3 Key Toxic Ingredients Revealed for Dem Rhetoric

My blog post on the CBO, its unreliability, and how it is designed for political manipulation rather than actual substantive analysis caught the attention of left-wing blogger Adele Stan at Alternet. Stan claims to have deduced three primary elements of Republican strategy, and astutely advises her readers as to what they are, and how they will most likely result in massive scale right-wing violence, or some such nonsense.

The Gingrich game plan is largely a rhetorical frame that, if it succeeds, could tear this country apart and even lead to violence.

Here’s how it works: First, dehumanize your opponent. (Oh, hell, let’s be real; they’re not really your opponents, they’re your enemies.) Second, convince the base that everything they’ve been told is a lie, and that the nation is on its way to a totalitarian takeover by “the most radical president in history.” Third, dress it up in a code that appeals to racist sentiments without being overtly racial in their nature.

Wow, that sounds pretty extreme. Of course, it kind of ignores reality a bit. Political violence in the US comes almost exclusively from the left, so I’m not sure how Newt Gingrich rallying his base will lead to the violence predicted. But our intrepid liberal friend gets into a bit more details with her three points, so I figure they could use a little rebutting. Most telling is that fact that on all three points, Democrats are doing exactly what she is accusing Republicans are doing.

1. Dehumanize your opponent. Throughout his address, Gingrich urged all Republicans running for office to adopt the frame that they are running against Obama’s “secular, socialist machine” — not Obama or Pelosi or Reid themselves. Why? Because Obama, Pelosi and Reid are human beings.

Now why would Newt urge fellow Republicans to oppose Obama’s socialist policies? Is it because, as we are being told, that targeting his policies allows us to disregard the humanity of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi?

Here’s one issue I am constantly frustrated by when dealing with leftists: the inability to separate the political and the personal. Stan see opposing Obama’s policies as an effort to dehumanize him. She never, ever considers the very plain and obvious possibility that perhaps it is Obama’s policies that conservatives have issue with. I’ve never met President Obama, and am in no position to judge him as a person. All I can go by are his political positions, which I oppose. Opposing his policies are not the same as opposing him.

This conflation is incredibly ironic, given the liberal canard of claiming that conservative oppose Obama not because of his policies, but because of his race (this will come up later). It should not be lost here that if Newt had called for opposing Obama personally, it would be touted by Stan as proof of racism. Very typical “Have you stopped beating your wife” rhetoric here.

2. The Big Lie Squared. Already suspicious of any real news reported by mainstream media (see Obama’s birth certificate), numbers crunched by reputable organizations (see CBO) or the notion that African-Americans possess intelligence, the occupants of the GOP base are poised to believe that only that which they see on Fox News is true. How easy it will be, then, to convince them that the secular, socialist machine that is Obama and the Democrats is actually programmed by an evil force bent on totalitarianism. In fact, they don’t really need convincing; this is what they feel in their bones.

[...]

What Gingrich is selling is Goebbels’ Big Lie to the power of two (or 2 + 2…). In other words, advance a Big Lie that your opponent — excuse me, mortal enemy — is advancing a Big Lie (from which your dissent could have life-threatening consequences).

Stan lists three ridiculous examples of supposed conservative lies. The first is the Birther movement, which was started by a Hillary Clinton campaigner, and has been dismissed by virtually every prominent conservative figure, as well as the Tea Party. The second is criticism of the CBO report, which is not a reputable organization: is an organization that has been wrong on every single financial report it has ever issue reputable? And the third is the slanderous notion that conservative are all racist: an ironic position coming from a supporter of the party that fought a war to protect the institution of slavery, implemented Jim Crow laws, and still defends affirmative action policies on the assumption that blacks cannot perform as well as whites. In Stan’s twisted worldview, questioning the liberal narrative and relying on fact and common sense is tantamount to Nazi propaganda — which is also ironic, considering that the Nazis were also left-wingers.

3. Dress it in racial code. Gingrich is too smart to dabble in the sort of overt racism that waves the Confederate flag or dresses Obama as a witch doctor on a Tea Party placard. No, Newt is a master at advancing the sort of racism that is hard to peg as just that. In the subtlest way possible to imply such a thing, Gingrich implied that Obama was a slick talker who didn’t really comprehend the lofty things he read, and that his keenest abilities were limited to the basketball court. (And at that, Obama isn’t exactly brilliant, he is merely “clever”.)

