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Tilting at Windmills

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October 23, 2008

THE ANGRY RIGHT.... Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn) wants a new round of McCarthyism. Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) believes liberal Americans "hate real Americans." Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.) insisted the other day that Democrats want "the American public to suffer."

Unfortunately, these aren't odd, unhinged examples. CQ has an interesting item on what GOP lawmakers say from the House floor with some regularity.

House Democrats, a Los Angeles Superior Court official and Columbia University are among the entities Republican lawmakers have described as "anti-American," "anti-American power" or "anti-American military" on the House floor in the current Congress.

Amid a backlash against Republicans who have challenged their colleagues' loyalty to America or Americans on the campaign trail, a review of the Congressional Record reveals that similar rhetoric has been in use in the House chamber, as well.

In particular, the term "anti-American" has been hurled freely in floor debates by a pair of junior GOP stalwarts, Reps. Virginia Foxx and Ted Poe .

Foxx said Democrats "seem to be anti-American power and anti-American control." Poe has lashed out at American judges, universities, and lawmakers he disagrees with.

It's hard not to get the impression that a few too many conservative Republicans just don't like Americans very much. That, and the fact that the line between wild-eyed right-wing bloggers and Republican members of Congress continues to blur.

Steve Benen 12:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Anti-American power seems to be a different thing than the much more unhinged Anti-American.

These GOPs wingnuts need to be told in no uncertain terms that to question another American's patriotism is disgusting, but let's do it in an intellectually honest way.

Posted by: Buffalonian on October 23, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm reminded of Jon Stewart's comment on the Daily Show: "We all know Republicans love America; they just hate about half the people living in it."

Posted by: Rapid Eddie on October 23, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

The quick solution to the Bachmann problem---and all the other unhinged groupies of the G. Gordon Lilly edition of Jack-handle Joe McCarthyism---would be to coat them all with a generous quantity of peanut butter (an off-brand will do; we're dealing with an economic crisis, after all), and fling them into a deep pit filled with half-starved squirrels.

Posted by: Steve W. on October 23, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

What could possibly be more "anti-American" than attempting to get half the population of the US to hate or distrust the other half?

I mean really! The two things I detest are hypocrisy and intolerance!

Posted by: chrenson on October 23, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Surprise! Some Republican lawmakers are poo-flinging mad!

Posted by: rusrus on October 23, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Seems like the repugs have forgotten that America is SUPPOSED to be a peaceful nation. America is not an empire (or shouldn't be at least).

Seems like they're hell bent on world domination. I think someone in Germany tried that a few decades ago. Didn't work out too well.

Posted by: citizen_pain on October 23, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Steve W.: deep pit filled with half-starved squirrels

I like where you're going with that. But, I prefer the Moe [of Moe's Tavern] Method. Stuff 'em full of sausage and shove a dog up their butts!

Posted by: chrenson on October 23, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

This is what is come down to now, the truth is Anti-American.

To these people opposition to the Iraq war even after five years is Anti-American, therefore, bankrupting America is Pro-American. Republican logic.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on October 23, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

One would think that if the NBA and NFL have employee conduct clauses that prohibit behavior that reflects poorly on each league,...

I can't believe our politics is allowed to function the way it does. There needs to be standards.

Posted by: ThatGuy on October 23, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Look at the crazily gerrymandered congressional districts all over the country and you can see why there is this match you describe here. The system selects for this brand of extreme partisanship. And face it, both sides have been collusive in creating this system of mutually assured reelection of incumbents. Democracy? Not! Getting reelected and raising a lot of campaign donations via K street interests? Absolutely!

Posted by: lou on October 23, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Sad to say Virginia Foxx represents my district, and I live next to the district represented by Patrick McHenry. There are no Obama/Biden signs anywhere nearby, but I am glad to say everyone I work with will be voting Democratic. The ballot is screwed up though, if you vote a straight Dem ticket, the presidential selection is not included, you have to separately vote for the president. Hoping NC will turn blue.

Posted by: Diane on October 23, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

The intellectual mettle of our early 21st century Republican party embodies poppycock and balderdash! And, such should be very scary to those among us who can think in small "d" democratic terms. -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on October 23, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't this reminiscent of 1992, the year that Pat Buchanan made his "culture wars" speech at the GOP convention? There was a similar angry tenor to the Republican campaign that year, and of course it didn't play well in the country. George H W Bush was thought to be out of touch with ordinary people's economic woes, and the cultural agenda didn't help him. So, if the past is any guide, the GOP will get punished at the polls.

