September 22, 2010

Right Wing Radicals Slinging Class Warfare Mud

Since including some clips of Glenn Greenwald in the last GDAE Podcast I've been digging a little deeper into his work. I came across the following and, though out of context, thought it worthy of sharing:

For as long as I can remember -- decades -- I've been hearing that the new incarnation of the GOP is far more radical and dangerous than anything that preceded it, and it tragically threatens to banish the previously Reasonable, Serious, Adult version of that party. That was certainly said about Ronald Reagan, as he argued for the elimination of the Department of Education, brought in cabinet officials like Ed Meese and Jim Watt, catered to Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, and nominated people like Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. That was certainly said about the Gingrich-led GOP of the 90s, with their Contract with America, obsessions with law-enforced morality, and impeachment of Bill Clinton. And it was said over and over about the Bush/Cheney era that ushered in the Iraq War, the torture regime, broad executive lawlessness, and an endless roster of vapid, know-nothing ideologues and religious fanatics in the highest positions.

Given all that, I'd really like to hear what it is about Christine O'Donnell, or Sharron Angle, or any of these other candidates that sets them apart from decades of radical right-wing elected officials who came before them? They seem far more similar to me than different. When was this idealized era of GOP Adult Reasonableness?

The context was a blog post, entitled "The misguided reaction to Tea Party candidates," which explores how "ruling class" conservatives look down their collective noses at the likes of Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell. These elites claim that Palin and O'Donnell are particularly "radical;" however, Greenwald exposes the hypocrisy of "radicals" from the elite class labeling "radicals" from lesser class strata.

The excerpts above seemed to sum it up for me. It seems that the right wing radicals are slinging class warfare mud, but don't even realize it. Thanks to Glenn Greenwald for pointing it out.


Salon dot Com, Glenn Greenwald Blog


Ludwig said...

There is a deep contradiction in Greenwald's comment. His suggestion here--that the Tea Party are no different from generations of preceding Republican fanatics, and are therefore not especially dangerous--completely undermines his larger campaign to show that Republicanism in general represents an increasing danger to society.

If the Tea Party are not an "unprecedented threat" because they are just ordinary Republicans minus a certain slick veneer, than obviously ordinary Republicanism in general can't be much of a threat either, no matter how snobby some Republican "elites" appear to be.

And yet Greenwald's rise to eminence as a pundit depends on his effectiveness in asserting repeatedly that ordinary Republicanism itself is a radically growing threat to the very survival of civil liberties.

This is the whole tenor of his criticism of Obama: Obama has extended, not pushed back, the unprecedented (and criminal and ordinary Republican) Bush attack on freedom and liberty, and that is what makes him untrustworthy.

In any case, Sarah Palin and her ilk represent a thoroughly corrupt and sticky-fingered petty bourgeoisie whose decadence has deprived them of coherent discourse, and who are held in contempt at least as much because of their laughable pretentiousness as because they somehow represent "the people." They are the small-time elitists of their localities. The "just plain folks" routine is as hypocritical coming from them as it was coming from old crackerbarrel Yalie Bush.

Greenwald is a man who, for all his occasional brilliance, has neither mastered nor understood the conflicts at the heart of his own outlook. Nobody has said certain necessary things as clearly as Greenwald, but he offers no larger perspective for a political movement, and it is doing him no favor to promote him beyond his obvious level of competence.

GDAEman said...

Ludwig, Thanks for commenting. It's not for me to defend Greenwald, so let me say the following:

I don't interpret Greenwald's logic to imply "... therefore not especially dangerous." I think he's saying "current radical Republicanism is no less radical than in the past," and that we should not opine that past Republicanism was somehow more "grown up," that is, less radical. I think he's saying they've been radical since Reagan and still are.

Also, I don't think he's saying they are an "increasing" threat. He's saying they've been a threat all along, at least since Reagan, and that the past threats have borne fruit in a recent economic collapse and the loss of civil liberties, tangible facts on the ground, not a "potential" future concern.

If you read his blog post he's also saying that the establishment Republicans are looking down their noses at working class Tea Party "Republicans" "claiming" the later to be "radical" when both the establishment & working class Reeps are both radical. He attributes the establishment views of the working class Tea Party folks to upper class bias, which isn't limited to Republicans... that snootiness also applies to class divides among Democrats.

Greenwald's rise doesn't depend on his harping on a growing Republican threat, though he did himself rise to acclaim during a Republican administration... But now, Greenwald is actively saying Obama's violations of civil liberties are in some cases worse than Bush's. Greenwald stands out because he speaks truth to power, regardless of Party, is very intelligent and is consistent in his ideology. I don't think he views it as his purpose to "create a larger perspective for political movement. He's interested in calling it like he sees it and letting the chips fall where they may. And, maybe you're right... he might not have mastered the conflicts at the heart of his own outlook... I certainly admit that I'm still working on that myself.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

libhom said...

Greenwald is correct. Both sets of Goppers are equally reactionary and dangerous.

I would add that replacing "establishment" Republicans with teabaggers is largely a rebranding of the same product.