Happy Campers

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Memo to Marg Baker and Carl Paladino: STOP BEING SO IN TENTS.

Why do Republicans love putting people they don't like in camps? I mean, I've sort of answered my own question there, donning my Captain Truism uniform and asking why bastards are bastards, but seriously, you'd think that rounding people up and putting them in camps based on some racial, social, or cultural commonality would have such a negative connotation to it that they'd avoid the topic entirely.

The most famous case, of course, is Michelle Malkin, that unholy cross between a demon harpy and a gadfly, who wrote a book called "In Defense Of Internment", in which she defended the Japanese internment camps America shamefully enacted in the 40s. This was six years ago, when every right-wing asshole on the planet was trying to stake their claim in the Great Fear Rush of the post-9/11 era. Malkin's book fell somewhere between heartfelt hysteria and a desperate cry for attention and the accompanying tall pundit dollar, but the fact remains - her thesis was that rounding up Japanese people and putting in camps wasn't all that bad.

I have a theory, of course. I think that for a lot of Republicans, "camp" represents a secret, heartfelt longing for all things liberal. Think about it. Camping! Summer camp! Communing with nature. Arts and crafts. Homosexual experimentation. Teamwork. Sure, they may say they love it because of the child labor, the hazing, and the vaguely racist co-opting of Native American naming conventions, but I think they remember camp as the last time they were able to freely enjoy the forbidden fruits of leftist ideology.

I mean these days, if Michelle Malkin got caught gluing macaroni to anything or anyone, it'd be all over the Internet and the news faster than poison oak in a bunkhouse. I'd stretch this metaphor farther, but I was a suburban nerd child and I'm pretty sure that last reference doesn't make any sense. But my point remains - Republicans love putting people in camps.

Marg Baker loves putting people in camps so much she actually has fond, and possibly apocryphal, childhood memories about the damn furriners being carted off to them. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We can follow what happened back in the 40s or 50s. I was just a little girl in Miami, and they built camps for the people that snuck into the country, because they were illegal. They put them in the camps, and they shipped them back. We can do that." - Baker, a candidate for state representative, speaking at one of the Glenn Beck 9/12 project rallies in Florida.

Of course, what Baker describes never actually happened, unless maybe she lived in a part of Miami that was a real-life version of one of those small towns with the rogue sheriffs that you only see now in A-Team reruns or Joe Arpaio's county.

But that doesn't really matter, because Marg Baker actually used the sentences "They put them in the camps" and "We can do that" almost right after each other, completely without a sense of shame, history, or self-awareness. And she said this to a bunch of 9/12 Project assholes, who aren't so much teabaggers as they are crackbaggers. The kind of people who, I remind you, have been passing around paranoid e-mails claiming that the stimulus package includes provisions for Obama to set up internment camps on military bases.

Carl Paladino was a smidge more oblique than Marg Baker, for several reasons. First, he's running for governor of New York, not some shit-ass state house seat that probably represents more gators than teeth. And second, he's talking about people on welfare, rather than illegal immigrants. Public assistance folks are only averaging between fourth and seventh on this year's Republican Demonization List, which means you can recommend stripping them of their rights in crowd-pleasing, humiliating ways, but you can't go full Goebbels on them. Case in point.

"Asked at the meeting how he would achieve those savings, Paladino laid out several plans that included converting underused state prisons into centers that would house welfare recipients. There, they would do work for the state — 'military service, in some cases park service, in other cases public works service,' he said — while prison guards would be retrained to work as counselors. 'Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes,' Paladino said." - The Associated Press report.

If the name Carl Paladino rings a bell, it's because he's still in the running for governor despite forwarding a bunch of racism and porn e-mails back in April. So it's not a total shock to find that he thinks poor people are on welfare because they smell bad, and that they smell bad because their dysfunctional families never taught them how to wash themselves.

And really, what would be healthier and better for these people than sending them to refitted prisons, to learn life skills from retrained prison guards, after which they'd be forced into military service? It's brilliant, and made even more brilliant when, upon the occasion of a presumably WHAT THE FUCK followup call from the AP, Paladino insisted the program would be voluntary.

In other words, Paladino is either lying, stupid, or most likely, both. Because who in their right minds would voluntarily enter Paladino's ridiculous program? Nobody - the same number of people in their right mind who would think up a program like this. No, the only way something like this would happen is as a prerequisite for receiving benefits, or as some kind of newfangled prison you'd send poor people to once they couldn't pay their debts. There'd have to be some pithier name for it, of course.

Let's just hope the public doesn't get too much crazier, or else in another 60 years, Michelle Malkin's granddaughter will be getting a book deal.