The Angry Right

The weekend kicked off with a spirited debate between LiberalOC publisher Chris Prevatt and the OC Register’s Mark Landsbaum over an editorial in the Register reacting to President Obama’s State of the Union address.  Landsbaum has published not one – but two editorials entitled “Obama the Angry” and in the last piece, identified the notion of “The Angry Left.”

I submit the Angry Right has been around a lot longer and is considerably more ticked off.  I submit for your consideration, Florida congressman Allan West who last week urged liberals to “get the hell out of the U.S.”

From the Huffington Post piece about this:  “We need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, (audience boos) and my dear friend the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain’t on the table,” West said. “Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.”

Following cheers, West added, “Yeah I said ‘hell.’”

Landsbaum fails to address in his piece, where he bends over backwards to say he never mentioned the President’s race, an undercurrent of conservative chatter about the President and Mrs. Obama “being angry.”  I regularly get emails from my conservative friends calling Michelle Obama “the Angry One” without any context to show it. 

But there’s this notion about The Angry Left that omits an admission of The Angry Right.  And all one has to do is look to the Occupy movement and the Tea Party movement to know there’s a lot of anger out there on both sides of the aisle. 

Here’s the difference; Liberals are upset with the President for his willingness to compromise and Conservatives are upset with Republicans for any compromise.  To wit, if the President didn’t compromise, his signature Healthcare Reform would have included a single payer option.  Instead, it’s a requirement for people to buy private insurance and contains more than 300 Republican requested inclusions despite getting almost no Republicans votes.  Likewise, if a Republican “gives” a little to seek middle ground, they become the target of their own party and the Tea Party movement (the Delaware Senate race in 2010, NY-23, Abel Maldonado are prime examples).

Now I’m sure Mr. Landsbaum can come up with dozens of examples of “The Angry Left” but allow me to contribute these examples of the Angry Right (a title from a 2006 book).

This Red State blogger leaves his account behind due to harsh criticism. 

I know this will please the Perry Zombies with whom I’ve traded barbs recently, but even so, here goes.  I’ll just consider it my parting gift to them.

This weekend I’ll be asking the administrators to kill my account here on Redstate, because I don’t enjoy the tone here any longer.  It’s simply no longer possible to express one’s opinion without getting flamed and watching the comment tree grow with uncalled-for caustic comments.

It’s ironic that Redstate has gone this way, when its original motives can be seen in the phraseposted under each “Add Comment” window: “Be respectful, or be banned.”

This admonition to be “respectful” on Redstate doesn’t seem to carry any weight with the snarky “righters” anymore.   Case in point: my own most recent diary, in which I merely posited a few earnest questions about Rick Perry and would have welcomed discussion that might have changed my mind.  Instead of discussion, I got dissed right away from three Redstaters (in all fairness, I lowered myself to their level and threw some verbal punches as well – I just couldn’t take it any longer.)

The Top Snark awards go to:

mbecker908: for “[if what you've said was right] you’d have a point to go with the one under your hair” and “your conclusions are a combination of wrong and stupid.”

andy_in_texas: for “[your posting is] slapdash drivel=nobody takes you seriously,” and “[what you've said is] abject bull spatter;” “… your village is waiting for you.”

a_cat: for “[you're very late to the party] and worse, you’re not original” and “if you’d just bothered to read Red State regularly, then you would have noticed that all of the crap you just threw has been sliding off the walls around here for months.”

And maybe even Bill_S (one of the administrators?) who finally flexed his control muscle — not at the snarkers, but at me — by offering to boot me off the site with this: “Well, I could show you the door if you’re not happy here.”

—-

When I discovered Redstate, it was exciting because I thought this was going to be a forum where conservatives could have honest, respectful discussions.   Lately – except for Erik and a few moderators – I find that some people have made it more like a Daily Kos of the right.

Too bad.  ”Be respectful, or be banned” was a nice goal, Erik… I hope someday you can get control back over what goes on here, and prove that conservatives are not self-immolating.

Sayonara.  Redstate’s out of my bookmarks bar.

