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Stupid on purpose

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 15:54 EDT
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The War Room examines Bill O’Reilly’s flip-flop on the public option. Apparently, one minute O’Reilly was saying that sounded like a good idea, and then he flipped around and got back on the approved script of calling it socialism and other such muckety-muck. I agree with Alex at the War Room. The flip-flopping seems to be a product of O’Reilly’s confusion about what health care reform even is. He’s not exactly teaching SAT prep courses, that one. He is pure reaction with very little thought, and he has two rules: a) If Democrats are behind it, that makes it wrong and b) Women who have sex are dirty fucking sluts. Anything outside of that range is going to confuse him.

Or is it? Let me consider a dark possibility for a moment. Perhaps O’Reilly isn’t confused so much as deliberately trying to confuse. When it comes to health care, confusing the morons is the name of the game when it comes to building opposition. How else do you think that town halls get packed with senior citizens screaming about how Obama is trying to turn Medicare over to the government? They were fed the line they’re spouting. The confusion on their part is a product of a deliberate strategy from the conservative movement leaders, who realize that being straightforward and honest about health care reform is unlikely to do much in the way of harnessing the troops against it.

Being waist deep in reproductive rights battles, I definitely see how this confuse-the-troops strategy is working with anti-choicers. The leaders are working their best angle—the fact that their troops are stupid fucking people—as hard as they can. For instance, the possibility that health care reform will overturn the Hyde Amendment and the federal government will start funding abortions with taxpayer money is laughable. You’re more likely to have a unicorn show up at your door with a winning lottery ticket. Democrats aren’t touching that one with a 10-foot-pole, in no small part because there’s a lot of male Democrats who think about their own sperm power and get all sentimental and decide that women shouldn’t have the right to interrupt the male conquest of the uterus with abortion. Rather than get bogged down battling it out over abortion, the Democrats have taken a position of maintaining the status quo. They’re not going to use taxpayer money for abortions, but they’re not going to make it illegal for insurance companies to cover abortion, either. It’s actually pretty simple.

But what the anti-choice leaders are doing is telling the troops that health care reform is basically a way to trick them into paying for abortions. And they’re doing so by using complex-seeming explanations that are boring even if you’re smart enough to understand them (in sum, they’re just using big words to make their lies seem fancier), but are 100% guaranteed to make the morons that make up the anti-choice infantry fall the fuck asleep. The troops then have permission to believe what they want to believe—that hot young women are fucking on their dime, and no one is stopping this—and they take their confused, stupid asses out in public to make loud fools of themselves in an effort to stop health care reform.

With this in mind, it seems possible that O’Reilly isn’t confused so much as trying to confuse—putting a lot of contradictory information out there, so his viewers give up trying to figure it all out and resort to mindless hating, which is where the conservative movement leadership wants them to be. Another possibility is that O’Reilly was hired because he’s sure to be a self-contradicting, confusing person, and so it’s not that he’s trying to confuse his audience so much as he can’t help himself, and that’s exactly what his bosses want. But none of this seems accidental to me.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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