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Nervous Days

Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker and potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, recently made waves by praising an article by Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative “thinker” who has previously blamed the American left for 9/11. This time, D’Souza claims that President Obama is controlled from beyond the grave by his father’s dreams, which Gingrich describes as a “Kenyan anti-colonial” mindset.

    “Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.”

Former Bush speechwriter and current conservative apostate David Frum responds to D’Souza and Gingrich with alarm.

    “With the Forbes story and now the Gingrich endorsement, the argument that Obama is an infiltrating alien, a deceiving foreigner — and not just any kind of alien, but specifically a Third World alien — has been absorbed almost to the very core of the Republican platform for November 2010.”

Frum paraphrases the paranoid subtext of D’Souza’s and Gingrich’s remarks.

    “Prepare yourselves: at his deepest personal level, what Barack Obama really wants to do is strip white property owners of everything they possess.”

Meanwhile, Paul Woodward of The War in Context has the most succinct summary I’ve seen of the current political season, in which the Park 51 “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, and the threat by a Florida minister to burn the Qur’an, have given Tea Party conservatism an ugly, xenophobic edge.

    “In a period of economic depression, with high unemployment and a pervasive sense that the nation is heading in the wrong direction, many Americans are experiencing a growing sense of powerlessness. Through scapegoating, they can foster the illusion that they are reclaiming control over our own lives. They can focus their animus on a clearly identifiable enemy — Islam.”

If right-wingers ever put two and two together, connecting the idea that Muslims are jihadis bent on destroying America with the idea that Obama is himself a secret Muslim occupying the White House, it will lead them to some dangerous conclusions. Specifically, it would be a Christian patriot’s duty to remove Obama from power by any means necessary. Major figures like Gingrich or Palin, Beck or Limbaugh are too clever to call for violence, but that is what lies just beneath the surface of our political discourse this season.

I personally believe this will all blow over, and Obama will leave office after two terms as one of our more popular presidents. By 2012, right-wing lunatics will realize they are a tiny minority, and they will quiet down again. However, I’m looking at this from the future with the comfort of hindsight. Before we get there, we’ll have some nervous days ahead.

Comments

Comment from Wael Yassine
Time: September 17, 2010, 12:25

Great post. Your blog is still one of the best in Morocco. Have you been nominated for the 2011 Best of Morocco Blog Awards yet? http://tinyurl.com/36v3k4b"

Comment from Imad
Time: September 30, 2010, 09:14

No disrespect intended, since I really love reading your blog, but your last paragraph sounds to me like wishful thinking. By lunatic right wingers, I think it’s safe to assume that you mean the Tea Partiers, even though you never mention them in this post. There are some concerns of theirs which are genuine, but exploited by figures like GPBL (Gingrich, Palin…i’ll let you figure out the other two), that you point out already.

While I am inclined to agree that Obama may win a second term of his Presidency, I do not think that the right wing lunatics will realize that they are a tiny minority, I think that they’ll just get louder and more shrill, and will continue to assume to speak for the average American.

While I agree that the “Ground Zero mosque” controversy will blow over, I think that these right wing lunatics will persist in wild and crazy allegations over Obama’s background as being a socialist-black muslim-Nazi (That’s the worst kind of Nazi! :P) as long as Obama remains in the White House.

Comment from Craig
Time: October 1, 2010, 02:26

Nervous days? What happened to hope and change? :o

Comment from eatbees
Time: October 1, 2010, 10:33

Imad – Yes it’s probably wishful thinking, but I’m an optimist by nature :) I just feel that because of the economic crisis and war without end, Americans are as stressed as they’ve been in a long time, and some forces are consciously stirring up panic because they hope to profit from it politically. I agree that these forces won’t go away (yes I’m thinking of the Tea Party), but that some will moderate, and the rest will be isolated to a loud radical fringe like the ultranationalist parties in Europe. Meanwhile America is changing demographically to a multi-ethnic, more urbanized culture, and that is where my hope lies. As for Obama himself, I may have been too optimistic. I sometimes see him as a pragmatic centrist, and sometimes as an opportunist with no moral center who splits the difference on every issue. The fearmongering is frightening right now, but we’ll get through with strength in diversity, and better times lie ahead because we’ve hit bottom already :)

Comment from eatbees
Time: October 1, 2010, 10:53

Craig – Good to see you again, really! Hope and change were just slogans I guess. I’ll agree with the Tea Partiers on one thing, that the people have lost control of what goes on in Washington, and on Wall Street too for that matter. (As far as what we think the solutions are, we’re almost completely opposed.) Obama promised to change that, but he hasn’t delivered, instead he’s playing an inside game. I thought his supporters would force him (he even said “Make me do it”) but they’ve just grown apathetic. Change doesn’t depend on Obama, fortunately, it depends on us. How all this plays out will require a few more election cycles, I think.

Comment from david
Time: December 22, 2010, 10:20

Just wondering if there are Muslim extremists out there misrepresentinh the Koran

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