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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sharing Tea Bags with Right Wing Extremists

One of the very bizarre accusations overheard at the tea bag protests Wednesday was that President Obama is somehow a "fascist." At the same time, and often in the same protest, he was also accused of being a "communist."
Of course it's ideologically impossible to be both, in the same way it's impossible to be both informed and a FOX & Friends host, but then again I'm expecting too much logic and message coherence from people who spent all of Wednesday protesting against socialism and wealth redistribution while gathered in publicly funded -- dare I say "socialized" -- parks and town squares.
But back to that "fascist" accusation. I'm not convinced that tea baggers like Michelle Malkin understand that fascism is, in fact, a form of right wing extremism. Because for the last 24 hours or so, Malkin, Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the usual band of apoplectic brainiacs appear to have been vigorously defending "right wing extremism" after having previously accused the president of being on the same flank of the ideological spectrum.
Yeah, I know. It doesn't make sense.
Rewind to Tuesday morning: a Homeland Security report covering potential threats from "right wing extremist" groups, including militias, white supremacists and neo-Nazis, was attained by talk show host Roger Hedgecock. And, predictably, the gang who can't seem to decipher basic high school level social studies concepts, kneejerked into one of their paranoid tantrums -- insisting that the report was entirely about them.
Almost right away, the far-right blogs and FOX News Channel were set ablaze with reports that the Obama administration was targeting conservatives with a massive surveillance operation. But here's the thing: the DHS report wasn't about conservatives. The word "conservatives" doesn't appear anywhere in the report. It was all about radical domestic terrorist groups who happen to subscribe to outlandish ideologies well beyond the mainstream of political discourse. Notwithstanding this very clear distinction, Malkin and the broader wingnutosphere lost their collective shpadoinkle and insisted the DHS was targeting the mainstream tea baggers.
Now, when this story first broke, I was at a bit of loss as to how to accurately interpret the right's wildly conspiratorial, victimized reaction. Either Malkin and Beck were just as confused and incoherent as always, and, in their loud noises anti-government rage, they were inadvertently coupling themselves with right wing extremists. Or they not-so-subtly admitted that there isn't much difference between a garden variety conservative, a garden variety wingnut and a garden variety right wing extremist -- that they're all basically militant racists who are plotting to blow up federal buildings. I don't know. LinkHere


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