Using Victimhood as a Sales Tool for Rightwingers
So we're all starting to adapt to the new Republican Minority in our capitol and we're starting to see how it will try to build itself, how it will burnish it's image and present it's facade. I wasn't sure how they were going to go. I mean, it's been since '94 that the Republican Party took over the House & the Senate majorities. And 2000 that they won the Executive branch. It's been a long time that they've been able to put forth their preferred image to the public and the media lapped it up as if it were mana from heaven & ordained by god. Life was easy for Karl Rove and the backroom RNC media geeks then. Now, it's a whole new ballgame.
Without much originality, I see they've reverted from their "Holy Guardians of Freedom and Liberty" image to one of "Victims of Opressian and Defender of Individual Rights" mode. I'll use the example of Ari Fleischer stating the reasons the Bush Adinistration wouldn't ask to conserve energy nor raise auto milage standards was:
"Does the President believe that, given the amount of energy Americans consume per capita, how much it exceeds any other citizen in any other country in the world, does the President believe we need to correct our lifestyles to address the energy problem? MR. FLEISCHER: That's a big no. The President believes that it's an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one. And we have a bounty of resources in this country."
to illustrate the former. It's got it all. The Holyier than thou tones, the connotations of divinity, the John Wayne delivery. And does a great job of obscuring the subject by linking Goodness and the American way of life with abject & unencumbered consumption.
Now though, we've seen the adjusted post 2006 minority status image. It's been played across so many venues and subjects that I can only assume it's the new paragrim. It's the later. They are now the official victims and they should be supported because they support fighting this new oppression. Examples abound. They run the full gamut from today's derision & sleight of hand in Senator Boxer's comments to Secretary Rice when she asked Secretary Rice about the 20,000 strong troop increase in Iraq:
"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young," to serve, Boxer told Rice. "You're not going to pay a price, as I understand it, within immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families.''
Rightwingers immediatly used the change the subject ruse: "vicious feminine politics" which both implicitly called Senator Boxer undignified and unworthy, no better than a teenager, and then the sleight of hand:
"I think it was more than cheap -- it was degrading," Fox News commentator Karen Hanretty said in an interview. "There's nothing more vicious than feminine politics, and Boxer proved herself a shrill harpy.'' White House spokesman Tony Snow -- a former Fox commentator -- called the comments "outrageous" and opined that Boxer had made "a great leap backward for feminism.'' Fox News ran headlines all day Friday on the topic, such as, "Will Boxer Apologize?'' and "Boxer Slimes Rice,'' and some conservative critics charged that Boxer inappropriately raised questions about Rice's personal life. Rice, speaking Friday to Fox News, suggested the comments were unduly personal. "
Completely ignoring the actual subject which was that the leaders, the rulers nor their families will be the ones who pay the actual price in lives and injuries.
It sweeps across media in general too. Recently in SF, we've been treated to an ongoing saga of local KSFO rightwing AM talk radio talk hosts Melanie Morgan , who mimic also local legend Mike Savage, claiming that the left is trying to supress her free speech. You see, lately Morgan said, on numerous occasions:
"we need to put a bulls-eye on Speaker Nancy Pelosi now" as well as other station hosts calling Senator Obama a Halfrican American because his mother is white.
Well local blogger Spocko has been emailing advertizers to KSFO with clips of the statements made and asking if those views represent what they are trying to sell in their advertising. Not surprisingly, several large national & international companies promptly asked that their ads buy times not include the hours those hosts were on. Dkos has a good diary of the whole affair up here .
So, again, the right claims supression of free speech as a sleight of hand. It changes the subject from analysis of suggestion of violent acts and racist speech to one of you're infringing on my rights. It changes the subject from should an individual have the right to notify advertising companies that they are supporting these views by buying time on these shows to liberals infringing our god given rights. KSFO recently sued Spocko and made him remove the audio clips from his website. They never denied the content. They just claimed he didn't have the right to post it.
I shouldn't be surprised though. So much of selling rightwing republicanism to the average joe out there is building the anger they face in everyday life. That anger is their linchpin. With it they can get their supporters to make decisions from an emotional space and state of mind, rather than a critical and reasoned state of mind. I am saddened though. I really would like to expect more of conservative america. I'm not seeing it though. I'm seeing a facade once again.