The Two Flags Amusement Park: Last night, Rachel Maddow opened her show with an intelligent, informative segment.
The segment concerned the debt ceiling crisis. It involved an interview with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
As a reward, we got a treat right in her second segment. As other hosts on her channel had done, Maddow engaged in a race-baiting nut-pick concerning the guy with two flags. Here's the background:
Helped along by Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, tea party folk had staged a protest about the shutdown of DC’s World War II memorial. This has been treated as a giant issue in the last few weeks so on Fox.
The outrage has been silly, although not quite as silly as Maddow wants you to think. You live at a time when highly paid people are clowning from all directions.
At any rate, an overwrought protest occurred in DC last weekend. Sarah Palin was even there, offering overwrought comments about the outrage involved in barricading the WWII memorial.
Some overwrought citizens behaved rather badly, dragging those barricades up to the White House and dumping them there. Pathetically, Larry Klayman (Judicial Watch) even took the bullhorn at one point and said this:
KLAYMAN (10/13/13): We are now ruled, quote/unquote, by a president who bows down to Allah. I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience and to demand that this president leave town, to get out, to put the Koran down, get up off his knees and figuratively come up with his hands out—up.Klayman has been a giant public buffoon since the Clinton era, when he filed 18 lawsuits against the administration. Last year,he filed a lawsuit to keep Obama off the Florida ballot, claiming he wasn’t a “natural-born citizen.”
We’ll guess that Klayman is less a nut than a devoted chaser of money. Whatever his motives, there you see the pitiful comments he offered at the protest.
Klayman has been well-known for a very long time. Then too, there was that other guy at the protest, the one guy with the two flags.
Last evening, Maddow aired Klayman’s remarks but didn’t mention her name. (Inevitably, he has sued her too, in 2011.) Then, like everyone else on her channel, she gave us our racial treat, our Pleasing Outrage Bon-Bon.
On the one hand, she was nut-picking fairly hard. She had found the dopiest guy at the rally and she was letting us vent. On the other hand, she was playing the condescending white defender of blacks.
Rachel has condescending, “high white” racial politics, although most people who watch her show are too dumb to notice:
MADDOW (10/14/13): Vaguely threatening but incoherent is a patented thing with these folks. It’s never held them back, like say this guy, who brought the Confederate flag to the rally to wave it in front of the White House.Rachel didn’t name this guy either. As it turns out, he was Michael Ashmore, 23, of Hooks, Texas.
Yes, an African-American family lives in that house now.
Beyond the menace of the Confederate flag, there was also the awkwardness and thematic incoherence of waving the giant Confederate flag alongside the other flag he was holding, which was the Marine Corps flag. That is a particularly awkward choice, to be holding the Confederate flag and Marine Corps flag at the same time, since the U.S. Marine Corps was part of the fight against the Confederacy in the civil war.
But hey, I think the idea here was more about waving a Confederate flag in front of house where a black family lives than it was about anything specific related to the marines. This weekend, at the railing against the shutdown that they demanded rally, it felt less like anything specific to our politics right this second and more like old times, kind of. The crowds may be smaller now, and yes, everybody wonders now what Sarah Palin is doing there. It’s no longer self-evident.
But with the Obama-is-a-Muslim stuff and the totally unveiled racial stuff, it kind of feels like the Tea Party heyday all over again, doesn’t it? Who’s ready for another round?
Why was Ashmore at the protest with his pair of flags? In a quick review, we can’t find any sign that he has been interviewed on the subject. That said, Rachel was able to intuit why he had his Confederate flag. Using her flawless mind-reading skills, she “thinks the idea here was more about waving a Confederate flag in front of house where a black family lives than it was about anything specific related to the marines.”
It was “totally unveiled racial stuff,” she was later able to tell us. As she did, she slimed the whole tea party for engaging in such unveiled stuff.
How do you think she knows these things about what Ashmore meant? Simple! This was your nightly racial treat, complete with massive condescension toward that family she kept mentioning. Rachel simply makes this stuff up! On the business side, it’s the little bon-bon we get for sitting through an interview on a dry subject.
Did Michael Ashmore, 23, bring his Confederate flag to serve as a “menace” in front of house where a black family lives? It’s certainly possible, especially since everything is! It’s also possible that he has some other idea he could explain, or fail to explain, depending on your outlook.
It’s also possible that he could explain how the marine flag goes together with the Confederate banner—or not. In the end, there’s a dumb guy in every crowd. Last night, as a special bonus, there was also at least one very dumb person on every MS show but one.
Give Chris Hayes some credit. He let several guests challenge the instant focus on Ashmore’s menacing flag. For himself, he said this to Robert George, a guy we like from twelve years back, about the general practices of nut-picking and guilt by association:
GEORGE (10/14/13): That’s just a nut-ball, Larry Klayman. He is not a serious individual—George said Cruz may not have known that Klayman would talk that crap.
HAYES: But he was a nut-ball who had a microphone at the same event where Ted Cruz, who engineered the shutdown, spoke. I mean that is the point, right? It is like if you do not—
I am, as someone who is a product of the American left and who has been to a lot of protests and has been surrounded by people who have all sorts of ideas that I find totally nutty and abhorrent, I hate the kind of guilt by association game as a matter of just—a sort of general matter. And yet, Ted Cruz knows what he’s doing when he goes there. He knows the folks he is stoking.
Hayes was speaking about guilt by association with respect to Klayman and Cruz. His remarks were far more apt with respect to Ashmore, the fellow with two flags.
All over Our Own Liberal Channel last night, we liberals got to enjoy the fact that Ashmore showed up with those flags. It was amazing to see how many people pluralized this event:
It wasn’t Ashmore who had those flags. It was “they” who had them. In this way, these horrible people teach you to hate millions of folk at a time.
For what it’s worth, Lawrence O’Donnell went even one step farther. Knowing that Cruz had mildly rebuked Klayman for the things he said, he pretended to have misplaced Cruz’s statement. In that way, he was able to tell us that Cruz had done no such thing.
This is truly skillful work from an extremely bad person:
O’DONNELL (10/14/13): Dorian, we had a statement from Ted Cruz, which I have misplaced, which we might be able to put up on the screen. But he basically said about Larry Klayman’s statement— He did not denounce it. He just said it’s unfortunate that the media is distracted by, you know, these other speakers at this event instead of me. He did not denounce it in any way.Actually, that isn’t true. But it was a very skillful play by a very bad person.
Maddow, O’Donnell, Matthews? These really aren’t good people. They’ll kiss your ass in every way hoping to sew up your business. To them, you are a chance to earn. They’ll fawn to you in tribal ways, the best ways to fawn of them all.
Their racial politics begins and ends with the delivery of R-bombs. You couldn’t make them discuss the needs and interests of black kids if you took all their children away. After all, they could always have more kids. At worst, they could always adopt!
Shrieking, screeching, dissembling, nut-picking, the very bad people of this bad channel played their most glorious card. As they did, they dug our tribal divisions deeper. And make no mistake:
That is what the other side wants. The true crackpots of the other aside want division, meltdown and stasis. They want the society to break apart into 83 little republics.
Alas! When Rachel and Lawrence play their most glorious card, they are serving the ultimate goal of the other tribe’s biggest crackpots! They are also playing you blue:
Research shows that we the rubes simply love being played in this manner. All through history, we the rubes have ardently longed for the tribe.