October 17, 2008

Wingnut Parade

If Barack Obama becomes president, all the wingiest wingnuts will come out of the woodwork. You think the yelling at McCain rallies has been crazy? My friends, this is the calm before the storm.

But still, there's always a baseline level of fluctuating right wingnut radiation.

Ed Whelan, of the National Review Online "Corner" is lamenting the fact that Roe v. Wade didn't come earlier, because if it had maybe Obama might have been aborted and McCain wouldn't have to run against him. OK, he doesn't say it like that, because he talks about how he thinks Obama should think about it, not how Ed Whelan thinks about it.

These Back To The Future what if fantasies are some of the lamest "you missed the frickin' point" arguments around abortion. Hey, I can make up a silly "what if," too! If the executives in charge of AIG had never been born, because of legal abortion, they might never have needed a bailout! By opposing legal abortion, you're enabling executives to spend ridiculous amounts of money even after getting a bailout. Why do you hate America?

There are fundamental and serious disagreements on abortion. Trivializing it with stupid "what if" scenarios just makes Ed look like he not only disagrees, but just doesn't get it. Disingenuous or doltish? We report; you decide.

Over the wires, robots are calling your friends and neighbors on behalf of McCain. Jake Tapper notes that the stops are all out: McCain Robocalls: Obama Is a Baby-Killing, America-ignoring, Hollywood-loving, Terrorist-Loving ...

Friends of this blog have already received such calls. This must be what McCain meant about running an honorable campaign, and that he "didn't care about a washed-up terrorist." But, even more disturbing, McCain is allying with the same robots that helped Bush defeat McCain in 2000's primaries. if McCain wins, clearly he will put robots in control of the country. This is going to frighten his main demographic: old people.

By the way, stay classy, GOP ladies of the Inland Empire.

Altered Obama photo in GOP club newsletter sparks outrage

If you missed that story, it's about a newsletter with Obama's face altered and placed on food stamps with fried chicken, ribs, and watermelon. But it wasn't intended to be racist! One of the women even supported Alan Keyes some time ago! Of course not. Listen to this rock solid argument:

The use of watermelon, ribs and fried chicken was innocent, she said.

"Everyone eats those foods, it's not a racial thing."

OK, let me try that one on for size. Why not add a noose, a guy in a sheet, and a burning cross? Everyone uses rope, sheets and... well, who doesn't like to be warm?

I could go on all day, but I have work and a shotgun post later. Feel free to add links to silly wingnuttery in the comments.

Posted by James at October 17, 2008 9:26 AM
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Everybody eats pizza, too. Why wasn't there any pizza on the food stamp picture?

I don't want another 4 to 8 years of right-wing hysteria like what we had during the Clinton administration. (Then again, did that slow down much during the Bush years?) But I'll take any number of years of wingnut rhetoric rather than wingnut rule.

Posted by: Julie at October 17, 2008 10:33 AM

Just posted this in my own blog: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/waterboard-him.html
Hardly silly, and hardly "fringe." Positively chilling.

Posted by: Karen at October 17, 2008 10:40 AM

Well, I WAS in a good mood this morning. Now I feel ill and full of dread. I love the reprimand bit, as well. It seems somewhat disingenuous. One of our people did something offensive that is now being carried by all the media outlets. We reprimanded them and they took it down. See! We have integrity. No harm done.

That's kind of like the old gag we used to do at McD's. "I could say Matt is a fat, lazy, moron, but I'm not going to stoop to that!"

Posted by: briwei at October 17, 2008 11:41 AM

Brian, I think that working at McDonalds we honed abilities that would have made us good at running really dirty political campaigns.

It's a good thing we had other skills and became productive members of society instead!

Posted by: James at October 17, 2008 12:00 PM

I don't even get that Osama ad from Karen's link (good example, Karen). So, if ONLY one of the two of them has BS, you're either saying that Obama does not have BS, or Osama does not have BS.

Not only are we going to have to put up with wingnuttery, but a lot of it is going to make absolutely no sense -- even from a wingnut point of view!

Posted by: James at October 17, 2008 12:03 PM

I'm wondering how bad it is -- are regular people just too dumb to vote? Are they voting for Obama because of a combination of Katrina and the current economic crisis? I noticed that people didn't care too much about the war in Iraq until Katrina happened. That's when they started questioning the flightsuit-in-chief and when the tide started to turn. Is public opinion as capricious and malleable as it seems? Governing this country is complex. Is it too complex for people to understand, well enough such that they can vote?