And the description of the 2006 Book from Amazon.com:

Since 1968, Republican presidents have occupied the White House far longer than Democratic presidents, and recently Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress as well. In spite of these electoral triumphs, leading spokespersons on the right continue to depict conservatives as an embattled minority. Lashing out at their liberal opponents, sharp-tongued partisan advocates like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity never tire of issuing jeremiads against what they perceive as the inexorable tide of liberal abuses that threatens to overwhelm the Republic. But if Republicans have won the battle at the voting booths, why is the right so angry? As S. T. Joshi reveals in this incisive profile of twelve leading conservatives, the rage at the heart of the right is fuelled by a gnawing sense that conservatives long ago lost the hearts and minds of the American people. Since the F.D.R. administration, conservatives have unsuccessfully opposed legislative and judicial reforms that today are considered so mainstream as to be “conservative.” In effect, yesterday’s liberalism is today’s conservatism, and this has been the direction of social and political change since the age of the Flappers and the Model T. Examining the writings of such conservative icons as Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley Jr, Phyllis Schlafly, and nine others, Joshi uncovers statements that most people today would consider not just radical but outrageous: in the 1950s, Russell Kirk opposed Social Security because he said it was “un-Christian”; in the same decade, William F. Buckley Jr. argued against the desegregation of public schools on the grounds that it would be an infringement of states’ rights (an argument also used a century earlier to defend slavery); and, in the 1970s, Phyllis Schlafly declared that women’s liberation is a “disease” and a “homewrecker”. Knowing that these positions are today indefensible, conservative spokespersons have little recourse but to engage in passionate invective that attempts to portray their opponents as extremists. Joshi characterises the aggrieved lament of conservatives as the last gasp of those who know their ideas will be confined to the dustbin of history.
 
From David Frum’s blog, this contributionfrom blogger Alex Knepper: I probably agree with Glenn Beck on at least two out of three policy points. He does a lot of good when he gets tens of thousands of people to finally pick up a copy of Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. And yet, when I listen to him — or other popular icons of the activist right, such as Sarah Palin or Mark Levin — there’s a dissonant undercurrent that makes it impossible for me to embrace them. It runs deeper than policy disagreements: I’m not a “moderate Republican” and I don’t ally myself with the Olympia Snowes of the world. It’s something more fundamental.Conservatism proper is a disposition. It’s a tradition that runs through Socrates, Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Friedrich Hayek, Russell Kirk, Michael Oakeshott, and Thomas Sowell. These men disagree on as much as they agree on, but there’s a common current that runs through their thought: it is skeptical, wary of claims to alter or improve the human condition, and — as David Frum brilliantly describes Kirk’s thought — offers us a vision, not a program.Sarah Palin, Mark Levin, and their allies offer us a program. Levin’s manifesto Liberty and Tyranny, for instance, begins with a bullet-point agenda of what constitutes conservatism in the year 2010, complete with demands concerning taxes, immigration, and the welfare state. It’s incredible that anyone could miss the point so utterly. How did conservatism, which positioned itself as an anti-ideological strain of thought, transform into a bullet-point ideology ready to cast out anyone who isn’t a True Believer?And there’s this story from Washington Monthly just after the 2008 election citing an article in GQ that is pretty telling:

House Democrats, a Los Angeles Superior Court official and Columbia University are among the entities Republican lawmakers have described as “anti-American,” “anti-American power” or “anti-American military” on the House floor in the current Congress.

Amid a backlash against Republicans who have challenged their colleagues’ loyalty to America or Americans on the campaign trail, a review of the Congressional Record reveals that similar rhetoric has been in use in the House chamber, as well.

In particular, the term “anti-American” has been hurled freely in floor debates by a pair of junior GOP stalwarts, Reps. Virginia Foxx and Ted Poe .

 Foxx said Democrats “seem to be anti-American power and anti-American control.” Poe has lashed out at American judges, universities, and lawmakers he disagrees with.

