Friday, December 31, 2004

The Worst of the Right

Mark Follman, who writes the column Right Hook for Salon.com, sums up the year in right-wing punditry.

It’s liberals’ worst nightmare, and it goes something like this. Not only does George W. Bush win reelection, but Republicans seize control of congressional seats, governorships and school boards from sea to shining sea. Eleven states pass legislation banning same-sex marriage. Vacancies loom on the U.S. Supreme Court, with Bush’s favorite right-wing nominees lurking in the wings. American sons and daughters keep dying overseas, while the vast majority of the homeland has somehow gone code red — forget about soccer moms and NASCAR dads; practically all 50 states have been overrun with legions of born-again, gun-slinging, homophobic anti-abortionists. Or some combination thereof.

And the pundit commanders of America’s red army are bloodthirsty and on the march: Ann “liberals are with the terrorists” Coulter; Rush “Abu Ghraib is no worse than a frat prank” Limbaugh; Michael “nuke all the sub-human Arabs” Savage; and Bill “save Christmas from the Hollywood Jews” O’Reilly. As they lord over the airwaves, the defeated liberal minority cowers in the nation’s fast-shrinking blue corners; some are even updating their passports and checking out housing markets in Vancouver and Montreal.

Well, that’s how the year seemed to wind up anyway. It may have been more hype than actual horror show (the real reason a majority of voters chose Bush had little to do with marriage laws or going to church), but nevertheless, the right-wing had plenty of tasteful and well-considered things to say in 2004. Any election year is bound to be filled with shrill hyperbole and nasty barbs from both ends of the political spectrum — but in the rhetorical race to the bottom the right-wing won this one in a walk.

I realize it’s like picking through a dumpster, but it’s better to know what they are saying than to close our eyes to them. Or, as Hawkeye Pierce once said, “Know your enema.”