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screw it, here’s my wingnut rant

Oh, screw it. I said I wasn’t going to post this, but I am. It’s pretty much an undedited rant and maybe I’ll get back to it later and maybe I won’t. This is a blog. Blogs are for mental vomit. Watch me puke.

For a brief time, I was a George Bush supporter. I voted for him in 2004. As I tried to point out to the commenters at PJM, I’ve spent most of my political life (we’ll say from 16 on) as a moderate liberal. Or left leaning centrist, however you want to put it. For a few brief years post 9-11, I moved over and sat with the right side of the center. Where I am now – having supported and voted for Obama – is more in line with my true self than the person that a lot of people presume to know. But that’s neither here nor there and if you would like to know more about that, I’d love to discuss it with you in email, but I’m not going through the whole thing again now. I say this as a preface to the thoughts that follow, simply for newer readers to put things in context.

I have the distinction of witnessing post election reaction from the victorious side two elections in a row. That they happened to be two of the most volatile elections in history makes all the reaction watching quit interesting.

Let me stress – to keep people from getting defensive – that when I say “left wingers” and “right wingers” I am referring to just that – the wings. I am not referring to moderates or Democrats or Republicans in general. Let’s call them, for the sake of clarity, wingnuts. It’s a great word, isn’ it?

The wingnuts are out there on the fringes. They used to be the people no one talked about, or if you did talk about them, it was just to make fun of them. Since means of communication have changed over the years, so has the visibility of the wingers (not to be confused with Winger). The Internet has been a great tool for people to get their voices heard. Any voice, no matter how ugly, nasty or dangerous that voice is, can be heard loud and clear, with a much larger audience than a sign on a street corner used to get them.

In the political realm of the internet, we have two distinct voices sitting in the wings. One one side, we have the Free Republic. On the other side, we have Democratic Underground. These sites represent the farthest reaches of political affiliations. Most Republicans and Democrats rightfully disavow themselves of these wingnuts. But there’s something about a presidential election that makes otherwise sane people creep ever so closer to that fringe element.

So here I sit, watching the people on the far right blow a gasket over the election of Obama. I’m at the same vantage point as when the people on the far left blew a gasket over the re-election of George Bush. And guess what? Things look mighty similar from this vantage point.

You would think that there’s the far left and the far right and never the two shall meet, right? Wrong. They do meet. It’s as if the political line is not really a straight line with a center and two ends, but with ends that bend around a bit until the two meet and form some bizarre mirror image of each other. Worlds collide.

Look what happened in 2004. “Bush is Hitler.” “Not my president.” “Bush is a cowboy who is going to get us all killed.”

And what am I seeing now? “Obama is Hitler.” “Not my president.” “Obama is too passive and is going to get us all killed.”

The same crowd that vilified the left wingers for disowning their president, for threatening to move, for calling him a dictator, are doing the same exact thing now to Obama. The people who were in an uproar in 2004, calling the wingnuts on the left traitors for saying they would never support the president are claiming the same words as their own.

Hey, right wingers? You have become the people you hate. You have become everything you screamed at people for being in 2004. You are running around claiming that Obama cheated, lied and bought his way to the White House. Looking around the blogosphere and its comments I see the words slimy, corrupt, devil, Antichrist, communist, evil, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler. That the people who voted for Obama are ignorant, idiots, stupid, corrupt, racist, Jew haters, the enemy.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Aren’t these words the very ones the left wingers used in 2004, the very words that got you riled up to the point where you called them traitors? Remember Bush Derangement Syndrome? Looks like you guys caught it, but have turned it into Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Some people will say to me, so don’t read that stuff. It’s not mainstream. It’s not out there. Just ignore it.

But I write about it. I get paid to write about so I am right there in the thick of it and then some of that bile and hatred and the insults are aimed specifically at me. And it is out there. Relatives who know nothing about politics are suddenly telling me that Obama is going to obliterate the Jews. They are telling me that he’s going to turn American into a dictatorship. So it’s out there.

It’s just an interesting phenomenon to witness, watching the wingnuts from one side become the mirror image of the wingnuts from the other side. Whether they realize it or not, the far right has become soulmates with the far left.

