Giffords shooting

I certainly don’t have much of anything particularly useful or insightful to say about the Giffords shooting.  The whole thing is just horribly, horribly depressing.  Especially that this deranged lunatic just started shooting randomly into the crowd.  Best thing I’ve read on the matter by far, is this piece in Time about how the especially over-heated immigration rhetoric in Arizona may have played a role.  Of course there will always be crazy people to do crazy things.  Who knows, maybe this guy would’ve ended up shooting his workplace at some point of not for this, but there can be little doubt that the absolutely crazy and irresponsible rhetoric from the extreme right fringes (which all too often gets voice in non-fringe-y places) creates an atmosphere where an action like this becomes more likely.  Just for starters, it’s worth noting that Giffords’ district is one in the crosshairs targeted by Sarah Palin.  One can only hope that this will lead to more responsible political rhetoric.  But I wouldn’t bet on it.  [Also, I hate all the facile false equivalences suggesting that this is equally bad on the left and right.  There’s really very little doubt at all that this problem is much worse on the right.]

 

 

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Tilting the table

Sounds like Bill Daley is a very skilled politician and should thus serve Obama well as his new Chief of Staff, yet what really annoys me about him is what seems to be his Evan-Bayhesque knee-jerk political centrism.  Basically, Republicans in Congress just keep tilting the playing table further to the right and too many Democrats foolishly think they should just keep going to the center, even as the Republicans pull the center ever right-ward.  It would be one thing if there was any evidence the increasing rightward trend of Republicans in Congress represented a shift in the underlying opinions of the American public– but there’s not.  Republicans just keep moving right, therefore moving the center to the right.  I’ve just got a real problem with Democrats (or any politicians) whose driving value seems to be finding the center, wherever it is, than actually approaching politics with policy and ideological coherence.  Half a baby is no baby at all.

 

Constitutional Fundamentalism redux

So, this is funny, in light of all the right-wing nuttiness with the Constitution this week, I started writing a post about the parallels between this and religious fundamentalism.  A quick search through my archives, and it turns out I’d already done this in October.  It’s timely again, though.  I like it and since you may very well be too lazy to click through, I’m just going to post the whole things again.

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I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for some time, but I haven’t gotten around to it.  Yesterday, though, I read a really good article in the latestNewsweek that explicitly details just how nutty the Tea Partiers ideas on the Constitution are.  They are amazingly similar to the ideas that Fundamentalists have of the bible (okay, it’s probably not amazing that the approaches are so similar).  The exact words are gospel truth– except for the words you ignore because they are inconvenient– and they all work to completely support your ideology.  How convenient!  The article actually opens with a nice little critique of how the media (doesn’t) cover this:

Since winning the Republican senate primary in Delaware last month, Christine O’Donnell has not had trouble getting noticed. When the Tea Party icon admitted to “dabbl[ing] into witchcraft” as a youngster, the press went wild. When she revealed that she was “not a witch” after all, the response was rabid. O’Donnell has fudged her academic credentials, defaulted on her mortgage, sued a former employer, and campaigned against masturbation, and her efforts have been rewarded with round-the-clock coverage. Yet few observers seem to have given her views on the United States Constitution the same level of consideration. Which is too bad, because O’Donnell’s Tea Party take on our founding text is as unusual as her stance on autoeroticism. Except that it could actually have consequences.

True dat.  Here’s my favorite quote:

Contemporary Constitution worshipers claim that they’ve distilled their entire political platform—lower taxes, less regulation, minimal federal government—directly from the original text of the founding document. Any overlap with mainstream conservatism is incidental, they say; they’re simply following the Framers’ precise instructions. If this were true, it would be quite the political coup: oppose us, the Tea Party could claim, and you’re opposing James Madison. But the reality is that Tea Partiers engage with the Constitution in such a selective manner, and for such nakedly political purposes, that they’re clearly relying on it more as an instrument of self-affirmation and cultural division than a source of policy inspiration.

Just like nuts every where look to religion and “sacred” texts to validate their particular nuttiness, the Tea Partiers treat the Constitution in much the same way to validate their pre-existing ideological beliefs.

Oh, and just because it’s related, a quick google search uncovered some great examples of how fundamentalist so selectively read the bible.   We all know they take it very seriously when Leviticus damns homosexuals, here’s a verse you never hear much about:

“For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.”

Short version: Fundamentalism whether its biblical or Constitutional is generally self-serving BS.

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For your value added, Dahlia Lithwick had a great piece on the matter earlier this week.

 

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