Right up there with bad faith arguments and deflection, right wingers tend to engage in projection as a favorite form of rhetoric. They take everything bad about themselves and claim their enemies do it, and of course, take everything good about their liberal enemies and claim to embody it. It’s everywhere, from characterizing affirmative action as “real” racism—or, lately, a lot of them have decided the word “racist” means “pointing out racial discrimination” instead of engaging in it—to claiming that they’re trying to end safe abortion for “women’s health” (implying that pro-choicers are opposed to women’s health, instead of the defenders of it). And now, of course, this idiotic rally in an attempt to claim that President Obama is responsible for the shutdown that Republicans have been planning for years now.
By the way, isn’t it unnerving that Ted Cruz looks like he’s whining in every picture? Does he just do it so much that his face is permanently stuck that way?
Feigning outrage over the shutdown and pretending like you believe Obama is behind it is such a transparent ruse that even the wingnuts who know they have to do it are failing pretty badly at it. It’s not just because conservatives in the media spend much more time defending the shutdown than posing over how it’s Obama’s fault. It’s not just that they’ve been openly agitating for years for a shutdown as a demonstration that they own the government no matter who is legally in charge. It’s not just that House Republicans changed congressional rules to keep the shutdown going. It’s just that after decades of Republicans posturing about how they’d rather not have a federal government (rarely stated but understood subtext: if they have to share it with You People) at all, no one is buying the crocodile tears shed during protests and the display of “the vets”, as if that made any sense. All it did was give most people looking at the pictures a queasy feeling, watching the handful of conspiracy theory-addled ravers have their lack of intellectual gifts exploited by Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin and company.
I mean, look at these idiots:
That’s one of the rally speakers, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, saying, “I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up.” The good news is that no matter how many fantasies that aging white conservatives may have of conducting a coup where democratically elected leaders are ousted and dictators who are of the “correct” race and political ideology are installed, you really need to have the young people on your side for that sort of thing. It’s really hard to put together an insurgent army without the young. Klayman and his fellows may hope that gathering some vets on camera could create the illusion of an impending military coup, but the fact that they’re almost all over 50 kind of makes that a hard sell.
My personal theory is that conservatives stopped bothering to care if people believe their lies years ago. They know they’re lying. We know they’re lying. It stopped mattering some time ago. Right now lying is really less about hoodwinking people and more about making a lot of noise and trying to discourage people from even trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. The folks at Twitchy are emblematic of this new strategy: The site sends hundreds of wingnuts to scream their lies at the liberal hate object of the day on Twitter, and the point is not to persuade the hate object, the larger audience, or anyone. It’s to drown out reason and truth with noise and throw up so many obstacles that reasonable people are discouraged from doing something offensive to right wingers, like making intelligent observations in public that might actually be persuasive.
So that sucks, but it’s also a reason for hope. After all, noise can be filtered out pretty easily! It’s much more troubling when substantial numbers of people are suckered into believing their lies. While everyone likes to gawk at the nutters screaming about Qurans and conspiracy theories, they aren’t taken seriously. Since those nutters own the Republican party now, it has forsaken any right to be taken as a party advancing reasonable arguments that should be considered carefully. So there’s that.