FDL Book Salon Welcomes Will Bunch, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, Hi-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama

Welcome Will Bunch and Host, Cliff Schecter.

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. – bev]

The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, Hi-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama

It’s been quite a few years. While the usual suspects on the Professional Right threaten to burn books, those of us in the reality-based community sometimes peer at them to try and make sense of an ongoing economic disaster and resulting surge in right-wing populism. These two gale-wind crises, working in unison, have given rise to both an inexorable oligarchic elite on the one hand, and on the other, a cavalcade of angry, middle-aged, portly, pasty whites wearing funny hats and saying not-so funny things about Americans and America.

Luckily for us, the past few months have provided some masterful works that have provided insight both into what has happened and what will happen, if we don’t take the violent and sometimes merely threatening deadly serious.

That’s where the great Will Bunch comes in–hang gliding into our super-egos with his brilliant analysis and addictive prose that lay bare the epic convulsions our nation is enduring. In The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama, Will provides us with the kind of inside view that comes with a first-rate journalist with the courage and moxie to engage in badinage with the Tea Lovers where they live and breath. But it is his superb analysis that still takes the day, impressively applying the works of a half-century ago by Pulitzer Prize winning Historian Richard Hofstadter on “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” I must admit to being rather partial to Hofstadter myself as a Ph.D student in American History a few years back, as there was simply nobody else I came across who had read, lived and could feel the pulse of our political age. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Will Bunch, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, Hi-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama

Welcome Will Bunch and Host, Cliff Schecter.

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. – bev]

The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, Hi-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama

It’s been quite a few years. While the usual suspects on the Professional Right threaten to burn books, those of us in the reality-based community sometimes peer at them to try and make sense of an ongoing economic disaster and resulting surge in right-wing populism. These two gale-wind crises, working in unison, have given rise to both an inexorable oligarchic elite on the one hand, and on the other, a cavalcade of angry, middle-aged, portly, pasty whites wearing funny hats and saying not-so funny things about Americans and America.

Luckily for us, the past few months have provided some masterful works that have provided insight both into what has happened and what will happen, if we don’t take the violent and sometimes merely threatening deadly serious.

That’s where the great Will Bunch comes in–hang gliding into our super-egos with his brilliant analysis and addictive prose that lay bare the epic convulsions our nation is enduring. In The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama, Will provides us with the kind of inside view that comes with a first-rate journalist with the courage and moxie to engage in badinage with the Tea Lovers where they live and breath. But it is his superb analysis that still takes the day, impressively applying the works of a half-century ago by Pulitzer Prize winning Historian Richard Hofstadter on “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” I must admit to being rather partial to Hofstadter myself as a Ph.D student in American History a few years back, as there was simply nobody else I came across who had read, lived and could feel the pulse of our political age.

As Will points out in the book, Hofstadter wasn’t “clairvoyant,” and could not have predicted a 24-hour television station whose entire business model is, quite frankly, the paranoid style (he died of leukemia in 1970). Or other technological and cultural changes that have placed us at this political fork in the road. But he did provide some clues, a code if you will, which Bunch has cracked and applied to the lunacy we see engulfing this very nation every day.

As Will acts as your tour guide, even bringing you in further with his use of the 2nd person throughout the book, you find yourself at places you never heard of such as the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot in West Point Kentucky. I’d explain, but that one’s a bit self-explanatory. And then, by far, the most frightening place Will takes us: Inside Glenn Beck’s tattered cerebrum. In the chapter “Becklash,” you get as close to Beck’s chilling “thoughts” as any sentient being can–without a valium cocktail and box of scrubbing bubbles.

Suffice it to say that even if you think you know a lot about the Far Right (which I studied as a grad student), you ain’t seen nothing yet. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, Will introduces you to the hucksters trying to flip a quick buck by conning you using the fear and uncertainty of our age as one big con. Ain’t America grand!

This is simply a terrific book. It is engrossing due to all I mentioned above, but also, quite simply, because in addition to being a blogger, columnist, and author, Will is a writer. The vivid descriptions he provides often make you feel like you’re along for the ride, certainly enough so to check twice under your bed and lock the doors before you shuttle off to dreamland.

Will Bunch has done us all a service by writing The Backlash, a book that’s so important, so accessible, and so very timely. I couldn’t recommend buying a book with more enthusiasm. So, um, buy this book!

