The mainstream media typically pay a great deal of attention to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. In the past few days, two prominent lefty bloggers have ventured to explain why.
In a post this past Saturday, the last day of CPAC 2014, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall asserted that the top two reasons the conference gets a lot of media coverage are that its proximity to Washington makes it "an easy and cheap decision" for news outlets "to send at least one reporter and often many," and that:
Editorial Note/Correction: We mistakenly affixed an incorrect. NewsBusters byline earlier Our deepest apologies for the error | Edwin Lyngar was upset that many retirement-age Americans, including his father, have in their golden years run for the shadows of Fox News Channel -- so much so that this past Thursday, Lyngar published a February 27 piece in the liberal online magazine Salon in which he lamented at length those oldsters' descent into Fox-induced "despair and rage."
Lyngar asserted that his 67-year-old dad and other senior-citizen FNC buffs are "terrified by the idea of slightly more affordable healthcare and a very moderate Democrat in the White House" and commented, "I’ve read accounts of people my age — 40 or so — losing parents to cancer or Alzheimer’s, but just as big a tragedy are the crops of grandmothers and grandfathers debilitated by Fox News-induced hysteria."
This past Thursday in a Capitol Hill hotel ballroom, the group Tea Party Patriots marked its fifth anniversary with a event that featured speakers such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. On Friday, Daily Kos writer Hunter celebrated the occasion in his own way with a post containing plenty of snarky comments about what was said at the gathering.
For example, after quoting a story from CNN.com's Political Ticker blog which noted that "many speakers...hit back against the charge that the tea party has racist elements," Hunter sniped, "If your anniversary commemoration needs to be punctuated by repeated assertions that you're not racists, you're probably doing something wrong."
As you probably know, the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference will take place early next month just outside of Washington. The typical conservative thinks of CPAC as the major annual gathering of the activist right. On the other hand, Daily Kos featured writer Hunter views it as "a collection of people who have a pathologic inability to feel shame" over their copious political misjudgments and screw-ups.
Officially, of course, there's no such thing as "the face of the Republican party" or "the face of the conservative movement," but liberals, often with ulterior motives, often suggest candidates for those pseudo-positions. In a Sunday front-page post on Daily Kos, Ian Reifowitz claimed that venture capitalist Thomas Perkins is the very model of a modern conservative.
Reifowitz noted Perkins's recent assertions that people shouldn't be allowed to vote unless they pay taxes, and that voting "should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes." According to Reifowitz, those statements "expose[d] the elitism and fundamentally anti-democratic ideas the Right secretly believes but knows, correctly, it ought never utter publicly if it wants to win elections."
In 1991, the Afrocentric rapper Sister Souljah released a single and video, "The Final Solution: Slavery's Back in Effect," which portrayed an America of the near future in which slavery for black persons had indeed been reinstituted.
But what if slavery -- for persons of all colors -- never went away in the U.S., and what if it's more or less inevitable under our economic system? Daily Kos blogger "Vyan" pondered such questions in a Thursday post, wondering whether slavery might be the "default setting" of a free-market economy and asserting that capitalism benefits "the powerful" and harms "nearly everyone else":
Some liberals don't find bigotry at the root of conservative Republican opposition to immigration reform, but many others do, and in that latter group, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas is among the most persistent.
Kos was at it again in a post this past Wednesday, arguing that Tea Party GOPers in the House stand in the way of Republicans enhancing their appeal to politically important immigrant groups:
Even though MSNBC admits that one of its staffers shouldn't have tweeted that "the rightwing will hate" a Cheerios Super Bowl commercial about an interracial family, Daily Kos writer Hunter, who covers the conservative movement for the lefty blog, thinks the network showed weakness in not standing by the now-infamous tweet.
In a Monday post that mostly dealt with righties such as Allen West who objected to the multilingual rendition of "America the Beautiful" in Coca-Cola's Super Bowl spot, Hunter added:
The average NewsBusters reader looks at the Republican party's shift to the right in recent years and thinks, "Good." Daily Kos featured writer Hunter, whose beat is the conservative movement, has a different reaction, namely, to liken righty GOPers to suicide bombers.
