Irin Carmon at Salon* has an interview up with Merle Hoffman, abortion service pioneer and author of a new and quite interesting memoir Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room. This is the sort of article that many a political geek will glaze over, thinking it has nothing whatsoever to do with the horse race that’s going on today in Iowa. (Which is wrong in and of itself, as I argue at RH Reality Check.) But once again, I have to point out that dealing directly with anti-choice fanatics is the best lesson imaginable in understanding how the right wing mind works, since their image of themselves as righteous holy warriors causes the filters to come off. Right off the bat in this article, Merle recounts a story to Irin that sums up beautifully the forces that are at play in the Iowa caucus right now.
Recently, Merle Hoffman gave a copy of her forthcoming memoir, “Intimate Wars,” to Sister Dorothy, a regular protester stationed outside Choices, the Queens, N.Y., abortion clinic that Hoffman founded.
“You know, it’s so honest,” Sister Dorothy told Hoffman after reading it, “but sometimes Satan cloaks himself in truth.”
“Satan cloaks himself in the truth.” I can’t think of a better summation of right wing attitudes about basically everything. No matter if truth conflicts with their ideology, because Satan is behind that truth. If you see how the candidates are campaigning, you’ll see that “Satan cloaks himself in truth” is basically their mantra. Everyone is clawing past each other to see who can demonstrate their fealty to right wing myth over truth.
In fact, the more outrageous your myth-making, the better. One reason that Romney bores the right and causes them to dislike him so strongly is that he’s not very good at spinning fantastical bullshit. Like I note at RH Reality Check, it’s hard to imagine Romney busting out a whopper about doctors throwing a live baby in a bucket and leaving it there to die. Romney is mealy-mouthed about global warming, claiming (falsely) that we don’t know what causes it,** which conservatives feel is a bare minimum requirement. But it’s not exciting, like suggesting that there’s an international conspiracy to invent global warming that scientists perpetuate because they’re all secretly communists.
You know how it is when someone is telling a really juicy urban legend—perhaps that P&G is in league with Satan?—and you correct the record, telling them that didn’t happen? You know how, as often as not, they respond with resentment that you’re a dreamkiller, what with your facts and truths? Well, being a right winger is basically like spending all your time telling urban legends, putting anyone you suspect knows the truth into a bucket of people you dislike for ruining all the fun. The fear that Romney is only pretending to play along is driving a lot of resentment against him. He plays the record backwards, claims he hears Freddie Mercury say, “It’s fun to smoke marijuana“***, but you suspect that he doesn’t really care, and he’s probably not going to burn his Queen records when he goes home, no matter what he says.
*Irin has been kicking ass at her new gig at Salon. I interviewed her for the last podcast of 2011 about the year in reproductive rights, which you can listen to here. There’s also some mockery of the sexting panic.
**Not knowing something with 100% certainty isn’t a qualification for knowing something, or else people would be unable to function. We know better that emissions are causing global warming than say, that you know your spouse is faithful or that your children love you.
***The link is totally worth it. You’ll be writing love letters to that link if you click it.