Thursday, November 15, 2007

Iran, Immigration, and Other Fake Emergencies

You have perhaps seen the Tancredo ad. It asserts, among other things, that "Islamic terrorists now freely roam US soil." It is a spectacular example of the "fake emergency" technique regularly employed by the Republican Party. You select an issue of great value to a panicked segment of your base, flog it like it's Hitler invading Poland (sometimes you actually compare it to Hitler invading Poland), and demand that something must be done. Tancredo is certifiable, and this is more a testament about the degree of derangement on the GOP right. (Compare, for example, to Kucinich, the regularly-derided "nut" on the Dem left. At least he admits the UFOs he sees are unidentified; the terrorists Tancredo sees are panicked phantoms.) I'll go on, but have a look, first:



Nice, eh? I have some desire to go on a thousand-word rant about this, but I'll constrain myself. The reason this technique succeeds is twofold: 1) the media parrot back the talking point as often as the nuts scream it; 2) Democrats, when quizzed by the media to offer a solution, don't say "that's a fake emergency for which no solution is necessary; if you were even a mediocre journalist, you would have done the research to confirm its mendacity." In the Iraq debate, Dems stood up and solemnly agreed: yes, Iraq is the greatest threat to the US on the planet. On immigration, they stand up and agree: yes, the failure to stop Mexicans from running through the baking desert to come work in our apple orchards represents the greatest threat to American security--a fence is most certainly in order. On Social Security: yes, it is indeed a crisis. (Fortunately they're backing off that sufficiently that even Barack Obama, who doesn't believe it, has apologized for not being clear enough that he doesn't believe it.) On Iran: yes ... well, you get the picture.

The entire Republican Party is comprised of a coalition of hysterics. The conservative movement at this point is a negotiation among the hysterics about which phantom emergency should have primacy in scaring the populace. Why the media and Dems take them at all seriously is one of modern politics' great mysteries.

3 comments:

Cap'n Cyber said...

I agree that these are "fake emergencies." They are orchestrated by tapping into racist fears for the strategic advantage of the contemporary political right-wing. We desperately need mainstream acknowledgement of the facts that A) Iran doesn't want nukes to attack us-- They want them to avoid what has happened to Iraq! Wouldn't any of us be terrified of this White House if we were living in Iran? That's how they feel, and for good reason! Now they want nukes for defense identically to every other nation that has built them. At this point, the answer obviously lies in equal diplomacy with Muslim nations, not more hot or cold wars against them & B) The "problems" about illegal Central American immigration don't significantlty have to do with anything except the status of the immigrants. They are identical to the European and Asian immigrants of a century+ ago in terms of economics, hardworking family values, etc., etc. It's blatantly obvious that there's work for them here. If we legalized their status, it would help in undoing some of the NAFTA damage to the conditions of workers in both the US and Mexico by allowing them to compete fairly.
If either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama had the courage to point both issues out for what they are (fake, racist "emergencies"), it would go a very long way to build credibility and to distinguish them from the Republicans.

cwilcox said...

Tancredo is a freak of the highest magnitude. What is particularly scarey is that this idiot actually has support! Not a lot but there are people out there that eat his crap up. This world is almost too screwed up at times.

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