In the era of Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, and Bobby Jindal, it's pretty hard to stand out in the world of conservative lunatic ravings. But Andrew Breitbart's recent opinion piece in the Washington Times truly raises (lowers?) the bar for the rest of the field in right-wing Crazytown. His thesis is that liberal blog commenters are ruining things for the conservatives' attempts to have a nice online chat.
That sounds like I'm exaggerating, but sadly, I'm actually toning his comments down. Read his whole piece if you don't believe me. It's worth reading, because YOU -- quite possibly a Huffington Post commenter -- are apparently what is ruining everything on "the Internets" for conservatives.
Because this article was written in Crazytalk (a dialect spoken only in increasingly-smaller regions of our country), allow me to translate selected excerpts for you.
A digital war has broken out, and the conservative movement is losing. Read the comment sections of right-leaning blogs, news sites and social forums, and the evidence is there in ugly abundance. Internet hooligans are spewing their talking points to thwart the dissent of the newly-out-of-power.
We must not let that go unanswered.
Some might initially be confused at the "war" terminology, but this is normal, as conservatives like to see everything as a "war" of us-against-them. So, while in a normal conversation this would be considered somewhat odd, rest assured that this is actually considered "normal" for his intended audience.
His main point is that Americans who do not agree with everything he says and believes should be silenced (and, while he never actually comes out and says it, perhaps rounded up for their own good -- because, quite obviously, they are insane and may be dangerous to the general public of conservative ideologues).
Uninvited Democratic activists are on a mission to demoralize the enemy -- us. They want to ensure that President Obama is not subject to the same coordinated, facts-be-damned, multimedia takedown they employed over eight long years to destroy the presidency -- and the humanity -- of George W. Bush.
Rational speakers of English will be confused by the turnabout of calling all who did not worship at the feet of our last president "facts-be-damned," especially since Bush's White House famously proclaimed it was not going to put up with that old-style "reality-based" conventional thought at all, but rather create their own reality. For people who have been living in Bush's alternate reality for eight years, it is a rude shock when introduced back to the cold light of reason. Perhaps they should be weaned slowly, rather than facing the fact that the only person who destroyed George W. Bush (and his humanity, for that matter) was George W. Bush.
Political leftists play for keeps. They are willing to lie, perform deceptive acts in a coordinated fashion and do so in a wicked way -- all in the pursuit of victory. Moral relativism is alive and well in the land of Hope and Change and its Web-savvy youth brigade expresses its "idealism" in a most cynical fashion.
The ends justify the means for them -- now more than ever.
Once again, reality-based readers may be confused by this. After having to defend Bush's lies and Bush's deceptive acts for so many years, they see anyone who contradicts the least part of what they say as their "enemy."
The large, stinking, whale-sized carcass of irony in that bit about "moral relativism" will also be totally lost on these people. After arguing for years that "the ends justify the means" in all things military, they would stare at you blank-faced if you asked them a simple question like: "Who would Jesus torture?" Because that doesn't fit in their definition of "wicked" at all. You have to feel somewhat sorry for them, because after wallowing in their own moral relativism for so long, they've apparently forgotten what the term means.
Much of Mr. Obama's vaunted online strategy involved utilizing "Internet trolls" to invade enemy lines under false names and trying to derail discussion. In the real world, that's called "vandalism." But in a political movement that embraces "graffiti" as avant-garde art , that's business as usual. It relishes the ability to destroy other people's property in pursuit of electoral victory.
Hugh Hewitt's popular site shut off its comments section because of the success of these obnoxious invaders. Breitbart.com polices nonpartisan newswire stories for such obviously coordinated attacks. Other right-leaning sites such as Instapundit and National Review Online refuse to allow comments, knowing better than to flirt with the online activist left.
See, there's that bit about "enemies" again. Although, I have to admit, his line about destroying "other people's property in pursuit of electoral victory" is so bizarre, even I am at a loss to translate it. Perhaps I should make a hat out of tinfoil and try again? [Pause, to the sounds of crumpling tinfoil.] Nope, still don't get it, sorry. Maybe someone ripped down a McCain campaign sign in his front yard last year? One can only wonder.
Back to the rest of it. You see, in Crazytown, "discussion" means: "getting people who proudly (and without a hint of irony in their voices) call themselves 'dittoheads' to compete with each other to see how fervently they can agree with you." It does not, as in the reality-based world, mean: "the marketplace of ideas, where everyone is allowed to speak their piece and debate the merits of their arguments." Because that would be horrible, obviously, which is why conservative websites are happier not allowing any debate than having to poison their tender ears and eyes with another point of view.
In fact (according to Breitbart) these scurrilous people are guilty of the crime of "vandalizing" the open marketplace of ideas known as the Internet, with (are you sitting down?) opinions Rush Limbaugh does not agree with. Since they are guilty of this crime (vandalism is against the law), the obvious answer is to lock them all up, or at the very least, forcibly keep them from their computers.
He then reviews a bit of MoveOn history from the Clinton era, and offers a big Valentine to the leader of the Republican Party, the aforementioned Rush Limbaugh. Read the whole article to see this bit, if interested.
"This is nothing more than the Internet version of Soviet disinformation," Human Events editor Jed Babbin told me. "MoveOn.org and the little boys from 'Lord of the Flies' who run Media Matters want to make it appear that there's huge dissension within conservative ranks on issues on which we're most united."
Dang, Babbin and Breitbart seem not to have gotten the memo that the Cold War is over. You see, in their world, "Soviet disinformation" equals: "Americans exercising their right of free speech." It is only in that wacky and bizarre reality-based world that "Soviet disinformation" equates to: "We get to say what we want to say, and nobody is allow to dissent."
