“Real” and “Unreal” Americans

by matttbastard

Well, looks like we’ve finally established where one of those anti-American domestic strongholds that Palin mentioned the other day are located: the Obamabot enclaves of Northern Virginia!

Think Progress:

On MSNBC this morning, McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer asserted that “real Virginia” does not include Northern Virginia:

I certainly agree that Northern Virginia has gone more Democratic. … But the rest of the state — real Virginia if you will — I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.

MSNBC host Kevin Corke gave Pfotenhauer a chance to revise her answer, telling her: “Nancy, I’m going to give you a chance to climb back off that ledge — Did you say ‘real Virginia’?”

But Pfotenhauer didn’t budge, and instead dug a deeper hole.

Real Virginia, I take to be, this part of the state that’s more Southern in nature, if you will.

Thorpe ended the segment noting that Pfotenhauer was appearing via satellite from Northern Virginia. “Nancy Pfotenhauer, senior policy adviser for the McCain campaign, joining us from Arlington, not really Virginia.” “Alright, I’m just gonna let ya– you’ll wear that one,” Corke responded.

Ok. Real Virginians don’t support Obama. Gotcha.

But then there’s this, straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak):

My opponent’s answer showed that economic recovery isn’t even his top priority. His goal, as Senator Obama put it, is to “spread the wealth around.”

You see, he believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism.

Socialism–totally un-American, natch. So is all this simply boilerplate campaign rhetoric, or is there a more disturbing subtext at play? Adam Serwer looks at the historical context of the ‘socialist’ smear as it relates to POC (h/t Jill):

Conservatives, now and in the past, have turned to “socialism” and “communism” as shorthand to criticize black activists and political figures since the civil-rights era. In The Autobiography of Malcolm X as written by Alex Haley, Malcolm recalls being confronting by a government agent tailing him in Africa, not long after his pilgrimage to Mecca. The agent was convinced that Malcolm was a communist. Malcolm spent years under surveillance because of such bizarre suspicions. Likewise, J. Edgar Hoover spent years attempting to link Martin Luther King Jr. to the communist cause. King, for his part, welcomed everyone who embraced the cause of black civil rights, regardless of their ideological ties. This included communists and socialists, but the idea that a devout man of God like King saw black rights as a mere step in a worldwide communist revolution was absurd. Malcolm was a conservative. King was a liberal. To their enemies, they were simply communists.

The feeling that black-rights activists were part of a front for communism and socialism was widespread. Jerry Falwell famously criticized “the sincerity and intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations.” Falwell charged, “It is very obvious that the Communists, as they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about violence and bloodshed.” For the agents of intolerance, things haven’t changed much. On October 9, a McCain supporter told the candidate that he was angry about “socialists taking over our country.” McCain told him he was right to be angry.

The right wing continues to link the fight for black equality with socialism and communism. At the website of conservatism’s flagship publication, National Review, conservatives like Andy McCarthy argue whether Obama is “more Maoist than Stalinist,” and National Review writer Lisa Schiffren explicitly argued this summer that Obama must have communist links based on his interracial background. Schiffren mused, “for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958, or 60, there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics.”

[...]

John McCain is no George Wallace, and a direct comparison may not be what [John] Lewis intended. Rather, Lewis was expressing concern that the McCain campaign’s rhetoric could lead some of their supporters to conclude that violence is the only rational response to an Obama victory.

Also keep in mind some of the highlighted right-wing sentiments from this post as Billmon repeals Godwin’s Law, once and for all (h/t pogge @ BnR):

Powerful elements of the Republican Party and the conservative “movement” aren’t just preparing themselves to go into opposition, they’re preparing themselves to dispute the legitimacy of an Obama presidency — in ways that could, if taken to extreme, lead to another Oklahoma City.

[...]

I’ve been following politics for going on 35 years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Republican candidate publicly refer to his Democratic opponent as a “socialist” — not even while hiding behind a cardboard cutout like “Joe the Plumber”. This from a man who told the entire nation on Wednesday night that believes an obscure nonprofit group is “perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

Likewise, I don’t think there’s ever been an American vice presidential candidate who explicitly referred to entire regions of the United States as “pro-American” — with the clear implication that other regions are something less than “pro-American.” Not since the Civil War, anyway.

We’ve crossed some more lines, in other words — in a long series of lines that have made it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ultraconservative wing of the Republican Party and an explicitly fascist political movement. And John McCain and his political handlers appear to have no moral compunctions whatsoever about whipping this movement into a frenzy and providing it with scapegoats for all that hatred, simply to try to shave a few points off Barack Obama’s lead in the polls.

To call this “country first” only works if you assume your opponents (and scapegoats) are not really part of that same country. And we all know where that leads.

As Colbert King put it in Saturday’s WaPo, “[t]ell a rabid audience that Barack Obama is “palling around with terrorists” (as Palin has done), imply that Obama is friendly with people out to destroy America (as she also has done) and what do you expect?”

DJ rewind:

Powerful elements of the Republican Party and the conservative “movement” aren’t just preparing themselves to go into opposition, they’re preparing themselves to dispute the legitimacy of an Obama presidency — in ways that could, if taken to extreme, lead to another Oklahoma City.

Rhetoric–yes, mere words, Senator McCain–can have consequences.

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5 thoughts on ““Real” and “Unreal” Americans

  1. One of things that has really stood out is the way that they keep saying that Obamas policies will initiate a class war as though there isn’t already one in existence. The rich have been exploiting the poor since the beginning of the capitalist system. Obama is hardly revolutionary, he is a centrist at best and by preying on peoples fear of communism they are able to portray him ideologically warped.
    What I find interesting is that they keep calling him a Marxist. This is completely laughable. Anyone who has read the communist manifesto could never rationally link Obama to Marxism. They are preying on cold war fears to establish this message. I guess everything old is new again.

    Like

  2. Beautifully written and powerfully said, mattt. As for everything old new again …. perhaps the trigger points are new, but that strain of jingoism in the US is as old as dirt.

    Like

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