Enjoy each other’s company, guys. You deserve each other.

I’m going to go back to writing about music and movies now. There is no way in hell I’m going to make my political blogging last as long as it did the last time.

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screw it, here’s my wingnut rant

Oh, screw it. I said I wasn’t going to post this, but I am. It’s pretty much an undedited rant and maybe I’ll get back to it later and maybe I won’t. This is a blog. Blogs are for mental vomit. Watch me puke.

For a brief time, I was a George Bush supporter. I voted for him in 2004. As I tried to point out to the commenters at PJM, I’ve spent most of my political life (we’ll say from 16 on) as a moderate liberal. Or left leaning centrist, however you want to put it. For a few brief years post 9-11, I moved over and sat with the right side of the center. Where I am now – having supported and voted for Obama – is more in line with my true self than the person that a lot of people presume to know. But that’s neither here nor there and if you would like to know more about that, I’d love to discuss it with you in email, but I’m not going through the whole thing again now. I say this as a preface to the thoughts that follow, simply for newer readers to put things in context.

I have the distinction of witnessing post election reaction from the victorious side two elections in a row. That they happened to be two of the most volatile elections in history makes all the reaction watching quit interesting.

Let me stress – to keep people from getting defensive – that when I say “left wingers” and “right wingers” I am referring to just that – the wings. I am not referring to moderates or Democrats or Republicans in general. Let’s call them, for the sake of clarity, wingnuts. It’s a great word, isn’ it?

The wingnuts are out there on the fringes. They used to be the people no one talked about, or if you did talk about them, it was just to make fun of them. Since means of communication have changed over the years, so has the visibility of the wingers (not to be confused with Winger). The Internet has been a great tool for people to get their voices heard. Any voice, no matter how ugly, nasty or dangerous that voice is, can be heard loud and clear, with a much larger audience than a sign on a street corner used to get them.

In the political realm of the internet, we have two distinct voices sitting in the wings. One one side, we have the Free Republic. On the other side, we have Democratic Underground. These sites represent the farthest reaches of political affiliations. Most Republicans and Democrats rightfully disavow themselves of these wingnuts. But there’s something about a presidential election that makes otherwise sane people creep ever so closer to that fringe element.

So here I sit, watching the people on the far right blow a gasket over the election of Obama. I’m at the same vantage point as when the people on the far left blew a gasket over the re-election of George Bush. And guess what? Things look mighty similar from this vantage point.

You would think that there’s the far left and the far right and never the two shall meet, right? Wrong. They do meet. It’s as if the political line is not really a straight line with a center and two ends, but with ends that bend around a bit until the two meet and form some bizarre mirror image of each other. Worlds collide.

Look what happened in 2004. “Bush is Hitler.” “Not my president.” “Bush is a cowboy who is going to get us all killed.”

And what am I seeing now? “Obama is Hitler.” “Not my president.” “Obama is too passive and is going to get us all killed.”

The same crowd that vilified the left wingers for disowning their president, for threatening to move, for calling him a dictator, are doing the same exact thing now to Obama. The people who were in an uproar in 2004, calling the wingnuts on the left traitors for saying they would never support the president are claiming the same words as their own.

Hey, right wingers? You have become the people you hate. You have become everything you screamed at people for being in 2004. You are running around claiming that Obama cheated, lied and bought his way to the White House. Looking around the blogosphere and its comments I see the words slimy, corrupt, devil, Antichrist, communist, evil, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler. That the people who voted for Obama are ignorant, idiots, stupid, corrupt, racist, Jew haters, the enemy.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Aren’t these words the very ones the left wingers used in 2004, the very words that got you riled up to the point where you called them traitors? Remember Bush Derangement Syndrome? Looks like you guys caught it, but have turned it into Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Some people will say to me, so don’t read that stuff. It’s not mainstream. It’s not out there. Just ignore it.

But I write about it. I get paid to write about so I am right there in the thick of it and then some of that bile and hatred and the insults are aimed specifically at me. And it is out there. Relatives who know nothing about politics are suddenly telling me that Obama is going to obliterate the Jews. They are telling me that he’s going to turn American into a dictatorship. So it’s out there.

