Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Era in American Politics?

Because the president is black, the media and left-wing commentators have gone out of their way to argue how unprecedented is the current politics of the birth certificate. Tavis Smiley, appearing on socialist Lawrence O'Donnell's show, argues that Trump's the biggest racist in the tea party? Say what? Do these people have a clue? Trump's a businessman and a political opportunist with few ties to the tea party, but facts don't matter. So get ready: The allegations of racism will be raining down more viciously in this election cycle. No matter that the worst racism in 2008 was on the Democratic side (Bill Clinton called Obama the "Jesse Jackson" candidate in the race, etc.). Nope, simple opposition to big government and rank incompetence is racist. It's pretty lame:

Meanwhile, Politico attempts to make the case that current political battles are unprecedented, "A New Era of Accusation and Innuendo" (via Memeorandum):
President Barack Obama’s appearance Wednesday in the White House briefing room to present a documented rebuttal of suspicions that he was not really born on U.S. soil was more than just a surprise. It was a decisive new turn in the centuries-long American history of political accusation and innuendo.

By directly and coolly engaging a debate with his most fevered critics, Obama offered the most unmistakable validation yet to the idea that we are living in an era of public life with no referee — and no common understandings between fair and unfair, between relevant and trivial, or even between fact and fantasy.

Lurid conspiracy theories have followed presidents for as long as the office has existed. But even Obama’s most recent predecessors benefited from a widespread consensus that some types of personal allegations had no place in public debate unless or until they received some imprimatur of legitimacy—from an official investigation, for instance, or from a detailed report by a major news organization.

“There are no more arbiters of truth,” said former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. “So whatever you can prove factually, somebody else can find something else and point to it with enough ferocity to get people to believe it. We’ve crossed some Rubicon into the unknown.”

It’s hard to imagine Bill Clinton coming out to the White House briefing room to present evidence that people who thought he helped plot the murder of aide Vincent Foster — never mind official rulings of suicide — were wrong. George W. Bush, likewise, was never tempted to take to the Rose Garden to deny allegations from voices on the liberal fringe who believed that he knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks ahead of time and chose to let them happen.
More at the link, but it's a preposterous theory. The administration of President George W. Bush deflected the most wild conspiracies against the administration for years, claims that "Bush lied" about weapons of mass destruction to get the United States into a war of imperial conquest in Iraq. The press has a short memory and a new spin. The methods are old (see, for example, Benjamin Ginsburg and Martin Shefter, Politics by Other Means: Politicians, Prosecutors, and the Press from Watergate to Whitewater).


Dennis said...

Danger! Race Hustling zone.