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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Psycho Pundits

In recent months, The psychotic sophistries of right wing pundits have gone gonzo. It’s as if losing the election has blown their minds.

First, there was Sean Hannity’s ‘tree of liberty’. I defy any sane adult to not fall down laughing after viewing it. Mr. Hannity shows us an old-timey illustration of the tree of liberty, complete with roots named Liberty, Freedom, etc, combining into a strong trunk. Above this trunk there are apples, named commerce, security etc. Then Mr. Hannity tells us that since Obama has become president, all of these apples have fallen into, I kid you not, the ‘apple crate of socialism’. This entire cartoon seems to be for two year olds, but it’s not, it’s for the supposedly adult viewers of his program.

Do his viewers never stop to think that by Hannity’s definition, government-run institutions like fire, police, and military forces, and even public schools and hospitals, are equally ‘socialist’.

Later in the week, he tried to stir public ire over the fact that President Obama ordered a hamburger with Dijon mustard on it. Oh dear, how elitist! It’s shocking that the president might want an exotic condiment like grey poupon mustard instead of Heinz ketchup. No, wait a minute, if he’d ordered Heinz, he’d be funding Theresa Heinz Kerry’s evil radical agenda. I’m sure that was on tap as the diligent Hannity production team parsed Mr. Obama’s menu choices.

Rush Limbaugh accused the president of coddling the Somalis who’d taken an American sea captain hostage. He called them ‘black Muslim teenagers’, the implication being: hey, Obama’s black, and maybe he’s Muslim too. Yes, and maybe on weekends President Obama secretly goes swashbuckling in the gulf of Aden with distant dangerous relatives from the Dark Continent. Scary! Of course, once those pirates were dispassionately killed by Navy Seal snipers and the hostage freed, Limbaugh changed his tune – he then criticized the president’s ‘slow response’.

Now Limbaugh has topped it all by suggesting that Governor Mark Sanford’s affair was caused by his extreme distress at having to accept Obama’s stimulus package money. OK, let’s forget for a moment that Sanford’s been having an affair for over a year, i.e. since before Obama was president. Are we really supposed to believe that a prominent Republican, who was until his recent self immolation thought to be a presidential contender, is so weak that he would break his marriage vows under the duress of… performing his executive duties? Is this the supposedly macho Republican Party we’re talking about here, or a bunch of those famously weak wristed liberals?

OK, I know that this president can do no right as far as these folks are concerned. Their job is to throw raw meat to mouth-breathing australopithecines (I wouldn’t insult the intelligence of Neanderthals by calling them that), but surely even these intellectually challenged listeners must at some point find this nitpicking, absurdist bloviating to be too much.

It defies logic that an adult, who knows the rudiments of personal hygiene, can tie their shoes, read and write, and drive a car, can take any of this seriously.

And this is what I find so distressing about these supposed pundits, and many more from Michael Weiner AKA ‘Michael Savage’ to the joyously malevolent Ann Coulter. It’s not that they exist, not even that some media executive might want to put them on the air because their extremist views are consonant with his own. No, it’s that these people have massive, massive audiences.

Who are these millions upon millions of people who follow the pundits, no matter how absurd their rationales, or egregious their hypocrisies. Rush Limbaugh railed against drug addicts for years, yet he was caught with an astounding 30,000 Oxycontin pills. Anyone other than a celebrity of his magnitude would have gone away for a long, long time for possession with intent to distribute. But Rush kept his job. The question is, how did he keep his listeners? How could these people still respect the world’s greatest hypocrite?

And how is America to prosper when so many Americans are this credulous, and this easily manipulated, whether into nonsensical ‘tea party’ protests or murderous attacks on doctors?