Posted by: davidp on October 23, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Bachmann is getting what she wanted - an media investigation into members of Congress with unAmerican views...

As usual, be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: grape_crush on October 23, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I am a war Veteran and proud to be the R's definition of anti-American. Because in my book that means I love my country and I love the fact that I fought so those clowns wouldn't be taken out back and shot for their non-sense.

McCain will go down as nurturing neo-McCarthyism in the 21st century. This is a movement that is not going to stop on election day, this will be Clinton, squared. And McCain could not be more pleased with himself. My only solace is we have really good odds of controlling the White House and Congress so they will not have the power to implement neo-McCarthy legislation.

Posted by: ScottW on October 23, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Bachmann is getting what she wanted

He shoots! He scores!
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on October 23, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of patriotism, I have a bone to pick.

My brother called asking me to buy tickets to an Atlanta Thrasher's hockey game so that his son's Cub Scout den could perform the Color Guard duties at the game. I'm told that the den that sells the most tickets to this game gets to act as the Color Guard prior to the game?

My problem? Shouldn't the honor of Color Guard be given based on community service or other civic activities rather than given to the kids who can sell the most tickets on behalf of the for-profit organization bestowing the honor?

I told my brother that we couldn't participate for budgetary reasons (I lied--ordinarily I contribute to all children's fund raisers when asked), but the logic behind the request is, in my mind, disgusting.

Is it just me?

Posted by: CJ on October 23, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

It fits in too well with the idea that Republicans try to appeal to the lazy-minded. There are many people who think that people should all act and feel a certain way - anyone who acts or thinks differently is threatening for some reason. By demonizing those "other" people, the "other" actions or ideas can be safely ignored without being given any consideration at all. That kind of mindset also helps explains why the GOP is the best fitting party for those who are bible-thumping evangelicals. And if you don't believe that the USA is a "Christian nation" - then you're "anti-American"

Posted by: Ethel-To-Tilly on October 23, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

chrenson above is right: It truly is anti-American what the Right is doing and has been pushing others to do for the last 15 years -- prevent Democrats from voting whenever possible, shutting down government, neglecting citizens and the onfrastructure on which we all depend, subverting the law by firing honest U.S. Attorneys, throwing the Bill of Rights and the Fourth Amendment in particular under the buss (torture, wiretapping), conducting public business in secret (Cheney), declaring war based on known lies, etc., etc. Even this absurd cloture nonsense in the Senate: it's all a scam to avoid a) doing work and b) working like a democracy.

Posted by: SF on October 23, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

This angry sentiment against the left and the questioning media has been building for decades.

Indeed, many would argue it never went away. If you look back to the early 20th century, hatred and bigotry were easily ignited against communists and socialists and film-makers were ostracized for even noticing what was going on in Germany and not funded for their films initially..

The revealing and subsequent response of the Horrors of the Third Reich and Hitler's Holocaust came way later than necessary.

And then we had the McCarthy era which was in some ways a carryover from this paranoia, bigotry and fear rooted in earlier years--

And then more recently since Reagan we've had anger re-ignited with Unions demoralized and robbed of their voice and the Media being systematically attacked for being "too hard" on an old nice guy like Reagan--and subsequently backing off.

Then of course we had Bush for some years blurring and distorting the lines even more--the strong ties to the fundamentalist religious right, believing at core that politics IS essentially same as Religion, that there is no separation between Church and State...

And so over time, for many reasons folks grew complacent and the media stopped feeling safe to ask hard hitting questions and that contributed greatly to entering into a war that was based on all lies...

And to see it so blatantly here and now again however is unbelievably bizarre.

Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin et al.

Their comments are a bit like PTSD--to hear it so blatantly spelled out is just unbelievable--to hear calls for an 'expose' of who is American and who isn't is surreal. To hear a potential V.P. candidate name sections of the country as more American and patriotic than others is equally bizarre.

And I think for many, it's almost traumatic.

It's like: Have we learned nothing in the last hundred years? It really makes you wonder. And it makes you really sad.

But then we have Barack Obama.

Posted by: on October 23, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I mean really! The two things I detest are hypocrisy and intolerance!

