Things are quickly unraveling for Republicans now that the summer recess has passed and there are no more opportunities for corporate lobbyists to gin up manufactured opposition to health care reform. Originally this story was going to be about how the "we're all going to die" rhetoric represented two things.
First, there isn't really anything new about it. Republicans routinely ran ads during the 2008 Presidential campaign directly implying that many Americans would be slaughtered by The Terrorists if they didn't obey orders from the GOP to elect another Republican to replace Bush. Commercials with ominous music would mix video of ticking clocks, nuclear explosions, and of course pictures of Democratic politicians.
This from the party that showed graphic footage of 9/11 during their national convention last year as some sort of sick celebration.
Second, and perhaps the larger point, was supposed to be that you can't really raise rhetoric beyond where conservatives have landed today. How much more inflammatory and nakedly pathetic can you get than telling people that if Republicans don't get their way, everyone is going to die?
Repeated often enough it almost sounds like a threat.
That point was initially lost on me, but today, while gathering news for this story, I found out just how sick and shameless the right has actually become as they again have set a new low for public discourse.
NewsMax is a conservative online site and magazine with roughly twice the audience of DailyKos, but far closer to the fringe, founded and funded by a whose who list of Republican businessmen, operatives, and politicians. Columnist John Perry published a story yesterday suggesting that there was increasing support for a military coup to overthrow the United States government to "resolve the Obama problem".
Perhaps what the right would rather call this is their own "final solution".
All the man ever did was win a democratic election, while the right marches around with swastikas on their signs, cheering for military coups.
Perry wrote in his column that America is not a third world country, so any military coup here would be "civilized", without any sense of sarcasm or irony. Apparently there's nothing uncivilized about the military overthrowing a democratically elected government in what is supposed to be the world's finest democracy, or resembling the third world where military coups happen frighteningly often.
These coups are regularly criticized by America, although rarely by the far right if it means getting rid of somebody they consider a "leftist" like Manuel Zelaya.
I could go off on a tangent about how this is actually normal behavior for conservatives, where they show only token interest in democracy when it benefits them, but the moment the constitution, the rule of law, and elections get in the way of their agenda, it's perfectly acceptable to throw it all out the window.
But that's for another day.
The coup in Honduras that the right supports - again because the person exiled by the military is a ideological "enemy" - has been condemned by virtually everyone in the real civilized world other than the Republican party. Eight international organizations including the United Nations, OAS, and the European Union have joined 33 nations in condemning the coup.
Those nations include the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, China, and many others. You won't find any ideological divisions in that list, at least not outside of America.
The right seems to have an affinity for military coups, which generally supports accusations accompanied by ample evidence collected during the Bush administration that conservatives prefer fascism to democracy. This is simply more evidence to support those well founded conclusions.
Included in Perry's list of things the military "sees" that would lead them to conclude that overthrowing the government they've sworn to protect and die for, if necessary, is the only option left are:
* America may not be recognizable in 2012.
* The economy is "ravaged by deficits", unemployment, and inflation.
* The President is "waging undeclared war" against the intelligence community.
* Rolling back the missile shield.
* The emerging threat of "two, possibly three" new glorious wars that we're not ready to jump into yet.
It's an amazing coincidence I'm sure that this list that Perry says American soldiers will use to decide whether or not to point their weapons at President Obama, exactly matches the GOP talking points we've been hearing since January in support of their political agenda. How can it not be immediately obvious that every item on that list just happens to have been argued in front of a microphone or TV camera by John Boehner and Eric Cantor, Rush Limbaugh, and Newt Gingrich pretty much every day for the past nine months?
This is what Republicans believe justifies a military coup: problems created by the previous Republican administration, or Democrats implementing promises they made during campaigns in which they were elected by large majorities of Americans based on those promises.
Although it didn't make Perry's list, health care reform is emblematic of this kind of warped thinking. While Republicans insist that health care reform will ruin America - just like they argued Medicare and Social Security would - they also argue that America doesn't even want it, that Obama is pushing his evil socialist agenda on an unwilling country. This, despite the fact that health care reform was a centerpiece of Barack Obama's campaign. It's not like reform was a secret that he pulled out two minutes after he was sworn in - Obama promised for almost two straight years to reform health care if he got elected, and America responded by electing him.
But Republicans don't like it, so America must not like it either. And what else can a civilized nation like America do other than turn its military against its own people because the GOP has a sad face?
There are problems on that list that bother us all. This country has been ravaged by deficit spending, nobody will deny that, but it's hardly a problem created only by Barack Obama. George W. Bush and a mostly Republican Congress added nearly $5 trillion to the nation's deficit over the last eight years. This wasn't money spent fighting the worst recession since the Great Depression, and obviously there were no calls from NewsMax suggesting that the military might have to put a bullet in W's head to keep his check signing under control.
Both George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan created a significant amount of debt as a precedent of GDP as well - Clinton is the only President since Carter to actually bring that number down.
Most of these issues can and have been addressed in the public debate of the problems, and possible solutions, facing this country. So what we are left with are political justifications for turning our democracy into a military dictatorship, and it's not coming from the left which has suffered a near constant smear campaign as socialist/Marxist/communist/fascist/Hitler. Not even during the Bush years, not even during the reign of the most hated President in modern American history did you hear liberals calling for a coup.
And certainly not for reasons as unspecific and asinine as "this country won't be recognizable in 2008".
If the military does what Perry and the far right fantasizes, where "patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a 'family intervention'", then there really are only two rational responses to that in a real democracy.
Either those officers are firmly encouraged to resign their commissions so that they can run for public office, or they are taken out back and hanged for mutiny and treason.
It says a lot about just how depraved these sick conservative fantasies are when even staunchly conservative websites like NewsMax quickly delete all evidence that such an article ever existed, although it also says a lot about the internal feelings of NewsMax staff towards this garbage when it has happened before.
NewsMax has a history of writing inflammatory and patently false stories that have to be retracted to or even deleted, and yet this is somehow considered a reliable "news" site even while sites like Think Progress or Media Matters are routinely dismissed as biased and unreliable because they are pushing a specific political agenda.
And that might even be true, but what those sites do has never and can never probe the depths of depravity like NewsMax and its conservative brethren do on a regular basis.
Update - NewsMax is pushing out the following statement:
In a blog posting to Newsmax John Perry wrote about a coup scenario involving the U.S. military. He clearly stated that he was not advocating such a scenario but simply describing one.
After several reader complaints, Newsmax wanted to insure that this article was not misinterpreted. It was removed after a short period after being posted.
Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions.
Mr. Perry served as a political appointee in the Carter administration in HUD and FEMA. He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger.
It's worth pointing out that this statement really doesn't address the primary problems with what Perry wrote. While it does a fine job covering the rear of NewsMax, it says nothing to the unsubstantiated falsehoods in Perry's story that suggested the a mutiny and coup is brewing within the military, and doesn't address the fact that every reason Perry listed for a military coup happens to exactly match standard complaints lobbed against the Democrats from the party's highest officials for much of the past year.
If Perry's story were actually a fictional scenario as NewsMax claims, as opposed to reporting and celebrating that a coup may be gaining traction in reality -- which is actually what he did -- then why did NewsMax feel it necessary not only to delete the post, but also reach out to "far left" liberal websites with the above statement?