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Saturday, September 07, 2013

How strange was my bedfellow

Back in 2010, Glenn Greenwald took some heat for his defense of political "crazies" whose craziness isn't really crazier than what passes for sanity within the Establishment. He made some good points, although I would argue that Establishment politics have become so vile because once-fringe beliefs have seeped into the center.

In this light, I'd like to share with you a mass emailing I got from Western Pac. They're a particularly nutty ultra-conservative group out in Nevada. Big supporters of the despicable Sharron Angle, they were. Now they're fixin' to primary a politician on the other side of the country: Lindsey Graham.

I don't like Lindsey, and I'm guessing that you (if you are a liberal) don't like him either. Yet we dislike him for reasons that differ from Western Pac's reasons.

Or...are we that different? The following will give you some notion of how odd our political culture has become, as the standard partisans divisions morph into new shapes...
Dear Patriot,
Gotta love an opening like that.
We at Western PAC are all in for 2014 to take out Lindsey Graham for his Big Government, Big Amnesty, Big Tax record. Are you? Are you ready to join us in fighting to take a Republican out who said he'd break his promise not to raise taxes?

Are you ready to join us in fighting to take out a Republican who supports reading your mail, tracking your movements and conversations via the NSA's surveillance of your phone metadata? Are you ready to stand with us against a Republican who would treat us like members of Al Qaeda and monitor our communications, our mail, and our everyday lives?
Now, this rhetoric against "Big Government, Big Amnesty, Big Tax" is obviously not the way to get on my good side. Being of the opinion that we need Big Government to create jobs, regulate Wall Street and raise the minimum wage, I'm not the sort of "patriot" that the folks at Western Pac would consider patriotic.

But the Pac and I are on the same page when it comes to the question of NSA surveillance. And then we get this:
Are you ready to go all in with us against a Republican who supports arming Syrian rebels who slaughter Christians in Syria?
Specifying "Christian" victims is kind of repulsive, since this rhetoric implies that slaughtering other folk poses less of a problem. I'm not sure that Jesus would be down with that sentiment. On the other hand: It is true that Syria has a substantial Christian minority, and that they would have a far worse time of it if the Al Nusrah Front took power.

Bottom line: Western Pac proves that one faction of the conservative movement shares my oh-so-liberal mistrust of American intervention in foreign lands.
Are you ready to go all in with us against a Republican and professed conservative who supports amnesty and a path to citizenship for drunk driving, wife-beating illegal aliens?
And there you lost me again, Western Packers. What hogwash!

Look, I spent most of my life in southern California, often in poorer communities brimming with Hispanics (many of them, presumably, of dubious legality). Today, I live in a white working-class suburb of Baltimore where everyone smokes and sports horrible tats and drops F-bombs twice a sentence -- and they're always looking for a reason to get all up in your business. For the first time in my life, I won't walk the streets without a knife in my pocket as protection against these drunken savages. I much preferred the company of pleasant, non-smoking Hispanics who flash you a friendly smile and then leave you alone to think your thoughts. Brown-skinned proles usually have a live-and-let-live philosophy, while paler proles are uneducated, ineducable barbarians constantly seeking any trivial excuse to pick a fight.

Here's the bottom line question: Do we accept the Western Pac crew as a useful, but very strange, bunch of bedfellows?

They did much to give Sharron Angle the nomination for a Nevada senate seat in 2010. Yes, she was awful -- a true nutjob. On the other hand, she lost an election that any other Republican probably would have won. (Hell, Democrat Harry Reid could have lost to Caligula's horse. That's how unpopular he was.)

So if there's a teabagger primary challenge to Graham in South Carolina, how might things play out? This blogger has been looking into it...
There's another name on that Senate 2014 page you may not be familiar with: Jay Stamper, the intrepid and fearless Democrat running in South Carolina against Lindsey Graham. I've had the same feedback: "a Democrat can't win in South Carolina" and "no one ever heard of Stamper." A Democrat hasn't won statewide in South Carolina in some time-- but that's the past. (Obama, by the way, scored 44% there last year, better than he did in Montana, both Dakotas, Arkansas, West Virginia and Alaska, all of which have Democratic senators.) And as far as "no one" knowing who he is... that's why early contributions are so important. It's going to help him get better known.

And then there's the luck of the draw. I've always believed in it. And will Lindsey Graham even be his opponent in 2014? Graham has a primary to win first-- and he's far from a shoo-in, even if he's trying to make the weak case that he's the conservative in the race. The Republican crackpot who heads the heavily subsidized fake Tea Party outfit FreedomWorks, Matt Kibbe, has been threatening Graham all year. In May, he went crazy when Lindsey and McCain attacked Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as "wacko birds." Kibbe told ABC News that Graham "is begging for a primary."

A bloody and bitter Republican civil war in South Carolina is probably Stamper's best shot at winning. And that's exactly what's shaping up now...
Okay, so that's the situation in one state. Looks promising. Might be worth a shot.

Now let's zoom out for a wider view of national politics. When is it permissible for liberals to ally themselves with "crazies" who, in their craziness, might actually prove helpful to the forces of rationality? That crack about saving Syria's "Christians" still annoys me -- but in the end, the Western Packers are lobbying for America to stay out of a civil war that ain't none of our business. We need all the allies we can get on that issue.
Better than Rozen.

"But argue against a useless war that will cost the U.S. a lot and you will be accused as "anti-American".

This is the non-sensical response one gets for challenging war promoters:

Laura Rozen‏@lrozen

look moon you wld like nothing better than russia & iran & china architects of global order. “@MoonofA:
And this is the appropriate response to such idiocy:
@MoonofA @lrozen Scratch a "liberal" interventionist, find Joe McCarthy hiding underneath.
Just to be clear, the right wing is against Democrats having a surveillance program. It is perfectly fine with Republicans having one.
More strange bedfellow evidence - I've just stumbled across this

Dang! Who knew these Republican Reps would ever be good for anything?
Our district's Tom Cole is voting "no" too.
Let me just say, that Rand Paul has also stressed the "protection of Christians" angle. I have problems with Rand Paul saying this because he has (unlike his dad) actually praised Israeli settlements which have displaced Palestinian Christians and Muslims.
He has kissed Israel's ass many times in a way his father never did, by way of appeasement at least, faulty beliefs at worst.

But I also have a problem with a liberal, for example, who would fail to point out, the neocons like Cheney and Bush (and more naturally Feith and Wolfowitz)
could have cared less and still do care less about the fate of Iraqi Christians (increasingly imperilled)if and when Saddam fell.

Now, shifting to a governnment which is not post-Christian, as is the American, that is, to the Russian government,which works hand in hand with the Russian Orthodox Church. It has had no qualms about stressing that Putin's strategy includes protecting Syrian and Arab Christians.

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