Thursday, August 27, 2009

There Will Be Politics

Republicans are nothing if not adept at harnessing the political moment. As Amanda astutely observes:
... anyone who is a liberal in the public eye at all should explicitly spell out their wishes about the “politicization” of their deaths, or else the wingnuts will declare that the only proper way to honor your legacy is to start by undermining it.

And indeed, the ink was barely dry on Kennedy’s obit before I read Kevin Moon’s callous eulogy in the Macon County Conservative Examniner (you’re going to have to Google it if you want to see the real thing; I won’t link to it. Examiners are part of right-wing billionaire Phil Anschutz’s empire. Writers are paid by the number of hits they receive, something which plays into my refusal to link to this crap. But mostly, it’s tasteless crap):

Nature's long overdue removal of Ted Kennedy from the U.S. Senate is a silver lining in what would otherwise be a hopelessly dark moment in the history of this country. It is a step in the right direction (only 59 to go). We have shed a back-stabbing, perverted crook who has spent decades betraying his country and everything it stands for...and was completely unaccountable to society.
One has to imagine that there is a special place in Hell (right next to O.J., Bernie Madoff, and Drew Peterson) for such a corrupt, ultra-partisan drunk who literally got away with murder, whored himself out to anything that would say yes, and openly fought for abominations like partial-birth abortion.

Wow. Amazing how when Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter gets knocked up or her extended family is in legal trouble for drugs and crime, it shows what a “real American” she is, facing “real American problems” “just like the rest of us.” But when a Democrat faces "real" problems he’s a “drunk” who is “unaccountable to society.”

But oops, I’m not supposed to say anything like that, lest I be accused of “politicizing” Kennedy’s death. If i’m not careful I might just be part of what Instapundit called "a Wellstone memorial on steroids." Yes, that would be just awful. Cue eyeroll.

This seems to be the strategy among conservative bloggers, who are the forefront of Republican thuggery. Andrew Breitbart’s Tweets about Kennedy were possibly more vile than Moon's column:

Over the course of the next three hours, Breitbart unapologetically attacked Kennedy, calling him a “villain,” “a big ass motherf@#$er,” a “duplicitous bastard” and a “prick.” “I’ll shut my mouth for Carter. That’s just politics. Kennedy was a special pile of human excrement,” wrote Breitbart in one tweet.

This kind of stuff always goes unchallenged (save in this instance by the brave Meghan McCain). Imagine if a leading liberal blogger had said such things about Ronald Reagan after he died. They’d call for the fainting couches.

And then there’s this:

“Looking forward to the Democratic line-up at TK's memorial service,” Hot Air’s AllahPundit wrote in a sarcastic Twitter post. “I'm sure the eulogies won't be politicized at all.”

So in other words, right wingers are allowed to say every tasteless, nasty, filthy insulting thing they wish about a liberal icon and claim it is never, ever political. And God forbid that liberals should try to defend against that because then that would be political.

Love these rules!

You have to wonder what’s behind all of this messaging. I have an idea: John Cole links to this tidbit from the New Republican Republic’s Noam Scheiber, written on August 23, no less:

Beyond that, I suspect the coverage of Kennedy’s death would silence healthcare reform critics and boost proponents in a way that netted at least a couple of wavering moderates—so clearing the 51-vote threshold wouldn’t be a problem. Heck, you might even see Utah Republican (and longtime Kennedy friend) Orrin Hatch back in the reformist camp.

Yes that would be lovely but, wow that’s just pretty obtuse.

The modern GOP is the party of tea shouters and birthers and people like Kevin Moon. The idea that Senate Republicans might be swayed by the death of a man their base calls “a big ass motherf@#$er” and "a back-stabbing, perverted crook" would be laughable if it weren't so sadly out of touch.

But I can definitely see a bunch of Frank Luntz types sitting around wondering how they can use Kennedy’s death to completely kill healthcare reform. They will, as Atrios posted, try to pull a “Wellstone hissy fit,” fabricating boos and hisses, pretending conservatives have been attacked, hell maybe even serial victim Phil Parlock will make an appearance. It’s all designed to quell any sympathy for Democrats and liberal ideas, the way they used Wellstone’s funeral to kill Mondale’s senate race.

I can see it now: the usual liberal talking heads like Donna Brazille will be cowed into offering tepid defenses of these imagined slights, and clueless media types like Chris Matthews will play along as they follow the trail of breadcrumbs left by Drudge and Fox News.

Please. Haven’t we seen this movie already? Like, a thousand times? You always end up embarrassed at the other end when you are revealed to be fools. Let’s just skip the formalities already, shall we? You're fools. Then again, you could do your jobs on the front end. Remember to hit teh Google and teh MySpace and teh Facebook. Do it right the first time for a change, okay?

Liberal bloggers will have to be vigilant as the freak show unfolds. Watch for signs of fauxtrage, maybe even plants at public memorial events. Pray to the gods that your Google fu is on fire the next few days because as several people have said, it is going to get ugly. There's simply too much at stake.