Sunday, March 28, 2010

Frank Rich Part 2: Kristallnacht Up!

We're back. Out of fairness to my readers, I did some quick research to determine whether Kristallnacht was, in fact, a minor political dispute accompanied by a brick through someone's window.

Nope. Let's roll.

The first signs were the shrieks of “traitor” and “off with his head” at Palin rallies as Obama’s election became more likely in October 2008.

Eric Cantor was shot. How dare that black man support health care reform? Stupid Eric Cantor. Dude probably listens to

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory.

Unless he decided not to completely suck on those issues, but things being how they are...

The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House

Right. Because if Hillary Clinton were president and Henry Waxman were speaker, everyone would be totally cool with a spending trillions of dollars to take over health care. People probably assumed Cantor was for Obamacare, since Cantor is black.

topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court

Yeah, and Clarence Thomas. Screw that guy... Oh, wait. He's white. Love him.

and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman

Who exchanged Congressional favors for his banker boyfriend, costing taxpayers billions. That has some small thing to do with it. I mean, it's one thing to be gay. It's quite another to take money from us to help you be gay. See the difference? Frank does not.

— would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play.

Obama's Afghanistan policy, for example, has drawn millions of tea party protesters. And, by millions, I mean very few... Sort of like how, by Kristallnacht, Frank means "a brick thrown at a window". Also, disenfranchisement is nothing to worry about. It simply means your vote will no longer count. No biggie.

It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse.


When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.

Right, because they chair powerful committees, run the country, all that fun stuff. I mean, from whom else are conservatives going to want to take the country? Marmaduke?

They can’t. Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by Obama or Congress.

I'll get into this argument in a future post, but the fact that the aims of the tea party movement might be futile does not make it racist, or even necessarily ill-conceived.

The week before the health care vote, The Times reported that births to Asian, black and Hispanic women accounted for 48 percent of all births in America in the 12 months ending in July 2008.

And when all of those babies grow up, they are going to think exactly the same way as the Democratic party on every issue. Blacks, for example, are well known for their tolerance of homosexuals. Per another classic track:

"We excite stores that got dykes leaving doors"

No potential rift there... No sir.

The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.

Wait, so are tea partiers worried about minorities, or are they simply worried that minorities will disagree with them on the issues? Frank's thesis (such as it is) is an absolute muddle.

If Congressional Republicans want to maintain a politburo-like homogeneity in opposition to the Democrats, that’s their right.

Yes, that's why Republicans brought in Michael Steele, to maintain a politburo-like homogeneity.

If they want to replay the petulant Gingrich government shutdown of 1995

A shutdown cannot be petulant, by definition. Frank, or whomever intern he tagged to write this shit, does not care.

by boycotting hearings and, as John McCain has vowed, refusing to cooperate on any legislation, that’s their right too (and a political gift to the Democrats).

Yeah, that gift is marked "don't open until November". Give it will.

But they can’t emulate the 1995 G.O.P. by remaining silent as mass hysteria, some of it encompassing armed militias, runs amok in their own precincts.

Nope. They'll issue "don't do that" type press releases, and then proceed to make hay when half of them are hoaxes perpetrated by left wing college kids. Or when someone threatens Eric Cantor.

We know the end of that story. And they can’t pretend that we’re talking about “isolated incidents” or a “fringe” utterly divorced from the G.O.P.

We're talking about a brick through a window. Windownacht. Write that down.

A Quinnipiac poll last week found that 74 percent of Tea Party members identify themselves as Republicans or Republican-leaning independents, while only 16 percent are aligned with Democrats.

Let's reconstruct Frank's syllogism here:

1) There have been like, 20 threats and epithets (and one brick, and one bullet) hurled at congressmen.
2) Most tea partiers are Republicans.
3) Therefore, Republicans are racist.

This might as well read:

1) 400 people were struck by lighting last year.
2) Most golfers fear lightning.
3) Therefore, golfers invented lightning.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence.

Reason: It was the friggin' Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now.

Reason: This is not the friggin' Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Sub-reason: Unlike the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this bill sucks.

Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers?

Waiting until the final paragraph to evoke Glenn Beck shows remarkable constraint, as does failing to defend your thesis, I suppose.

Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too.

Yes, Frank, the next Kristallnacht is literally right around the corner. Fortunately, you are a white male. We will need idiots like you around when we need to pretend that there is no such thing as a liberal intellectual. You'll be our Emmanuel Goldstein, though you'll have to trim down your rants a bit.

Seriously, though, there is a very large problem with this type of thinking, which epitomizes the attitude shared by most liberals in this country.

Nobody in the tea party movement is out to recreate the Holocaust. For starters, the Holocaust came about by virtue of a strong nationalist streak, whereas the tea partiers a fervently anti-nationalist. Second, Kristallnacht came at the urging of government, where as the tea partiers are protesting expansive government. Third, the protests have yielded relatively few arrests, compared to other similar protests, where the goal is often to get arrested.

Frank Rich is a vapid clown, a eunuch in the kingdom of abysmal opinion writing that is hastening the extinction of paleo-media. But we should all be concerned when an ideologue blithely compares a protest movement to the Holocaust in one of the world's largest platforms.

If you believe Kristallnacht is around the corner, what will you do to assure it does not happen? When does the battle move from the pages a left wing affinity rag to the pages of legislation? That is the fear that animates the tea party movement, and rightly so.

And, of course, Frank's official sign off...

Correction: Timothy Geithner’s title at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was president and chief executive officer, not chairman, as I wrote here last week.


Blogger Sarah said...

One only need read the last paragraph to determine this guy prefers rant over research.
Good points. I haven't been familiar with the Tea Party movement though I hear about it all the time and saw a few tea parties out west.

Looking forward to your argument on the "demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill....." statement.

11:41 AM  

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