Rightbloggers' Scandal Spring Gives Way to Summer of Same Old, Same Old
But seasons change, and Scandal Spring is giving way to the Summer of Same Old, Same Old, as events intrude and conservatives are obliged by them to talk about their own policies, which for reasons that will become apparent isn't likely to be as successful.
Take last week's farm bill vote. This annual event ladles out big goodies to agribusinesses and a little somethin'-somethin' for the poor -- just the sort of thing that both parties in Congress could cooperate on, once upon a time. But last week the bill was defeated in the House largely because Republicans insisted on an amendment that would slash spending on food stamps, aka the SNAP program.
D.C. Republicans and Democrats fought over who was responsible for the debacle, but rightbloggers thought it was just great; they hate food stamps, because food stamps are a Big Government program and because they help feed poor people, whom they believe unworthy of such luxuries. It's a legacy of the old welfare-queens-in-cadillacs school of rightwing outrage, and for years prominent conservatives have devoted columns to SNAP fraud stories ("A 65-year-old cashier in New Hampshire was fired last year for refusing to let a young man use a benefit card to buy cigarettes") to convince readers that poor people are getting away with murder.
"This so-called farm bill would have turned vast numbers of American urban dwellers into semi-permanent welfare recipients," said Investors Business Daily, which is weird because we thought these guys already believed everyone living in cities was on food stamps.
At Patriot Post, John C. Goodman found great significance in the fact that more Americans made voluntary contributions to private charities than made them to the U.S. Government. "Why aren't all the private givers, including federal workers, giving to [the food stamp program]?" he asked. "...Let the food stamp program compete on a level playing field against every other anti-poverty program, private or public." Goodman also reported, "on an average day, 11.7 million children are getting a free or reduced price breakfast, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers," and, to make sure you didn't think he approved of that, bragged, "I am one of the few writers who seems to be appalled by the immorality of bringing children into the world that you cannot support."
"The defeat is an opportunity for reformers, if they have the wit to use their leverage," cheered the Wall Street Journal. "...As recently as a decade ago the program covered a mere 21 million people, but enrollment gradually started to climb and has spiked more than 70% since 2008." Hm, what might have happened in 2008 to raise that rate -- oh, right, the collapse of the U.S. economy. The Journal did not mention this, but instead called this uptick "an indictment of the growth of government; because "buying food" is "one of life's most basic individual responsibilities," they suggested, cutting the poor's food stamps would make them more ambitious, much as sending bloodhounds after them would make them fleeter of foot.
Some of the brethren mocked the "SNAP challenge" in which some Democratic politicians volunteered to live on food stamps for a short time to show the difficulties thereof. Seth Mandel of Commentary called this a "stunt" and said the Democrats' difficulty in maintaining themselves on the stamps just showed "many can't be relied upon to budget for themselves, even though they are empowered to budget for the country," while conservatives "did not suffer from the same confusion" (though Mandel's colleagues don't seem to know how to budget a magazine so that it runs a profit).
Republican staffer Donny Ferguson claimed he'd eaten very well on a SNAP food allowance, and that poor people spend their benefits foolishly on "fast food because fast food tastes great." You can't really buy fast food with food stamps, but then you can't really collect food stamps while earning the salary made by Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman's communications director, either.
If you think making fun of paupers for their food stamps is gross, you are not the target audience. It's an open question, however, as to who is.
Other events conspired to direct rightbloggers' attention on issues that have not been winners for them in the past. Take culinary star Paula Deen's unfortunate remarks on racial matters. Unlike normal people, rightbloggers couldn't just say it was a shame and leave it at that; out of devotion to "politically incorrect" (and Southern) voters versus the "word police," some of the brethren rose to her defense.
Kevin DuJan at HillBuzz, for example, reported that "the institutional Left revs up racial hatred against whites to keep blacks voting Democrat," and that the controversy was being used by them to "ramp up racial tension the week before the Trayvon Martin trial begins in Florida," where they are "hoping that Orlando explodes in a powder keg of racial hatred, riots, and destruction."
We're not sure either, but we think the guy Obama stole his clothes from is a circus ringmaster if that helps.
DuJan added, "Since the Food Network has fired Paula Deen for using the word 'nigger; three decades ago I am curious if the black cooking show hosts 'The Neelys' on Food Network have ever in their lives used words like 'honky,' 'whitey,' or 'white boy.'" DuJan also said liberals "enjoy attacking and bringing down a white woman like Paula Deen far too much for there not to be sexual gratification for them in this," and... oh, just go read it, it's hilarious.
