Cruel Conservatives: Part I

Tuesday, both Will Hinton and Gun Toting Liberal picked up on the same blurb from Neal Boortz’s site, and then went down two different roads with it.

As noted in Tuesday’s Center of Attention, Gun Toting Liberal was inspired to question Boortz’s self-proclaimed libertarianism. In contrast, Will’s muse prompted him to use Boortz’s post to illustrate “why people think conservatives don’t care about people.� Will’s conclusion: People think conservatives don’t care about people because some of the most mean-spirited voices in America have defined the movement.

On that list of cruel voices, Will places Boortz himself, plus Ann Coulter and Michael Savage. But we all (Will included, I suspect) can think of more names than just those three. For instance, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, especially the super-blustery, pre-addiction Limbaugh. And of course, Bill O’Reilly, who should be forced to walk the streets wearing an oversized placard on his back with words appropriated from the incomparably incorrect Dennis Leary: “I’m an asshole. Lodie-dodie-do.�

But there’s another question that Will didn’t ask, namely: Why do benevolent conservatives (and yes, they do exist) tolerate the prominent, malicious voices that have become the spokespeople and hence caricature of the movement?

At least half the answer has something to do with the day President Johnson signed into law a landmark bill that irrevocably boosted civil rights in this country and prompted a mass exodus of hatemongers from the D’s to the R’s.

Post-Reagan, with communism effectively dead and no clear external foe on the horizon, the migrated hatemongers turned inward and once again applied their repressive sticks to the backs of their fellow men and women, blasting everyone from consenting adults who dared love each other in unconventional ways to frightened teenage girls who had abortions performed by professionals in sterile clinics rather than self-induced with coat hangers in cheap motel rooms.

Before long, the base haters were compelled to seek other haters to boost their confidence, buoy their hopes, and amplify their voices, especially during the Clinton era with its anti-hate theme song: “We Love Everybody, Even the Interns.�

Enter Rush, the rest of the crew, and their designated champion, The Newt, who for all his warts was never nearly as hateful as many of the constituents he represented.

So, back to the question of why hateful voices are tolerated in the conservative movement. In part, they’re tolerated because they speak for a significant, election-making swath of hateful conservative voters.

Then again, that’s only half the answer. The other half is rarely acknowledged or confronted, even in private.

Author: PETE ABEL

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