Oct 22, 2008

On Patriotism, Real Americans, and the Reactionary Right

A current theme among some members of the Republican Party in the past few weeks is the issue of patriotism, or at least the question of whether Americans whose views are to the left of, say, Pat Buchanan are somehow less-than-patriotic. A number of prominent GOP candidates are suggesting that non-conservatives are somehow less loyal, or that their true allegiances are to nefarious foreign nations hell-bent on harm.

Republican representative Robin Hayes of North Carolina spoke at a McCain rally Saturday and announced that "liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God." Governor Sarah Palin last week suggested that small town folks represent the "real America," while Minnesota GOP representative Michelle Bachmann told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that the "leftist, liberal" members of Congress are "anti-American," adding that she wants the mainstream media to investigate Barack Obama's supposed "anti-American views."

I engage in discussions that could easily be construed as "liberal," "leftist," or even "communist" in nature. As a political independent, my practical politics tend toward fiscal conservatism and social liberalism, which is to say that I prefer the government not to waste money, to stay out of my life, and to protect the freedoms of every citizen. Over the years I have voted for Republican, Democratic, Green, and Reform Party independent candidates, and I will continue to pull the lever for those candidates whose stated policies most closely mirror my current views.

However, in my theoretical politics, all ideas are fair game for debate, and I enjoy exploring such "radical" topics as slavery reparations, the possibilities of a world after capitalism, and - a dead giveaway for those who hunt dirty Commies - the concept of living simply. In the constricted and jaundiced patriotism of Palin, Bachmann, and Hayes, such writing must seem positively treasonous, and I have little doubt that the "investigations" demanded by the likes of Bachmann would be rather like those of a certain beady-eyed and hepatitic U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin.

So, to these illiberal and paranoid Americans who parade themselves as paragons of patriotism due to their political ideology, I say this: there are few dangers greater to the extraordinary political experiment that is the United States than the type of blind partisanship and mindless conformity you espouse.

In short, kiss my free-thinking ass, you ignorant buffoons.

Oh, and by the way? Your tireless efforts to demonize your political opponents only serve to drive away potential voters. I found John McCain to be an intriguing candidate in 2000, a man who seemed to better represent my thinking than most of the other candidates, but the McCain camp's relentlessly idiotic accusations insinuations of Barack Obama being a "terrorist," a "socialist," and an "un-American" person have eroded what respect I once held for the Arizona senator. Good luck trying to resuscitate your party after the apparent drubbing that you will be bringing upon yourselves in two weeks.


Anonymous said...

Spot on brother!

microdot said...

Even die hard conservatives are throwing up their hands and saying the Republican party deserves "to get its clock cleaned".

I have been overwhelmed by the documented evidence of this behavior which seems to be beyond McCarthyism in its mindless blather of "Any one who doesn't think like me is un American!"

The most bizarre part of this phenomena is when an individual, such as Michelle Bachman or Robin Faye gets called on it and find that they suddenly are in trouble in a re election bid, they do the decent Republican thing....
They deny ever saying the thing which is on endless tape loops all over the world.

America is up front and on parade here in Europe this week in docuumentary after documentary goes into the sould of the beast.

By the way, Pat Buchanan (yes, that Pat Buchanan) was on Al Jazeera English ealier this week taking calls from a worldwide audience and he almost came a hairs breadth of endorsing Obama while on a call from a lady from Nigeria....
I had to pinch myself....

mud_rake said...

Well said, Mike! As I have often posted, the GOP needs to purge itself from these extreme [reactionary] right-wingers or face extinction.

Will they? We'll know a bit more in 12 days.

Barb said...

If Ayres and Dohrn (sp?) gave me a kick-off campaign party for one of my earlier political races in his living room (parsed away as untrue by Obama (untrue for the pres. race--but it is true re: another campaign of Obama's) --and if my supporter so recently said he wished he had bombed more --and he so recently had himself photographed standing on the American flag --I would question why this man thought I would be a good candidate. And I hope I'd have the good sense to refuse his official help.

