I think we've all read the articles where a moderate Republican or a principled conservative complains about the far right. From Michelle Malkin to Rush Limbaugh, the far right spews forth uncompromising hate and anti-intellectual vitriol, much to the chagrin of moderate Republicans. I recently read an article by Michael Fumento, bemoaning the far right and longing for the days of real conservatism. I always smirk sarcastically when reading these articles. Frankenstein's monster has finally been given life, and now you want to complain? But I digress. The thing is, instead of focusing on the obvious hate fest that is the far right and only focusing on that, the entire article is laced with "And I hate liberals too!" in case we would ever forget what side the man is on. What is missing from the article is a level of self reflection one would expect when analyzing how the far right came to flourish. The far right is not a political movement in isolation; it is the culmination of right wing ideology. It is the end point of much of right wing thought. Too bad Fumento seems to be completely and utterly in the dark about his part in creating this monster and spends so much time trying to affirm the solidity of his beliefs that he never sees the cracks or contradictions. No wonder he was surprised when the far right snuck up from behind.
There was nothing “conservative” about Breitbart. Ever-consummate gentlemen like Buckley and Ronald Reagan would have been mortified by such behavior as Breitbart’s – or West’s or Heartland’s. “There you go again,” the Gipper would have said in his soft but powerful voice.I laughed when reading this. Fumento clearly does not think creating a fictitious "welfare queen" and trotting her out in front of poor Whites in a bid to pit them against their Black neighbors was divisive or socially destructive. The Gipper didn't rant, but his speech was just as hateful and has had an even more destructive legacy because of how nicely it was packaged. The Gipper was hardly a gentlemen, and spent most of his career selling Americans on sugar laced optimism and pitting one American against another. He was successful because the group he chose to pick on was easily knocked down. If we let Reagan knock back a few vodkas, I wonder how far off from Breitbart he'd be?
Limbaugh pulls down a stunning $38 million annual salary. Leaked Heartland Institute documents revealed it’s gotten over $14 million in the past six years from a single individual.Fumento then goes on to state the obvious: the far right is a money making machine. Everyone knows this, especially those on the left who have to fight against the big right wing money machine. That part gets left out of course. Michelle Malkin and Anne Coulter rake in millions while using schoolyard name calling. What's missing from Fumento's analysis is the fact that there's an audience for this. These are the people who watch Hannity, O'Reilly, and read the Daily Caller, etc. If no one watched Fox then Roger Ailes would have a hard time finding advertisers. It also just so happens that the audience for many of the far right media outlets are the elderly, people who love them some Ray-gun. Decades of blaming unions, minorities, the poor, and foreigners has finally culminated in an audience that understands this world view and is willing to vote with their feet to fund the infrastructure to fuel a media that will package the world the way they want to see it. Fumento himself acknowledges, in a roundabout way, that the left does not work in the same fashion. Keith Olbermann and Air America are no more. Why? Can you picture a liberal hate monger, going on television and spewing falsehoods? He may be neat for a week, but would summarily get kicked off the air and lose his viewership. Who do we have instead? Rachel Maddow, a super intelligent, professional, demure, sensible debater who understands decorum and history. Republicans fear her for her intelligence. Sounds like something that appeals to liberals to me. Where is Rachel's far right equivalent? Oh that's right, he/she doesn't exist. Fumento would do well to acknowledge that.
He then goes on to say that the far right will easily label any apostate with the dreaded mark of Cain, or RINO. Well, the left does not demand this level of ideological purity from its members, that's for sure. DINO does not carry the same sting nor a primary challenge. Of course, that part is omitted, as Fumento feels no onus to stop with the "I may be criticizing the right, but liberals are awful too!" However, Fumento doesn't realize that he himself is guilty of what he accuses the far right of doing.
Truth be known, though, I haven’t considered myself a Republican since 1982. Why? That was the year of the massive Reagan tax hike. I figured that’s what liberal Democrats are for. Tore up my donor card and never gave again. By being a conservative at that time, I was a RINO. By being one now, I’m also a RINO. A very curious animal, that.Okay, so you left the Republican party because they didn't satisfy your need for low taxes, and instead started acting like liberal Democrats as far as you were concerned. Never mind the bloated military, the fear mongering about Communism, and the cuts to vital government programs. You stopped giving them money and "went rogue" ala Sarah Palin. Okay, I can understand that, but the question is, when the far right does the exact same thing, why should they be criticized for it? Sure, they don't have much of a grip on what the word "liberal" actually means. Calling Orin Hatch "liberal" is hilarious. But if you wanted ideological purity from your own party, lest they lose you as a member, what's wrong with the far right doing the exact same thing? It's the same principle born from the same mindset. Why the surprise? What's more...why not take a moment and ask yourself why there was a tax hike in the first place? Reagan cut taxes and lowered the size of government while still maintaining an unnecessarily strong military. Then he realized that people LIKED the New Deal, and it had to be paid for. SUPER liberal FDR's legacy lives on to this day! Less revenue means....less revenue!
The final contradiction of the article was so delicious, so wonderfully representative of the cognitive dissonance present within Fumento's own psyche that it left me speechless. He ends with this quote:
Back then a tall bearded Republican declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Just another one of those idiot, moron, “duplicitous bastard” RINOs.
Nope, just a LIBERAL Republican reminding you that order for the sake of order is meaningless if it loses you everything. Sounds like a basic criticism of conservatism you would do well to listen to, Fumento.