This past week, Hunter dealt with the supposed burgeoning extremism of the party in two blog posts. On Tuesday, regarding the candidacy of Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, Hunter noted that the Senate Conservatives Fund and Oklahoma Tea Party groups object to Lankford on such grounds as his support for a debt-ceiling increase:
On Tuesday, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas noted a new Quinnipiac survey finding that only 35 percent of Americans believe that New Jersey governor Chris Christie would make a good president -- down from 49 percent in November -- and that Christie trails Hillary Clinton by eight points in a hypothetical presidential contest (he led her by one point in November and December Quinnipiac polls).
Moulitsas concluded from these numbers that "people care about" Bridgegate but not about the "fake" Benghazi scandal. He called the fourteen-point drop in Christie's would-make-a-good-POTUS rating "pretty much an epic collapse" and asserted that Bridgegate "is nowhere near its conclusion."
In the age of the perpetual campaign, it's never too early to push GOTV efforts, and in a Wednesday blog post, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas did just that, exhorting his readers to get their fellow Democrats to register and, of course, to vote in this November's midterms.
"Bottom line," wrote Kos, "if our people turn out, we win. It really is that simple. There are more of us than there are of them." He warned, however, that Republicans "will have no problems getting their people to the polls" and are "revved up and ready to go."
In late December, Daily Kos featured writer Denise Oliver Velez asked her readers to select "the group or individual whose words and/or deeds [in 2013] best exemplified bigotry and the active effort to suppress and oppress people of color in the United States, in the manner exemplified by the Ku Klux Klan."
On Sunday, Oliver Velez reported that well over 9,000 votes had been cast in the poll, and that the winner was... the GOP's Tea Party wing, which received 23 percent. First runner-up was Rush Limbaugh, at 19 percent, with Fox News Channel finishing third at 17 percent.
This past Tuesday, Daily Kos featured writer Hunter, whose main gig at the lefty blog is to trash the sayings and doings of conservatives, wrapped up a twelve-part series looking back on righty activity in 2013. Highlights from those posts follow.
According to Hunter, last year yielded "general political incompetence, frothing buffoonery and self-made disasters" from the GOP:
The Marxist German playwright Bertolt Brecht, apropos of a 1953 situation in which the East German people allegedly had "forfeited the confidence of the government," wondered if it wouldn't be easier "in that case for the government / To dissolve the people / And elect another?"
The knock on the lefty blogosphere in its early years was that it made a lot of noise but accomplished very little. Since 2006 or so, however, the netroots' influence on the Democratic party has grown steadily, to the point that on Monday, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas could crow that the Senate's weakening of filibuster rules via the so-called nuclear option was "perhaps [Daily Kos's] greatest activism victory in its decade-long existence."
For several decades, many on the left have tried to dodge the designation "liberal." They've called themselves "progressives" (sometimes "pragmatic progressives") or claimed to be non-ideological rather than accept the L-word, especially if they were running for office.
This past Wednesday, however, the Daily Kos blogger who calls himself "Crashing Vor" argued that the terminological tide is turning, and that it's "conservative" that's becoming not merely disreputable but, just maybe, synonymous with lunacy:
During the George W. Bush years, the folks at Daily Kos routinely trashed conservatives and Republicans, but each of those groups have contained a few members (e.g., William F. Buckley Jr. and Dwight Eisenhower) that some Kossacks found semi-respectable.
Then, early in 2009, came the Tea Party, for which mere affiliation put one beyond the pale. The DKos gang has been rhetorically pummeling tea-partiers ever since. This past week, for example, "ApostleOfCarlin" endorsed Rep. Alan Grayson's Tea Party-Ku Klux Klan analogy:
The Democrats' (partial) victory in the battle over the (partial) government shutdown and debt-ceiling increase was enough of a reason for Kossacks to do their happy dances and, more importantly, rub Republicans' faces in it.
"MichiJayJay" opined that for the GOP, losing wasn't punishment enough: "[N]ow that the teabaggers are down, we have to kick them, and kick them, and kick them and kick them. Into the goddamn dirt. Don't let anybody forget for a second what they wanted (and still want) to do."
In his posts this past week on the shutdown/debt-ceiling uproar, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas likened conservative Republicans to figures that included zombies, Charlie Sheen, and (of course) a terrorist. Let's plunge in.
On Monday, Moulitsas alleged that tea-partiers are lashing out in a crazed, mindless anti-Obama rage:
You'd need a truck scale to measure all the weighing-in the Daily Kos gang has done regarding the partial federal shutdown, so for reasons of brevity let's focus on shutdown-related musings from the boss Kossack, site founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas.
On Tuesday, day one of the shutdown, Moulitsas lectured congressional Republicans on legitimate and illegitimate means of halting Obamacare:
Liberals like to say that conservatives are behind the times...but 3,000 years behind? In a way, that's what the Daily Kos blogger who calls himself "waterstreet2013" asserted on Wednesday.
The starting point for "waterstreet2013" was a theory proposed in 1976 by psychologist Julian Jaynes, who argued that until about 1000 BC, people routinely experienced and acted on auditory hallucinations that they took to be commands from their dead ancestors, earthly rulers, or gods. The Kossack contends that today's conservatives are in a sense throwbacks to those pre-conscious humans (emphasis added):
Sports analogies are a lot more illuminating when those who make them understand how the relevant sports are played. The Kossack known as "Helpless" failed that test on Friday.
"Helpless" asserted that Democrats are far more ethical than Republicans, as demonstrated by the Dems' enthusiasm for registering voters contrasted with the GOP's alleged eagerness to suppress votes from heavily Democratic minority groups. In so doing, however, he offered an analogy that suggests he's never watched a hotly contested NBA or college game (emphasis added):
Fictional grouches like Grampa Abe "Old Man Yells At Cloud" Simpson can be very funny, but in real life, that's seldom the case, and sometimes their venting is flat-out loathsome.
For example, this past Wednesday, the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Daily Kos blogger "enhydra lutris" expressed his annoyance with certain post-9/11 uses of "patriot," including the designation of each September 11 as Patriot Day, which he associates with mindless, over-the-top nationalism:
Daily Kos bloggers like to trash Fox News, even if some seem not to have ever watched the channel. (It's always amusing when one of them writes about Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity as if they were interchangeable. Uhhhh, no.)
Others, however, do at least a bit of content analysis. DKos featured writer "Hunter," for example, has long been especially contemptuous of FNC's morning program Fox & Friends. This past Tuesday, "Hunter" lauded John McCain for supposedly schooling Brian Kilmeade on the equivalence of "Allahu Akbar" and "Thank God." "Hunter" mused, "I wonder how far Sen. John McCain will get explaining Muslim culture to the fenceposts of the Fox News team."
Almost all of today's conservatives believe that their predecessors in the 1950s and '60s should not have opposed the civil-rights movement. Plenty of liberals counter that the right's wrongness on racial matters is by no means a thing of the past. This week, three Daily Kos writers advanced that idea.
Laura Clawson asserted on Monday that "for a hundred years after the Civil War, white people gave themselves the most extreme form of affirmative action by law and at gunpoint. Then for 50 years, they've insisted that any real steps to undo that damage were unfair."
It's not every day -- in fact, it's pretty much never -- that a Daily Kos blogger writes, "I don't hate Ted Cruz—I love him." Nonetheless, it happened Thursday.
Jed Lewison, the Senior Policy Editor at Daily Kos and a former spokesman for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), started by quoting National Review editor Rich Lowry's assertion that Cruz irritates liberals not only because of his forthrightly stated beliefs but also because his Ivy League background and obvious brainpower put the lie to "one of the left’s deepest prejudices": that conservatives are dumb.
Quite a few Kossacks have weighed in on RNC chair Reince Priebus's pledge to withhold 2016 GOP presidential-primary debates from CNN and NBC if those networks don't scrub their planned Hillary Clinton projects.
The most noteworthy DKos post on the topic came on Wednesday from none other than site founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas, who approves in principle of Priebus's efforts.