I sincerely believe that Al Gore did not lose the 2000 election and John Kerry did not lose the 2004 election. Exit poll data showed that Kerry won 2004. It was vote fraud that lost the Democrats the election both time.

Now will Obama be able to overcome vote fraud?

Once he does, will he and the Democratic congress be able to set things straight sufficiently that the Republicans won't be able to pull this crap again?

My fear is that people are truly stupid enough to vote George Bush into office twice. But if that's not true, I won't chuck all of my ideas about Democracy and just cling to the hope that we'll fix the election system this time around -- if we can only get in there to do it -- and things will be okay from here on in.

If there wasn't sufficient vote fraud to lose those elections, as I believe, then I'm concerned that the very ideas of Democracy are flawed.

Posted by: Maggie at October 17, 2008 1:59 PM

Maggie haven't I mentioned my core belief that people are stupid.

This belief is reaffirmed daily both in the news as well as in my own interactions with people.

Democracy IS flawed. We let all these morons vote.

Apparently there are people out there who require a math test to allow them to use email after drinking yet all they have to do to vote is show up.

I do not want the average Joe six-pack the plumber (who apparently is named Sam, is not a liscensed plumber, is a registered republican and owes back taxes) to decide the future direction of this country. Unfortunately he probably will.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at October 17, 2008 2:57 PM

RE: Ed Whelan's "What if the South had won the war" style of fantasy story ("Former Fetus Barack Obama")

This is like asking, "Would the Romans stil be with us if they had had access to RPGs, which would have given them the edge in combat?"

What is the point of Whelan's speculation? Wait, I know: Bloviation Supreme. Mind your own damned business, people.

And to the racist morons who thought the fried chicken & watermelon coupon was funny, I say this: You marginalize yourselves even further when you do stupid shit like this. You and your sad, bitter, cling-to-the-good-old-days-when-folks-knew-their-places attitude are irrelevant. The world is marching on from divisiveness and oppression.

When women got the right to vote, people were pissed. The country got over it.

When blacks got the right to vote, people were pissed. The country got over it.

My oh my, we might very well have one of those black people as our president! Yes, we very well may. And if (pray god) it happens, some small fraction of the idiots who comprise this great country of ours will be pissed. They'll get over it or not, it doesn't really matter and I do not care. The point is, the country will get over it, we will move on to the business at hand, and in not too much time, people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

Posted by: Patti M. at October 17, 2008 3:43 PM

I'm not so worried about voter fraud this time around because I sincerely don't believe that enough people with the ability to make it happen want to help McCain win. At least not enough to exert the effort. His brother isn't the governor of Florida, for example, and his father was never the head of the CIA.

It was different with Bush. There were people with power and money who had reason to believe that a Bush presidency would help them retain their positions. I don't know how many people feel that way about McCain. I know he is trying to cultivate that image while appealing to plain folks, but in truth I don't think he's winning anybody's confidence.

It's not that I don't think there will be some fraud. There is always fraud, and I'm sure we'll hear about plenty on both sides in November. But no matter how dishonest you are, you either need to feel strongly enough to take the risk for free, or else someone has to bribe you to do it. Is the motivation there? Enough to steal the election even though the polls for McCain seem to get worse and worse?

Posted by: Julie at October 17, 2008 5:01 PM

I just read that Colin Powell is going to do an interview on Meet the Press this weekend. Evidently, many people are expecting him to endorse Obama. I have no idea how plausible that is, or if it matters at this point.

But if he does endorse Obama, the racist "artwork" we've seen so far - the waffle mix, the BS thing, the watermelon/fried chicken food stamps, etc. will look like nothing compared to what comes next.

Posted by: Julie at October 17, 2008 5:55 PM

Re: The coming shit parade of racist paraphernalia should Powell endorse Obama, I disagree. As awful and odd as it sounds when I type it, I have to say that I think "white America" likes Colin Powell.

Sigh. When oh when will we get to a place where there isn't a white America and a black America and an asian America, and women's marches, and men's marches, and this group and that group. For pity's sake, we are all people who live together. Could we just get over ourselves already?

Posted by: Patti M. at October 17, 2008 6:08 PM

And now, some fun with wingnuts.

I give you the Leftist Marching Band of New Hampshire and their song "Wingnut," which we heard them perform at Honkfest 2008 last weekend in Davis Sq., Somerville:

http://leftistmarchingband.org/sounds/ASaluteToTheNSA/10_A-Wing-A-Nut.mp3

"We can't wait 'til Bush just goes away."