The two things I detest are hypocrisy, intolerance, and...the three things I detest are hypocrisy, intolerance, and intellectual dishonesty. Hypocrisy, intolerance, intellectual dishonesty, and a fanatical devotion to a discredited ideology are the four things I detest. Among the things I detest are hypocrisy, intolerance, intellectual dishonesty, a fanatical devotion to a discredited ideology and redistribution of wealth to the top one percent and policies that destroy the American middle class...

[/python]

At least with Obama in office and Republicans relegated to a disgruntled minority of crackpots, we should expect the Spanish Inquisition...

Posted by: Gregory on October 23, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's really not that surprising when you consider how right-wing many Republican members of the House are. Notice that you rarely hear this type of rhetoric coming from Republican senators, who generally are a bit more moderate since they have to appeal to larger groups of people.

However, most Republican members of the House come from conservative districts where they had to defeat moderate Republicans in the primary in order to get elected. So many are much more right-wing than most Republicans, hence the inflammatory rhetoric.

With moderate Republicans either fleeing the party in disgust or getting pushed out by right-wing conservatives, be prepared to hear more of the same from the decreasing number of Republicans in the House.

Posted by: mfw13 on October 23, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I am anti-Foxx's America and so are the majority of Americans because we totally disagree with her vision of America as a conservative, intolerant, white supremacist, imperialistic, closed-minded, fascist corporatocracy amounting to what driftglass calls "gangsterism" for all it's croniness and greedy privatization which tries to reduce the population to economic slavery, where we have "stewards" telling us what democracy is. Oh wait...Foxx already thinks she is a steward and those who disagree are anti-American. That's why Bachmann thinks a majority of congress is anti-American...they disagree with her...and these are the Palin pals???

Posted by: joey on October 23, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

You write, "It's hard not to get the impression that a few too many conservative Republicans just don't like Americans very much."

You have completely missed the point! They ARE the real Americans, the pro-America Americans. It's not that they don't like Americans; it's that they don't like YOU -- because you are obviously NOT a real, pro-America American.

This is all so logical and obvious. I just can't understand why you can't understand.

I used to be like you. After 28 years of Republican domination, however, after years and years of hearing the truth from people who know such as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, I have come to accept that I am some sort of, well, some sort of un-person who is lucky to be alive and allowed to live here.

If we just cut taxes some more and eliminate big government regulation of the health-care system and privatize Social Security and take care of Iran and protect the unborn and those still alive such as Terry Schiavo (and did I mention eliminate the tax on capital gains and the death tax?), everything will be OK.

Posted by: CMcC on October 23, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I think Buffalonian (1st comment) is right. I'd parse anti-American power/control as anti-"American power/control". Now that's still a serious charge, but not quite so fraught as "anti-American". One could certainly be pro-American and anti-"American power". In fact I imagine many people are.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on October 23, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

(Muttering to self) We here at Makinbook, Inc. have a hard enough time keeping the Fantasy Loony Congressperson League permutations straight without all these constant additions.

Posted by: shortstop on October 23, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with the first commenter. Just counting occurrences of the word "anti-American" has the potential to produce a large number of false positives. Describing someone as being, say, "anti-American control" is a far cry from calling him or her "anti-American". (I.e., in this case the prefix "anti" applies to the whole phrase "American control", and not just to "American".)

I don't like American cheese. But if you call me "anti-American cheese", I'm not going to turn around and accuse you of questioning my patriotism.

Posted by: noncarborundum on October 23, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

A new twist on an old wingnut question: "Why do conservatives hate Americans?"

Posted by: CT on October 23, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK
I have to agree with the first commenter . . .

And also with larry birnbaum, whose comment I somehow didn't see until I'd posted mine.

Posted by: on October 23, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK
I have to agree with the first commenter . . .

And also with larry birnbaum, whose comment I somehow didn't see until I'd posted mine.

Posted by: on October 23, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

You don't like me? the Court? Universities? Democrats? And what are we? Americans. Yep, you are anti-American and you hate Americans. Typical Repig.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on October 23, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Never look at the storyteller. Always look at the audience.

These are politicians we're talking about. Everything they say is a pander. The real question is, a pander to whom?

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on October 23, 2008 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

It should be pointed out that Foxx and Poe might be "junior" in seniority, but they ought to be old enough to know better: Foxx is 65; Poe just turned 60.

Posted by: Patience on October 23, 2008 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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