Conservatives in the media cling determinedly to the ridiculous notion that President Obama and the Justice Department dropped voter intimidation charges against the fringe New Black Panther Party because of a racially-motivated policy that refuses to hold African Americans to the same legal standards as whites. And there's a reason for that, beyond simple dishonesty and ignorance -- there's electoral gold in them 'thar racial hills.
The National Journal's Ron Brownstein writes today about a new analysis of "previously unpublished exit-poll data" from the 2010 midterms, and finds that "white voters' rejection of Democrats in November's elections was daunting and even historic." According to Brownstein:
The new data show that white voters not only strongly preferred Republican House and Senate candidates but also registered deep disappointment with President Obama's performance, hostility toward the cornerstones of the current Democratic agenda, and widespread skepticism about the expansive role for Washington embedded in the party's priorities. On each of those questions, minority voters expressed almost exactly the opposite view from whites.
The data points to, in Brownstein's words, a "consistent chasm between the attitudes of whites and minorities." The right-wing press pushes stories like the New Black Panthers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright (who, despite not being in the news, was mentioned at least 95 times on Fox News in past year, according to Nexis) in order to widen that chasm. That's why Rush Limbaugh calls every policy enacted by America's first black president "reparations." It's the Southern Strategy for a new century.
But you don't have to take my word on that -- right-wing blogger and CNN analyst Erick Erickson said as much this past July, arguing that the Republicans should use the New Black Panthers in a style reminiscent of Willie Horton, black voters be damned:
Republican candidates nationwide should seize on this issue. The Democrats are giving a pass to radicals who advocate killing white kids in the name of racial justice and who try to block voters from the polls.
The Democrats will scream racism. Let them. Republicans are not going to pick up significant black support anyway. But here's the thing: everyone but the Democrats will understand this is not racism. This isn't even about race. This is about the judgment of an administration that would rather prosecute Arizona for doing what the feds won't do than prosecuting violent thugs who would deny you and me the right to vote while killing our kids.
So when you hear conservatives argue that the New Black Panther story is about civil rights or equal application of the law or justice or whatever, don't believe it. In the end, it's about stoking racial resentment and driving as big a wedge as they can between white voters and minorities. And despite its ugliness, the data show potential to reap electoral dividends from this breed of politics. And conservatives know it, because it's worked in the past.
Right-wing media have attacked Senate Democrats' filibuster reform proposals by falsely claiming they plan to outright ban filibusters. In fact, Democrats are currently proposing a variety of changes to the overall process that are designed to promote transparency and curb abuse -- none of which include an outright ban of filibusters.
In the wake of last week's announcement of a compromise between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans on the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the leaders of the right-wing media has fractured into a camp that supports the deal and a camp that fervently opposes it.
On his radio show today Rush Limbaugh played a clip of History professor Doug Brinkley warning the Republican Party away from attempting a repeat of 1995's government shutdown. Limbaugh dismissed Brinkley's warning, saying that "nobody anywhere is talking about shutting down the government" and that "they" are just trying to "frighten voters":
LIMBAUGH: You are going to continually hear that the objective is to shut down the government. It is not. There's not Newt Gingrich redux going on here. Gridlock is not shutting down the government. Nobody in the Tea Party, nobody anywhere, is talking about shutting down the government as happened in 1995. They're trying to mischaracterize and impugn people again, and frighten voters into thinking that's what you're all about. You know it isn't, we know it isn't, and they know it isn't.
With only four days left until the midterm elections, it's no surprise that the conservative media are busy working any angle to paint Democrats in a bad light. But by using a run-of-the-mill election story to level racially charged attacks against Democrats, they continue to prove just how low they'll go.
According to the political rumor mill, President Bill Clinton asked Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida Senate race in order to give independent Charlie Crist a better chance to beat Republican Marco Rubio. Meek has denied these claims, saying that that it was actually Crist, not Clinton, who asked him to drop out. Regardless, this is not an uncommon political story. For example, Nevada Republican senatorial candidate Sharron Angle was recently recorded pleading with the tea party candidate in that race to drop out in exchange for access to party bigwigs.
What is unusual, however, is how the right-wing media chose to use this story to make racially charged claims against Clinton. Check out Matt Drudge's take:
That's right: Matt Drudge is suggesting that, if true, Clinton asked Meek to drop out because of his race. He seemingly got this insane attack from RNC chairman Michael Steele, who stated:
President Clinton's actions to have Kendrick Meek withdraw from the campaign sends a chilling signal to all voters, but especially African Americans ... One can only imagine the response if Republican leadership tried to force out of the race - in the 11th hour - a qualified black candidate like Kendrick Meek.
Once the marching orders were out, conservative media went to work. Jim Hoft simply pasted Drudge's link directly into his post and wrote, "Bill Clinton urged black democrat Meek to 'be a hero' and quit." RedState had two separate posts on this; Moe Lane wrote that "they went with the white dude" in the race, and Erick Erickson - who, remember, CNN felt was serious enough to hire as a contributor -- went with "America's First Black President Tries to Push Out Another Black Politician." Not to be outdone, Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade repeated Steele's statement throughout Friday's show.