It's natural for a discerning public to assume that these two men, Ayres and Obama, think alike at some point --are mutually critical of our nation--have shared conversation to that effect. Michelle said it when she said she was proud for the first time of AMerica because they were supporting her husband. One wonders about her past lack of pride in America if this is her first time of pride.

Obama's minister said "God damn America." Now if he was talking about our pornography, abortion, and general immorality as a people --as well as the corporate greed that would cause Enron's disgrace and the Freddie Mac corruption (and all the other) (headed by Obama's friend who got 90 million as the CEO of the unregulated Freddie mac--whose advice he sought concerning housing policy recently) --note that Obama was one of two biggest recipients of campaign support from Freddie Mac.

We should know that Obama is not a successful change agent --considering that the progress he attempted to achieve in So. Chicago did not come to fruition in the long run.

And why not? Because politics and gov't spending are not the solution to the so. side of Chicago. They could help --but the real change needed in blighted areas of the nation is moral and spiritual.

The people who get ahead in America (on average) are the ones who take school seriously, have a good work ethic, marry one woman and support her children, and stay away from extra-marital sex, alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling and gangs.

The real change has to be inner --and it starts with the wisdom of the Bible: "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds." "If any man is in Christ He is a new creation." "ye must be born again --born of the Spirit of God."

that's the change that can transform a nation.

Barb said...

Pat Buchanan, Mudrake, is one of the right-wingers you decry. Seems to me, Mike is saying that even the right wing that HE represents isn't happy with the McCain campaign.

I agree that the campaign has been lacking. Because there is so much more to be said and better ways to say it than the campaign has been doing. They needed Karl Rove, I guess.

No one in this campaign is appealing to noble ideals of REspect for life in a thorough way. E.G. GW Bush had the "snowflakes" come to the White House. They should be a campaign issue. Children adopted as frozen embryos who are now happy, full, human beings. That should put the brakes on the embryo experiments --we should be promoting embryo adoption. Then there is at least one girl who survived abortion --whose life was voted against 4 times by Obama --SHE should be a campaign issue.

The fact that Obama will stack the Supreme Court with ACLU proponents/members should really scare the bejevers out of average americans --who do believe in parental consent laws, better monitoring and standards for abortion clinics (like other clinics), who do believe in BAIPA (born alive infant protection act) and the ban on partial birth abortions --when the babies could be saved if they must be delivered (aborted) early for life or health of mother. Let them live! Someone will adopt!

Average americans don't agree with the ACLU about removing "under God" from the pledge, and forbidding prayer in public places and removing crosses that were erected as war memorials on public property and removing Ten Commandment displays that our ancestors cherished as reminders of the historical importance and source of LAW.

We're going to see "change" alright --through Obama's judges. He will wash his hands as he always does (as in voting "present") --and the legislators' will have to change the constitution to put a halt to these activist ACLU judges we are going to get from Obama. Meanwhile, the "change" will teach the masses that religious expression is forbidden outside church walls, that students attending religious colleges or becoming ministers won't have access to the same gov't aid as other students. That church groups won't have access to public parks for their events, nor equal access to public funds and facilities for their campus groups --things we have won with conservative legislators and judges in the last 3 decades --because a religious group should have the same access to public buildings and student funds as the gay group or any other liberal secular group.

We will see the greatest repression of the religious --particularly the majority religious group, the Christians --and it will result in the "gaying of America" --and our complete national collapse at the hands of enemies from within and without. Mark these words.

microdot said...

To have ellicited a two act, Four scene operetta with a highlight soprano solo aria complete with self inflicted persecution and immolation fantasies from this grand guest artist is a real testimony to the eloquence of your piece, Mr. Mike!

I'm out to the lobby for popcorn and a soda during the intermission.


Barb said...

Go here to see what Buchanan had to say today:


Barb said...

I'm glad you recognize my art, Microbat. I suppose you'll trick-or-treat without needing a costume.

Barb said...

O yes, forgot to tell you, I took these two comments, spruced them up a bit, and posted them at my blog. double duty for my time.

dr-exmedic said...

