Our Common Good


In a guest lecture at Ohio University Monday night, Fox News head Roger Ailes touched on media bias, the Obama administration’s legitimacy, and whether comedian Jon Stewart would be on air without Fox News.

During the event, titled “FOX News: Past, Present and Future,” Ailes argued that US voters still don’t know anything about Barack Obama — a line commonly repeated by conservative commentators and far-right legislators.

h/t: Annie-Rose Strasser at Think Progress


Ted Nugent’s violent remarks at the NRA’s annual paranoia-fest triggered (pun intended) a new round in the always-good-for-cable debate over extreme rhetoric in the political discourse. The episode showed—no surprise—that GOP presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney was unwilling to condemn an out-of-bounds Obama-hater when his campaign released a mealy-mouthed response to the uproar, ignoring Nugent’s specific comments and noting that “Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.” And Nugent’s threatening words were nothing new; in 2007, he held up two machine guns at a concert and told Obama to “suck on my machine gun,” adding, “Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.” But his latest rant, in which he denounced Obama’s “vile, evil America-hating administration,” was part of a never-ending Republican/conservative crusade to portray the president as not a true American. And it’s an effort that Romney has played footsie with.

For years, conservatives have said (or implied) that Obama is not really one of us: He was born in Kenya, he’s a secret Muslim, he pals around with terrorists. They have also endeavored to attach this otherism to all Democrats. Ex-presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) accusedObama and his wife of holding “anti-American views” and called on the media to investigate Democratic members of Congress to determine if they were anti-American, too. Last week, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a tea party darling, declared that “there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.” After he was lambasted for uttering this absurd charge, he defiantly proclaimed that he did not regret his statement and reaffirmed his stance: “I’m not going to back down. I’m not going to be afraid about the fact that I called a spade a spade.” (House Speaker John Boehner said nothing about West’s derogatory and fact-free claim.)

Labeling anyone left of center a commie or traitor who hates America is a time-tested tradition of conservative politics that stretches back decades, from the Palmer Raids to the McCarthy era to Richard Nixon’s criminal administration to Ronald Reagan’s attempt to smear the anti-nuclear movement as a Moscow spin-off. Romney is too moderate (and too fearful of losing independent voters) to engage in DEFCON-1-level rhetorical nuking. But he has devised a way to speak to—and exploit—this sentiment without contracting cat-scratch fever.

“Obama the Apologizer” is not Romney’s only jab designed to depict the president as apart from the great American public. He repeatedly charges that Obama does not truly understand this nation or grasp that America is special. As if Obama were an outsider.

h/t: David Corn at Mother Jones


This week, Crossroads GPS announced a $650,000 nationwide television ad campaign called “Deflect.” The 30-second spot falsely blames Obama administration actions for the rise in gasoline prices since 2009.

Crossroads GPS is a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) group, affiliated with the American Crossroads super PAC. Karl Rove has been linked to both groups.

The spot begins by noting gas prices “then and now” — going up from the unusually low prices of January 2009 to the higher prices of today. A narrator asks what has made the difference.

The narrator then claims the reasons for higher gas prices are:

– “President Obama’s administrationrestricted oil production in the Gulf

Limited development of American oil shale

– Obama personally lobbied to kill a pipeline bringing oil from Canada.

Unlike candidate ad spots, television stations are under no obligation to run ads by outside groups, especially when the ads are factually wrong. This one is.

H/T: Josh Israel at ThinkProgress Green


American Family Association president Tim Wildmon yesterday hosted conservative writer Neil Mammen on Today’s Issues, where Wildmon warned that “if President Obama is re-elected again” he will “threaten our religious freedoms” by making hate speech laws to “shut you down if you have anything critical to say about homosexuality.” Conservatives have been warningdishonestly, of impending hate speech laws for years now, with groups warning of churches being closed and pastors getting arrestedand going to prison. While their nightmare vision never seems to come true, Religious Right leaders like Wildmon never fail to make such claims in order to rile up their supporters and stoke fears of equal rights for gays and lesbians.

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW


Relentless attacks on the Chevy Volt from Rush Limbaugh and Republican politicians have taken their toll, as General Motors has announced a five-week suspension in production of the range-extended electric car. Conservative enemies of clean energy and the Obama administrationseized on isolated reports Volts with battery fires, calling the cars “Obama-mandated death traps.” Limbaugh even said GM was a “corporation that’s trying to kill its customers.”

These conspiracy-tinged partisan attacks have now cost American jobs, with 1300 workers temporarily laid off in the face of lower than expected demand for the innovative cars, even as gas prices rise.

h/t: Brad Johnson at Think Progress Green