It’s hard not to get the impression that a few too many conservative Republicans just don’t like Americans very much. That, and the fact that the line between wild-eyed right-wing bloggers and Republican members of Congress continues to blur.

But if we want to get to back to Landsbaum’s description of Obama The Angry, I watched the same speech and noted touches of humor and a little thing called “projection.”  The president speaks in public, he speaks loudly.  Its not anger.  Former vice president Dick Cheney spoke softly but, to me, there was always this undertone of evil in his voice.  Landsbaum might say that’s horsehockey, but the truth is we hear what we want to hear — and that’s regardless of party or political affiliation.

But if Mr. Landsbaum would like to read more words from angry political leaders, I suggest he look no further than the barely incoherent ramblings of Rep. West who blogs regularly on RedCounty.com, a network of conservative blogs.  Want to see even more evidence of The Angry Right? Check out this reaction to possible redistricting on West’s Florida district which places him in a competitive race against a Democrat:

TownHall’s John Ransom was incensed about the coming redistricting map and Romney’s supposed role in sidelining West – calling Romney an accomplice to President Obama, whom he called “the Devil.”

“Get ready for the all new GOP, under the lead of Mitt Romney. It’s a GOP where the Tea Party won’t be welcome, where the federal government will continue to bailout out banks and unions and everyone who’s anyone will continue to make money- except of course you and me,” wrote Ransom. “Throwing a bone to liberals is the thing that Romney, McCain, Dole, Bush and company do best… Yeah, yeah, Obama is the Devil, but Mitt and company have been willing accomplices.”

“Well, believe it. It’s happening, courtesy of the Romney Team and spokesperson [Will] Weatherford. This is the establishment fighting back against tea party stalwarts. Attacking Allen West in Florida??? What more do you need in order to see what Mitt Romney is?” added BigFurHat at the iOwnTheWorld blog.

Others were less conspiratorial, and instead focused on the fact that West has made enemies among some powerful players in Washington, D.C.

“Now I’m not saying Romney himself is behind this. That seems a bit absurd. It’s more likely that he’s made enemies in DC whose tentacles are reaching into the state legislatures to do their bidding. It seems pretty clear that there are some who definitely don’t like West’s level of Tea Party influence and that the long knives are out for him,” wrote a blogger at The Right Scoop.

In any case, conservatives responded to the news of Florida’s coming redistricting map with outrage and near-universal praise for West, who the PJTatler blog hailed as “one of the tea party’s most effective and popular leaders.”

 

 

 

  3 comments for “The Angry Right

  1. StevefromSacto
    January 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    While you are quite right about the anger issue, I’ve got to take strong exception to this comment:

    ” if the President didn’t compromise, his signature Healthcare Reform would have included a single payer option. ”

    C’mon Dan, let’s get real here. If the President didn’t compromise, his signature Healthcare Reform would have been in the trash basket. There were not enough votes in Congress to pass single-payer, you know it and I know it.

    This is another example of making the perfect the enemy of the good. And every time we do it, we wind up in a mess. Hubert Humphrey wasn’t “liberal” enough for Gene McCarthy, so we got Richard Nixon. Al Gore wasn’t “liberal” enough for Ralph Nader, so we got George W. Bush.

    Will we do the same again and wind up with President Romney or President Gingrich. God, I hope not.

    • January 30, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Steve — 70 percent of Americans wanted a single payer option. It was something the president threw under the bus to garner bi-partisan support. That said, if you are in Congress and ask for an amendment to a bill and get it, I believe you are now obligated to vote for that bill. The Republicans didn’t and they are not trustworthy to place the best interests of the people ahead of the best interests of the party.

  2. RHackett
    January 31, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Landsbaum is typical of what has become of the conservative movement. His generation has transitioned from one that embraced and achieved great things to one that just wants to sit on the porch and yell at the neighbor kids to stay off his lawn.

    He has disdain for government and those who work in it because he believes their compensation is taken from him via theft. Yet he says nothing about the business interests who clearly benefit from taxation or government interference in the marketplace. It’s why the conservative movement has lost influence and is viewed as hypocritical by those who actually pay attention.

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