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Today’s moments in over-the-top wingnuttery

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, October 15, 2009 15:25 EDT
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Via Roy Edroso comes some more troubling examples of Michelle Malkin’s special brand of intellectual dishonesty. See, there’s a story out about how Michelle Obama won’t visit South Carolina, because of possible security concerns.

U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Friday that a conversation with White House staff left him with the sense that a hostile environment in South Carolina is keeping the first lady from visiting.

The high-ranking South Carolina Democrat said he has received more than 100 invitations for Michelle Obama. But this summer when he brought one of those requests to her staff on behalf of his alma mater, South Carolina State University, Clyburn said her security was an issue.

The conversation came after former Richland County GOP activist Rusty DePass suggested on Facebook in June that an escaped zoo gorilla was not harmful because it was probably one of Mrs. Obama’s ancestors. DePass’ comment was coupled with a remark in July from U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, a Republican. DeMint said that beating the president’s health care plan would be a ‘Waterloo’ moment for Obama.

Congressman Joe Wilson’s ‘You lie!’ outburst during Obama’s joint address on health care reform last month didn’t help either, Clyburn said.

‘A lot of it has to do with the fact that the climate in South Carolina just is not good, and that’s a shame,’ Clyburn said at a roundtable discussion at his Columbia office.

Of course, Clyburn has been marched through the routine apologies for noting the obvious about South Carolina. However, the real reasons here are probably not going to be something we learn about. It could be a combination of security concerns and political calculation, but the fact that there’s likely security concerns should give decent people reason to be upset with potential terrorists, not with the Obamas. But naturally Malkin says that merely not visiting South Carolina is “criminalizing dissent“.

On one hand, she’s being incoherent, since no one is being subject to the criminal justice system for dissent. But I wish that I could just leave it at that, but unfortunately, Malkin has a history of minimizing right wing terrorism. When the DHS put together a report on violent right wing extremists, Malkin called it a “a sweeping indictment of conservatives.” It wasn’t…..unless you’re trying to signal that you think right wing terrorism should be normalized and mainstreamed. In the context of those comments, I’m afraid this may be another example of how Malkin is quietly reinforcing the self-justification of violent right wing extremists. Because there’s one way to read that comment that isn’t incoherent—if you’re suggesting that domestic terrorists have a right to act out violently in revolt, then you’d take umbrage with criminal sanctions against terrorism, which you’d call “dissent”. Comments like hers are perfect in that way. Most of us think, “What the fuck is she babbling about?”, but her readers who are congenial with the idea of domestic terrorism get reinforcement of the idea that acts of violence in service of their ideology are merely “dissent”.

Minimizing the potential for right wing domestic terrorism goes hand in hand with the other favorite wingnut hobby: Accusing all Muslims of being terrorists. Jeff Fecke linked this Politico story about a group of four batshit crazy Congress critters who want to launch an investigation against the Center for American-Islamic Relations, who they claim is “infiltrating” and spying by engaging in the same old lobbying efforts every other non-profit does.

The proclamation from the four Republicans came in advance of a book, entitled “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” which includes a forward by Myrick. The author of the book, Dave Gaubatz, an anti-Islam activist who wrote last year that “a vote for Hussein Obama is a vote for Sharia Law.”

The lawmakers also released a one page “strategy” document they said they obtained from CAIR. But the document basically lays out a fairly straight forward public relations and lobbying strategy and indeed, one of the goals is “placing Muslim interns in congressional offices” and registering people to vote.

So there you have it—in the world of wingnuts, Christian right wingers who actually plan acts of violence should be considered nothing but “dissenters” who should be ignored, but Muslims who engage in peaceful lobbying efforts should be treated like they’re a terrorist organization.

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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