The Latest Fabricated Right Wing Attack On Obama

If you’ve paid any attention to conservative blogs or talking heads the last few days you would have heard false claims that Obama said something along the lines that if you built a business you didn’t really build it. Conservatives love to quote out of context. They even think it is fair game to leave out words, change the order of words, and sometimes  even put in their own words. I had no difficulty guessing what Obama really said,  but conservatives tend to be ignorant of basic economic principles, and it is certainly possible that even if they were aware of Obama’s full statement it could have been beyond what they can comprehend.

David Weigel looked at conservative distortions of Obama’s statement by conservatives everywhere from Twitter to Fox. This is what Fox reported, leaving out the context:

President Obama, in a speech to supporters, suggested business owners owe their success to government investment in infrastructure and other projects — saying “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.

Rush Limbaugh had this to say about what Obama didn’t actually say:

I’ll tell you what. I think it can now be said, without equivocation — without equivocation — that this man hates this country. He is trying — Barack Obama is trying — to dismantle, brick by brick, the American dream.

Here is what Obama actually said:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

The wording was awkward, and I suspect that Obama did leave out a few words, but any intelligent person could have figured out what Obama was really saying Any honest person would have responded to the actual meaning as opposed to one line taken out of context.

I note that Obama has not asked anyone to apologize for lying about what he said, in contrast to Mitt Romney who is looking weak by demanding that Obama apologize for telling the truth about him.

Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act Giving Obama A Major Victory

This has been a  really embarrassing day for Republicans, between the Supreme Court ruling against them on the Affordable Care Act and Congress holding Holder in contempt. Conservative Constitutional objections to the Affordable Care Act were so off the wall that they couldn’t even get the conservative Supreme Court to go along with their arguments. The one Republican who did have a good day was Chief Justice John Roberts. While the conservative activist judges have largely been acting as if the Supreme Court is a Senate with life terms for members, Roberts most likely did place the long term reputation of the court over winning this particular  partisan political battle.

There has been a lot of talk recently about who would win and lose with each possible outcome. As I’ve said before, this was important for Obama to win. It would be a serious blow to have his major accomplishment ruled unconstitutional. Yes, he could have run against the court or placed more pressure on the Republicans to come up with a solution, but for the most part those aligned with either political party already have their views regarding the Affordable Care Act. A ruling against the ACA would not suddenly convince lots of liberals to go out and vote for Obama if they hadn’t already planned to.  Besides, if Obama wants to convince leftists who are disatsified with him for his centrist positions to turn out to vote, there’s already Citizen’s United and the fear of overturning Roe v Wade in the future. Even today’s decision, in which the supposedly centrist Justice Kennedy wanted to completely throw out the Affordable Care Act, should convince progressives of the need to have Obama as opposed to Romney pick the next few justices.We certainly cannot count on Roberts to side with the liberals in the future.

If there are any political points to be won over this decision, it will be among those in the middle who haven’t already taken a firm stand on health care reform. A ruling that the law is Constitutional does take the wind out of the conservative opposition among those who are open-mined and not brainwashed by Fox. Some might now be willing to take another look at the law, which would be helpful for Obama. Multiple polls have clearly shown that a strong majority supports the actual provisions of the Affordable Care Act. They just oppose the imaginary version of the plan which is described by conservatives.

There is also speculation that this could help Mitt Romney by keeping conservatives angry at Obama. Those people are angry enough, and Romney does not need the Affordable Care Act to get them to vote against Obama. There are strong negatives for  Romney if he continues to make a major issue of health care reform. More talk on the issue will highlight the aspects which people do support, and Romney’s lack of a viable alternative would not help him appear fit to be president. Those already receiving benefits under the Affordable Care Act would be unhappy to have them taken away. Romney’s inconsistencies in attacking “Obamacare” would be highlighted by the similarities to his own health care plan in Massachusetts, and his support for the individual mandate until quite recently, including at the national level. If Republicans really want to campaign on their desire to eliminate both Obamacare and Medicare, this is a battle which Democrats can win

Conservatives,, who are squealing about everything from death panels to impeaching Roberts, are also upset about the mandate now being considered a tax. (Rush Limbaugh is even calling the Supreme Court a death panel).  Despite public antipathy towards taxes, I think that the Democrats could have done better selling the plan as a tax on those who refuse to buy insurance as opposed to a mandate. People don’t like government telling them what to do any more than they like taxes. The mandate feels like something being imposed upon everyone. Even people who have insurance might not like the fact that they are being told by the government that the must buy insurance. A tax on those who can afford to buy insurance but refuse to do so can be sold as a reasonable consequence in light of how such people increase cost of private insurance and are a cost to taxpayers.  Conservatives could argue that this is a case of Obama taxing the middle tax, even if the tax is selective. Obama could easily counter by pointing out his tax cuts for the middle class, and the increase in taxes which Romney ‘s plan would impose on the middle class in order to cut taxes on the ultra-wealthy.