And with that, I welcome Will Bunch to the FDL book salon bearing his name and work.

Palin Around With Terrorists’ Pals: Sarah Speaks To The NRA

I must say that I was truly honored–humbled if you will–to have the former demi-term Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, contact me and ask me to write her speech for today’s family-friendly event–the NRA annual convention in Charlotte, North Carolina [it must be all the nice things I’ve said about her. She even agreed to allow me to share with you an early copy. So here you go:

Palin Speech

Thanks you! Thank you!! I am proud to be here today in the Palmetto State! And I’m so honored to be speaking to you, the real Americans who make up the Natural Rifle Association!

There are some scary things going on here out there in this country of ours. The liberal elites, you know, and their allies in the lamestream media, they’ll tell you that guns are dangerous. Ya know, its guns, and not their liberal ideas, like preparation of church and state, abortion and laws against drunk snowmobiling that’ve really caused inrest in our streets.

Well, I’m here to tell you they’re wrong. Guns don’t kill people. People kill guns. So I am so proud to be delivering this massage in front of an organization that predicted what the liberals would try and do, an organization that had the foreskin to warn us about how they’d destroy our great country.[wink]

Now I am not going to take too much of your time, because I have two more events tonight that will each pay me a cool 100K for winking and offering folksy platitudes about things I don’t really understand–but let me single out a few examples of what I’m talkin ’bout.

Lately there have been attempts to take guns away from those the big government liberals call "suspected terrorists." That’s right. Some of them have even called the NRA terrorists, which makes no sense–most NRA members are white!

(more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Will Bunch: Tear Down This Myth

will-bunch-tear-down-this-myth.thumbnail.jpg“Will Bunch is writing a book.” When I heard those words a few years back from progressive polymath and all-around great gal Jen Nix I started getting excited. I only knew Will in passing at that time, an email between us here and there perhaps.

But I certainly knew his work. A columnist at a major newspaper (The Philadelphia Daily News) who was unafraid to take issue with the MSM-constructed conventional wisdom. An unbelievably talented writer that “got” new media and was as comfortable writing a hard-hitting, well-researched post online (Attytood is the blog, if you don’t read it daily, you’re missing something) as he was in printed pages. And in the time I have gotten to know him since, I can add, without hesitation, one of the best guys out there, bar none. In a business where what you see in public can be different than what you experience behind the scenes, what you see is what you get with Will.

So it is no surprise, knowing all that, that his new book, Tear Down This Myth, How The Reagan Legacy Distorts Our Politics And Haunts Our Future, is pitch-perfect while blowing a hole in the established CW all at the same time.

As someone who wrote a book on another mythical figure of the Right (John McCain), it is hard to explain just how many doubters you run into along the way. By the end of his ridiculously run campaign, McCain helped prove the thesis of my book, that he was not the straight-talking Cincinnatus of American media lore.

But Will had a much tougher task than did I, as Uncle Ronnie is not around in the time of liberal blogs, progressive talk radio and the Stewart-Colbert one-two punch to have his policies and persona deconstructed with the mockery, exposes and you know, facts, that helped remind Americans that George W. Bush’s mission was not accomplished, unless said mission was the dual destruction of our economy and foreign policy. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Joe Trippi: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

joe-trippi-new-the-revolution-will-not-be-televised.thumbnail.jpgThere is perhaps nobody who has better understood, adapted to and in fact helped usher in the forces of political change in this country over the past generation than Joe Trippi. Yes, you read that right, and it is not hyperbole. He is most famous for his term running the Howard Dean for President campaign in 2004, but if that is all you know about him, you’re missing a lot of the story.

Sometimes people are simply preordained to engage in a certain profession. Their passion, skills and very personality fits that particular vocation like a glove (or, in the case of politicking, a sleeping bag on a dirty hotel room floor). Joe Trippi was obviously made for political campaigns, and they were made for him. 

Whether it was winning his first race at San Jose State University because "Trippi" was a pretty cool name to have in 1974 (and still is btw), or his early realization that his two loves—the worlds of politics and technology—would eventually combine to bring small-d democracy back to this these United States, Trippi has always been an "early adaptor" in both realms. 

As you’ll learn while reading the fascinating, newly updated version of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, The Internet And The Overthrow Of Everything, long before Trippi was busy engaging the Dean Campaign in what would become a model for the user-friendly, community-based, grassroots-inspired Obama Campaign, he was a strategic visionary.  (more…)

Odds And Ends

Hey guys and gals!