This is ow the leftist mind works: racism exists if the left says it exists, and if it isn’t there, you’re not looking hard enough. Obama is a slick talker, and he appears to not fully understand many of the policies he is fighting for. Is holding that opinion racism? Apparently it is if you’re a leftist. Because shouting “racism” is so much easier than actually looking at facts and addressing real concerns, isn’t it?

Stan finished with vague proclamations of dangers from right-wing violence, by citing an apparent lack of change in GBLT violence, and attempting to cast a few threatening phone calls against Democrats as a national threat, while ignoring the constant barrage of death threats and violence against conservatives. Par for the course.

But Stan has set up three criteria for judging fearmongering. Perhaps we should apply these the other way?

1. Dehumanize your opponent.

Here’s what Stan has to say about conservatives, just in that one article:

The Gingrich game plan is largely a rhetorical frame that, if it succeeds, could tear this country apart and even lead to violence.

Characterizing the Democrats as a machine renders them less than human, something soulless, as reinforced by the modifiers “secular” and “socialist”. To smash a machine, especially one that is ominous, threatening and programed to do ill, is a virtue.

Already suspicious of any real news reported by mainstream media (see Obama’s birth certificate), numbers crunched by reputable organizations (see CBO) or the notion that African-Americans possess intelligence, the occupants of the GOP base are poised to believe that only that which they see on Fox News is true.

Newt is a master at advancing the sort of racism that is hard to peg as just that.

But more than that, this is virulently toxic brew of strategically leveraged resentments that, even if the Republicans fail to prevail in the fall, will so increase the strength of the poison already in the air that I fear our nation will find a long road back to recovery.

And of course, we have the depiction of the Tea Party as motivated by racism, and the advancing of manufactured incidents that the primary players seem to have little or no recollection of. And the characterization of conservatives as inbred hicks who blindly follow Glenn Back and Fox News. And the unsubstantiated claims of impending violence by the right.

Remember, those right-wingers are ignorant, blind followers who are motivated by racism and hate and prone to violence! And you know what else? They demonize their opponents! Uhuh.

2. The Big Lie Squared

Stan does really back this one up with much — probably because she really can’t. But there’s plenty on the left we can look at. Jobs created or saved in congressional districts that don’t exist, claiming a constitutional authority for the individual mandate, lying about the individual mandate, claiming the majority of Americans supported Obamacare when they don’t, that the Tea Party is a hotbet of overt racism, that the Tea Party is calling for violent revolution, that the Tea Party is associated with neo-Nazi groups, that the Tea Party is extremist, that the Tea Party is an astroturf organization established by Glenn Beck and Fox News, that Obama won’t raise taxes, that Keynesian economics works, that Obamacare will save money, provide more and better coverage, and be more efficient, that the CBO report was accurate, that the massive debt the Democrats are racking up was inherited from Bush, that free market policies caused the housing market crash, that a jobless recovery can actually happen, that paying for six years of Obamacare benefits off of ten years of taxes is deficit neutral, that the only reason conservatives oppose Obama is because he’s black, etc, etc, etc … There’s so much here I’m not even going to bother with links.

3. Dress it in racial code.

For those unfamiliar with the term,”racial code” here refers to a post-modern understanding of language that says that what you say can be racist without being racist. In other words, we’re speaking in a special code that doesn’t sound racist, but really is.

So here’s a question: does the insistence refusing to allow President Obama’s policies be challenged on their own strengths and weaknesses amount to racism? Let me put it this way: every criticism of Obama and his policies is chalked up to racism, thereby deflecting that criticism. It there a tacit assumption among Democrats that Obama cannot defend his positions on his own? Is that racist?

What is more overt here from the left is not “racial code,” but the desire to turn everything into a racial issue. Is it not racist to assume that one group of people is motivated solely by racism because they are predominantly white? For that matter, isn’t it racist to assume that all blacks are liberal, and that conservative blacks aren’t really black?

Crying racism is a brilliant way for the left to silence opposition. Saying that conservatives are all racists is really just a way to tell conservatives to shut up.

Stan’s entire piece is an Alinskyite attack on conservatives, in which she employs all of the tactics she claims to decry. It is simple fearmongering, intended for a readership that is not expected to consider alternative motivations, political narratives, or historical fact. And while such tactics do well to worry a political base about the alleged extremism of the opposition, in the long run, the truth wins out, and such tactics fall flat.

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  1. Right Wing Violence at SRLC « The Republican Heretic

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