The Conservative Movement Has Launched World War Z

by: David Sirota

Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 09:15

In my column two weeks ago, I led off with a very simple statement of fact:

The 21st century opened with a handful of Supreme Court puppets appointing George W. Bush president after he lost the popular vote...

You can quibble with my use of "puppets," of course, and you can make an argument (which I don't agree with) that Bush deserved to be appointed president despite losing the popular vote because he (supposedly) won the Electoral College vote - but it is a verifiable fact that George W. Bush lost the national popular vote, and it is a verifiable fact that after losing the national popular vote the Supreme Court appointed him president.

This is why I'm really perplexed that I continue to receive a steady stream of email from right-wing readers of my column who insist that it's a liberal conspiracy theory to state this verifiable fact. I'm not kidding - I'm not just getting one or two emails, I have been getting scores of emails from people who are adamant that it's inaccurate, untruthful and treasonous to say Bush lost the popular vote. And what makes the screeds particularly strange is that the emailers do not offer an alternate theory - say, a theory insisting the election was miscounted. No, there are actually people in the United States who lived through the 2000 election who seriously believe that Bush simply won the popular vote as it stands, that everyone obviously knows that supposed self-evident truism, and that anyone who says otherwise is crazy.

On top of this, I've also gotten a lot of email from people insisting that because the U.S. Senate's undemocratic structure is in the U.S. Constitution, it means it isn't undemocratic. This is just straight-up bizarre. The Constitution is pretty clearly undemocratic in creating a Senate that gives the same representation to Wyoming's 500,000 people as it does to the millions of people who live in California. And this says nothing of a filibuster that lets an already undemocratic institution block something with less than a majority of that same institution's votes.

Obviously, if you are someone who gets angry at those who point out the verifiable fact that Bush lost the 2000 popular vote or that the U.S. Senate is undemocratic, you require a straightjacket and a team of physicians working exclusively on you 24 hours a day seven days a week. The problem is, our nation doesn't have enough resources to accommodate that need for the thousands, and perhaps millions, of right-wingers who have been driven to this state of psychopathy.

I'm not sure if there is a lesson in this, other than that we're way beyond laughing at people who believe reality has a liberal bias. These people aren't funny - they are scary, and they should be seen as a threat that needs to be confronted.

What's going on here is pretty simple: the 2008 clearly drove a certain segment of the population certifiably insane - and I'm fairly sure the wave of emails I've gotten is only one ripple in the bigger storm of zombie Teabagger-ism we're seeing sweep across the country. The fact is, I've been writing for a long time now - and thus getting hate mail for a long time - and I've never seen the kind of virulence, bile and sheer know-nothingness on such a consistent basis.

David Sirota :: The Conservative Movement Has Launched World War Z
If I had to guess, I'd say this storm represents a segment of the population that is overwhelmingly conservative, overwhelmingly white, and overwhelmingly populated with people who can't sleep at night knowing an African American Democrat is in the White House. The Washington Post's Harold Meyerson agrees:

When future historians look back at this passage in our nation's history, I suspect they'll conclude that this Obama-isn't-American nuttiness refracted the insecurities and, in some cases, the hatred that a portion of conservative white America felt about having a black president and about the transformation of what many thought of as their white nation into a genuinely multiracial republic.

This political reality has very obviously driven them to pure batshit lunacy - the kind that turns people into frothing balls of rage whenever anyone states inarguable facts that offends or contradicts the conservative delusion.

The good news is that these folks and their political leadership (ie. Limbaugh, Gingrich, Steele, etc.) are helping marginalize themselves for the long haul. Their extremism has become so, well, extreme that the more they open their mouths, the more deranged they look to everyone else.

The bad news is that these folks are so fucking crazy that I have no doubt they will stop at absolutely nothing to prevent any kind of policy change - however small - from passing into law. In that way, what we're seeing is not the emergence of an innocuous Idiocracy. We're seeing the political equivalent of the zombies in World War Z - these mindless automatons are singularly focused on eating the body politic, cannot be reasoned with and will not be deterred. As I said, they are scary.

For my part, I've put up a first line of defense - an automated email response that goes out to anyone emailing me at my public address. I'm attaching it here - the message is fairly straightforward and gives me peace of mind that I've at least done my part to tell the sick fucks out there to eat shit.


Thanks for your note - I very much appreciate you taking the time to write me. If you are offering feedback on a column of mine - whether negative or positive - I encourage you to send a letter to the editor of the newspaper you read it in expressing your views.

While you can rest assured that I read my email, I regret that because of volume I cannot respond to each email individually. I apologize for that, but please don't take it personally. If I spent all my time replying individually to each and every email I received, I'd have to be chained to my computer and would never be able to see my family.