I apologize for my extended absence, Netroots Nation and a wedding this weekend have kept me on the run. Which is a great segue to the changes that will be going on here.

It turns out that while promoting a book full-time, fulfilling some previously made consulting obligations and actively helping raise a 21-month old, I can’t also be on top of political news 24/7 to the level that you deserve here. At least if I plan on sleeping at least 5 hours a night.

Which I generally like to do.

So I am going to pass the torch on to a new generation. I’ll be turning over the keys of the day-to-day operation to John Gorenfeld, who is a briliant journalist and author (he wrote a fantastic book on the Rev. Moon, Bad Moon Rising, that you should all own to really understand just how crazy the modern GOP is).

Now don’t get teary-eyed on me. I ain’t going nowhere. I will remain a regular contributor to this site. But it will be become "The Campaign Silo" and John will take over the day-to-day.

Thanks to our loyal readers out there. And keep reading darn it! Because it will (more…)

John McCain And The Comedy That Is Rape

Well, we already knew he liked to hang out with fundraisers who make rape jokes. But we didn’t know he liked to make them himself. Now we do.

Mike Lux of Open Left has a pitch-perfect writeup of this (and he mentions me! That kind boy):

As Cliff Schecter reported in his book, he calls his wife names I was taught never to say, ever. He is happy to schedule fundraisers with hosts who love to joke about rape. Now we learn he loves to joke about rape himself. He has one of the worst records in Congress on women’s issues, and wants to appoint more folks like Alito to the Supreme Court. Are there still any people who call themselves feminists who are planning to vote for this guy because Obama beat Hillary?

And to my friends in the media: I know McCain is your beloved, but where are you on stories like this? If Obama had ever said something like this- hell, if Obama’s minister or doctor or neighbor down the block had ever said something like this you guys would be all over it. This is an important story.

(more…)

Liddy Dole Uses French Plane Last Used By Saddam In Ad

Honestly, everytime you think things can’t get worse for Republicans….well, read the press release from the DSCC to fully understand the idiocy behind what Dole did (and then try not to laugh–I dare you!):

For Immediate Release

July 15, 2008

Contact: Matthew Miller, 202-485-3123

Hannah August, 202-485-3129

OH MON DIEU – FRENCH PLANE IN DOLE COMMERCIALS FLOWN BY SADDAM’S AIR FORCE

 According to a report in today’s edition of the Hill newspaper, an ad aired by North Carolina Republican Elizabeth Dole taking credit for saving North Carolina military installations actually included images of a French-made Dassault Super Etendard fighter jet, which was last seen in combat action being flown by Saddam Hussein’s Air Force during the Iran-Iraq War.  The Hill reports that after initially airing the ad, Dole then abruptly and quietly changed the footage to instead show an American-made aircraft.

According to the Air Combat Information Group, a group specializing in air history, France leased five Super Etendards to Iraq in October 1983. Iraq began using the aircraft in March 1984 to attack tankers along the Iranian side of the Persian Gulf, and eventually returned three of the planes to France after two were shot down. http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_208.shtml (more…)

Rep. Bill Sali (R-ID) Is Vulnerable, Because As A Former High Ranking Idaho Republican Put It, “He’s An Absolute Idiot.”

Great article from the Wall Street Journal on yet another Republican who is vulnerable and abosolutely shouldn’t be. He is simply due to the fact that everyone–inlcuding members of his own party–pretty much hates him (think Rep. Jean Schmidt).

It is subscription only, but here’s a taste:

SANDPOINT, Idaho — Bill Sali is defying the political odds by making Idaho’s first-district congressional race competitive. That isn’t good for Mr. Sali: He is the incumbent.

A 54-year-old Republican from Kuna, 18 miles from Boise, Mr. Sali represents one of the most heavily Republican electorates in the U.S. The district hasn’t elected a Democrat to the House since 1992; in the 2004 presidential race, 69% of its votes went to George W. Bush.

But through slow fund raising and a combative reputation, Mr. Sali has become vulnerable to his Democratic challenger, Walt Minnick, a businessman with little political experience.

This is a guy who argues that abortion causes breast cancer. Yes, he’s one of those. And right-wing nuts like him–and the silly policies they espouse–are the reason Democrats have a chance at picking up so many House seats this year.