Another Conservative Writer Breaks From The Extremism Of The New Hysterical Right

In recent years the conservative moment has been taken over by the types of extremists which former conservative leaders such as William F Buckley, Jr. worked to keep out of the movement. Conservative publications and blogs have replaced serious arguments in favor of their views with distortions of facts and attacks on anyone who disagrees with them (left or right). We’ve seen a number of more honorable conservatives leave the conservative movement, including Andrew Sullivan of  The Dish, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, John Cole of Balloon Juice, and David Brock, author of Blinded By The Right. Today another conservative writer, Michael Fumento, has broken away from the extreme right. His full post is well worth reading, but here are some excerpts:

I was always way ahead of the curve. And my exposés primarily appeared in right-wing publications. Back when they were interested in serious research. I also founded a conservative college newspaper, held positions in the Reagan administration and at several conservative think tanks, and published five books that conservatives applauded. I’ve written for umpteen major conservative publications – National Review, the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, among them.

But no longer. That was the old right. The last thing hysteria promoters want is calm, reasoned argument backed by facts. And I’m horrified that these people have co-opted the name “conservative” to scream their messages of hate and anger.

Nothing the new right does is evidently outrageous enough to receive more than a peep of indignation from the new right. Heartland pulled its billboards because of funder withdrawals, not because any conservatives spoke up and said it had crossed a line.

Last month U.S. Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican recently considered by some as vice-president material, insisted that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party, again with little condemnation from the new right.

Mitt Romney took a question at a town hall meeting this month from a woman who insisted President Obama be “tried for treason,” without challenging, demurring from or even commenting on her assertion.

And then there’s the late Andrew Breitbart (assassinated on the orders of Obama, natch). A video from February shows him shrieking at peaceful protesters: “You’re freaks and animals! Stop raping people! Stop raping people! You freaks! You filthy freaks! You filthy, filthy, filthy raping, murdering freaks!” He went on for a minute-and-a-half like that. Speak not ill of the dead? Sen. Ted Kennedy’s body was barely cold when Breitbart labeled him “a big ass motherf@#$er,” a “duplicitous bastard” a “prick” and “a special pile of human excrement.”

The new right loved it! Upon his own death shortly after, Breitbart was immediately sanctified and sent to lead the Seraphim. He was repeatedly eulogized as “the most important conservative of our time never to hold office,” skipping right past William F. What’s-his-name Jr.

There was nothing “conservative” about Breitbart. Ever-consummate gentlemen like Buckley and Ronald Reagan would have been mortified by such behavior as Breitbart’s – or West’s or Heartland’s. “There you go again,” the Gipper would have said in his soft but powerful voice…

A single author, Ann Coulter, has published best-selling books accusing liberals, in the titles, of being demonic, godless and treasonous. Michelle Malkin, ranked by the Internet search company PeekYou as having the most traffic of any political blogger, routinely dismisses them as “moonbats, morons and idiots.” Limbaugh infamously dispatched a young woman who expressed her opinion that the government should provide free birth control as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

As a conservative, I disagree with the political opinions of liberals. But to me, a verbal assault indicates insecurity and weakness on the part of the assaulter, as in “Is that the best they can do?” This playground bullying – the name-calling, the screaming, the horrible accusations – all are intended to stifle debate, the very lifeblood of a democracy.

Meanwhile, these people who practice shutting down the opposition through shouts and smears accuse President Obama of having dictatorial dreams? A recent email I received, based on accusations from umpteen right-wing groups, blared in caps-lock fury: “BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA HAS SIGNED A MARTIAL LAW EXECUTIVE ORDER!” This specific message, from a group calling itself, goes on: “THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! BARACK OBAMA IS TRYING TO VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTION, BECOME A DICTATOR, AND TAKE AWAY OUR RIGHTS!”

Outrageous, indeed. Obama’s order updated a National Defense Resource Preparedness act, which was essentially identical to one signed 19 years earlier and actually originated in 1950. It granted no authority to Obama that he did not already have under existing laws.

President Obama is regularly referred to as a Marxist/Socialist, Nazi, tyrant, Muslim terrorist supporter and – let me look this up, but I’ll bet probably the antichrist, too. Yup, there it is! Over 5 million Google references. There should be a contest to see if there’s anything for which Obama hasn’t been accused. Athlete’s foot? The “killer bees”? Maybe. In any case, the very people who coined and promoted such terms as “Bush Derangement Syndrome, Cheney Derangement Syndrome and Palin Derangement Syndrome” have been promoting hysterical attitudes toward Obama since before he was even sworn in.

No, I’m not cherry-picking. When I say “regularly referred to,” interpret literally. Polls show that about half of voting Republican buy into the birther nonsense (one of the more prominent hysterias within the hysteria). Only about a fourth seem truly sure that Obama was actually born here. In her nationally syndicated column Michelle Malkin wrote regarding Limbaugh’s slut remarks, that “I’m sorry the civility police now have an opening to demonize the entire right based on one radio comment.” In a stroke she’s expressed her disdain for civility and declared the new right’s sins can be dispatched as an itsy-bitsy little single faux pas, “one radio comment.”