This is, once again, due to a genetic deformity among conservatives. They are, seemingly, born without being able to spot irony in all its delicious forms. So, for the irony-impaired, allow me to explain more fully: most people think it's funny when you use an example to disparage your opponent when you are guilty of the very same thing as your example. I know, it's hard to understand, but this is called "irony," and others find it amusing.
The left also uses disinformation to inundate the advertisers of conservative-leaning talk shows to intimidate them from financially supporting popular mainstream shows.
See, here's another prime example. When conservatives boycott Disney for the audacity of letting homosexuals into their theme parks, that is a good thing. When liberals boycott cable television and talk radio advertisers, that is a wicked, wicked thing. But, being irony-impaired, you just have to feel sad for those who choose such hilarious and laughable examples to make their points.
Skipping over a bit here, Breitbart is just getting warmed up.
So now that the right is vanquished and thoroughly out of power, why doesn't it learn from its conquerors and employ similar tactics?
The answer is obvious. The right, for the most part, embraces basic Judeo-Christian ideals and would not promote nor defend the propaganda techniques that were perfected in godless communist and socialist regimes. The current political and media environment crafted by supposedly idealistic Mr. Obama resembles Hugo Chavez's Venezuela more than John F. Kennedy's America.
For one shining moment, Breitbart enters fully into the reality-based world. That's actually a nice turn of phrase to describe the state of the right wing in American politics today: "vanquished and thoroughly out of power." I also liked his use of "conquerors," even though, again, conservatives absolutely must see everything as us-against-them warfare, even when they admit they're losing. But then, due to the harsh sunshine of these facts, he retreats into writing comedy once again.
I laughed so hard at that "Judeo-Christian ideals" sentence I could barely manage to drag myself back to the keyboard, in sheer awe of the irony of it all. Republicans have been masters of "dirty tricks" campaigns back to Richard Nixon (and probably before, but I'm too young to remember), and have used them quite successfully so many times that it is now known as the "Republican playbook" for winning elections. There are, quite literally, too many examples to cite here. One man's propaganda is another man's (cough... Karl Rove... cough, cough) plans for a "permanent Republican majority."
Once again, please, someone go back to the late 1980s, dig out that "Cold War is over" memo, and send this man a copy. "The current media and political environment" is made up entirely of "propaganda techniques... perfected in godless communist and socialist regimes." Boy, doesn't that take you back? Nostalgia for when those godless commies were such a convenient enemy is a common trait of the right wing, who apparently haven't had an original idea since the Berlin Wall came down.
Because, see, it's propaganda and dirty commie tricks when voices other than conservative voices are allowed to be heard by the public. In Breitbart's ideal America, only conservative voices would be allowed to be heard, and all others would be silenced. The laughable fact that this actually defines "propaganda" and "communist regimes" is totally and utterly lost on the ironically-challenged.
The fact that America is built on a foundation of free speech and lively political debate simply does not exist in the conservative universe, because it is yet another of those inconvenient facts from the reality-based world the rest of us live in that they have chosen to ignore.
But, although it's tough to believe at this point, he has not yet written his funniest line. You might want to prepare yourself for this next sentence by preventatively lying on the floor, ready to roll around laughing your head off:
The Huffington Post, Daily Kos and other left-leaning sites benefit from the right's belief that there are rules and decorum in political debate and civic engagement. Of course, every now and then, a curious right-winger will go in and engage in discussion at a left-wing site, but rarely under purely disingenuous and mass coordinated means.
You see, in their world, conservatives are all polite and would never ever ever say anything mean to anyone, especially not on some liberal website. All together with me, now: "OH, PUH-LEEZE!!"
David Brock, John Podesta, am I missing something?
As a prolific consumer of online content, I value nothing more than the sincere expression of opinion that differs from mine. Sometimes I am even moved or swayed from my dogma. But that was not the type of communication that got Mr. Obama elected.
The American right is in a heap of trouble in a media age that doesn't shun the goons and liars that have poisoned the political process and won the American presidency by breaking the rules of fair play. It is time to fight back, but it won't be easy. The enemy is willing to do and say anything in order to win.
In his rousing finish, he asks: "Am I missing something?" Since I was not named directly by Breitbart (and because it is just too, too easy a shot), I will refrain from answering that. I will leave it up to all you "goons and liars" to come up with your own reality-based responses.
He slips up a bit by admitting that he can be "swayed from my dogma," since anyone with a dictionary can actually look up the term "dogma," but then he is not used to such reality-based reactions, in his defense.
That bit about "fair play" is pretty choice, too. You see, the ironically-oblivious right wing actually believes there was a stolen election in America -- but that it happened in the year 2008, not in 2000. All those people who "voted" for Barack Obama when he "won" one of those godless communistic "free elections" in "a landslide" are quite obviously "the enemy." Why they haven't been locked up yet remains a deep, deep mystery for the right.
Since this article was so completely over the top, I offer a clue to the right wing of America: if you're going to complain about totalitarianism and propaganda, you might want to look in the mirror first. Out here in Realityville, totalitarianism and propaganda equals silencing your political opponents and denying them the right to speak -- which is exactly what you are defending. This is why it is ironic, and why people are now laughing at you.
Just to clear that up.
[Note: For what I believe is the first time, I am breaking a self-imposed cardinal rule of my own writing: "I promise to avoid engaging in gratuitous flamewars (blogwars?) with other bloggers, or other media types. Much of what I read on popular blogs is merely "gotcha-ism" personally directed against other bloggers, or mainstream media types. I find these tempests-in-a-teapot boring, myself, and hope never to get dragged into such a contest." But this time, Breitbart's article was just too insulting to Huffington Post commenters for me resist. I will try to do better in the future, and offer my apologies for being provoked into writing this article. Mea culpa.]
Chris Weigant blogs at: ChrisWeigant.com