Sunday Roast: The ghost of teabaggery past

This video is from earlier this year, when Allen West made his stunningly idiotic remark, “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

Aside from the hair-raising bad grammar, having publicly made such a statement is rather incredible — and just goes to show how out of hand our public discourse has become.  The new normal?  West’s remarks were generally reported in the media as just another crazy remark made by a crazy guy — if they were reported at all, outside the liberal blogosphere.

While Allen West’s grotesque remarks reminded Bill Moyers of the horrible Joe McCarthy, when his ghost “slithered into the room,” this video made me think of the more recent, and equally contemptible, behavior of Darrell Issa and his completely bogus witch hunt against Attorney General Eric Holder.

Who is today’s Joseph N. Welch?  Is there anyone on Capital Hill with the courage and integrity to say words to the effect of…

You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

I know we’ve been screaming it all along, but we’re just bloggers, you know.  The media doesn’t like to admit or acknowledge that bloggers now do their jobs, while they rake in the big bucks to say, “We’ll just have to leave it there.”

Bill Moyers ends his comments with this:

So beware, Congressman West, beware: In the flammable pool of toxic paranoia that passes these days as patriotism in America, a single careless match can light an inferno. You would serve your country well to withdraw your remarks and apologize for them. But if not, perhaps there are members of your own party, as possessed of conscience and as courageous as that handful of Republicans who took on Joseph McCarthy, who will now abandon fear and throw cold water on your incendiary remarks.

No, I don’t think there are any members of the Republican party who will stop the likes of Allen West, Steve King, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, etc.  As terrible as those times were in the McCarthy era, I believe they are worse now.  The Republicans have shown time after time that they are perfectly happy with the birtherism, tentherism, and racism of its more vocal extremists.  They will not shut the extremists down, nor will they ever disavow them in any convincing manner.  John Boehner and Mitch McConnell can barely conceal their glee and their “wink and a nod” toward the teabagger crowd.

And today’s media?  The band played on…

This is our daily open thread — Speak up!

Good Night, and Good Luck…

Edward R. Murrow

Over the last few months, in the heat of this presidential campaign, we have begun to hear labels being attributed to the person and policies of Barack Obama by the Right, the McCain/Palin campaign, and their surrogates, which are meant to inject fear and doubt into the minds of the American people.  They are attempting to diminish or destroy the character and motives of Senator Obama, resulting in an open door to hatred and racism. The labels are simply false character attacks meant to diminish and demean him.

What these people whisper, hint, and now just come right out and say in recent days, misrepresent and distort Barack Obama’s words and vision for the future of this country on the heels of eight disastrous years of Bush and Cheney.

These labels:  “appeaser,” “Muslim,” “terrorist,” “Socialist,” “Marxist,” and “Communist” are shouted at political rallies and allowed to hang in the air to create a terrifying emotional response in Americans.  Our country needs real leadership to guide us through these frightening times of deep financial crisis and war.

There are people in the news and in the blogosphere who now have have begun to see parallels to another time in our history — a time when Senator Joseph McCarthy used his power to create a climate of fear and distrust in the hearts of all Americans, and to divide us as a nation. McCarthy made claims that there were large numbers of Communists, Soviet spies, and their sympathizers in the federal government and elsewhere.  In fear, people turned against their friends, neighbors, co-workers and employees. People looked at each other differently, terrified of being accused of being, knowing or associating with a “Communist.” McCarthy was responsible for destroying the lives and careers of many, and turning this country upside down.

One man stood up and was the voice of reason in unreasoned times. That man was Edward R. Murrow. His words were strong reminders of who we are as a nation, and who we must continue to be, and that we must not let fear overcome and control us. He put everything on the line — his reputation and his career — in order to do what was right for the country and stand up to McCarthy.

Below are clips from “Good Night and Good Luck,” a film which portrays the tumultuous events of the 1950s, and some very wise words by Edward R. Murrow (played brilliantly by David Strathairn).

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Michelle Bachmann’s Blues

This is a great article by Katrina Vanden Heuvel at The Nation, it gives an update in this Minnesota race.

Ever since Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s poisonous comments on Hardball ten days ago, it has looked increasingly possible that her deep red district might turn blue next week.

Her Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, a former mayor and state transportation commissioner, has raised more than $1.5 million since Bachmann channeled Joe McCarthy on MSNBC. The Washington Post reported today that Tinklenberg’s fundraising “in a single week, is more than what any other Democratic challenger has raised in a fundraising quarter in the entire two-year election cycle.”

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