Posted by: Patti M. at October 17, 2008 6:20 PM

White America may love Powell, but Racist America loves him only as long as he doesn't do something that offends them.

Posted by: Julie at October 17, 2008 7:43 PM

I'm actually feeling pretty positive these days. See, I think we are witnessing the complete meltdown of the Republican party. How can one party hold Palin and Ron Paul? Those are people from different worlds. It looks like the libertarian part of the party is gaining a resurgence and those guys are dying to dump Palinites. I hope that happens. This time there is no Reagan to will them back together.

I would love nothing more than to see that party completely fracture, to completely lose all validity as representatives of the US or its citizens, or its law. I believe that the wingnuts are a small portion of the party and of the country and past time that they get dropped. They aren't helping the GOP win seats anymore.

There's going to be a lot of shit coming down the pipe, so, changes are coming for sure. I hope they don't destroy our country. So, I'm scared for the immediate future, but I do think that it will work out in the longer run.

I just want to point out that I have nothing against conservatives, but I HATE Republicans. And the Dems are so ineffectual they couldn't even beat Bush - TWICE - after an unpopular war even. (and I mean beat by a good margin, not a sliver)

Still, catastrophe breeds change. Fasten you seat belts.

Posted by: Rui at October 17, 2008 11:07 PM

I believe that the wingnuts are a small portion of the party and of the country.

You're right, and unfortunately, like the child who screams long and loudly on the T, they got their way (I suffered through the screaming child on the Red Line yesterday).

However, I futher agree that their time has passed. The Parents (that's the rest of us, including traditional Republicans who focus on fiscal matters) have had it and are gearing up to deliver the spanking the NeoCons have needed for a very long time.

Posted by: Patti M. at October 18, 2008 8:03 AM

I have yet to hear a fiscal conservative admit that the over-indebted American consumer has anything to do with Americans trying to simply maintain their standard of living in the face of dropping purchasing power and relatively flat wage increases over the last 10 years or more. Most of them just seem to want to call any change in the tax structure "socialism."

Posted by: James at October 18, 2008 8:58 AM

Julie,

The way Republicans perpetrate vote fraud is by disenfranchising voters, predominantly poor, elderly, and minority voters, all of whom lean Democratic.

One way they do this is by the crap that just happened in Ohio -- by coming up with some scheme to compare voter roles to a database that was never intended for that purpose, and challenging every single person whose data doesn't match perfectly.

People put up with this (only, thank goodness not in Ohio this time) because they're afraid of voter fraud. Voter fraud is what the Republicans get people all stirred up about ("an illegal alien might get a vote and then it's handouts for everyone!"). There's very little voter fraud. But when vote fraud happens, it's on an enormous scale -- hundreds of thousands.

Not fraudulent, but still on the idea of disenfranchising voters, is the states that require people to show ID at the polls. Poor and elderly might not have ID, and to obtain the state ID costs money. Yet another step that makes it less likely they'll vote.

Maybe the Republicans don't love McCain, but the wingnuts are shitting their pants that Obama could be president. Do you know who I mean? Barack *Hussein* Obama? The only difference between him and Osama is B.S.? THAT guy? There's enough fear and racism and hate to do anything to prevent him from becoming president. And Republicans can't stand to lose. Their tiny brains are in a tizzy right now because they can't understand how everybody else can't see how obviously RIGHT they are. They don't need to explain it, it's just OBVIOUS. I mean, Bill Ayers -- need they say more? It's that simple.

Rui,
I think we are definitely going to see a transformation in the Republican party. Let's hope it's taken over by the forces of good and not a different force of evil!!

Maggie

Posted by: Maggie at October 18, 2008 9:10 AM

Most of them just seem to want to call any change in the tax structure "socialism."

Unless it's a move to the flat tax, which is like socialism for the well-off.

If we want to make sure all Americans are being treated fairly with regard to taxes, we ought to look into the framework of income and payroll taxes, which touches nearly all of us, rather than concentrating on the capital gains tax, as McCain has suggested (he wants to cut the capital gains tax in half for the next two years).

McCain pushes capital gains cut, deposit insurance
"U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wants to slice the capital gains tax in half for the next two years to encourage investments and help unclog frozen credit streams."
http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/10/13/daily29.html

Who Pays Capital Gains Tax?
http://www.urban.org/publications/1001201.html

However, "[f]ewer than one in seven individual income taxpayers reported taxable capital gains in 2006."

