Monday, February 22, 2010

The Latest Show on Earth


It must be exhausting being on the right these days. The near-constant unfocused rage, the endless paranoia, having every little fear that lurks as a mere shadow in your mind amplified by guys like Glenn Beck until it becomes positively paralyzing; it's gotta be a tough life.

I hate to keep harping on this, but if you once again need a reason why it's so difficult for me to align myself with the modern right in this country even for a few minutes, even when I happen to agree with some of the basic tenets of conservatism, look no further than the torrent of crazy-and-dumb that gushed out of last week's Conservative Political Action Conference in DC. So much of the damn thing served as a really tragic reminder of just how thoroughly the inmates have taken control of the asylum of Republican politics. Within the span of just a couple of days, you had Tim Pawlenty obligatorily invoking the Almighty and hitting the usual high note with the red meat crowd by suggesting that it hit the boogeyman of big government with a golf club, this coming the day after a guy crashed a plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas; Andrew Breitbart frothing at the mouth in one pissed-off tirade after another aimed at any ostensibly adversarial reporter who got within ten feet of him; and of course the aforementioned Beck, the belle of the ball, dragging out his chalkboard and going into full faux-Beale mode to the delight of the audience, who must've put it along the lines of finally seeing the Stones perform their greatest hits live.

Here's the thing, though: I'm not even inclined to give those guys a giant ration of crap anymore for their contrived Angry Everyman routines. That's because each of them has something to gain by being a professional shit-stirrer: Pawlenty wants to be president and knows he needs whack-job base-appeal to make it happen; Breitbart's readership is largely comprised of white college kids who love it when he snarls like a rabid pit bull at their perceived liberal wuss enemies; and Glenn Beck has made himself millions doing the best piece of living performance art since Andy Kaufman. It makes sense for them to give the audience what it wants because they get something in return. The problem, of course, is the audience. It's the fucking dimwits being used as stage props in this perpetual side show -- the ones who don't simply adopt the shallow opportunism of carnival barkers like Beck or even Sarah Palin as gospel, but who then act on those beliefs. The people who give standing ovations to Dick Cheney or hand conspiracy theorist Ron Paul a victory in the CPAC straw poll.

This isn't to imply that conservatives are dumb-asses by nature, since that's not the case at all, only that the movement is content to be based on stupidity and irresponsibility rather than cogent reality. And for those who would claim that the left indulges in the same kind of exploitation of its fringe, there's just no comparison, not these days; the truth is that most Democratic politicians run like scared little girls from the label of "liberal." Part of the reason the left is as divided as it is right now is that those who claim to carry the mantle of truly left-wing politics feel completely disenfranchised despite having had a supposedly friendly face in government for the past year. A byproduct of the right's admittedly impressive knack for sticking together and staying on message is that its fringe always has a voice; the left can't say the same.

There were of course a few real highlights at CPAC: unapologetic egghead George Will's speech was excellent, as was the round audience trouncing that homophobic fuckstick Ryan Sorba took when he went off on a rant against gays -- although a joke can easily be made that getting thrown offstage at CPAC for being anti-gay is like being Steven Adler, kicked out of Guns N' Roses for doing too many drugs.

Once again, though, the issue is the effect that some of the most virulent government-bashing and pissed-off-white-guy bloviating is having on a group of True Believers already suffering in a desolate economy and looking for someone to blame -- and the fact that the right continues to embrace the craziness of the fringe it's creating rather than denouncing it, because somewhere along the line the self-serving end of votes and money became a hell of a lot more important than what's good for the country. And who's being put at risk.

Read on:

Mother Jones: Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason/April 2010

Related:

DXM: Protecting America from Whatever/10.21.09

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chez,

I'm one of those dimwits who supports Ron Paul.

May I ask a specific issue or two on which you find Paul's stance objectionable?

DrewJ

Suzan said...

My sister and husband just got back from CPAC. I cannot believe I am related to these people.

ntx said...

... and, the whole freaking CPAC shindig was co-sponsored by the John Birch Society. Really. You thought they had died maybe 40 years ago, didn't you? Nope. They're back, just as bat-shit crazy as ever, but now mainstream conservatives are taking them seriously enough to cash their checks.

RottweilerTOM said...

Chez, the most entertaining aspect for me personally was that YAFer individual, however insignificant overall, the pimple on a fetus Ryan Sorba - who got up to lambast the organizers for inviting a gay group - then for 10 seconds going off about his "natural law" theory and thus gays essentially should in concentration camps let alone being in the audience.

Aside from his psuedo-intellectual nonsense, he is just a guy you want to punch in the fucking face...with a brick.

MPP said...

high-five, drewj!

MPP

Chez said...

You know something, Drew -- it was probably wrong of me to seemingly lump Ron Paul supporters in with the Dick Cheney fans or to make it sound like they're the same group -- they're obviously not. That said, I'm not a huge fan of Paul's and I take issue with the staunchly libertarian opinion he claims espouse; it's one of those things that looks and sounds really good at face value but is completely unrealistic in practice.

Chez said...

No school functions today, MPP? Thanks for proving my point about white college kids, by the way.