It’s just an interesting phenomenon to witness, watching the wingnuts from one side become the mirror image of the wingnuts from the other side. Whether they realize it or not, the far right has become soulmates with the far left.

Enjoy each other’s company, guys. You deserve each other.

I’m going to go back to writing about music and movies now. There is no way in hell I’m going to make my political blogging last as long as it did the last time.

16 Responses

  1. I’ve been playing with the idea of writing something similar in my head, but it devolved into mostly me making spitting noises.

    Just as the far left pushed me further and further to the right over the course of the 90s, so the far right pushing is me back to the left of center now.

    I have no use for either side. I’m once again purging my bookmarks of anyone who’s been what I consider treasonous towards our President and/or President Elect.


  2. Weren’t you gonna do a Metallica review? Come on, talk me out of buying it…

    Or talk me into buying something else.


  3. My relatives are like that, too. They honestly believe that "the American way of life as we know it" is now over. Oooookay. Like it was every time we elected a Democrat for president? It's okay that they're not thrilled, but really? The end of the whole nation? I don't understand it any more than I understood it when they said it about Bush.

    Anyway, no good can come of political blogging!

    I also followed the Bush —> Obama trajectory, politically, and it's totally changed my internet habits. Back in the day, I read a ton of right-wing blogs. As Bush's appeal wore off, I slowly started dumping them. But it wasn't until I firmly decided for Obama that the last of them (the most seemingly rational, like Instapundit) were gone.

    So I had to find something else to read. I managed to put together a small but solid list of blogs with no wingnuts, either side. It didn't mean no politics at all, but it certainly meant less politics, and most importantly, less heated politics. As a result, I enjoyed this campaign 847663516368482 times more than I did 2004, even though "my guy" won in 2004 just as he did in 2008. Because my head wasn't poisoned by all the vitriol and hate and nastiness that the wingnuts spread.

    I love blogs, in general. But I'm really starting to believe that most bloggers are better off staying far away from politics. It becomes this ugly, ugly mob scene. It's just not healthy for anyone.


  4. Really well said. I’m sure we can all relate. I am also hating the gloating and nastiness I am seeing from some of the Obama supporters! I wish we could all just get together for the good of the country we love enough to be passionate about, and go forward.

    Glad you vomited.


  5. All in favor of making the political spectrum a moebius strip, say I.

    Oh, and Carin, the new Metallica kicks @$$


  6. >>Oh, and Carin, the new Metallica kicks @$$

    Unpossible.

    Oh, and Michele, I will thank you never to mention Winger ever again. *shudder*


  7. I do think one big difference this time is the preponderance of evidence.

    Accepting defeat does not mean accepting the methods by which we were defeated.


  8. Comparing the extremism of the rhetoric on both sides is fair, but there’s one important distinction.

    In 2004, there was justifiable anger at Bush over the initiation of an unnecessary war. Compound that with the infuriating circumstances under which he took office in the first place in 2000, and you have a considerable source of fuel for left wing anger.

    Thousands of soldiers dead is not some imaginary ideological difference. Many people sincerely believe it is criminal, and were justifiably outraged that it would go unpunished by our democracy in the ’04 election.

    Compare that to the fever pitch of opposition on the far right that is directed at Obama before he has even taken the oath. It outstrips anything W faced at the beginning of his first term even though the legitimacy of that election was so much in question and this one is so clear.

    I won’t say that no one on the Left ever stepped over the line, but I think for pure extremism and irrational rhetoric of fear and loathing, the RIghties win this one outright.


  9. CosaMostro,

    I see another important distinction: the mainstream media helped crucify Bush. Very few media outlets dare talk smack about Obama.


  10. >>Oh, and Carin, the new Metallica kicks @$$

    >Unpossible.

    Sad but true?


  11. FTR, and I really don’t want to discuss there here – hatred for Bush began when he “stole” the first election.

    Regarding Metallica – absent suggestions for OTHER choices … I may have nothing other recourse.


  12. nothing= “no”


  13. I’m going to have to disagree with you here. The hatred of President Bush and the kinds of things said about him, didn’t just reside at Democratic Underground. From the moment Bush “stole” the election in 2000, he was routinely referred to as a “squatter”, “President Select”, etc. It was immediately at that time we started to hear the, “Not my President” nonsense and it emanated not only from the fringe, but what would be described as the mainstream left as well.