It's been a pretty bad year for racially charged rhetoric. With a summer full of "bigoted statements" from the tea party movement, Andrew Breitbart's smearing of Shirley Sherrod, and almost too many other incidents to count, it's not really a surprise that the conservative media would inject race into, well, anything, but it never stops being shameful:
In an October 28 RedState blog post, CNN contributor Erick Erickson attacked Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet as "outside the mainstream" for supposedly not having enough religious faith. Erickson linked to an article on Politics Daily, that stated that "Bennet does not affiliate with a particular religion but says he believes in God."
However, it seems that to satisfy Erickson's religious test, you not only have to believe in God, you also have to belong to a congregation. Erickson wrote:
The Democrats really are running an inconsistent campaign across the country.
In Missouri they are running an attack on a Republican saying he covered up pedophilia in the Catholic Church.
In Minnesota the Democrats are attacking Catholics full on for not living up to Christ's teaching to help the poor.
In Kentucky they are attacking Rand Paul for blaspheming Christ or some such nonsense.
In Colorado, home of Focus on the Family and a huge evangelical movement, the Democrats have decided to go the opposite way.
Michael Bennet, you see, rejects religion. Yes, he says he believes in God, but he makes clear he does not go to worship, does not believe in organized religion, and does not affiliate with a religion.
And they say the Republicans are running candidates outside the mainstream.
Although voters can, of course, use any criteria they want in deciding who to vote for, it is noteworthy that the Founders frowned on such religious tests. Indeed, the Constitution explicitly states: "[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
CNN contributor Erick Erickson, who once promised that he would ban birthers from his RedState blog, announced today that he would guest-host longtime birther G. Gordon Liddy's radio show. Erickson, who later seemingly reneged on this pledge, took to his Twitter account to make his announcement:
In a February post, Erickson equated birthers with 9-11 truther conspiracy theorists and was specific about his position on not letting them post at RedState:
If you think 9/11 was an inside job or you really want to debate whether or not Barack Obama is an American citizen eligible to be President, RedState is not a place for you.
Birfers and Truthers are not welcome here. Period. End of Story.
He also wrote, "The tea party movement is in danger of getting a bad reputation for allowing birfers and truthers to share the stage."
One must wonder how he can reconcile his concern that birthers are damaging the reputation of tea partiers with guest-hosting G. Gordon Liddy's radio show, given Liddy's long history of supporting and repeating birther allegations against President Obama.
Despite vowing to report both sides of the story "and let you decide," Fox & Friends' coverage of the GOP "Pledge to America" consisted almost entirely of conservatives who love the pledge and Republicans who want to promote it. However, Fox ignored that several conservatives have panned the "Pledge to America."
In a September 22 RedState post, blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson referred to the House Republican's recently unveiled legislative agenda for the next Congress -- a "Pledge for America" -- as a series of "compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama":
A+ Rhetoric. C- Ideas.
The House Republicans' "Pledge to America" is out. A thrill will run up the leg of a few Chris Matthews' types on the right. As Dan noted on Twitter, the Contract with America was 869 words and this is 21 pages. The Contract told you everything you needed to know about how a Republican Congress would be different from a Democrat Congress after 40 years of Democrat control.
These 21 pages tell you lots of things, some contradictory things, but mostly this: it is a serious [sic] of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama.
I have one message for John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the House GOP Leadership: If they do not want to use the GOP to lead, I would like to borrow it for a time.
The entirety of this Promise is laughable. Why? It is an illusion that fixates on stuff the GOP already should be doing while not daring to touch on stuff that will have any meaningful longterm effects on the size and scope of the federal government.
This document proves the GOP is more focused on the acquisition of power than the advocacy of long term sound public policy. All the good stuff in it is stuff we expect them to do. What is not in it is more than a little telling that the House GOP has not learned much of anything from 2006.
I will vote Republican in November of 2010. But I will not carry their stagnant water.
From the September 16 edition of CNN's John King USA:
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From the September 15 edition of CNN's John King USA:
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Right-wing media figures are attacking Fox News' Karl Rove for "trashing" Christine O'Donnell after her victory in the Delaware GOP Senate primary, stating that his comments were "disgraceful" and that Rove "came across as an effete sore loser."
From a September 9 Redstate.com post:
As You Wake Up This Morning
Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)
Thursday, September 9th at 5:00AM EDT
Consider these points:
(3) All the people rushing to embrace the Ground Zero Mosque because of the Imam's constitutional right sure are running just as quickly to shut down the moron pastor in Florida intent on burning korans. What's good for the goose . . .
From the September 2 edition of CNN's John King, USA:
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The right-wing media is "giddy" over the possibility of winning a Republican majority in Congress in order to shut down the government. The shutdowns cost the government at least $800 million, furloughed over a million workers, delayed veterans benefits, shut down federally funded research, and suspended certain law enforcement activities, among other things.