The diminishing effectiveness of some political theater

In the matter of Hurricane Katrina, there was plenty of blame to go around beyond the valid criticisms of the Bush administration. The local authorities in New Orleans delayed ordering an evacuation until it was too late. The deplorable Governor Blanco had no problem making a swift decision to hire a political PR consultant, but she dithered for a critical 24 hours on her willingness to accept the federal troops offered by President Bush at the direct request of Mayor Nagin. Part of the anti-Bush narrative was related to the Iraq War, that there “weren’t enough troops” to send to Baghdad on the Bayou because they were all overseas. The larger part of the narrative was that Bush was dumb, incompetent, and above all prejudiced against minorities. The media/Democrat Party’s control of the narrative was pretty effective.

Today we see what appears to be a similar story line about Republicans and Tea Party types who oppose Obamacare. They allegedly assaulted Democratic members of Congress, spitting on one, and hurling vile racial epithets at others. Pundits from the New York Times and elsewhere quickly branded these Obamacare opponents as racists. There’s only one problem — the name-calling evidently never happened. In the era of ubiquitous video recording devices and YouTube, it’s a sure bet that any such yelling of racist epithets would have appeared on the internet within nanoseconds, and for good reason: what a PR bonanza for the supporters of the President and his initiative. One commentator reviewed four separate videos of the events that recorded none of the offensive words (though one fellow shouting “kill the bill” seems a bit questionable on the saying/spraying issue). There are additional elements of the initial story that now seem fishy as well, including one congressman’s appearing to distance himself from some of the accusations. Some in the right-wing media seem to think that the objective of the encounter of the congressmen and the protesters was to provoke the disgusting outburst they claim took place — we don’t know about that.

What we do know is that this narrative line, that opponents of the President’s and Congress’s policies are racists, has gotten very, very old and tired. No doubt many on the Left genuinely believe this about conservatives, but perhaps there’s also a bit of projection at work as well. In any event, the chosen media-Democratic Party narrative appears extremely unlikely to work this time. Not only do the vast majority of Republicans think that the haughty way the Congress and the President passed the bill was an “abuse of power,” but 58% of independents do as well. Smears that are false and that smear a majority of Americans are a losing strategy.

10 Responses to “The diminishing effectiveness of some political theater”

  1. Steve Says:

    Your zeal to avoid acknowledging the multiple events of racial and homophobic slurs, bricks through windows, and threatening messages primarily aimed at Democratic legislators betrays the deep guilt you would feel if that stuff were proved true to your (stridently resisting) perception, which it should have been already, if you had searched with even one-tenth of an objective eye. Since you yourself stated that there should have been YouTube recordings of the “alleged” events, why don’t you simply look at one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmP4Gb2pEsY . (“You can clearly see that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver is waving his hand to avoid being spat upon. At :31 you can even see him wipe the spit off of his face. Furthermore, he brings the police to point out the man that did the repulsive and disgusting act. The video clearly indicates what happened.”) It’s quite sad to see an educated person blind himself.

    You talk about “smears” while simultaneously smearing the honesty of people like John Lewis and Barney Frank who have long suffered from ignorant prejudice and in their patient efforts to gain civil rights have demonstrated far more integrity than your comments display.

  2. Neil Says:

    Steve, after all the hate and bile you’ve spewed here, where do you get off accusing anyone else of the same thing? Glass houses, stones, all that.

    Thanks to people like you, this is what political discourse has become in our time.

  3. Chris Says:

    Steve, blah, blah, blah. Same old, same old.

  4. MarkD Says:

    Steve rhymes with believe.

    In other, unsurprising news, the militia member arrested in the plot to kill cops who had a party affiliation was a registered Democrat. Now if I were an unprincipled smear artist, I’d try to use this to prove some sort of political point. I’m not and I won’t. Unlike some of our so called political leaders.

    I like summer, but I’m looking forward to this November.

  5. A can of warm milk Says:

    Steve, Rep. Cleaver has now retracted the spitting story. See: http://www.weaselzippers.net/blog/2010/04/black-dem-rep-who-was-reportedly-spit-on-by-tea-party-protester-i-never-claimed-to-have-been-spit-on.html

  6. William Says:

    “No doubt many on the Left genuinely believe this about conservatives, but perhaps there‚Äôs also a bit of projection at work as well.”

    Bravo…once again you nailed the undercurrent of liberal philosophy.

    Well done, indeed.

  7. Steve Says:

    There was no “retraction” stated on the website you mentioned, Mr. Milk, for Mr. Cleaver himself never made any public statement claiming the spitting. He is probably much more used to avoiding inflammatory racial conflict in his life than you have had to be. Mr. Neil seems to have a very low threshold for his definition of “hate and bile.” For my curiosity though, how many of you have looked at the video I referenced?

  8. Neil Says:

    I, along with everybody else, saw the same video you linked, as well as other versions. It looks as though “say it, don’t spray it” would have been the appropriate response from the Congressman. But that’s not good enough for you, is it? You have to blow it up into accusations of willful ignorance, violence, and racism.

    It’s not enough for you to disagree, you must vilify and dehumanize to justify your hate. I see little difference between you and that fellow who was shouting at the Congressman in the video. If anything, your actions are worse. He stated his preferences with excessive volume, unheedful of his expectoration. You do the same, but your spitting is intentional.

  9. Chris Says:

    Steve is a textbook example for everyone of how a lib argues. You can not have a rational conversation. He’ll throw out crazy statements and when you refute them, he’ll go on to something else totally nutty and then maybe veer back to it and round and round you’ll go.

    Right Steve?

  10. Steve Says:

    “Dehumanize” — well I never did, but if you feel that way I suspect I could only gain your respect by praising Republicans. Incidentally, whom do you support for 2012? Are there any out there who will improve our nation?

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