United States of Alternative Reality

Written by Allison Kilkenny

Bobo took some time off from writing wrongheaded columns to sit down with his best gal friend, Gail Collins, and bitch about bloggers.

David Brooks: The second reason Obama’s behavior is depressing is that it shows that the administration is getting mentally captured by the lefty blogosphere. The real secret of mature leadership is that you can’t confuse your party’s information food chain with reality. The lefty blogosphere, like the righty blogosphere, exaggerates or makes up facts that flatter its world view, ignores the rest and ends up in a comforting fantasy land. The Obama people used to understand this. In this case, they seem to have lost their distance from it.

Gail Collins: You’ve lost me on that one. The lefties aren’t particularly obsessed about foreign money. The special interests they hate most are right here at home.

I mean, really, how much incorrect shit can two people cram into a thirty second interaction?

In no way has the administration been “captured” by the lefty blogosphere. Believe me, I write that with profound regret. I really do wish Obama was held up in a room somewhere behind a steel door being guarded by sentinels Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher, while inside a foaming-at-the-mouth Markos Moulitsas forces our trembling MoveOn.org puppet to sign comprehensive climate legislation, a repeal of DADT, and, oh, I don’t know, one of the other eight million “wish list” things Progressives wanted (public option, withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan,) but failed to obtain.

The lefty blogosphere just doesn’t have that much power, and any self-aware lefty blogger will tell you that.

Bobo unleashed on Obama and the internets because the administration is pursuing the Chamber of Commerce scandal since only unserious, fringe lunatics concern themselves with the influences of foreign money on US elections. This is silly, he says, because opaque campaign financing occurs on both sides of the aisle. I agree with that assessment, but since when is the systemic presence of corruption a reason to not address corruption at all?

Moving forward: I don’t know what the hell inspired Gail’s last statement. Lefties actually are concerned about foreign money. Actually, most voters (from all parties) are:

a new poll commissioned by MoveOn, and done by the respected non-partisan firm Survey USA, strongly suggests that the issue may indeed matter a good deal to voters after all.

The poll finds that two thirds of registered voters, or 66 percent, are aware that outside groups are behind some of the ads they’re seeing. This makes sense, since the issue has dominated the media amid the battle over the huge ad onslaught against Dems funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s groups.

What’s more, an overwhelming 84 percent say they have a “right to know” who’s bankrolling the ads. And crucially, the poll also found that the issue is resonant when linked to the economy. A majority, 53 percent, are less likely to think a candidate who is backed by “anonymous groups” can be trusted to “improve economic conditions” for them or their families. People don’t believe these groups are looking out for their interests.

Uniformed, all over. I posted this atrocity online, and Digby fired back with an even more depressing article.

Likely voters in battleground districts see extremists as having a more dominant influence over the Democratic Party than they do over the GOP.

This result comes from The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll, which found that 44 percent of likely voters say the Democratic Party is more dominated by its extreme elements, whereas 37 percent say it’s the Republican Party that is more dominated by extremists.

What the what.

Oh, wait, this is probably because liberals made all those nasty, racist/crazy signs about the president, stormed healthcare town hall meetings, screaming like unmedicated lunatics, unquestioningly listened and watched for months as their shameless partisan shock jocks incited violence against their “cancerous” enemy, which of course culminated with that liberal shooting it out with California highway patrol officers on his way to kill a charity organization’s volunteers.

Erm, except…that was the other guys. The Tea Party, the new, exciting rebranded Republican Party is filled with extremists, namely a whole lot of terrified, elderly white people who oppose extremely popular programs like Social Security and Medicare. Actually, the programs are so popular that teabaggers love them, too. They’re just not willing to let reality get in the way of pointless protesting.

Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn’t a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — “Government’s not the solution! Government’s the problem!” — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.

“The scooters are because of Medicare,” he whispers helpfully. “They have these commercials down here: ‘You won’t even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!’ Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.”

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.

Nor can I.

When I say the Tea Party is filled with extremists, I don’t think they’re all the type of people who are willing to take up arms against the gubment. However, they are much more likely to buy extreme theories and hold extreme positions. How else could they bear to watch Glenn Beck scribble on his chalkboard night after night as he absurdly links unrelated liberal groups and activists to each other?

Terrified people are looking to make sense of their world – to bring some order to the chaos of their lives. Even if what Beck is saying makes zero sense (as it usually does,) the fact that he gives the illusion of a plan brings comfort to the Tea Party. It’s sort of like if you were five and your crazy uncle tried to explain the mysteries of the universe to you. He might start talking about Zeus and lightning bolts, but you’ll probably buy whatever shit he’s peddling because it’s simply some kind of narrative. And he’s your uncle. And you’re five.

I imagine the 44 percent of likely voters, who say the Democratic Party is more dominated by its extreme elements, have been swayed by the “Obama is a Socialist” narrative, which by the way, was a narrative shaped by the Republican Party, but officially co-opted by the extremist Tea Party.

It’s pure genius. When the right’s policies (tax cuts for the wealthy, unending wars, etc.) completely fucked the economy, they shifted the blame to Obama who they labeled a Socialist – left of left. By osmosis, Obama (and all the ills of the country) became the fault of leftist extremists. Neat, huh? Like douche bag magic.
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About author Allison Kilkenny is a radio host and political humorist, a fancy way of saying writer, who makes shitty world news funny. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, the Beast, 236.com, and Alternet.org’s Wiretap Magazine. Her work has also appeared on The Nation and she is a regular guest on SIRIUS radio.

She doesn’t care if you’re offended by anything she has written.

Further articles can be found at: www.allisonkilkenny.com

Allison’s radio show, Citizen Radio, can be found here: Citizen Radio fan page. Citizen Radio is on every Wednesday over at Breakthru Radio.