Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Intellectual Whiplash

One thing that happens when power shifts abruptly from being completely in one party's hands to being completely in another's is that outside observers start feeling like they live in the Twilight Zone. Take, for example, this Moonie Times report about a DHS document attempting to profile right-wing extremists and warning of violence. As Sharon at CSPT points out (hat tip for the links), some of the bullet points can be used to pretty much describe any arch-conservative, whether or not they're actually intent on violence or not.

The more astute among us will recognize that this is exactly the same thing Bush was doing to the left wing during his entire presidency. But as Greenwald points out, most of the righties that cheered on Bush when he launched his surveillance of left wing groups are suddenly up in arms. And while he's not as enthusiastic about it as the righties were back in the Bush years, Matt Yglesias seems a little too happy about this turn of events. Haven't seen this on Kos' front page yet, but I'll let you know what the reaction is when I do.

Ah, but there's more. Remember how right-wingers called liberals traitors and unpatriotic when we protested the invasion of Iraq? Well, they have no problem criticizing this president during a military operation. Of course, the folks over at Big Orange jump all over this, and frequent diarist David Waldman goes so far as to call the right-wing critics anti-American. Which is the same crap insult they used against us.

There are more issues like this - the filibuster issue and reconciliation tactics in the Senate, to name one - but I don't have the links or the time to write about them too.

But yeah, my neck hurts.

Update: Balko has another example:
Apparently without the slightest hint of irony, Schultz started by casting off the tea party protesters as “un-American” and “unpatriotic.” Yep. Bush has been out of office for all of three months, and the left has already adopted the “people who disagree with us hate America” crap. He then characterized tea partiers exercising their right to free speech and protest as “trying to overturn the results of an election.” Another page ripped from the right-wing playbook. Just substitute “anti-war protests” for “tea parties.”


Miguel said...

Politics has devolved into simply cheering for your "team", no matter how bad it is.

Jeff said...

So it's like being a Nats fan?

Ben said...

I'll agree with Miguel, except for the "devolved" part. It's pretty much always been that way.

Think an anti-slavery advocate saw a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and the Whigs in the 1800s? Democrats accused critics of the Mexican War of treason. Republicans did the same for critics of the Civil War.

Of course, all of this intellectual whiplash - and the issue of who says what - obscures the more important point: Is the "what" correct? No matter who ventures a criticism or what their motives, it's our job as American voters to determine whether the criticism is correct.

Ben said...

Oh, and any time anybody calls criticism of some policy anti-American...they are wrong.

Mike said...

Not true Ben: Osama bin Laden's criticisms have usually been quite anti-American, to use one example. (I know what you're actually saying but still.)

You're right that it's essentially always been this way, and nothing brings out the hypocrite in people more than partisan politics. Whee.