The consideration by the Supreme Court of two cases with an impact on gay marriage also caught the brethren's attention. You'd think at this point, with the tide of public opinion receding from them, rightbloggers would have sworn omertà on this, too. But there remain some who, whenever the P-flag is waved at them, cannot help but charge.
At WorldNetDaily Bob Unruh reported that "a coalition of Christian organizations is warning that the U.S. Supreme Court does not have the power to redefine the institution of marriage, which predates government, churches and even religion." Unruh added that this group "includes Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant clergy and leaders," which is a little like saying that the Legion of Doom included representatives of several planets.
It is unclear what this coalition plans to do if SCOTUS rules for the pink team -- maybe summon thunderbolts? -- but at The Daily Caller Carrie Severino told us gays are the real bullies: "Expect liberals to attack justices as racist, anti-gay bigots if rulings don't go their way," she headlined. "While the results are still a mystery to those of us outside the Court, what is fairly certain is that the left will engage in a campaign to discredit the Court, if previous trends hold." Though she gave no examples, she has a point -- remember how uncivil liberals were about the Dred Scott decision? Conversely, in Severino's view conservatives are civil even when they use incendiary language: "in reality it's not bigoted -- whatever your opinion of gay marriage -- to believe... that a court decision nationalizing same-sex marriage would detonate a dirty bomb in the culture wars," she said. Maybe a "dirty bomb" is in this context something like a Dirty Sanchez, and meant in a friendly way.
Others among the brethren focused on a poll showing people in media heavily support gay marriage ("just as the media were in the tank for Obama, the same can be said when it comes to the issue of gay marriage"), suggesting that if the Supremes did rule for the gays, it'd only be because they've been brainwashed by TV and newspapers.
Another uneasy topic for conservatives, immigration, was revived by arguments between two Cuban-American Republican Senators about a pending bill to let more Mexicans into the country for keeps. (One of the hilarious side-effects has been that onetime rightwing golden boy Marco Rubio, the pro-immigration one, has been abandoned over this issue by his erstwhile Tea Party backers and by National Review.) Rightbloggers, who recently linked easy immigration to the Boston Marathon bombing, did not break their streak.
Some of them seemed unwilling to engage the basic issue, and danced around the edges. Because the current bill "would allow stateless people in the U.S. to seek conditional lawful status if their nations have been made uninhabitable by climate change," Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin said, "presumably how this would work is that somebody would walk up to the U.S. border, say 'it's getting too hot over there' (or cold, or wet, or dry, or windy) and be granted legal entry." And they wouldn't even have to say it in English! Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator said news that some immigrants had been involved in tax fraud proved that "Big Government has gone off the rails" and thus cannot be trusted to reform immigration (presumably Lord would prefer the job be privatized and handled by someone like Joe Arpaio). CNS News complained that some handwritten notes on a draft of the bill were hard to read.
But at VDare, James Kirkpatrick was refreshingly forthright: "Whatever the outcome of the 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform' a.k.a. Amnesty/ Immigration Surge battle in Congress," he wrote, "Conservatism Inc. has already lost" -- "Conservatism Inc." being that weak-willed variant that wanted to win Hispanic votes, as opposed to Kirkpatrick's more purebred model.
Kirkpatrick seemed concerned, even distressed, that America would not be majority white forever; when another conservative, Matt Lewis, wrote, "As long as America is free and virtuous, honors the rule of law, and advances the values of Western Civilization, why does ethnicity matter?" Kirkpatrick retorted, "We are not free, because you can't have freedom and multiculturalism. We are not virtuous -- America is a moral cesspool, and the increasing Hispanic population is only worsening the problems of illegitimacy, abortion, and crime." Kirkpatrick also announced that "conservative 'anti-racism' is simply... anti-white," and that Tucker Carlson's rightwing paper The Daily Caller "officially denies whites' right to exist." Also, "If 'real conservatism' is to be defined as an abstract belief in limited government, free markets, and traditional values, Hispanics have no place. Neither do African-Americans." Kirkpatrick did generously add that "neither do millions of American whites," so we're sure many of the brethren would defend him as not-a-racist.
So if they're not expecting to bring in minority groups, how do they expect to achieve a winning coalition? By looking for new alliances. For example, some rightbloggers are reaching out to the men's rights movement.