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Monday, August 9, 2010

House Notes: Blog Banter on Baselessness

Khan vs. Kirk... Cory vs. Ken?
He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him!

Dr. Blanchard pricks me with my own lance, accusing me of the same baseless accusing of which I accuse the Noem campaign. I shouldn't get too riled up: if you look at the actual issues in question rather than our blogospheric fun, you'll find that the conservative Dr. Blanchard appears to agree with the substance of our argument: the letter from Ken M. Scott concerning where the Herseth Sandlin family lives is baseless and irrelevant, and the Noem campaign aspires to Tea Party favor. Yet even when the good professor disagrees with me on the edges, my soul cannot resist a response.

One acknowledgement: Dr. Blanchard is correct that Travis and I have not presented one bit of evidence that is actually part of the Noem campaign. Indeed, I have no more evidence that Mr. (Dr.?) Scott works for Noem than anyone else has that I work for Herseth Sandlin.

But on Blanchard's blasting of my broader baselessness: bunk! He tackles my statement that"Tea Partiers are obsessed with vilifying people as outsiders and claiming America belongs to only a few chosen people." Dr. Blanchard says in his attendance at two tea-flavored gatherings, he has seen no such obsession.

I suggest reviewing the rhetoric and policies generally associated with this amorphous blob we name "Tea Parties." We see anti-immigrant sentiment. We see proposals to deny babies born on our sacred soil one of the greatest secular gifts possible: American citizenship. We hear language about "taking America back!" as if America has been seized by outside forces. We see a protest movement dedicated to the proposition, against all repeatedly offered evidence, that the duly elected President of this nation is Kenyan and thus not really President.

Need I work this hard to say that vilification of outsiders lies at the heart of much of the Tea party protest? Need I work this hard to say that stirring up the notion that Stephanie Herseth Sandlin isn't really a South Dakotan is a flavor of this same putrid politics?

Now has Kristi Noem herself said such silly things as came out of Scott's pen? Heavens no. Of course not. Then again, she hasn't come out to say such things are silly, either. Perhaps I should be generous and assume that Scott's claims are so patently baseless and irrelevant that the noble Noem will not dignify them with any comment.

Dr. Blanchard also upbraids me for vilifying people even as I criticize teabaggers for vilifying people. Does my spite for this tea thingy really negate my critique of Mr. Scott's baseless accusations? No. I may get angry about the baseless, misdirected anger of various protesters in the streets, but even if you don't like my anger, that doesn't change the facts that make me angry.

My fundamental opposition to Noem and the Tea "Party" does not lie in hatred. I spit my continuing breath at thee not for hate's sake, but in the conviction that their politics are wrong, incoherent at best, inimical to democracy and discourse at worst.


  1. Ken Blanchard8/09/2010 2:16 PM

    Wait a minute! That means I get to be Kirk. Alright........

  2. [Who would you rather be... or play in Star Trek 12: Khan or Kirk? The question is almost worth a blog poll!]

  3. Miranda Flint8/09/2010 4:53 PM

    Forgive me if I missed it, but I still don't see any evidence here. A link or two or some actual quotes might help!

  4. Michael Black8/09/2010 5:21 PM

    Khan was one of the great characters in Star Trek history. The movie was probably the best in the Star Trek series.

  5. Miranda, you mean I have to provide evidence of the self-evident? I'm still not getting paid here, you know... but all right, all right, let me do some reading... stay tuned!

  6. Bits and pieces, Miranda: Black teabaggers dismiss racism in the ranks as the work of outside infiltrators.

  7. ...Matt Taibbi points out the inordinate glee taken by too many teabaggers in discussing the most minute instances of offense committed against us poor, sad, oppressed white folks: "At every Tea Party event I’ve gone to, the scene always devolves in one of two directions: either everybody trades stories about the corruption of Charlie Rangel or ACORN or Jeremiah Wright or some other notable nonwhite villain, or else a group therapy session breaks out in which everybody shares their harrowing experiences of being unjustly accused of racism. Once they reach one of those two destinations, they camp out there, conversationally, not just for minutes but hours."

  8. ...Tea Party enjoys white supremacist support and involvement at rally in Florida...

  9. Tom Tancredo emphasizes our President's foreign middle name and ascribes his election victory to uneducated, un-American outsiders.

  10. Xenophobia trumps Tea Party's professed respect for Constitution. The following quote from thi NYT article captures the misplaced fear and xenophobia that bubbles up from economic anxiety:

    Diana Serafin, a grandmother who lost her job in tech support this year, said she reached out to others she knew from attending Tea Party events and anti-immigration rallies. She said they read books by critics of Islam, including former Muslims like Walid Shoebat, Wafa Sultan and Manoucher Bakh. She also attended a meeting of the local chapter of ACT! for America, a Florida-based group that says its purpose is to defend Western civilization against Islam.

    “As a mother and a grandmother, I worry,” Ms. Serafin said. “I learned that in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Shariah is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.”


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