I remember the first run of the “Why do you hate America?”
censorship that poured out in the weeks and months after 9/11. It was Bill
O’Reilly and the other “STFU” freedom fighters who labeled anyone who wanted to
stop and think about things for more than three seconds as being someone
willing to offer aid and comfort to terrorists. It was a stupid bit of
illogical patriotism that belied a larger concern that for all the freedom we
were fighting for, we had to pretty much give up our freedom to get it.
Facts? Fuck ‘em
Discussion? Only for pussies.
Logic? Queer shit.
Fast forward to
Friday in which Paul Ryan decided everything old was new again. He spent the
better part of a campaign speech in D.C. deriding the president for engaging in
similar behavior in terms of the economy and social issues.
“…if anyone dares to point out the facts” of the president’s
“record” then “they’re just being negative and pessimistic about the country.”
Aside from heaping on the “America: Fuck Yeah!”approach, he
upped his game by pointing out how Obama kept rolling out classic “strawman”
arguments that he would then beat into the ground:
“Nobody is better at rebuking nonexistent opinions,” Ryan
said. “Barack Obama does this all the time, and in this campaign we are calling
him on it.”
Looking at this argument is like staring into a moebius
strip: Every time you think you reached the end of it, you double back on top
of yourself and you feel upside down.
Start with the fact that it was the Republicans who spent
the entirety of the 2000s giving us the “agree or die” philosophy when it came
to actual life and death decisions. If Democrats are anything, it’s overly
sensitive dipshits who a) talk things to death or b) shut up if they can’t get
everyone to agree on something. The whole idea that Obama is doing this “Yeah?
You think so? Fuckin’ hater!” thing is laughable at best.
Then, move to the more amusing part of the program: the
strawman. I’m not a great fan of Bill Maher, but he has been right as rain on
this aspect of how the Republicans are running against Obama. There’s Real
Obama and there’s Imaginary Obama. The Republicans have spent the last several
years building an Imaginary Obama to run against, a guy who has a Negro Army
just waiting to fuck up white people, a man who is plotting to seize all the
guns and who will be walking through Bedford Stuy with milk crates full of
C-notes to make it rain on his peeps any day now. (He’s also a silver-spooned,
cultural elitist who never really worked a day in his life, but don’t let
anything that might seem counterintuitive slow you down here…).
I had a two-day fight with a friend over a fucking Internet meme
about how Obama said he didn’t think people should have guns. The fact he never
said it, has never said it and there was no evidence to support he would even
suggest it didn’t matter. It was online.
It was a picture and had quote marks
around words and EVERYTHING!
If that purple-pimp-hat-having, freedom-suppressing, gun-stealing,
black-junta-leading Obama were any more of a strawman, he’d be wearing flannel
and having a crow shitting on him.
So if you want to try to pare this down into an elevator
statement, Paul Ryan is essentially rolling out the ugliest parts of what the
Republicans have done or are attempting to do and saying Obama is doing them,
even with evidence or specificity to the contrary.
Obama isn’t perfect and I honestly don’t know how I’d vote
if this time around a “McCain/Somebody Awesome With a Brain” ticket came along.
That said, when a guy whose convention speech had fact checkers leaping off the
couch screaming, “Lordy, Lordy, we’re having BISCUITS TONIGHT! Chedda
comin’!!!!” calls you out, you have to kind of wonder where rock bottom is on
But if we need a meme to capture this, enjoy: