Stephen Bainbridge: The media is ignoring the moral equivalence between Obamajams and Christie's bridge:
So at worst NJ Governor Chris Christie created some traffic jams as political payback.... Democrats... and their allies in the liberal mainstream media [are] all worked up.... But where were the latter when Obama knowingly repeatedly flew into Los Angeles and created massive Obamajams so that he could rake in political payoffs by the billions from his liberal Hollywood groupies.... I've had personal experience of Obama's incredibly deleterious effect on our traffic. To me, the difference between jams for payback and jams for payola is trivial. But because he's a Democrat, nobody in the media cares about the latter.
Is there any way to read Bainbridge other than that he is really, really angry that (a) a Black man (b) is President and (c) dares to visit Los Angeles (d) with secret service protection in order to (e) maintain his political coalition and (f) raise money for electoral campaigns?
Which of these six do you suppose makes Bainbridge angriest?
Yes, it's funny. But the normalization of the crazy is perhaps the most worrisome thing.
This crazy is one facet of a broader social phenomenon.
Consider who Republican-oriented news and fundraising sites sell their email lists to. Consider who thinks the email lists of Republican-oriented news and fundraising sites are worth buying. And consider what things those who buy the lists think the Republican base--of whom Bainbridge is an ideal-typical albeit unrepresentative (because eloquent) example--will respond to:
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And from RedState's email list buyers:
You have to see this story.
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Publisher, Money Morning
Or Scott Brown's emails:
Trey Gowdy asks the right questions of the press regarding their silence on Benghazi:
And Mike Huckabee's:
Rick Perlstein offers a diagnosis:
Rick Perlstein: Thinking Like a Conservative (Part Five): Epistemology and Empathy:
Have you ever noticed how conservatives who say the most controversial things imaginable think no one actually disagrees with them? They will admit... people might claim to disagree. But they will explain... that those who do so are lying, or nuts, or utter... out of a totalitarian will to power, or are poor benighted folks cowed or confused by those aforementioned totalitarians.... A genuine right-winger will be so lacking in intellectual imagination—in cognitive empathy—that imagining how anyone could sincerely reason differently from them is virtually impossible.
For example, Robert Lucas completely unable to grasp that Christina Romer might actually believe the policies she advocated:
or add another weapon that would help in this problem?... I just don't see this at all.... [T]he only part of the stimulus package that's stimulating is the monetary part.... But, if we do build the bridge by taking tax money away from somebody else, and using that to pay the bridge builder... then it's just a wash... there's nothing to apply a multiplier to. (Laughs.)... And then [running a budget deficit now and] taxing them later isn't going to help, we know that.... Christina Romer... here's what I think happened. It's her first day on the job and somebody says, you've got to come up with a solution to this— in defense of this fiscal stimulus, which no one told her what it was going to be, and have it by Monday morning. So she scrambled and came up with these multipliers and now they're kind of—I don't know. So I don't think anyone really believes. These models have never been discussed or debated in a way.... These are kind of schlock economics. Maybe there is some multiplier out there that we could measure well but that's not what that paper does. I think it's a very naked rationalization for policies that were already, you know, decided on for other reasons...
David Frum had an interesting take:
David Frum: The Fox News Wink: Is Obama "Gay"? or "Gay Gay"?:
On Fox News' "The Five," moderator Greg Gutfeld offered up this comment in a jokey yuck-yuck tone:
Obama is now out of the closet… he's officially gay for class warfare….
It's very important to understand that for Fox viewers, Fox is only the most visible part of a vast alternative reality… [including] especially the chain emails that do so much to shape the worldview of Fox viewers. You cannot "get" Gutfeld's joke unless you "get" that a large part of his audience ardently believes that Obama is in fact gay, that his marriage is a sham, and that Mrs. Obama leads a life of Marie Antoinette like extravagance to compensate her for her husband's neglect while he disports himself with his personal aides.
Don't believe me? Just as an indicator, try this: Google: obama + gay + "reggie love". That search pulls up more than 80,000 hits. Here's a quote from the first:
It’s quite clear that in the years ahead Barack Obama will replace Elton John as the reigning, party queen, gay icon. After he leaves the White House and exiles himself in Hawaii come 2013, supposedly to focus on building his presidential library in Honolulu (but, I think, in no small part to scope out the hotties in their board shorts), I bet Barack Obama will nurse his wounds and discover his inner fabulous.
With no political career left to worry about, he can openly be himself. Draped in colorful muumuus, with a retinue of hunky shirtless Secret Service studs around him, Barack Obama will find himself in a new kind of paradise no doubt.
Go ahead and laugh at the idea now, if you want. I remember hearing how some women scoffed at the idea that Elton John was gay back in the day too. “But he’s married!”, “He has a wife!”, “I can’t believe he’s gay!”. Well, believe it, sisters.
The current President of the United States is as gay, or even more gay, as Elton John. It might take ten years or so for him to finally come out and hold court on the circuit party scene, or this might be a case like with Rock Hudson and Liberace where the truth only comes out once Barack Obama has passed on far into the future… but there’s just no reason for guys like Kal Penn and Reggie Love to play the strange roles that they have played in Barack Obama’s life unless they were his boyfriends. But Google can only very partially retrieve information that mostly moves in other ways. You can hear the impress of this "under news" in the calls to radio talk shows and in the comment sections of right-wing blogs. Listeners and commenters often share a set of references and a perception of reality only vaguely hinted at—understood by initiates, but opaque to the rest of the world.
Thus when Fox reports on (false) claims that President Obama seeks to limit military voting, they report to an audience that has for years absorbed a fictitious narrative about systematic presidential disrespect for the military. Eg, like this:
Today I was incensed at the conclusion of a traditional Serbian-Orthodox funeral for my beloved 85-year-old uncle, Daniel Martich, who proudly served in the US Army during the Korean conflict. During the committal service at a Pittsburgh cemetery the local military detachment performed their ritual, then folded and presented the American Flag to my aunt. As I'm sure you have witnessed during military funerals, a soldier bends to one knee and recites a scripted message to a surviving relative that begins 'On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation, I wish to present you with this flag in appreciation for your husband's service...' However, today the dialogue was 'On behalf of the Secretary of Defense and a grateful nation...'
After the service, I approached the soldier who presented the flag to my aunt to inquire about the change in language. His response was: "The White House notified all military funeral service detachments to immediately remove 'the President' and insert 'the Secretary of Defense'. I couldn't believe what I heard! The soldier just smiled and said, "You can draw your own conclusion, Sir, but that was the order". He, too, was ashamed of what he was required to say.
Obama has taken off the gloves. My only response to this endless cesspool of anti-American rhetoric dripping from his mouth is to borrow a phrase "with one minor change" uttered by another temporary Washington resident living in government housing (his wife!): "Today for the first time in my adult life, I am ashamed of the current U.S. President!"
You'll not hear something quite so bizarre as that on television. But Fox News is edited and reported for an audience much of which believes such stories to be true, and edited and reported by producers and on-screen talent highly attuned to those beliefs.
It's a vicious circle: epistemic closure, grifters, and the crazy all the way down...