It’s the catch-all explanation for any and all opposition to the Obama Administration’s policies these days. But while catch-all explanations are very attractive, they are also very intellectually suspect.
Fortunately, a host of links–many of them from the good people at Reason are designed to take on intellectually suspect arguments.
1. Matt Welch takes on Joe Klein. And asks a good question in the process:
. . . if, as the growing media narrative contends, the Republicans have devolved into a rump party of half-sane white southerners wracked by racial anxiety, why does it keep rewarding anti-racist anti-populists at the top of its presidential ticket (including, notably, the ticket that ran against a liberal Democrat black candidate), while rejecting every dime-store Tancredo with prejudice? When does this allegedly mainstream Republican pathology begin showing up in the numbers, or in the personages of those who lead the party?
No response is forthcoming from Klein.
Do the noisy protests directed at President Barack Obama’s health care plan reveal something uniquely sinister about the American right? A surprising number of liberal pundits seem to think so. “Let’s be honest with ourselves,” progressive blogger Josh Marshall declared, “the American right has a deep-seated problem with political violence….The ideological pattern is clear going back at least thirty years and arguably far longer.”
Chip Berlet, a senior researcher at the liberal think tank Political Research Associates, went even further than that, telling New America Media: “For over 100 years—more like 150, you’ve had these movements, and they came out of the Civil War. It is a backlash against social liberalism and it’s rooted in libertarian support for unregulated capitalism and white people holding onto power, and, if they see themselves losing it, trying to get it back.”
Now, it’s certainly true that the United States has seen some brutal right-wing thugs over the years, particularly during the Cold War and the Civil Rights struggle of the mid-20th century. But Berlet’s ridiculous claim that “libertarian support for unregulated capitalism” created a racist backlash stretching back “over 100 years—more like 150,” reveals nothing more than Berlet’s own profound ignorance about what actually happened over the past century and a half.
Read it all, if only to be prompted to ask yourself “gee, why didn’t Marshall and Berlet say anything about the propensity to political violence traditionally found in the ranks of labor unions?”
4. Ah, the media.
5. As Nick Gillespie rightly points out, “loose analogies between between angry, sputtering citizens at town hall meetings and Nazis street thugs and political assassins are pretty damn lame. As important, they are almost inevitably the result of a strange ideological lesion that precludes inclusion of inconvenient facts.” While we are mentioning inconvenient facts . . . behold.
6. Jesse Walker gets in on the festivities, and lets loose against Frank Rich. Laughter begins in earnest once you read what Walker tried to point out to Rich in the paragraph immediately following the first excerpt of Rich’s comments. All in all, I would say that the Reason folks must have done something utterly wonderful in a past life to be given so many targets to snark at.