If Ayres and Dohrn (sp?) gave me a kick-off campaign party for one of my earlier political races in his living room (parsed away as untrue by Obama (untrue for the pres. race--but it is true re: another campaign of Obama's) --and if my supporter so recently said he wished he had bombed more --and he so recently had himself photographed standing on the American flag --I would question why this man thought I would be a good candidate. And I hope I'd have the good sense to refuse his official help.
And I feel exactly the same way about McCain and G. Gordon Liddy, who's held McCain fundraisers and had McCain on his radio show.

Anonymous said...

From Engineer of Knowledge

Hello History Mike,
As an active Republican in the 1st district in Maryland, I have seen the intolerance of the extreme right of the part attack those who are a different mindset than they have. I am more of the Teddy Roosevelt / Nelson Rockefeller Republican. If someone is of a different lock step as their brand of Republican, they are quick to make up names as infantile as any elementary school yard bully. Names like Environ-Mentalist, Femi-Nazi, and Tax-N-Spend Democratic. They even attack those of their own party with RINO (Republican In Name Only) as if these people of more moderate views no longer have any input for the direction of the Party.

Well I have always said that Extremism in any Direction is Self Destructive. Now we have Ms. Buchanan making statements like good old Joe McCarthy and like many of the far right now trying to lie her way out of her true thoughts when caught. In case anyone needs to be reminded, bearing false witness is one of the big one’s. The tape is very accurate of what she said and she was quoted as per the evidence.

So in closing Mike, what a great, thoughtful, and accurate posting. Keep up the good work.

microdot said...

Thrilling second act, the soprano was tedious and shrill, and as convincing as a plump ferret being tossed off of a cliff onto a busy auto route somewhere in southern Spain.
I would give the performance a shaky 7, but I seem to have developed a rash.
Huzzah, Bravo....Just Splendid!

Linda said...

I do believe that so much of the current ideology of the Republican party amounts to litter more than "if you are not for us then you are against us."

This was especially invoked at the start of the Iraq War to discourage any discussion by saying that it was un-American and un-patriotic and look where it has gotten us?

Barb said...

Well, LInda, we've been safe here --and our soldiers have been safer in Iraq than fellows their age are here (in death stats.) Why don't you get excited over drunk driving in America --which has killed way more americans every year than we've lost in Iraq since 03.

There are grateful crowds in Iraq and the exiles in Detroit --who were glad to see Sadam hussain deposed and his sons. The Kurds gave land to a Christian church for a building this year --my church denomination. Iraqis were happy to vote in free elections--over half the country.

Sadly there are always more Muslim crazies willing to take Sadam's place --some of the mullahs. Sadly, their factions kill each other off instead of going to celebrity roasts as McCain and Obama did. Sadly their religion justifies the never-ending feud and revenge of the hatfields and McCoys instead of forgiveness and peace.

I've even heard recently that the Koran justifies denying Islamic faith and claiming another --for expedience sake; it will be forgiven; it is justified. Just like the Koran justifies pretending to befriend someone --until you can get the knife in his back.

It's high time the West took its values to the Middle east. I predict that some will see the improvement and give Bush the credit --some day in the future.
Liberty has never been cheap or free --because tyrants abound who would oppress. And will not listen to reason or be concerned for noble ideals of good, freedom, and equality of all people.

there is evil in the world --here and abroad. Going to Iraq was not motivated by evil. It was courageous.

Barb said...


All Liddy did was go on a spy mission and get caught breaking and entering for his spying --like James Bond and every other adventure spy-hero whom men idolize in entertainment media.

It was illegal and wrong and he paid for it.

Ayres on the other hand still wants a radically different America --in ways most would not appreciate.

Barb said...

Microdiva --you've missed me, haven't you... I've inspired some of your greatest works

dr-exmedic said...

All Liddy did was go on a spy mission and get caught breaking and entering for his spying
Only because someone was able to rein him in from bombing the Brookings Institution and offing several people. And Carter commuted his sentence, so I don't really know how much he paid.

Liddy and Ayers are of different flavors, but both are still scum--which merely supports my desire to vote for neither major party candidate.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering who officially called Obama a terrorist? Is wealth redistribution a tenet of socialism?

