The inevitable thesis, the thrust of my posts for the past few months has been clear: the right wing opposition to Obama, the Republican party, the conservatives – are now a fractious and generally incoherent force in American politics. They offer virtually no legitimate opposition – instead they lie and throw smears and engage in petty propagandistic techniques – even in their so-called intellectual journals. It’s rare to find any piece of right wing writing that isn’t weighed down by clear and obvious falsehoods. The right wing’s talking points – whether expressed by pundits or politicians – have become almost entirely unhinged from reality.
I don’t mean to suggest that there are no legitimate reasons to disagree with the Obama administration: There is a genuine feeling of discontentment at the root of the deficit politics movement; libertarians and paleoconservatives have mounted substantial critiques of the Obama administration; and the left, especially regarding civil liberties, the wars in the Middle East, and gay rights has also had serious criticisms.
But the Republican Party and the major pundits of the mainstream right have instead engaged in fantastical criticisms – they describe their worst fears and ascribe them to the Obama administration – irrespective of what is actually happening. If the Obama administration is proposing that the government offer a government-run insurance option similar to Medicare which the independent and bipartisanly cited Congressional Budget Offices estimates would attract 1/30th of the American population, then Obama is attempting a hostile Marxist takeover of 1/16th of the American economy! If Obama acknowledges America’s role in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953, he is “apologizing for American success” and supporting tyranny and the murder of innocents! Obviously false statements are routinely used as cornerstones in building the case against Obama. There has been virtually no attempt by the right (with the exception of libertarians and paleoconservatives) to seriously engage with the reality of what Obama is doing.
I believe it is important to have a genuine opposition. Any political movement can fall victim to the excesses and blindnesses of its politics if it does not have an effective opposition.
At the same time, I agree with much of the agenda that the Obama administration has – even as I have found myself wary of certain initiatives.
Given all this, I’ve decided to reorient one of the foci of my blog from debunking right wing smears to searching for authentic critiques amidst the smears.