If you've written me a constructive email, let me just again say THANK YOU - as long as feedback/criticism is constructive, it is extremely valuable to me and makes me a better writer/journalist.

If you are angry about my inability to respond to every single email I receive and actually believe you should take precedent over my family, then I suggest seeking help for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If you have sent me an email pretending that George W. Bush won the 2000 popular vote, asserting that the U.S. Senate is 100% democratic, claiming that the richest 1% aren't actually rich, stating that thousands of Americans do not die every year for lack of health insurance, denying that the holocaust happened, swearing that taxpayers weren't forced to hand over trillions to Wall Street executives, or otherwise insisting that other verifiable facts aren't true, rest assured I have deleted your email and added you to a spam list - and may I suggest that you seek immediate medical attention for psychopathy.

Likewise, if you have just sent me angry or deranged hate mail absent any substantive/constructive facts, check the following two links and figure out which kind of pathetic freak you are:

Thanks for the note - and keep up the good fight.

Rock the boat,


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Facts are Liberal . . . get over it (4.00 / 5)
< snark >

"W" was the first post-modern presidency.  For all his talk about "conservatism," he didn't conserve anything.  He simply made things up.  His team created a whole fantasy land by controlling the language.  

Fighting for Texas families

2006,2008 Nominee for US Congress, TX 4th

it's a right wing collective psychosis. (4.00 / 3)
the split between their world and our world is now complete.  they have come completely untethered, and are now drifting in space.

but don't tell me this surprises you, david.  you have to have some inkling of how unhinged this faction is after getting all those letters.

i betcha got some funny "ACORN," and "ALISKYITE," and "LIBRUL FASCISM," letters, sirota.  actually it's probably not that funny when you think about how crazy in general these people are, while being simultaneously crazy for guns in specific.

Older White Southern "Christian" Males (4.00 / 3)
I think you're missing a couple qualifiers in the demographics. The bat shit crazy types are dominated by older white Southern "Christian" middle-class (or lower) males. They also quite likely believe that the Constitution's "3/5ths of a person" rule is democratic, too.

parallels? (4.00 / 3)
I wonder how this situation would compare to the early Clinton years had the internet been as popular as it is now.  I remember lots of unhinged lunacy then - Vince Foster's murder, among others - and that was without the myriad sites that exist today to reinforce such right wing fantasy-porn.  

In other words, I wonder if all this madness is truly unprecedented, or if it's just a more easily accessible and visible repeat of 15 years ago.

The inner toobs are an organizing tool (0.00 / 0)
for better or worse. Technology and tools have no soul, or morals.  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
I understand that aspect of it (0.00 / 0)
I'm just curious if the existence of the tool is allowing whackjobbery to flourish like never before, or if it's merely exposing the dark underbelly of the neoconservative movement to outsiders like us who previously didn't have that insight.

[ Parent ]
I would say that both are true. (4.00 / 1)
It will do two things, one allowing the reality based world to have some track on them, keep us all 9inform,ed about them, but two it will also act like a pressure cooker and feedback loop.

Nothing will be getting inside their communication bubble, telling each new and more wild lies, greater fabrications until they are convinced that satanists are eating children at the white house.

The second part is the scary part of course. The fact that no lie is too big, that Hitler said the bigger the lie the easier it is to tell, the easier to believe.  As I remember the quote ,it is harder to make people believe that prices will go down next week, than it is that continents on the other side of the world have slipped beneath the water. I am not sure that the FBI is big enough to track this emerging pathological zealot mob.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
I think we would have noticed the shout down campaign (4.00 / 2)
without the internet. But, reading the innermost thoughts and motivations of domestic terrorists and seeing leaked memos and tweets of hatred, those things were private in the past.

My point goes to this aspect as well. Like any movement, the "whackjobbery" grows with the help of the web, AND we get to see it in greater detail. The question you pose as an "either/or" proposition is more fully answered by taking the "both/and" perspective.  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
the vince foster stuff was definitely "teh crazy." (0.00 / 0)
but this seems even worse.  there is a subterranean rage that is born of fear and confusion which drives them now.  the people have been spun around 760 degrees by their spin-meisters, and they don't know what to believe anymore.  so they focus their inchoate rage at what they think is the problem.

i think the left and obama are stand-ins for all the fear of change, the fear of the shrinking majority, the fear of the loss of "happy days" america, the fear of financial uncertainty, the fear of the "other", the fear of the shadow.

fearful people are the most dangerous.

[ Parent ]
I think this time is better (4.00 / 3)
because of the internet.