No, Michelle, incivility – nay, outright meanness and puerility – rears its ugly head daily on your blog, which as I write this on May 23 has one item referring in the headline to “Pig Maher’s boy [Bill Maher]” and another to “Jaczko the Jerk,” [former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko]. She calls Limbaugh target Sandra Fluke a “femme-agogue” and her supporters “[George] Soros monkeys.” Pigs? Monkeys? Moonbats? It’s literal dehumanization.

One problem in blogging about the right wing is that it isn’t feasible to insert the same disclaimer in each post: I am referring to the extremists who now dominate the conservative movement, not all conservatives. In contrast, I attempt to run posts on more rational conservatives who seek to compromise, look at facts as opposed to blind adherence to ideology, and seek real solutions to our problems. Perhaps I can borrow from Fumento and use the term hysterical right to refer to the extremists. Unfortunately I’m finding far fewer examples of sane people remaining in the conservative movement since Obama was elected, with most of the remaining sane ones abandoning the conservative movement). While at one point it might have been useful to have a term to differentiate the sane conservatives from the extremists, there appear to be so few sane conservatives left that this might not be necessary.  Of course there are a number of lunatics on the left who are just as crazy as those on the right. The difference is that such people are generally ignored and have no influence, while on the right the lunatics dominate the movement and the Republican Party.

Arby’s Has Done The Right Thing

One good reason why your next fast-food meal should be at Arby’s: Conservatives are angry that Arby’s joined the boycott of Rush Limbaugh’s show.

Curious how conservatives equate a decision not to advertise on Limbaugh’s show with suppression of freedom of speech. Do they really think that free speech means that people are obligated to pay money to support Limbaugh’s broadcast of bigotry?  Of course it has long been clear that the current conservative movement (which is actually an extremist authoritarian cult which has little to do with actual conservatism) has no understanding of either rights or of the free market in the real world. Conservatives strongly support the rights of business owners to do whatever they want–unless they disagree with their decisions.

Facebook App Allows Users To Declare Enemies: Santorum and Limbaugh High On List

Some people would prefer to list, and perhaps interact with, enemies than friends. A new Facebook app, entitled EnemyGraph,  allows them to do so.  If Facebook was around in Richard Nixon’s day, he could have listed all his enemies but would have had no need for listing friends.

The most common enemies are well deserving of this list:

The ten most popular enemies among EnemyGraph users currently include Senator Rick Santorum, Justin Bieber, Westboro Baptist Church, Internet Explorer, Fox News, Farmville, Racism, the Twilight Series, Nickelback, and Rush Limbaugh.

Apparently their attacks on sex and women moved Santorum and Limbaugh high up on the list.

At the moment the app is down, needing to move to new servers due to higher than expected demand.

Quote of the Day

“This is America. We must defend the principles symbolized by Lady Liberty – unless she’s on the pill, in which case, she is a giant green tramp.” –Stephen Colbert

Picture of the Day

Quote of the Day

“March Madness goes from 64 teams to 32 to 16 to 8 to 4 to 2 and then 1. It’s how Rush Limbaugh loses sponsors.” –David Letterman

Quote of the Day

Three quotes today from Bill Maher on Rush Limbaugh:

“I thought the election was gonna be all about the economy. But the economy started doing better. So Republicans went to plan b: calling women whores.” –Bill Maher

“This woman [Sandra Fluke] got a call today from then President. President Obama called her to thank her for her testimony. And then President Clinton called Obama to get her number.” –Bill Maher

“Rush Limbaugh: four wives he’s had – no children. Dude, you are birth control.” –Bill Maher

Diane Rehm On Rush Limbaugh–Must See Video

On the Friday News Roundup Diane Rehm responded to a listener’s tweet about Rush Limbaugh’s insults directed toward Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke. “I think what he did with Sandra Fluke is disgusting. I think he gave a weak apology. I think he ought to be repudiated by every single candidate out there, and I think his apology was pure cowardice,” she said. See the video for her full comments, which also address the other major problem with Limbaugh–the manner in which he spreads misinformation:

This was such a welcome change from the manner in which the mainstream media often treats far right wing sources as being equivalent in validity to liberal sources.

Update: Here’s a transcript of the segment in the video:

All right. And there’s a tweet from Lawrence who says, “Diane, please explain your comment two weeks ago that you listen to Rush Limbaugh. Why do you, and why do you now repudiate him? If not, why not?” I listen to Rush Limbaugh because as a person behind the microphone every single day, I want to hear how Rush reflects on what’s happening in this world. I’ve heard him take a single fact and turn it a quarter of a degree and create a brand new fact. I think what he did with Sandra Fluke is disgusting.

I think he gave a weak apology. I think he ought to be repudiated by every single candidate out there, and I think his apology was pure cowardice. That’s my reaction. Thanks to all of you for being here. Thanks for listening. I’m Diane Rehm.

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