Friday, October 29, 2010


By Reginald Johnson

Oct. 29, 2010


The power of the right wing never ceases to amaze me.

I thought of this twice in recent days, first when I went into the Barnes and Noble bookstore to pick out a gift. I went to the history and current affairs section and as always, looked for Noam Chomsky, one of my favorites. In the past, you could always count on plenty Chomsky and other liberal writers in the same section at ‘B&N.’

This time was different. I did find Chomsky, but not before noticing what seemed like an avalanche of books authored by conservatives --- Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Dick Armey, Laura Ingraham, Sarah Palin, and others. They clearly outnumbered the left-of-center writers.

A lot of these right-wingers have disgracefully assumed the mantle of being “true patriots” just like the 18th century revolutionaries who threw boxes of tea into Boston Harbor to protest British taxation. Beck’s latest tome is entitled “Glenn Beck’s Common Sense,” with the subtitle, “The Case Against an Out of Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine.”

Thomas Paine, of course, was the Revolutionary-era writer whose book “Common Sense,” laid out the case against the repression of the English monarchs and really did inspire many colonists to take up arms against the Crown.

That Beck has the audacity to liken himself to a great humanist like Thomas Paine, while he spews venom nightly on his TV show, expressing hate against liberals and Muslims, is unbelievable. Yet people seem to lap it up --- his ratings are high, and his books dot the shelves of the bookstore chains.

Books by Sarah Palin and Dick Armey (“Give Us Liberty” --- “A Tea Party Manifesto --- Less Government and More Individual Liberty”) also appear to be popular. This, despite the utter hypocrisy of these right-wing and Tea Party leaders. (If these people are so opposed to big government and ‘tyranny,’ then why don’t they speak out against the government’s warrantless wiretapping and torture practices? They don’t. You can be sure if Thomas Paine were around today, he would.)

A day or so after visiting the bookstore, I saw a news piece flash on the Talking Points Memo website: Republican/Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle in Nevada had just raised $14 million in contributions in one-quarter in her Senate race to defeat incumbent Harry Reid, a Democrat.

I glanced at Angle’s contributions list. Money was pouring in from all around the country. This is amazing. Here is a candidate as unqualified as you can get, blurts out the dumbest comments, and she’s raking in the money. But she’s hard right-wing – dead against immigration, supports tax cuts for the rich, wants to abolish the department of education and loosen regulations on business. So the business class --- like the multi-billionaire Koch brothers --- love her. Doesn’t matter if she runs racist ads or says other outrageous things, she pledges to cut their taxes and keep government regulators off their backs. That’s good enough for them. Keep the dollars flowing.

The dreadful decision this year by the Supreme Court to allow corporations to give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates has made the right-wing political machine even more potent. While the Democrats get a lot of corporate money too, big business knows where their bread is really buttered --- with conservatives. So Republicans and Tea Party candidates are getting big bucks this year, often from corporate front groups that don’t have to disclose their donors.

With a wealth of funds to run political ads and promoted by right-wing radio and FOX “News” shows, conservatives may win big in next week’s elections.

Angle is running neck and neck with Reid. While Reid has been no great shakes as a senator, he’s light years better than Angle.

But in Nevada, where there’s high unemployment and foreclosures all over, many alienated voters are buying the empty-headed rhetoric of the right, that “government is the problem” and all liberals must go.

Sharron Angle may be the next U.S. Senator from Nevada.