Thursday, September 20, 2012


My first reaction to this was the same as ABL's: it's the work of a reprehensible hatemonger.
Today, Burnt Orange Report received [this] photo ..., taken in front of a home in Northwest Austin. The resident, a Republican, lynched an empty chair from a tree in his yard....

... in light of Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he had a largely one-sided conversation with an empty chair he pretended was Barack Obama, this imagery is now associated with the President....

But my second thought was this: The guy is a hate-filled scumbag, but his act of hate requires you to be in on right-wing in-jokes. Yes, a lot of us watched that Clint Eastwood speech, so we understand the point of this. But a lot of people never saw it, and others probably watched it and then forgot all about it. (A lot of people watched Bill Clinton's Democratic convention speech, too, but I wouldn't expect most Americans now to get a reference to Clinton's comments about Republicans and math.) Right-wingers didn't forget the chair bit, of course -- they ran with it. To them, the notion that Obama actually is, in effect, an empty chair is incredibly profound and hilarious. They'll never stop chuckling over it.

So as reprehensible as this is, it's awfully insular. But that's how right-wingers are these days. From a somewhat more respectable precinct of the right, there's this ad, from an independent anti-Obama group, which is airing in Florida starting today:

I get why Republicans would want to sell themselves as the party of foreign-policy muscularity, and sell the notion of solidarity with Netanyahu in Florida -- but is the reference to "apologies" at the end going to mean anything to anyone who isn't already a hardcore Obama-hater and committed voter? This is also the right talking to the right, in right-wingers' own shorthand language.

Maybe I find this odd because, here in New York, there are plenty of people who disagree with much of the right's messaging but who are rather hard-line on defending Israel. And I remember moderates voting for hawkishness in Reagan and W years. But this ad concludes by saying to those people, in effect, "We're not talking to you -- we're talking to people who've already absorbed the Fox/talk radio talking point that Obama's foreign policy is largely based on apologizing."

I see this insularity even in a new Republican National Committee ad accusing Obama of believing in "redistribution." Talking Points Memo addresses the main thing that's wrong with the ad -- it relies on outrageously selective editing -- but I want to add that it also doesn't even seem to be talking to the middle:

Why waste the first eight seconds -- one-fifth of the 43-second ad -- on that Ronald Reagan soundbite? The only reason is that either (a) this ad isn't aimed at anyone outside the base or (b) the makers of the ad just think Reagan is so unbelievably awesome that of course you want to lead with a quote from him, because once people hear Reagan, they're sold. The folks behind this ad really have no idea that many of us, in the center as well as on the left, simply don't swoon over the guy.


UPDATE: Oh, look -- another racist sleazebag hangs a chair, this one in a park in Virginia. In this one the chair was labeled -- the label reads "Nobama," which is also an in-joke. (Wingers find it hilarious to call the president "Nobama.")


Victor said...

Yeah, I imagine they're starting to think that what they hear in their echo chambers isn't their own voices reverborating, but the sound of the cheers from all of the non-Liberals in America.

And my favorite is their fallback on Mitt's constant bungling of elections - 'Oh, don't worry, we've got A TON of money for TV advertising to brainwash the masses!"

They really must still think it's 1980 - when TV remotes were rare, VCR's still new and pretty expensive, and DVR's not even some engineer's wet-dream.

I hate to tell the Republicans (not really), but a lot of the younger folks have DVR's nowadays, and skip by commercials - particularly political one; and almost everyone has a remote control.

Leaving as the main audience that will see those their ads - old folks who don't have a DVR, and either have arthritic fingers which don't allow them to change channels quickly enough, or it takes them a minute or two to remember how to use the remote - 'This dang-blasted thing has too many buttons! And all of them are little!!!"

But hey, if the top of the top 1% want to spend a ton of money advertising for the political version of New Coke - just like W, only better! - who am I to stand in their way?

Again, THIS is why we need higher taxes on the uber-rich!

So instead of spending money trying to dominate politics, let these "Job Creators" create more jobs for CPA's and support staffes looking for loop-holes in their 75% top-end tax rate!!!

Victor said...

Ken oui pleez getz "Edit?"

Philo Vaihinger said...

In the runup to 2004 or 2008, I forget which, there was talk about how much the right would welcome another successful al-Qaeda attack on the US, just in time to scare people silly and win the election for GW (if 2004) or McSame (if 2008).

Makes you wonder.

Others have repeatedly said al-Qaeda made and timed its attacks to provoke over the top reaction from the US.

Makes you wonder, some more.

Did somebody time the murder and riots of 9/12/12 to make America prefer brave, firm-jawed Romney to wussy, cringing, apologizing Obama?

BH said...

I certainly wouldn't say it was impossible that the murders/riots might have been planned with that motivation - but that doesn't answer the question of the identity/identities of the planner(s). Given the apocalypse-welcoming irrationality afoot among the likes of al-Qaeda (mirroring that afoot among our Xtian zealots), I could see their thinking running that way. As to the hypothetical planner(s) being politically-motivated Americans of some description, again, it's not impossible - but I'd say Occam's razor cuts against it.

In any event, if the motivation was to enhance Mitty's prospects, it appears to have fallen well short of success so far.

Uncle Mike said...

"...he had a largely one-sided conversation with an empty chair.."

"Largely" one-sided? Does that mean the chair did occasionally speak back?

Pete said...

The Republicans have been trying to scare us with the tsunami of money they have been threatening to drown us in, but now I read in the NYT that maybe sorta not so much really, especially at the Presidential level. In fact, Romney seems to have inspired Dems to wake up & contribute to Obama, thus once again shooting self in pedal extremity.

We gotta bury these clowns. Deep. It's either that or hang 'em high.