I believe Biden has also brought up the patriotism thing calling it patriotic to pay taxes..!?!

In defense of Palin, would you call the NY/DC axis real America?

Suggested reading that I have also suggested to 2 other profs this semester, Blacklisted by History by M. Stanton Evans for another perspective on McCarthy.

John McCain has done enough to make his own party hate him, such as considering caucusing with the Dems after the poor baby lost the 2000 primary.

As a history teacher and writer, you know to not make accusations without backing them up. That's what history is all about. So what sane McCain person called Obama a terrorist?


historymike said...

I do not "not make accusations without backing them up." Here are some examples, found in 5 minutes of Googling:

1. Sarah Palin, October 4 and 5, 2008: Barack Obama "pals around with terrorists."

2. McCain-Palin press release quoting John M.Murtagh: "Barack Obama's friend tried to kill my family."

3. McCain ad, October 2008: Barack Obama "he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers."

Here's another goodie: I received a robocall at my home from Rudy Giuliani, who informed me of the following:

"Barack Obama opposes mandatory prison sentences for sex offenders, drug dealers, and murderers.

Maybe all of these examples could be explained away with some rhetorical dancing, but the bottom line: the McCain campaign is one of the vilest exercises in attack politics I have seen. The last few weeks have been an onslaught of words like "terrorist," "socialist," "Marxist, and "communist," with the cynical hope that repeating vicious insults will cause enough fearful voters to vote for McCain.

And remember: I am far, far from an Obamamaniac. If I pull the lever for Obama, it will be because the thought of the stench from McCain nauseates me worse than Obama's lack of experience or tax-raising schemes.

As to progressive tax schemes: consider this quote by Adam Smith -
"A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion."

Is Adam Smith, the High Priest of Capitalism, also a socialist? What about Milton Friedman, who also advocated a progressive income tax?

Now, we could quibble about the evolution of views over time, or the longer-term goals of these economists, but we both know the purpose of repeating the word "socialist" over and over is not an exercise in identifying theoretical methodolgies: this is a reptilian rhetorical attack designed to use Red Scare tactics to frighten voters.

Anonymous said...

Bill Ayers and the Weatherman Bombed the Pentagon, Capitol, Police Stations, and a Judges home with his family inside - John Murtagh was a 7 year old boy inside the target that night. On 9/11/2001, Ayers wrote in the NYT he wish he did more. We have another Timothy McVeigh. The relationship between Ayers and Obama has tried to have been clouded by the Obama campaign by throwing out useless information such as he was 8 yrs old.

Now, who called Obama a terrorist? Ayers is an unrepentant domestic terrorist who helped Obama start his political career, and worked with him on 2 boards, even making Obama chair of the Annenberg project in Chicago to handle millions of dollars.

the 3 points you listed are true facts.

He is good friends will Ayers and his wife - his wife was on the FBI's Most wanted list who was also part of the Weathermen. So "terrorists" would be the proper word.

Mr. Murtagh's home was bombed by the Weathermen and Bill Ayers.

Ayers, who in 2001 wished he bombed more, worked with Obama on 2 boards, appointing Obama to the 2nd and giving him his main private sector experience.

If McCain had a friend who was part of the KKK or a neo-nazi and did all sorts of things to blacks 30 years ago, would it be nothing to worry about?


historymike said...

McCain was involved with a group linked to the U.S. Council for World Freedom, a group that funneled money in the 1980s to right wing death squads in Central America during the 1980s.

Should we now - using the McCain logic you are using - start marching around denouncing McCain as someone who "pals around with right wing death squads"? How about carrying the rhetoric further: "John McCain supports those who murdered peasant babies."

Or, since the U.S. Council for World Freedom has connections to former Nazi collaborators, should we thump our chests and call John McCain a "friend of Nazis"?

If you consider this type of politics acceptable, so be it. I I will continue to push for electoral campaigns based on policy issues, not scare tactics based on a strategy of repeating idiotic and inflammatory rhetoric over and over.

Anonymous said...

