In the Arena

It Gets Worse

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I was at a Blanche Lincoln town hall meeting in Russellville, Arkansas, yesterday–and the number of people who believe that the President has larded the government with communists (!) was astonishing. One woman said there were four known communists in the government and that she’d researched it on the internet. When I asked her afterwards, she said environmental adviser Van Jones, legal advisor Cass Sunstein (who was last spotted being excoriated by the left for supporting the FISA revisions), someone named Lloyd and she didn’t remember the fourth. And wasn’t it suspicious that Obama had all these czars working for him–that was a Russkie commie term, wasn’t it? When I asked, the woman admitted that, among other things, she occasionally listened to William Bennett’s conservative radio show. I pointed out that Bennett had once been the Drug Czar, appointed by Ronald Reagan. Life sure can be complicated sometimes.

I was later told by a local observer that many of these vomitous, disgraceful notions were the fruit of Glenn Beck’s fruitful imagination. “We are living Glenn Beck’s fantasy life,” said this audience member. The amazing thing remains not only the unwillingness of responsible Republicans–a term that is in danger of becoming an oxymoron–to call bull– on this, but also the willingness of many prominent Republicans to join in the slinging of garbage. Michelle Cottle reports that there are Republican-sanctioned efforts afoot to have parents not send their children to school on September 8 because the President is scheduled to address the nation’s school-children that day and they are afraid that he will fill their little heads with socialist propaganda. That is somewhere well beyond disgraceful. 

Could I just say that the intensity of this getting pretty scary…and dangerous? We are heading toward a cliff and the usual brakes of civil discourse are not working. Indeed, the Republicans have the pedal to the metal–rushing us toward a tragedy far greater than the California health care forum finger-biting Karen describes below. I’m usually not one to panic or be overly worried about the state of our country–even when we do awful things like invade Iraq and torture people, we usually right our course before long–but I have a sinking feeling about where we’re headed now. I hope I’m wrong.

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