They’re called Neoconservatives. Some of them on the far Right are called tea baggers or members of the “Tea Party.”
Before we get started, let’s remember what the Tea Party is. This is a group of Mad Hatters, wildly scampering about the landscape of the country, willy-nilly, without a clue as to what is really going on. Among them, for example, a woman marching against health care reform with a sign that says: “Hands off My Medicare.” This is a woman in a march sponsored by FreedomWorks, which in turn is sponsored by the Koch Foundation, an organization that wants to do away with her Social Security and Medicare!
These are people who support politicians like Sarah Palin, whose only real claim to fame was that she was the mayor of a city smaller than the lunchroom at Microsoft and for half a term was governor of a state smaller than Omaha, Nebraska. She has made $12 million in one year on personal appearances, speeches and a book, all of which offer no solutions to anything.
Sarah in Wonderland, which, to someone of her limited capacity, this new gig really is–and she knows it–merely attacks Democrats for money. Nothing has to be true. It can all be through the Looking Glass. It merely has to boil the eggs of those Right Wing nihilists who applaud every time the government fails.
Now get this. She is “writing” another book. She has virtually acknowledged that she never reads but does fish a lot. A woman who runs from place to place making speeches at supposedly $100,000 apiece and who can’t even name a magazine she’s read wants us to believe that she is writing another book before she is even through signing all the copies of the first book that she “wrote.”
She makes a living–this housewife turned moderately glamorous TV commentator–by attacking a President and the greatest brain trust in Washington since Jack Kennedy. Not only is this President an academic and political wunderkind, but his Cabinet includes a Nobel Prize winner and so many valedictorians and tenured professors from the Ivy league that they could set up their own system of higher education, including probably the best law school faculty in the country.
Education is not the only measure of success…ask Bill Gates or other successful businessmen or women…in moving organizations and institutions forward. Not by a long shot. But there is a difference between constructive and destructive criticism. When your entire daily output of thought is merely the same tired speech taken from place to place, as Palin’s is, a speech which is debunked by any number of knowledgeable people–on the first day–but you don’t change it and simply keep repeating it, then maybe you’re not the best person to be criticizing a group of experts.
Sarah Palin said recently, for example, she doesn’t know if there is any connection between the President’s taking campaign contributions from BP and other oil companies and why it is taking so “doggone long to get in there, to dive in there…” Apparently his attacks on BP and his establishment of a commission to both investigate culpability for the oil spill and methods to try to contain it are not enough for her. She acts as if he could plug the hole himself.
Despite the fact that every expert says that BP and any other drillers who understand deep sea drilling are the best ones to fix it, Palin constantly rants about why the President is not fixing it. The people who should have fixed it were the engineers at BP who, over the last several years, encouraged by the Bush Administration cut back on redundancies because of the relaxed pressure from regulators.
She has recently taken to attacking the President on immigration. She encourages the other states around Arizona to create he same law that is probably going to be ruled unconstitutional in Arizona. Even so, in March of 2009 the Deparment of Homeland Security announced a $700 million program to beef up border patrol anti-drug dealer activity on the border, including hundreds of new border patrol agents, more FBI, and $59 million to border states for increased border protection personnel. It tripled the number of Homeland Security people working with Mexican authorities and doubled the number of teams dealing exclusively with finding and destroying violent criminals on the border, such as drug dealers and gangs.
But it is not just Palin. Every day people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck set out to make a point. And here is the point they want to make: things are going wrong in America. Things are wrong with our system. People pay too much in taxes. The government, meaning the Democrats, does not care about the real people. We are in constant peril. And big business will take care of us while big government will destroy us.
And no one does the crazy speak better than the Mad Hatter himself, Glenn Beck. You could tune in any day and get something whacky. Beck’s method is really only the old Rush Limbaugh formula which is simply the oldest of propaganda methods warmed over.
For example, the President, made the statement when discussing financial reform that: “We’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned, although I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money…”
But here’s what Beck does. He took just the last part…”…although I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money….” and remember, we’re talking about Wall Street now, not football players or actors or CEOs of large corporations. The President was specifically speaking about banks and financial institutions and specifically hedge fund managers.
He was speaking about people who are basically taking investors’ money, i.e. your 401K, etc.and gambling it on risky investments and getting rich. Of course if they lose…your money is also lost and you do not see any of those gigantic returns if it wins. They pocket the lion’s share of the investment returns. So that is what the President was discussing, but Beck just took a small part of it, “…although I do think that at a certain point you’ve made enough money…” and used it to make his point.
And what was Beck’s point? Beck implied that the President was saying that some people should not be allowed to make too much money. He showed the photos of some prominent Democrats on a blackboard and next to them their net worth. For example, we all know that George Soros is rich. Beck shows his picture and then writes next to it “$14b” (billion) Below that he has a picture of Bill Clinton and next to that he writes “$35m (million) and then a photo of Al Gore and then John Edwards and Michael Moore, and next to each one, and others who are multi-millionaires he writes their net worth. By the way, while he is scrawling away on the blackboard, he was whistling some random sounds as he goes along.
Then he goes to another black board, and on this he writes, “Mr. President, why don’t you ask your friends to set the example on how much is too much?” Then he signed his name under it, “Glenn Beck” and then dramatically walked off the set. The message is, of course, that the President’s friends and allies are not the poor populist media commentators like Beck ($23 million last year alone) or Hannity ($200 million over ten years) or any of the Republicans who are immensely wealthy, like the multi-billion oil families or the health care CEOs, worth an average annual income of $14 million. Annual income.
This is the kind of ridiculous commentary we get these days from the Right. It is typical…when Americans see this kind of nonsense being allowed on television…for people to think that it is normal to discuss serious matters in this way…without ever approaching the issue. Just sly comments, essentially lies, being shot out at anyone for any reason. In other words, there are no rules of discourse. So it actually promotes more of this “through the looking glass” kind of unrealistic tea party behavior.
Let’s take this. First of all, you saw the entire comment above. Beck just took part of it, a casual comment with which any of us would agree….does a relatively poor baseball player deserve to make a hundred times more than a top operating-room nurse? We know the answer. But he made it the whole focus of his argument. But we all know that George Clooney makes hundreds of millions because he his handsome and is a moderately good actor and is very appealing to women. Hey…it happens. Beck, by the way, last year made $23 million himself. Limbaugh made $40 million.
But President Obama was making that obvious comment in the course of saying that we must regulate derivatives. Did Beck mention derivatives? Of course not. He wouldn’t know a credit default swap from a bag of popcorn. Did Beck put up any famous Republicans, like some of the Republicans, Jack Abramoff for example, or Enron’s Ken Lay or Jeffrey Skillling or the head of Exxon who left with a $400 million retirement package?
What about Limbaugh, Hannity or Palin, all who have become rich by doing the very same thing we just demonstrated that Beck does? Of course not. Beck is paid by Murdoch to attack the Democrats. Did he mention Murdoch’s $5 billion or so net worth, made on girlie magazines, sensationalist supermarket tabloids and a Right Wing Republican “news” channel? Negative. He did not.
And if you see the people who are the hard-core Beck watchers…the ones who go to his web sites or who look him up on YouTube.com, they are invariably hard core Obama haters, birthers, white supremacists, homophobes, and flat-out racists.
On any given day, at almost any hour you can now turn on the radio or television and find someone speaking for the Right Wing, ready to tear down the country. And why not? There are media moguls working for corporations who make fortunes trying to reduce this country to ashes in order to make the kind of money they feel that they deserve.