Lately, I've been "banning" a lot of commenters from adding their canned goods to the fresh salad of comments here. I don't like chewing on the greasy fat stuff produced in a comment factory way to my right. The commenters' IP addresses get posted in a convenient area provided by Typepad that's beginning to look those overloaded bins you see on the sidewalk outside KFC.
The junk comments on "liberal" blogs are just another indication that there's desperation on the right.
That chilling reminder comes from the New York Times' Frank Rich who devotes this week's column to a reminder that -- for good and ill -- the GOP is "not even a paper tiger — it’s a paper muskrat" and that Obama is making a big mistake giving them so much quarter. "If the president insists that enemies like this are his friends — and that the nuts they represent can be placated by reason," he reasons, "he will waste his opportunity to effect real change and have no one to blame but himself."
Rich is right, but he also reminds us that every Democratic president since Ike has faced violence from the right and each time they've been egged on by forces within the GOP. Obama's win has brought the crazies out big time. Make no mistake: the violence we're seeing now began well before the health care debate began.
This month the Southern Poverty Law Center, the same organization that warned of the alarming rise in extremist groups before the Oklahoma City bombing, issued its own report. A federal law enforcement agent told the center that he hadn’t seen growth this steep among such groups in 10 to 12 years. “All it’s lacking is a spark,” he said.
It's happened before. Sociologist Daniel Bell noticed and wrote about violence on the right before -- earily not long before -- the Kennedy assassination. The right, unable to deal with cultural changes* -- with any change -- panics when facing an administration it doesn't own. No more than Bush and Cheney did, the disaffected on the right don't see a continuum in American politics within the framework of law, of the Constitution.
The level of education on the right is generally a lot lower than on the left and we need to do something about it. Education in this country is a much bigger problem than we recognize, at least publicly and politically. The wider the education, the better able people are to handle the changes that comes with each year and decade. You can't prevent change by forming a militia or buying an assault weapon. But you can learn how to handle change and direct it if you've had a healthy education. America is falling far behind other developed countries in our level of education.
Frank Rich is worried that Obama is dealing with all this in the wrong way. He should stop trying to placate or make friends with the right and, instead, deal with the issues that created the problem.
In last year’s campaign debates, Obama liked to cite his unlikely Senate friendship with Tom Coburn, of all people, as proof that he could work with his adversaries. If the president insists that enemies like this are his friends — and that the nuts they represent can be placated by reason — he will waste his opportunity to effect real change and have no one to blame but himself.
We shouldn't let Obama get away with wasting his time in the White House.
*James von Brunn, the elderly Nazi who shot and killed a security guard in the Holocaust Museum, is (among other things) an "artist." TPM Cafe links to one of his paintings at AskArt.com. I've clipped out a portion of the painting because, aside from being funny and kind of like Norman Rockwell (himself a hero of the right) in style, it illustrates the kitschy, simplistic nature of the right's dream world -- static, childlike, and without challenge.