight points). There has been little change in the number of Democrats who say Obama is a Muslim, but fewer Democrats today say he is a Christian (down nine points since 2009).
On Tuesday, the bus bench in front of a voting place at a retired living facility in Delray Beach, Florida was filled with a half-dozen elderly Jewish men and women with their "I Voted" stickers who were shouting at that Obama was a Muslim when the subject of the president came up. When I inquired as to where they heard this, they replied: "Said so himself! I saw him!" Where? Fox News, of course.
Jon Stewart struck back mid-week, nailing Fox with the bad news that one of their principal owners, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was the same guy that they were linking to terrorism and the funding of the mosque near the World Trade Center site (See the video.).
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Assuming that Fox got something right, and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is actually funding terrorist madrases AND Fox News, the American people and the Arab world are being chumped on an epic scale by people who want to divert the world's attention away from finding replacements for their principal source of revenue: Oil.
Scared conservatives buy into simple imagery of nostalgia-driven narratives that blend patriotism with xenophobia to justify the flames of fear being fanned.
This week, as the polls closed in Florida, aspiring NOPE hopeful Marco Rubio, the Stevie Wonder of ambition, accepted his party's nod for the U.S. Senate race with a stirring speech about how America is the only country in the world where you are not born into your position in life, and you can choose your own destiny. It was truly moving, and, had this been 1918, it would have had some ring of truth to it.
The tired yarn, aimed at older voters who come from that Old Country-thinking, plays a little roughly in a world where the rebuilt postwar Europe now has economies far stronger than ours, and equally free.
As to his jingoistic, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps spiel, there are a lot of executive women and minorities in corporate America who can tell you that they're still not welcome in large numbers in the board room or down at the country club, but they're also not really welcome in the Republican Party either.
The NOPEs think that they can sell just about anything with the right amount of spin. John Boehner, tan of skin and lips of shade, made a speech this week calling for the restoration of tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans that sounded like more good old fashioned populism.
"Unless Congress acts, virtually every American will see their taxes go up on January the first," said Boehner to a business organization in Cleveland. "President Obama has stated that he wants to stop some tax hikes, and not others, once again putting government in the position of picking winners and losers, and pitting taxpayer against the taxpayer."
The made-for Fox quote angles Obama as an agent of class warfare, picking on Average Joe. Another Joe, Vice President Joe Biden, had a different take:
"President Obama says the middle class can't afford higher taxes in this recession. They need expendable income. That they've borne the brunt of this recession. So the President has proposed to extend the tax cuts for 98% of the American people, the middle class and those striving to be in the middle class. What Mr. Boehner wants to do is extend the tax cuts to the remaining 2%, and that means having to go out and borrow another $700 Billion dollars over the next ten years to give them the $100,000 tax cuts [for] someone making a million dollars."
He went on to remind Americans:
"For eight years before we arrived in the West Wing," Vice President Joe Biden told an audience in a speech later that day, "Mr. Boehner and his party ran the middle class and the economy literally into the ground. They took a $237 Billion operating surplus inherited from the Clinton Administration and left us with a $1.3 trillion deficit, in the process quadrupled the national debt, all before we literally turned on the lights in the West Wing, before we did one single solitary thing."
Other pundits have countered that it is difficult for Mr. Obama to achieve anything without even a modest amount of cooperation from the NOPEs.
The problem is that logic and reason are trees falling in the woods. Fox News isn't there covering it, so a lot of Americans aren't hearing it. Jon Stewart is more effective at combatting the NOPEs than the Democratic Party and its candidates, but even his large audience is a drop in the bucket. The media mime success, and slavishly imitate ratings winners. Right now, Fox, with its faux populism and its WWE mentality for developing news story lines, is where the ratings wins come from. You don't go broke underestimating the American people.
The Republican Party tells us that they want to be the do-it-yourself store to rebuild the house that is America. Personally I remember that they're the same arsonists who burned it to the ground, and that their suppliers have a vested interest in making sure that we get another six more years that looked like Bush's eight and the post Reagan thirty.
The Dems may not be doing a bang-up job, but Republican rhetoric is full of sound and fury, devoid of solutions. They also showed a cowardly lack of leadership, and have allowed you, me, and Average Joe suffer for their political gain. That's not worthy of anyone's endorsement.
Another Lehman Brothers? Another disastrous war? My kids paying for $700 billion in rich folks' tax credits while we have trillions to pay back to the Chinese and the folks in the Middle East? My daughter's freedoms curtailed, and the U.S. Constitution tweaked to the satisfaction of a handful of reactionaries?
No thank you.
My shiny two.