The Last Gasp

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Memo to the teabaggers and Republicans: AT LEAST YOU LOST HONESTLY.

By the time you'll be reading this, it'll be essentially over. The year-long health care clusterfuck, with all its good and all its ill, will be passed. They let Stupak save face, which is fine by me as long as the motherfucker gets his ass primaried off over the summer. And the teabagger-Republican coalition did what they do best - threw a racist, homophobic temper tantrum, with protesters calling black Congressmen "nigger" and Barney Frank a "faggot".

That teabaggers and Wingnut Revolutionaries are bigoted fucks is not terribly surprising. That, faced with imminent defeat, they would channel their pent-up rage and frustration in the crudest possible direction is not much of a surprise. But there are a number of people out there with a deep, vested interest in the teabagger movement not being seen for what it is, and not being subsequently discredited and ignored. And how the Republican politicians, right-wing pundits, and rectoblogosphere have reacted is infinitely more telling than slurs and epithets shouted in the halls of power.

There are generally three strategies at play here, and everyone involved uses at least two. First, you minimize the acts by claiming that they're isolated. Second, you act like the bigots aren't really part of, or representative of, the overall movement. And third, you excuse their behavior, usually prefaced by condemning the behavior and claiming there's no excuse for it. Case in point, congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA).

"Yeah, well I think that when you use totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy. I think, you know, there’s people that have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it. It’s not appropriate. And I think I would stop short of characterizing the 20,000 people protesting, that all of them were doing that... I think the left loves to play a couple of incidents here or there."

Except that it's not a couple of incidents here or there. It's been happening at every single fucking town hall and tea party. It was happening at John McCain rallies in 2008. Here's a hint to all of you math-impaired desperate fuckholes out there. An isolated incident that happens over and over again for two straight years is NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT.

Also notice how he says it's inappropriate, but not only is it free speech, it's free speech that's the result of Obama's totalitarian tactics. Yeah, that's what it is. Normally, teabaggers would never use the word "faggot". It's simply the natural human response to totalitarian oppression - the simplest, crudest, identity slurs possible.

Steve King, the stupidest man in Congress, took a slightly different approach. "I just don't think it's anything... There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn't walk through. I wouldn't live to get to the other end of it."

See? Black congressman should suck it up and take it, because if a white congressman walked through the inner city, black people would mug, rape, and murder him. I didn't think Steve King could surprise me, but that's a shocking amount of racism to pack into a public statement. This is the kind of thing you'd expect to hear in a news story that pointed out how he didn't realize his microphone was live.

Ann Althouse takes the predictably vapid tack. "It's also important to distinguish 'angry protesters' from particular individuals who cross the line into the kind real ugliness or violence that should be condemned. The members of Congress have a lot of power, and they ought to have to hear the anger their exercise of that power is causing. It's outrageous for them to pose as victims without very good cause. So what if some idiot said a bad word? That's a trivial distraction compared to the power they are about to exercise in the face of such strong opposition to what they are about to do."

This is the same refrain we hear every time someone throws out a Hitler mustache, or brings a loaded gun to a rally, or threatens to start a civil war, or humiliates a wheelchair-bound Parkinson's sufferer. People are ANGRY! They're angry, and it's not even their fault that they're angry, because these politicians are MAKING them angry by not doing what the angry people want.

You know what? I don't give a fuck how angry you are. I care about why you're angry, and whether your anger is proportional to what's actually happening. And I care how you express that anger. Those are the metrics I use to decide whether or not your anger matters. Not just the fact of its existence.

And while I'm here, can we all stop pretending that just saying you condemn something, or saying that of course it should be condemned, is actually the same as condemning it? Because if you say you condemn it, but still actively seek out their money, their votes, their click-throughs, their viewership, and their support, then you're not condemning them. You're just covering your ass.

Oh, and one more thing, because I know that shit is already floating around out there - no, the same kind of thing does not happen on the left. And when something much less egregious happens, it's treated far more seriously. That one submission to a MoveOn ad contest that compared Bush to Hitler is STILL being used to discredit the left to this day. If even one year from now, any major news pundits are discrediting the teabaggers by reminding us all of these shouted slurs, I think we'll all be very, very surprised.