Meanwhile, the President of the United States announces he will give America’s schoolchildren a back-to-school pep talk about the importance of doing well in school, and the Right goes bat-bleeping postal and screams about “indoctrination.” School districts in six states are refusing to show the message. Joan Walsh reports, “Crazy Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin are raging against ‘indoctrination’ while Townhall’s Meredith Jessup is calling it ‘a massive abuse of government power.’”and:
Presidents have made similar addresses to schoolchildren in the past, notably Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Walsh also reminds us that in one of his speeches George W. Bush called on the nation’s children to help him win the war on terror, and no one complained about that. But when President Obama wants to tell children to do well in school, it’s “indoctrination” and “a massive abuse of government power.”
And you have to ask, in what universe would that be true? And the answer is, a universe in which the POTUS was not legitimately elected, but instead was installed in the White House by means of a coup d’état backed by evil foreign powers. Thus, William Rice actually fancies himself to be some kind of freedom fighter for trying to block health care reform.
And, yes, racism is a component in this, but I don’t think it’s the only component. A President Hillary Clinton would be getting equally hysterical pushback every time she so much as brushed her teeth. A white male Democratic president would be getting the Bill Clinton treatment. In this case, however, the President’s race makes the manipulators’ job a bit easier.
Yes, we’ve always had paranoid whackjobs in America. Joe McCarthy made his name in history for shamelessly fanning the flames of paranoia and then exploiting them to further his political career. And for a time part of the Republican Party, including people who must have realized he was seriously unglued, supported McCarthy.And on that note, I think tristero asks just the right question, and Brad and Tintin strike the appropriate tone in their response.
During the 1952 presidential campaign McCarthy issued a blistering attack on Gen. George Marshall, saying Marshall was “part of a conspiracy so immense, an infamy so black, as to dwarf any in the history of man.” McCarthy’s power was such that Dwight Eisenhower’s campaign managers compelled him to strike a paragraph from a speech that defended Marshall, because standing up to McCarthy might cost Eisenhower the election. Eisenhower genuinely hated McCarthy and regretted the deletion of the paragraph for the rest of his life.
But McCarthy’s reign of terror was short-lived, and in the decades after, McCarthyism came to be seen as a moment of insanity from which the nation recovered.
But today the entire leadership of the Right — congresspersons and senators, spokespeople, the Republican Party, media personalities — have become an army of Joe McCarthys. And no one stands up to them.