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Behind the right’s attack on Obama- Don’t be fooled by the grass-roots image of the tea partyers and the ‘10thers.’
Posted: 16 September 2009 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-rutten16-2009sep16,0,4339213.column

When members of the House voted Tuesday to rebuke South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson for the insult he shouted at President Obama during his address last week, they may have thought they were drawing a line that would halt the spread of the town hall/tea party ethos across the country.

Think again. The fact is that the right-wing anti-Obama movement in the U.S. these days is overpopulated with nuts, fundamentalists and paranoids who won’t be easily stopped by a few congressional reprimands.

Wilson, for example, isn’t just a loudmouth with impulse-control issues. He’s one of those Southern lawmakers with links to the sinister neo-Confederate movement and, as a state legislator, was one of the die-hards who opposed removing the Confederate battle flag from atop the South Carolina statehouse. He’s also an unrepentant supporter of Obama’s extreme critics. When he spoke on the House floor Monday, Wilson praised the “patriots” who turned the town halls into shouting matches and the tea party demonstrators who gathered in Washington last weekend to oppose “a government takeover” of healthcare. (Among the 179 representatives who voted against rebuking Wilson—and circulated a letter on his behalf—was Iowa’s Steve King, who recently alleged that Obama was excluding “white men” from his initiatives.)

Meanwhile, the tea party spokesman, former radio talk show host Mark Williams—what else could he be?—was on CNN Monday and was asked by anchor Anderson Cooper about his personal blog in which Obama is described as “an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and racist in chief.” Is that really what Williams thinks of the president, an incredulous Cooper asked. “He’s certainly acting like it,” Williams replied. “Until he embraces the whole country, what else can I conclude?”

Williams rather grandiloquently portrays himself as a kind of unlikely David battling an amorphous Goliath. The truth, however, is more prosaic because the tea parties are a grass-roots movement only in the sense familiar to those who know their way around California politics, where this whole thing began: The seed money and advice have come from a political action committee headquartered here and called Our Country Deserves Better. It’s actually the successor to a PAC formed to defeat Obama in the general election. Williams was hired to work for the original PAC and then moved on to where the next job was.

The operators of Our Country Deserves Better also will be familiar to Californians because they’re longtime activists on the state GOP’s extreme right flank. One is former assemblyman and unsuccessful congressional candidate Howard Kaloogian, whose one notable success was as chairman

of the campaign to recall Gov. Gray Davis; another is political strategist Sal Russo, who once worked for Ronald Reagan.

During his appearance on CNN Monday, Williams told Cooper that the movement Kaloogian and Russo got going isn’t really about healthcare reform. That, he said, is “just a metaphor.” The real purpose is to stop the slide into socialism, whose “seeds”—according to Williams—were planted under President George W. Bush and are being “nourished by Obama.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

But of all the odd ideological ducks that have been drawn into this anti-Obama parade, perhaps none are stranger or more deluded than the so-called 10thers. These are people who believe that President Franklin Roosevelt used panic during the Depression to stage an executive/judicial coup to overthrow “the true Constitution.”

That document, whose restoration the 10thers seek, would rely on a kind of fundamentalist reading of the 10th Amendment, which says that powers not given to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states. Advocates of this ahistorical and legally unintelligible reading believe it will restore “sovereignty to the states.” Adherents believe that any healthcare reform is unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment, and currently they are trying to persuade state legislators across the country to pass resolutions saying their states will reject any bill Obama signs.

A website devoted to providing 10thers with scholarly resources includes articles asserting that Sen. John C. Calhoun was right in the great nullification controversy that proceeded the Civil War and that—I kid you not—the landmark 1803 Supreme Court ruling in Marbury vs. Madison was wrong because state legislatures, not the Supreme Court, are the ultimate arbiters of constitutional legitimacy. Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, a 10ther, goes so far as to say that Social Security and Medicare “probably are unconstitutional.”

