Rightie Meltdown

John Cole is right, er, correct:

The craziest thing to me about this whole Rush flare-up and the lunatic fringe of the right doubling down on the slut issue is how politically incompetent it all is. I remember someone calling this political malpractice, and that is correct. I’m really not used to this kind of political incompetence from Republicans- usually they are horribly wrong on the issues, but win the political battles. This time, not so much.

However, once again we see a situation in which the GOP establishment is irrelevant. Elected leaders like John Boehner have said little about Rush-ageddon, other than bleat some faint-hearted suggestions that perhaps Rushbo’s words were “inappropriate.” The strongest criticism of Rush from the Right came from Carly Fiorina, whereupon some rightie bloggers began to attack Fiorina.

No, this is coming from rightie media mouthpieces and bloggers, and the raw, hysterical misogyny they are spewing out has rarely been seen in public since the early days of second-wave feminism. It’s like watching someone lance a particularly nasty and long-festering pustule.

And they didn’t have to go there. As John Cole said, after President Obama made the concession to the bishops — that they didn’t have to pay for the contraception coverage — the Right could have declared victory and gone on to something else. Indeed, you might remember that just after the announcement of the concession, “Obama caved” headlines were everywhere, including left-leaning blogs. Pushing that meme would have done the President some real political damage.

But they can’t help themselves. They saw an opening and charged through it, not noticing the opening was at the top of a cliff. And even now I don’t think they’ve noticed that the majority of Americans are not following them, but instead are recoiling in revulsion.

The few who are beginning to notice they are losing the PR battle are still trying to blame Sandra Fluke for wanting someone else to pay for her sex life. But Fluke never once said anything about her own sexuality. She could be celibate, for all we know.

It’s like 1967, when a woman who said she’d prefer a career to being a housewife routinely was slimed for being a “lesbo.” There’s nothing rational coming from the Right; it’s just the usual bullying and shaming to keep women in their “place.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about the Right’s masculinity issues, but the old stuff still applies. Show me a misogynist and I’ll show you someone terribly insecure about his (and sometimes her) sexuality. Real men don’t need to oppress women to be able to define themselves as men. Beneath all that spewing pus is a whole lot of fear.

And this all ties in to right-wing authoritarianism and the escalating irrationality of what passes for conservatism these days. The extremists who took over the Republican Party care little about the functions of government. What animates them is fear and loathing of “foreigners,” 21st century social and cultural norms and often their own sexuality.

See also Steve M.

11 thoughts on “Rightie Meltdown

  1. And you are absolutely right in all of it. What does surprise and appall me is that now it is 40 years from that second wave feminism, and all the bad stuff is still there, intact. I thought some of these people had died off, finally, but it appears that they passed it on to the next bunch.

    • Now the rightie bloggers have entered the “Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a slut, too, so libs are hypocrites” phase of the argument. For the record, I don’t think anybody ought to be called a slut, ever, by anybody else. But if all Rush had said was “Sandra Fluke is a slut” most of us probably wouldn’t have noticed, because Rushbo says vile things every time he opens his mouth. No, this took the conversation to a new level —

      “We are paying her for having sex. We are getting screwed. So Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is: We want you to post the videos online, so we can all watch.”

  2. Rush has always been a professional provocateur, not to be confused with a politician. But the Rightie political types who’ve joined his misogyny caravan are proving one thing: When you can’t function in the 21st Century, retreat to the 19th.

    I know November is a long way off in political terms, but if the current trend of social retardation continues, the GOP is going to lose its 2010 gains and then some.

  3. I see it as violence against women..It doesn’t really make a difference if you’re pummeling their flesh with fists or pummeling their spirit with derogatory words..No matter how you beat them down you’re still destroying their being by some means of violence. The damage inflicted is just less detectable with the use of words..Look back to Hedda Nussbaum to see a women who got the full package of male dominace and hear her telling of how it was the words and not the fists that inflicted the most damage upon her.

  4. Rush wouldn’t watch those videos if you paid him.

    And there’ no price he wouldn’t pay for “Cub Scout Troop K-Y – In Action For The First Time!”

    The Conservatives sure picked a strange time to let their inner demons out of the bottle – a few months ago, it felt as if they had the potential to be THIS close to winning the Presidency, the House, and the Senate in November.

    But they can’t help themselves.

    The closer they appear to be to the victory they want, the more their hubris takes over.
    And, after living in the Echo Chamber of their own making for the last decade plus, they have deluded themselves into thinking the rest of the country wants to march right back to 1860 with them.
    If you had asked me what my dream scenario would be for Obama to be reelected, and for the Democrats to keep, and maybe increase, their majority in the Senate, and regain the House, I couldn’t in my wildest dreams have imagined that Republicans would decide to not just alienate, but piss-off, over 50% of the voters in the US – blacks, Hispanics, gays, yes. Orientals – yes. Left-handed people – yes. Muslims – without a doubt. Women? NO! I never saw them as that suicidal until just recently.
    All I can say is – Thank You!

    I wish the election was in April.
    The American voter, on top of being stupid, ignorant, lazy, half-illeterate, un/under/mis-informed, also has the distinction of having the attention span of an ADD May Fly.
    And that maybe what the Republicans are counting on.
    Not be be sexist – but women have a lot longer memory than men. So, they may have reckoned wrong. Let’s hope so!

  5. OY!
    Or, “…half-illiterate…”

    Kan oui haz a ‘Edit” butun lik da big kidz?

  6. You have no idea what I went through to find a comment preview that works. That’s probably the best I can do.

  7. maha,
    Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful for it.
    I’m just looking to blame someone other than myself for my inability to edit myself. 🙂

  8. Are Republicans really shooting themselves in their political feet? I’m not sure. There are at least 20 million (at last count) Americans who hang on Rush’s every word and Rush’s every word is laced with anger and angry people VOTE.

  9. You win elections by getting the ‘independents’ or the ‘moderates’ to pay attention for the five minutes they take to decide who they’re going to vote for, and remember some how, somewhere, that some lunatic rightie called a woman a slut and then wanted to see her sex tapes on-line. The people that listen to limbo aren’t gonna vote for a democrat anyway.
    Excellent post on this, Maha. Usually the repugs do a much better job of framing the issue and having the dems backpedal and play defense. This election cycle it seems like the worm has turned. The contraception issue was trying to be framed as a freedom of religion issue, but that didn’t stick. Six old guys in collars talking about women’s sex lives framed it as a contraception issue. That’s a winner for the dems.

  10. About birth control being about sex, I saw one person – perhaps Amanda Marcotte – point out the obvious re: contraception, and I think the meme needs to spread.

    You don’t necessarily go on contraception because you’re *having* sex. You go on contraception because you know you *might*. You don’t have a boyfriend now, but you’ve gotten lucky on a Saturday night before. Or, a really cute single guy could move in next door. Or, you could meet a good Christian man at an approved church function and, after a very chaste kiss upon your blushing cheek, find that you have met the man with whom you want to be married forever, and bear his children, but not quite yet, and be married after a brief, intense, Christ-centered courtship and be certain that one’s birth control needs are stable.

    Lots and lots of guys and gals think “well, I’m just not going to have sex for a while,” and *because* of that, lots and lots of ’em end up as parents.

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