    Things only got worse in 2004. Upon Bush’s win (which many on the left ALSO claim was stolen) we were immediately met with nonsense like, “Welcome to Jesus-Land” and constant talk of just “stupid” Americans were to support President Bush. “We’re headed for a theocracy!”, idiots posting pictures of themselves saying “I’m sorry” to the rest of the world because they hadn’t done enough to rid the world of President Bush.

    This behavior wasn’t evident in just this small little subsection of the hard left, but evident across mainstream liberal blogs and within the pundit community. It was Bush’s reelection that gave rise to people like Keith Olbermann who spouts Democratic Underground-like drivel on a nightly basis and who for awhile shared an anchor chair with Chris ‘Tingly’ Matthews during election coverage.

    The vitriol and wingnuttery I have listened to and read over the last 8 years has not been limited to wingnut central.

    On the other hand, the reaction of mainstream conservative blogs and pundits has not been crap like, “Not my President” and “STOLEN!”, but rather an inward look at what has gone wrong and how it can be built back up.


  14. I think the thing for anyone to keep in mind is that the fringe doesn’t elect anyone. Obama didn’t get elected because of the rantings of the Kos Kids or the DU, but because of the literate discourse that was put out in most of the mainstream media.

    Like him or hate him, you must agree that the media held his hand the entire campaign. Only now are we hearing any kind of questioning that would have been nice to hear during the process. I was listening to NPR the other morning and they were doing a piece about how Obama’s going to handle different things during his administration. They played clips of people from during an Obama rally. They asked the people what they thought Obama was going to do for them. People were like: “Lower my tuition;” “Make it cheaper for me to get health care;” “Get us jobs;” one even said, “He’s going to do some kind of magic.”

    After playing these clips they brought on about four different political experts to discuss what Obama would be doing. Basically they all said, well he has all these challenges but we’re not sure how he’s going to deal with them. I was so upset … not at Obama, I mean, I’m willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt and who can blame him for taking advantage of an opportunity … but at the media. You know why no one knows how he’s going to handle any of this stuff? Because none of you asked him!

    Given, the economy did take a center role. We do have his tax plan and some economic strategy. But outside of that, he’s an unknown quantity. I can’t help but be a little apprehensive about that. Now, if he does a good job, I’m willing to give credit where it’s due. And I won’t go calling down God’s wrath just yet. But I’m not going to give the cat a free ride either.

    But I haven’t done that for any president. Anyone who blindly follows a man is doomed to be disappointed because men are fallible.


  15. on November 7, 2008 at 9:14 pm Joan of Argghh!

    There is no equivalency between Truth and Lies.

    If it can be proved with facts that those who vilified Bush as Hitler were not just nutty, but sadly uninformed about history then it is easily dismissed as deranged.

    However, if it can be proved with facts that those who are concerned about Obama the Cipher, the Memoir Writer, the Activist who has associated with paralleled minds very like Hitler, then to posit out loud one’s reservations does not make them a nutter. It is not much of a stretch and just remember that Obama was the first to invoke Godwin’s Law.

    It doesn’t feel nice to disagree with you, because I like your writing and your mind, but the Truth is a well-hidden nugget of gold that doesn’t just offer itself up out of the dirt with a simplistic, “you sound just like the other side.”

    Part of the “other side’s” strategy is to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Nothing is out of bounds or outrageous. Thus, we can lull ourselves into incredulity when someone really is as awful as all that. “No, really, no one can be that duplicitous, can they? You sound like a wing nut.”

    Yes, the truth can be quite breath taking.

    Fortunately, I’m too old to “join” Obama’s mandatory service programs. I could have a lot of fun with that!


  16. I just think the left is afraid we’re going to gut Obama’s Camelot like they worked hard at doing to George Bush and his administration for the last eight years. The left has been deranged nearly a decade now, getting more hysterical with every Olbermann broadcast. Beginning with the lie about the 2000 election being stolen, the assault has been relentless and remorseless. In a just world the right wing picks up the sword left by celebrating progressives and commences with the attack. We certainly have learned from them how its done…



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