I think you missed why I brought up Ayers. You said Obama has been called a "terrorist" and I asked by whom?

You listed 3 points in which no one called Obama a terrorist. This is why I asked you to back up the terrorist accusation.

So to bring this conversation back to the main point which was in your orig. post, Who called Obama a terrorist?

By claiming that someone called Obama a terrorist without yet backing it up, you are participating in the same thing you have a beef with.

I just wanna know who called Obama a terrorist? I know a liberal mag pictured Obama as a terrorist to parody the right, but no McCain person has ever called Obama a terrorist--- if you find it let me know.


historymike said...

OK - I misread your comment. My original post does say "idiotic accusations of being a terrorist," which is inaccurate. The McCain camp has been quite careful to create negative images with this word, but no McCain official I know has made the direct charge.

Accusations of Obama being a "terrorist" or "Muslim plant" or any other such tripe are being made by people outside the campaign, ranging from partisan kooks to media hosts with national audiences.

I edited the post to correct my rhetorical error.

Barb said...

Now, why did CARTER, a democrat, commute Liddy's sentence? No, I didn't know about bombings planned by liddy.

I still believe you are known by the company you keep --and if Obama didn't talk like Ayres about social change in America, why did Ayres give him a fund-raising event in his home? If he didn't like the hot divisive anti-american rhetoric of his pastor, why did he attend there 20 years and what did THEY talk about socially??? If Michelle was so patriotic about America, why was her husband's candidacy her first moment of pride in her country?

These people are radicals in how they see our nation --theirs is change I fear. Ayre's views of education and what it should accomplish are disturbing --just as is the writing of Obama in 2001 --recently circulated --where redistribution of wealth is a goal.

Barb said...

I want to see everybody get wealthy --through economic growth --and you won't get that through taxation--and punitive taxes and expenses (like national health care) which taxpayers cannot yet afford, nor businesses, large or small.

We do need a revival of ethics in business leadership --but apparently our ivy league schools giving us the over-paid, pro-gay, liberal CEO's we've had lately (pro-gay in their financial support for gay agenda -like Disney, Levi, McDonald's, auto makers --etc.) --such leadership has skimmed the top and ruined their businesses. And both parties voted to bail them out.

Where were our automakers' heads when they continued to make the gas guzzlers instead of competing with Toyota Prius??

Obama says tax the rich and give hand-outs to the poor. WEll, we already do that, but how much worse can he make it??? That's what scares me. business won't stay here if they can do better in another country--and there go the jobs. There's nothing Obama can do to FORCE business to stay here and prosper here -but a lot he promises to do that would make business leave.

Barb said...

A thought on health care --I think everybody in Ohio is served now with basic health care and emergency care, etc. Children's chronic illnesses, etc. And many of the charges are written off some way--and there ARE gov't plans for the needy. I have a friend who has run up HUGE bills and never paid --for her pain of the month pursuit for her and her kids. Goes to ER's, several docs, etc. But they are wise to her and no one wants to take her for her chronic testing for non-existant ailments, telling her they can afford to take no more medicare which she is now on.

in a government system, the hospitals and doctors will be forced to charge barely enough to make a profit or to cover expenses and pay well for their highly educated techs and drs. --as with Medicare, etc. now. Yet, the lawyers make health care expensive, and gov't won't reign them in because gov't legislators ARE lawyers.

In the long run, the system won't be able to sustain the excellent care we are used to.

It's better to have our private payer insurance systems --where insurance companies invest the premiums to make money to cover the peoples' care --better this than to put everything on the gov't and expect taxes to cover it all. And yes, people need to be TAUGHT to prioritize health insurance as one of their monthly bills --granted some plans are way too expensive for some people. People should just have a major medical plan for extreme charges and conditions. And expect to pay as much for their health out of pocket as they now pay to repair the cars.

Better yet, would be growth of business so that business can afford to at least HELP to cover their employees.

but gov't health system? We won't like it in the long run.

Pardon the digression.

You don't have to be nasty about it, boys --blogs are like living room discussions--they meander. It should be OK, but anal people will object.