Romney Is Running Against An Illusion!

I’m sure you’ve all had this experience before. You are conversing or tweeting or facebooking with someone and they characterize President Obama in a way that is so far from the truth that you wonder if the person is living in an alternate reality.

The prime purveyors of this alternate reality are Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Both of those entities reach many millions of people on a daily basis and spread so much misinformation that the fact checkers and honest journalists are overwhelmed – they can’t keep up with it. If you need examples, go spend a few minutes at Media Matters for America, which does an excellent job of keeping an eye on those two propaganda machines.

I read an interesting book review in the New York Times yesterday that alluded to that alternate reality. I don’t agree with the reviewers full characterization of Obama’s first term, but he points to the above idea in a concise way in his review of Charles R. Kesler’s book I Am the Change. (emphasis is mine)

Whenever conservatives talk to me about Barack Obama, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. But what exactly? The anger, the suspicion, the freestyle fantasizing have no perceptible object in the space-time continuum that centrist Democrats like me inhabit. What are we missing? Seen from our perspective, the country elected a moderate and cautious straight shooter committed to getting things right and giving the United States its self-­respect back after the Bush-Cheney years. Unlike the crybabies at MSNBC and Harper’s Magazine, we never bought into the campaign’s hollow “hope and change” rhetoric, so aren’t crushed that, well, life got in the way. At most we hoped for a sensible health care program to end the scandal of America’s uninsured, and were relieved that Obama proposed no other grand schemes of Nixonian scale. We liked him for his political liberalism and instinctual conservatism. And we still like him. […]

The Claremont Review doesn’t like Obama one bit. But it has usually taken the slightly higher road in criticizing him, and when Kesler begins his book by dismissing those who portray the president as “a third-world daddy’s boy, Alinskyist agitator, deep-cover Muslim or undocumented alien” the reader is relieved to know that “I Am the Change” won’t be another cheap, deflationary ­takedown. Instead, it is that rarest of things, a cheap inflationary takedown — a book that so exaggerates the historical significance of this four-year senator from Illinois, who’s been at his new job even less time, that he becomes both Alien and Predator.

It isn’t just Republicans who have this mindset, I hear very similar “inflations” from the libertarian trolls on Twitter and in the blogosphere. They seem to have molded their reality to fit their perceptions and of course take in any information that agrees with it and reject any that runs counter to it. This next passage is particularly good.

But his systematic exaggerations demonstrate that the right’s rage against Obama, which has seeped out into the general public, has very little to do with anything the president has or hasn’t done. It’s really directed against the historical process they believe has made America what it is today. The conservative mind, a repository of fresh ideas just two decades ago, is now little more than a click-click slide projector holding a tray of apocalyptic images of modern life that keeps spinning around, raising the viewer’s fever with every rotation. If you want to experience what it’s like to be within that mind on a better day, then you need to visit “I Am the Change.”

The reviewer doesn’t mention what I think has a lot to do with that rage, RACISM! I don’t, however, attribute all of it to racism. Having been an observer of politics for many decades, I know that at least some of it is rage against “liberals” in general. President Clinton had people accusing him of murder and all sorts of other batshit crazy stuff and of course you don’t get any whiter than Bill, at least on the surface.

So to me, it’s a combination of deep seated racism bubbling to the surface, the vilification of all “liberals” in the style of Frank Luntz and the effect of the Fox News/Limbaugh projects that have misinformed millions of Americans for right-wing political gain.

I miss the Republican party that used to be based on real ideas, as stupid and misguided as they were. It’s nearly impossible to debate a right-winger these days, because you can’t even get them to agree to objective facts and instead have to spend your time trying to educate them about reality.

On November 6, 2012, we can all do the country and our discourse a favor by sending every Republican packing.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles


5 thoughts on “Romney Is Running Against An Illusion!

  1. I’ve written before about my discussions in the early 1960’s with a German student studying at my American college. The young man, my age, was only a child during WWII. We both remembered food rationing and air raid drills huddled behind black-out shades except he lived near Bremen, Germany (and I near Bremen, Indiana) where there were actual bombs dropping near his home. He and his German classmates grew up with much guilt, especially with revelations of the Holocaust coming to light. But like many children, he was reluctant to initiate discussions with parents and other adults who seemed to want to forget the war including talking about it (especially around children). Finally, when my German friend was in his mid-teens, he had built up enough courage to start asking questions and his parents finally began to talk about how they were duped by the Nazi propaganda machine.

    Germany had been in an economic depression since WWI. They suffered joblessness and record inflation. At first it seemed the Nazi fascists were the saviors of the people. The Nazi war machine got factories humming again, put people back to work building ships, planes, armored vehicles, munitions. The improving economy with constant vitriolic ranting from the Goebbels propaganda office made too many Germans fall in line. My German friend told us American students that by the late 1930’s his parents’ generation realized they had helped to create a monster but had no alternative except be imprisoned in a “work camp” as a dissident. They couldn’t escape Germany (remember the Von Trapp family in Sound of Music?) as the nation was now fenced in, the border crossings were sealed. One either “went along”, joined the military, worked in armament factories or one could elect to be imprisoned, even be executed! Then the constant bombings from the Allied Forces began, not only targeting military targets but too often innocent residential areas with no military significance at all. There is a human tendency that if one is targeted, attacked, and stirred up by propaganda to resist “the other”, people will band together and rally against the outside force. My German student friend never forgave his nation but after long talks with his parents could forgive many in their generation.

    I worry about the propaganda machine we have in Fox News and hundreds and hundreds of right-wing Clear Channel radio stations beaming lies to every corner of America, fomenting hate across our land. Goebbels would be proud!

  2. I have a very good German friend in her sixties, still struggling with it. The German people were forever marked. I’m not sure how this compares with what is happening now in America; but both are quite fascinating.

  3. The propaganda film by Dinesh D’Souza’s, 2016, is till spreading HATE at many Houston cinemaplexes. The REICH wing eats this crap up.

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