If the GOP’s remaining sober elders don’t find a way to intervene in all this, anyone familiar with California politics can see where it’s going.

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Posted: 16 September 2009 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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So the US has another civil war on their hands. They just didn

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Posted: 16 September 2009 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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So, nothing substantially different than what was going on against the previous administration.  And perhaps against the ones before that.

Really, I think that the Democrats are as much to blame for all this as are any other groups.  During the Bush administration, many Democrats basically made a sport out of ridiculing the president.  And it was often the most ridiculous possible reasons for ridicule, such as his accent or where he lived or whatever else.  Totally irrelevant things that were simply brought up out of pure maliciousness rather than as points in debate.  And they did this constantly, publicly, and loudly.  And I never saw any of the other Democrats try to moderate that.  The Democratic party could have set an example of respectful opposition, of working with the other side even while trying to reach different goals.  Instead they set an example of gratuitous disrespect towards not just the person of the president, but towards the office as well.

Now the situation is reversed, and they are acting shocked and disappointed that people aren’t treating the president with respect.  Did they expect an eight-year-long organised culture of disrespect and demonising to simply evaporate overnight?

Of course, the various news media groups are always happy to help make the situation worse by concentrating their attention on the more radical Democrats and Republicans while ignoring the vast majority of others, thus making it look as though the entire party consists of raving maniacs.  Quiet undemonstrative nonconfrontational people don’t make good sound-bites.

Really, I think that all sides are acting like spoiled children.

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Posted: 16 September 2009 08:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well said, Acci.
*minor applause*

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Posted: 16 September 2009 08:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Now Accipiter, America has a long, long lineage of making fun of our presidents. We can’t let electing the first black man as prez stop a wonderful tradition like that. wink

And unfortunately we’ve always had conspiracy nuts who think there’s some deep dark secret the government is hiding. My personal opinion is given in my signature quote. The government couldn’t organize a simple burglary into the Watergate building, what makes people think that they can organize a secret coup to completely change the American political system and start the New World Order or whatever nonsense they believe.

Which reminds me, conspiracy theoriests are always peeing their pants over the idea of the NWO, but what’s the purpose of the freaking thing besides uniting the nations or whatever? How exactly will it hurt/ruin everyones lives? Does it lead to required virgin sacrifices? Forcing people to eat puppies every Thursday? Require half of everyone’s income to go to the dread demon Zuul? Make everyone wear silly hats to work? I never get it.

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Posted: 17 September 2009 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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How come that the U.S. seems to have more than its fair share of political & religious nut cases?

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Posted: 17 September 2009 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think they are everywhere, people just focus on the US world around for some reason.

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Posted: 17 September 2009 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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eovti - 17 September 2009 04:57 PM

How come that the U.S. seems to have more than its fair share of political & religious nut cases?

Those are the people that have been predominately in power for quite a long time effectively drowning every one else out.  Or maybe I am just feeling a bit down today….....

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Posted: 17 September 2009 11:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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eovti - 17 September 2009 04:57 PM

How come that the U.S. seems to have more than its fair share of political & religious nut cases?

We’re the best at many things. cheese

Also some yahoo at some point in time decided to let everyone say whatever they want legally.  shut eye

(No, I honestly love our First Amendment. I just think that bigots, religious fanatics, white supremecists, and any of the Phelps family still living in Topeka should be denied access to the internet).

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“It’s not that I don’t think that the government would try to hide dead aliens; it’s that I don’t think the government would succeed, since every time the government tries to do something secretly, as in the Iran-contra arms deal, it winds up displaying all the finesse and stealth of an exploding cigar at a state funeral.”

~Dave Barry

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Posted: 17 September 2009 11:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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People constantly protest about their right to Free Speech being hampered.  You hardly ever hear the same people supporting everybody else’s right not to listen, though.

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Posted: 18 September 2009 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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N E O - 17 September 2009 05:16 PM

I think they are everywhere, people just focus on the US world around for some reason.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’ the US focusing on the US more than anyone else the world around.

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