Bending Over Backwards in Different Directions
Two things caught my eye this morning.
The first, via Jeffrey Wells' site, was a YouTube video of Pres. Obama talking at the South-by-Southwest Festival, where he mentioned that the U.S. is “the only advanced democracy in the world that makes it harder for people to vote.” The audience laughs a little, Obama says, “You're laughing, but it's ... bad. We systematically put up barriers and make it as hard as possible for our citizens to vote.”
The second was a New York Times piece on a far-right conservative running for the Texas State Board of Education, which, as longtime readers know, chooses the standards for our nation's textbooks. This conservative, Mary Lou Bruner, believes, among other things, that:
- Pres. Obama worked as a gay prostitute in his youth
- the U.S. should ban Islam
- the Democratic Party had John F. Kennedy killed
- the U.N. has hatched a plot to depopulate the world
What do these two articles have in common?
The Obama quote reveals a man bending over backwards to be conciliatory. “We systematically put up barriers,” he says, but as Wells rightly notes, it's not “we”: it's GOP governors and legislatures, mostly in the Deep South. Pres. Obama could call conservatives on this but he goes out of his way to be diplomatic.
The Bruner thing? That's the far right going out of its way (and out of its mind) to attack, besmirch, sully, not only Pres. Obama but democracy, history, common sense. They make up shit and report it as news. They've been doing it forever but ramped it up when Obama took office.
Then these same conservatives accuse Pres. Obama of not being conciliatory; of not willing to compromise.
Then the mainstream press reports this in “he said/she said” fashion, as if both parties were responsible for “gridlock.”
Then these same conservatives accuse this same mainstream press of being “liberal.”