Doc said...

STRAIGHT white college kids, Chez. You know, the ones that told us to vote for Nader 'cause there wasn't any difference between Bush and Gore.

*ouch*

60ft6in said...

Graig Nettles said: "The John Birch Society is going to expel Eric for making a Red famous." Spoken after the San Diego Padres Eric Show gave up the record breaking 4,192nd career hit to Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds. That broke Ty Cobb's major league record of 4,191 career hits.

Eric Show was one of three San Diego Padres who were members of the John Birch Society. Dave Dravecky and Tim Lollar were the others. Did you ever wonder why Jimmy Buffett sings "I don't want to land in San Diego" in his "Volcano" song? Bob Dylan wrote "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues," narrated by a paranoid society member who looks everywhere for Communists, even in his toilet bowl and at one point decides they are in his television set.

Eric Show died on March 16, 1994 by overdosing on a speedball (a mixture of cocaine and heroin). He should have stayed with his fastball.

Congressman Larry McDonald (D - Georgia) was the newly elected president of the John Birch Society when he was a passenger on Korean Air Lines flight 007 that was shot down by the Soviet Union over Sakhalin island on September 1, 1983. Did McDonald have a license to kill? Perhaps they should change their name to James Bond Society. When I crank up my stereo I listen to JBL speakers, not JBS.

Peter L. Winkler said...

Excellent post.

MPP said...

chez,

here in 2010, we have internet access, even in law schools!

judging from the timestamp, evidence was just letting out.

thanks for your concern, friend. what's your point about "white college kids?" if you've spent any time in the ivory tower recently, let me assure you that conservative (whether religious fanatic or libertarian) views are far, far, far from the norm.

Chez said...

I'll take your word for it.

Bill Orvis White said...

Glenn balances out the MSM by presenting a viewpoint no one sees anywhere else. This unique viewpoint is called, "The Truth." Chez, I beg you to review Glenn's speech and you will find that he is dedicated to a life of teaching Americans the fundamentals of rugged individualism. I can send you a high def gold plated Blu-Ray copy of this treasure. Of course, Glenn hit it way out of the park when he explained how progressives, who are only 20 percent, control the country. How is that Chez? It's because the MSM and Hollyweird control the conversation. Talk radio, FOX News, Newsmax and certain books are still outnumbered, Chez!!!!!! WE the People in Real America are the majority, yet a few elites who sip $10 non-fat lattes which are warming in their luxury heated mugs in their homosexual-style BMWs in the Godless Northeast are in total control of Big Government! You September 10th Secular Progressives need to get yer heads out of the sand!
The comfort in all of this will be in November, when we will get back most of our government and this time, we will keep it. We will expand Gitmo, our military, school choice, freedom of religion and patriotic big oil companies that pollute.

Anonymous said...

Chez,

OK...I guess we don't agree on libertarianism's practicality.

But Ron Paul's beliefs (and mine) are held sincerely, and it undermines healthy political discourse when name calling takes the place of debate.

How do we know when we're wrong if we don't talk with those who see things differently?

DrewJ

Chez said...

I talk with those who see things differently all the time -- but once I've done that, have researched for myself and have made a general decision, I reserve the right to express it however I'd like, particularly when it comes to a little indignation. This by the way doesn't mean you can't push back -- which you just did very politely and articulately.

I hope we straddle a fine point at the nexus of fairness, entertainment, outright mockery (take a look at the masthead at the top of the page), and occasionally juvenile humor around here.

I'm very much for rational discourse, but that doesn't mean I won't take a few shots now and then if I think something is ridiculous.

Ref said...

The Sorba incident was breathtakingly hypocritical. hese are the kind of dipshits who think they're not homophobes because they don't, you know, want to kill all the gays. Plus that, Chickendick Cheney's daughter is one of THEM.

These asshats are like the white Southerners who insisted they weren't racists because they'd never personally burned a cross and they thought the world of their maid.

RottweilerTOM said...

Bill, it's just not fair to call what I drive as "homosexual-style BMW". I would like to think I drive a homosexual-style Mazda because, you know, I have student loans I'm still paying. But once I do pay 'em back, 535i here I come, which should attract all the boys in WEHO.

P.S. I don't mean to scare you but I know an awful amount of homos here in Weirdland that drive Yukons. So it's hard to tell. What do you drive?

Mart said...

My trouble with the Lib's is depending on their stripe they have to break from their no government services & no government intrusion stances. Ron Paul is a hard right anti-abortionist - so it's OK for government to intrude on woman's choice. I give credit to Paul for being anti-war costs when most of his ilk give an exception for the military. Looking at history I just can not imagine how less government regulation is always considered a good thing. On the plus side most of them want to legalize it.

Bill Orvis White said...

@RottweilerTOM
A WHITE 150 of course -- a he-man machine. Tom, just follow my lead and I'll fix you.

Chez said...

That's right, Tom. You just stay right behind Bill. That's where he wants you.

Bill Orvis White said...

@Chez
Roosevelt is already right there behind me -- in the back of the 150 on hot days. That's when he put on his tight white tank top that shows off his huge arm muscles.