Mostly, higher incomes pay capital gains tax
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/523/

"But would raising the capital gains tax hurt the middle class? We conclude the answer is largely no: Only a small percentage of middle-class taxpayers pay capital gains taxes, no more than 11 percent. On the other hand, among higher-income taxpayers, about 51 percent pay the capital gains taxes."

This Cato Institute from 1995 is a good primer on the subject. See below:

The ABCs of the Capital Gains Tax
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=1101&full=1
"For all the controversy surrounding the tax treatment of capital gains, that tax brings in surprisingly little revenue for the federal government. In the 1990s capital gains tax collections have amounted to between $25 billion and $30 billion a year."

Posted by: Patti M. at October 18, 2008 9:50 AM

I meant to share this article as well:

Taxes, Warren Buffett, and Paying My Fair Share
http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/01/taxes-warren-buffett-and-paying-my-fair-share/


Posted by: Patti M. at October 18, 2008 9:56 AM

I meant to share this article as well:

Taxes, Warren Buffett, and Paying My Fair Share
http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/01/taxes-warren-buffett-and-paying-my-fair-share/


Posted by: Patti M. at October 18, 2008 9:56 AM

There's no need to lecture me on how voters are disenfranchised. I lived in the Jeb Bush/Katherine Harris state. For over a month, there were detailed daily reports on what had happened in Tallahassee and elsewhere in the state.

I'm not referring to the butterfly ballot or the recount. Those stories were interesting and got most of the attention, but the really worrisome thing was the vast number of attempted votes that didn't get cast at all on Election Day 2000.

The Ohio thing isn't a new trick - Katherine Harris did the same thing in 2000. Later, individual poll workers abused their power to confuse and turn away voters they didn't like. On predominantly black college campuses (Florida A&M, for example), students who were voting for the first time and didn't know how it was supposed to work were told that they needed special paperwork (I think it was a voter registration card - they weren't really required to have it).

My point is that these efforts get made by people with power who feel that they have something to lose if their guy doesn't win the election. Of course I am aware of the scare tactics about Bill Ayers and taxes and "Hussein" and "Osama" name confusion; but these are meant to frighten gullible people. I doubt that they interest the grownups in power who have money and can do math. They know that piddly tax increases are nothing compared to what will happen if McCain comes into power and destabilizes the entire global market with his erratic (in)decisions. They won't support fraud, including disenfranchisement, the way they supported it for Bush. They may even combat it. After all, they know who the likely perps are and what their tactics will be.

Clearly, something special is going on in Ohio - between this recent stunt and the massive irregularities of 2004. But they're going to have to be more inventive this time, because they're being watched. And not just by the usual pro-Democratic forces this time.

Posted by: Julie at October 19, 2008 1:29 PM

They have at least one new tactic, and that is to legally disenfranchise voters with voter ID laws. I'm glad the Democrats are not being complacent about this. Yes, Ohio doesn't want to look foolish again, and Ohio has a Democrat in charge of voting this time. What about other states and counties? We know about one attempt already, in addition to the legal means of disenfranchising voters, I would not be surprised if they come up with something completely unexpected. There's very little risk in attempting to suppress the vote, very few people have been convicted of that. One conviction in Ohio that I'm aware of, which again might be why they're trying to keep their noses clean this time. Long lines at certain polling places, distributing fliers with misinformation, the EVMs with no paper trail and questionable security -- none of these things led to convictions.

Posted by: Maggie at October 20, 2008 7:15 AM

Snopes is also reporting emails warning people that they'll get turned away if they have outstanding parking tickets or other petty issues (because we all know Democrats are a bunch of scofflaws), therefore don't bother to show up at the polls; or that voting will be spread over two days, with Republicans voting the first day and Democrats voting the second day.

These emails are supposedly meant as jokes, but I know there are a lot of irony-proof, gullible idiots. Not that I want idiots to vote, but I notice that Snopes hasn't reported any jokes that are intended to keep irony-proof, gullible Republicans away. (And I KNOW there are irony-proof, gullible Republicans.)

Snopes leans slightly conservative, IMO, so I don't think it's as if they're holding out on us in terms of anti-Republican "joke" emails.

I know it's not a done deal. I keep thinking of all the things that could happen in the next two weeks. But if McCain goes on the way he has been, it's going to be difficult for him to pull off a plausible win, even with a lot of fraud in his favor.

Posted by: Julie at October 20, 2008 11:23 AM

I don't remember a national election where we didn't see the polls tighten before the vote. If that happens, they'll just call it momentum.

Posted by: James at October 20, 2008 11:39 AM

Julie: Argh!!!!!

Posted by: Maggie at October 20, 2008 12:42 PM

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