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Location: MiddleofNowhere, Central Oregon

I Am The Anti-Cheney

Monday, May 01, 2006

Who Are The Extremists?

One of the things that seems to come up any time somebody makes a generalization about Bush supporters, is that the generalizations don't apply to everyone who supports Bush, therefore they are supposedly invalid. But those of us who recognize the traits we perceive among some of the more extreme right-wingers, know that the generalizations are true. Of course they don't apply to each and every person who still supports Bush, but they do apply to the most vocal and rabid supporters, and those are the ones we generally hear from in the blogosphere, not to mention radio and television. So is there a way to be more specific about who we are addressing when we talk about Bush supporters who have the characteristics pointed out by Glenn Greenwald and others. I think there is.

For the last 15 or so years (probably more like 18 if memory serves) we've been hearing from extreme right-wingers, that somewhere out there there is a world cotrolled by America-hating liberals. Of course these liberals vote for Democrtas, so Democrats become the party of America-hating liberals, and it is they who must be crushed. Politics in America has always been heated, and some of the things you read from back in the day show you that anger and animosity aren't new. What is new, though, is the idea that the people right-wing extremists disagree with have to be defeated utterly. No compromises are possible--the liberals and democrats represent an evil threat to America that must be wiped out completely.

Where did this bizarre notion come from? I remember the first time I heard it. In the late 80's Rush limbaugh exhorted his listeners to stop trying to dialogue with liberals and simply crush them. This seemed like a new and bizarre way of thinking and I logged it as a phenomenon to be watched. I mean, how do you think you'll crush half the population?

As the years went by Rush got more and more unhinged. By the time Clitnon took office, Rush started calling his show, "America Held Hostage," and counted the days off like we did when Iran took over the embassy and kidnapped the Americans inside. He claimed that somehow the liberals had pulled a fast one, and Clinton had no right to be in office. He dedicated himself, and asked his listeners to do the same, to driving Clinton from office. We all know what happpened over the next 8 years. They hated Clinton for being a Democrat, and that was all they needed to know about him.

Well Rush was soon followed by a whole slurry of right-wing talking heads, as Clear Channel radio covered the dial 24/7 with right-wing extremists. This wasn't am answer to a demand--they simply created a market by offering only one product. Now it may be the case that liberal talk-radio will never have the market that right-wing radio has, but that has more to do with the fact that liberals won't listen in to hear their own ideas parrotted back to them for hours on end, or tune in to any talking head to find out what position they're supposed to take on any particular subject. Of course there are more potential consumers of liberal talk than there are of right-wing extreme talk, so I'm sure somebody could come up with a format that would make money, but that's neither here nor there.

Over the years the right-wing extremists have created a little army of like-minded dittoheads. (Can you imagine wanting to call yourself a dittohead? Good lord what followers.) They have memorized the talking points, as they hear them all day long, so they have become a rather effective force in election politics. So much so that it's made moot some of the most important aspects of funding for elections. If you live in an area like I do, where right-wing radio is all thats offered, anybody who wants to buy commercial time has to buy it on one of the right-wing shows. When you take a commercial break from a right-wing radio show to run two commercials, one for a Republican and one for a Democrat, and afterwards the host spends hours talking about the wonders of the republican and trashing the Democrat, what does it matter that they each managed to buy a 60 second ad? The ensuing hours of right-wing endorsement make a joke of fairness.

But I'm veering off track, as this is my first post I'll give myself a break. I'll try to stick to one main point per post, which for this post is, identifying who we are talking aboput when we talk about Bush supporters.

When we think about Bush supporters, at least the ones who have the bizarre characteristcs so well-catalogued by Glenn Greenwald and others (here's where i'll have to learn to put links), we are talking about this strange creation of right-wing media--a whole army of dittoheads who have been listening for years now to an entire raft of yammering idiots, telling them they have to destroy The Enemy. They aren't necessarily loyal to Bush, or any particular politician. Their loyalty is to their own vague notion of themselves as a group defined by the talking heads they all listen to. And as such, they do indeed have all the characteristics that Glenn Greenwald has attributed to them. So it's easy to see why some supporters of Bush claim Glenn's points don't apply to them. If they don't listen in to right-wing media all day long the chances are they don't have all the hypocritical quirks the True Believers have. But the True Believers do indeed have all the inherent hypocrisy that those of us not married to a particular party or group see they have.

I'll try to get more specific about who this group is, and post some actual demographics of right-wing media--as soon as I learn to find such things.

This blogging takes a staff of researchers to be any good. Or else a lot of time. How do the good ones do it?

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