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The New Barbarians November 2, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics.
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Tuesday’s election will put conservatives back in power at least in the House and in many state governorships.

I haven’t had time to absorb exit polls and results, but now is a good time to remind readers of the kind of people who now have power and influence and can claim to speak for America.

First up is Republican “strategist” Jack Burkman on a recent talk show defending U.S. foreign policy under George Bush. I don’t think I have seen a better example of the thuggish, rank immorality that passed for leadership just a few years ago. The other guests on the talk show can’t seem to decide whether they should laugh or throw a tantrum.

 

h/t Three Quarks Daily.

Next up, Alex Pareene at Salon gives out awards for the best race-baiting ads of the happily concluded election season.

[…] California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman wins an honorary Baity for putting the border fence in her ads, then lying about it, then running a Spanish-language ad claiming that she’s against the Arizona immigration law.

Next up: Nevada’s Sharron Angle, who just may defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, despite the fact that basically everyone acknowledges that she’s crazy. Angle shot out to an early lead with her “Thanks, Pal” ad explaining how much Harry Reid loves Mexicans, who are scary. […]

You’ll note that happy, white college graduates are compared to young Latino men in backwards baseball caps. Reid wants to give the Mexican ones in-state college tuition, which is for some reason horrible, because we must never allow immigrants to go to college.

And it goes down hill from there. The article and accompanying 16 videos provide a litany of brutal anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican screed pandering to every imaginable racial fear lurking in the electorate this year.

And this article would not be complete without a quote from conservative activist and former rock “star” Ted Nugent speaking at a rally for West Virginia Republican John Raese:

God bless the attitude. I love your attitude. I got some spirit going wild out there today. You’re really turning me on. But here’s how you will win, and if you don’t do this, you’ll lose and Nancy Pelosi will keep her puppet. Here’s how you fumigate the rats . . . If each of you don’t get an army of voters to get John Raese to go to Washington and fix it, if each of you don’t get all your friends, all your co-workers, all your neighbors, everybody in your life, you cannot relax between now and Tuesday. You might not even want to sleep. You might want to realize that it’s not good over bad. It’s good over evil.

Here is the video via Juan Cole:

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=politics/2010/10/30/ted.nugent.rease.rally.cnn

As Juan Cole notes:

Nugent’s rhetorical technique is to dehumanize his opponents. Pelosi does not have a political ally but a “puppet.” The Democratic representatives are not humans, but “rats.” He is talking about Al Franken, John Dingell, and Nancy Pelosi. They are rodents and ‘varmints.’ He even uses the language of mass murder against them. He calls for them to be ‘fumigated.’ That the Democratic Party is the party of urban ethnic minorities, of Italian and Polish Catholics, of Jews, of Latinos and African-Americans, and that Nugent was demonizing them before an all-white rally in West Virginia, underlines the ethnic tensions on which he was implicitly playing, and in that context his imagery of extermination is extremely smelly.

Nugent contrasts the vermin in Congress to an imagined organic community of hunters, church-goers, and bowlers, who must mobilize as an “army.” The use of fascist imagery, of solidarity-producing activities producing a martial commitment, is striking. Only about 4 percent of Americans hunt, and only ten percent fish. Less than a third regularly go to church. The organic army he is raising is clearly white, relatively well off, unusually religious, and able to afford rural estates. (Nugent was born and raised in old, white, industrial Detroit but now lives on a farm, from which he did a reality show for clueless city-slickers such as his teenaged self had been).

His flourish is to end on an ominous black and white note. The political battle, he says, is not a matter of choosing good over bad. It is good over evil.

Nugent is a horrible human being, perhaps not all there. He told a British journalist of Iraq in 2006, “Our failure has been not to Nagasaki them.”

American Democracy will not survive if we continue to put people who hold these views in office.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

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Comments»

1. Matt Orr - November 2, 2010

“The article and accompanying 16 videos provide a litany of brutal anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican screed pandering to every imaginable racial fear lurking in the electorate this year.”

Oh, I get it…when Obama gets elected, everything is rainbows and lollipops. When that same electorate goes with Republicans, they become enveloped in racial fear? Please.

2. Nina Rosenstand - November 3, 2010

Dwight, I know your post is a first-response to last night’s results, but the story seems to have many additional facets, such as this one (an AP article, not SDUT):
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/nov/03/minorities-ride-gop-wave-to-groundbreaking-wins/

I honestly don’t think the GOP establishment views Ted Nugent as an official spokesperson. Ol’ Ted is apparently in trouble in several states for violating hunting regulations. Lots of private people have weird views, on both sides of the political spectrum.

Dwight Furrow - November 3, 2010

“I honestly don’t think the GOP establishment views Ted Nugent as an official spokesperson”

Ted Nugent is a well-known activist who was invited to speak at his campaign rally by U.S. Senate Candidate John Raese and appeared on the same bill as Sarah Palin, at this point probably the leading candidate for the Presidential nomination in 2012. What sense of “official” do you have in mind?

” Lots of private people have weird views, on both sides of the political spectrum”.

Indeed. The difference is that for liberals the “weird views” are not endorsed by office holders, candidates for office, or liberalism’s intellectual infrastructure. What weird views do liberals have that compare to “birtherism”, “tenther” views of the constitution, or the overtly racist appeals in the linked videos, all of which have been endorsed by mainstream Republicans?

As to the success of minority candidates in the GOP, the numbers are significant only in contrast to the dismal historical performance–2 black representatives (the first since 1996) out of roughly 239 seats is hardly impressive. The issue is not whether GOP voters will sometimes vote for minorities–obviously they do occasionally. The issue is the willingness of campaigns to use race-baiting as a campaign strategy.

3. Nina Rosenstand - November 5, 2010

“What sense of “official” do you have in mind?”
The so-called GOP Establishment. And neither Ted nor Sarah are part of that, yet, anyway. And apparently that Establishment is now tearing into the tea partiers, blaming them for the loss of the Senate majority. No, I don’t think Nugent is much appreciated there.

And instead of “private people” I should just have said “celebrities”…


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