The publication last week of an excerpt from a forthcoming Barack Obama biography sparked an especially frenzied response from conservative bloggers who view the president's distant personal past with an unhealthy fascination.
The book's new revelation about the identity of a girlfriend Obama had soon after he graduated college nearly 30 years ago, along with the other biographical nuggets, were deemed to be crucial pieces of information that had gone missing during the 2008 campaign season. Washington Examiner columnist Byron York bemoaned the fact that the Vanity Fair excerpt revealed "a portrait of Obama that might have enriched the voters' understanding of him in the 2008 campaign."
Indeed, for conservatives, previously unearthed details about Obama post-college girlfriend represented the latest piece of evidence that reporters hadn't done enough digging during the previous campaign. That they never grilled the candidate; that they ignored the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story! (Fact: They covered it. Exhaustively.)
But this time around, it's going to be different. Obama's (supposedly mysterious) life story is going to be fleshed out during the 2012 campaign.
Under the headline, "Re-Vetting Wars: Obama's Girlfriends Speak," American Thinker blogger Thomas Lifson noted "One of the foremost concerns of the Obama re-election effort is the promised re-vetting of Obama, playing off the widespread perception that the media utterly failed to investigate the reality beneath the highly manufactured identity peddled in 2008."
That vow to "vet" the president has become a mantra this year. Addressing CPAC this winter, Andrew Breitbart declared "[T]his election we're going to vet him," and specifically promised to "vet" Obama's "college days." (Days after Breitbart died in March, his site unveiled the "college days" vetting he had promised; it did not go well for Team Breitbart.)
That same month, Sean Hannity announced it was clear that Obama's "friends" in the press made sure "that his past remains un-vetted," while Hannity's angry guest Michelle Malkin reported it was time to "vet the prez."
The vetting obsession however, doesn't spring from a natural affinity for fact checking. Instead, it's used to bolster the broader conservative argument that the real reason Obama won an electoral landslide victory in 2008 was because the press (purposefully) hid the truth about who Obama really is. And, by extension, if Obama wins re-election in November, the only reason will be because for his four years in office, the press (purposefully) hid the truth about who Obama really is.
The conspiracy theory serves as a convenient catchall excuse for why Obama succeeds electorally despite the conservative press' depiction of him as a monster determined to destroy the American economy and ruin our way of life. That's all accurate, the bloggers insists. It's just that the liberal media hasn't properly conveyed all the crucial information to voters.
Following polls showing that an increasing number of Americans wrongly believe President Obama is a Muslim, right-wing media figures have used the opportunity to continue to sow doubts about Obama's religious convictions.
Back in April, responding to Bill Clinton's comments that media figures should be careful not to advocate violence, the Washington Examiner's Byron York said that only the "fringes" of the tea party movement are "people who talk about revolution." In order to make this blanket statement, York conveniently ignored Sarah Palin telling the Tea Party convention that "America is ready for another revolution and you are a part of this" and Glenn Beck asserting that "the second American revolution is being played out right now."
Since then, conservative media figures upset with the Obama administration over health care reform, possible immigration reform, and other legislative items they disagree with have apparently become more comfortable with talk of revolt, openly discussing potential "civil war" or a "Second American Revolution."
Glenn Beck has only amped up his rhetoric, insinuating that the administration is intentionally trying to destroy the country and push us towards "civil war," and has even stated outright that he thinks "we're headed for a civil war."
This week, conservative media figures are seizing on an Investor's Business Daily editorial from the weekend that asked in its headline if "Washington's Failures" will "Lead To Second American Revolution." Limbaugh labeled the editorial "amazing" yesterday, adding: "I would not call it a revolution; I'd call it a restoration."
Conservative blogger Bob "Confederate Yankee" Owens -- who was recently hired by the Washington Examiner -- also weighed in on the IBD editorial. In a post titled "A Nation on the Edge of Revolt," Owens discusses how our current Congress has "won in a bloodless coup" and that nations collapse at this point unless "people reform or replace their governments." Owens adds that "reform increasingly seems to be a fleeting option."
While Owens states early in his post that he is not making these statements as "hyperbole," or to "incite violence," he later discusses how "revolution is a brutish nasty business," in which "innocents will fall along with patriots and the corrupt":
Right-wing blogs have responded to reported threats against Democrats who voted for the health care reform bill by trivializing the threats or suggesting that the reports are false, condemning the threats but making excuses for them, suggesting that Democrats themselves are to blame for receiving the threats, or suggesting other acts of violence that people could commit against their congressional representative.
From a March 24 Confederate Yankee blog post:
No matter what you think of Obamacare and the craven ideologues that passed it, is totally unacceptable to threaten their relatives or friends and put them in danger.
Go to your Congressman's office and scream at him in the most colorful language possible. Hang him in effigy at protests. If you're willing to do the time for the crime, have a swing at him.
Better yet, throw a shoe... after all, the left values such behavior as a form of "vigorous dissent," and will no doubt ask for any charges against you to be dropped.
Perhaps one day stronger action will be required if Progressives continue to trample on our liberties in their blind quest for power. But that time is not now.
At this time, I suspect Shikha Dalmia's call for massive civil disobedience is the correct path. Show your anger. Make sure those who have trampled your liberties are stuck down by ballots. With your help, the Democratic Party's assault on the Republic can be undone.
The right way.
From Owen's March 21 Confederate Yankee blog post:
I proudly stand by that comment.
According to Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi (who just so happened to be the Democrat speaking when I wrote that tweet, but was assuredly not the first), it is my obligation to pay for your "right." I will be forced to pay for coverage, whether I want it or not. I will be forced to pay for the coverage of others, whether I want it or not.
I stand by my comment that the Democrats who crammed this unwarranted bill down the throats of the American people who clearly and overwhelmingly opposed it deserve to be drawn and quartered.
As Wikipedia notes, having someone "laboring against that person's will to benefit another, under some form of coercion" is the very definition of involuntary servitude... slavery. We are Americans, and will be slaves to no man, no Congress, and no President.