Back then we had no way to fight back. I remember reading the NYT back then, because that was all we had, and they were right out there front and center leading the mob over the Lewinsky affair. And I was just seething.

But now I haven't read that rag in years, and I don't give a rat's ass what they have to say, about anything. This time, thanks to the internet, our side has been able to debunk the teabaggers, the birthers, the deathers. As fast as they line them up we swat them down.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Or Go Back To McCarthyism (4.00 / 3)
Or further, to the post-WWI Red Scare & the Palmer Raids.

Or the Know-Nothings.

Or the Anti-Masonic Party.

Or the Alien & Sedition Acts.

Political hysteria is a recurrent disease of the American body politic, with mass outbreaks whenever the authoritarian leadership seems to be toppling.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
we specialize in witchhunts. (4.00 / 1)
god bless america.

i just read a book about joe "tailgunner" mccarthy.  that era was highly charged.  talk about paranoia.

i guess it does go all the way back to the scarlet letter days.  it's in our genes.

[ Parent ]
Well, It's In SOME Of Our Genes (4.00 / 1)
There does seem to be at least some degree of genetic pre-disposition.

Us friskier, more exploration-oriented types tend to be less into hunting witches and more into hunting with them.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
As long as we're going to have a capitalist economy, (0.00 / 0)
we should at least have a real bicameral legislature. Rather than having two geography based chambers, have one geography based, say the house, and one based on wealth, say the senate. The house would be a democratically elected geographically based one whose campaigns would be financed by the government while the senate would simply be auctioned off to the highest bidders. Likely the system would produce a profit since the seats in the senate would be worth more than the costs of campaign finance reform payouts.

Jeff Wegerson

Fight the Fight (0.00 / 0)
Useless to label the other 50% of America as zombie, never underestimate your enemy. The Z crowd have elected quite some horrific men as their president.

I would suggest you add some lines in your response where the Z crowd can get some facts once they stop hollering. These folks are behaving as obstructionists, as regular republicans in a democracy. Once they stop shouting and try to learn the issues, they would be called ... democrats. Anyway, they should keep reading your columns in the media.

But they aren't 50%. (0.00 / 0)
Never have been.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
What is the proportion of shouters at disrupted Town Hall Meetings? (0.00 / 0)
No where near 50%. Zombies are multifunctional and authoritarians seem to prefer the blunt approach. Rigging elections is a messy business. It almost went south for Bush/Cheney (twice) and Imadinnerjacket is still reeling from his near miss. But the jackboots? Their violence hardly ever fails.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
i see there are 666 words in this story. (4.00 / 5)
would it have killed you to throw in one "also," to save us from the devil?  you know us libruls have an unhealthy, superstitious fear of the devil.

or maybe this is your M.O. david sirota.  i'm wise to you...

just kidding.  good stuff man.  btw, good job on the glenn greenwald/stelter/KO/G.E./olbermann/Fox story.  

$ (4.00 / 2)
Sign of the Fleeced.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
As I said in another comment, nuts! Nuts nuts nuts. (0.00 / 0)
I guess it's true that every nation has its own fair share of idiots, but normally, you don't notive them as much because they are aware that they are not he brightest lights in the candelier and try to keep a low profile. It sure looks like something happened in the US that resulted in idiots becdoming public loudmouths, and even bragging about their lack of intelligence. I guess the reason behind this is that they take the anti-intellectual clowneries of people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter for real, and not as fake personalities, and thus think that idioty has become socially acceptable. Or so.

Damn, I dunno. I had to open a bottle of beer to come up with that explanation. Maybe I'll find something more convincing if I drink some more. Prost!  

No munderstanding, pls, 6:30 p.m. here. (0.00 / 0)
I'm not an alcoholic. Yet.

[ Parent ]
You'll get there (0.00 / 0)

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
how about some facts - (0.00 / 0)
for 30 years the wealthy have been paying a SMALLER and SMALLER share of the community investment.

they were supposed to take these community investment savings and invest it to make more AND better jobs.

they invested in corruption and complicated gambling and WRECKED the economy, except for their crooked friends, AND WE ARE PAYING FOR IT - LITERALLY.

of all those who dispute the above facts, some are just really confused from listening to too many right wing lies. they're sad, and need help.

The rest are too fucking stupid to know that the powerful need them as doormats, asswipes, asskissers, dishwashers, boot lickers, serfs, peeons and cannon fodder. fuck them. spend your time trying to figure out how to beat them, NOT educate them.



It is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way

Fight AND (4.00 / 1)
educate. No sense setting yourself up for an endless battle by not also trying to stem the flow. See, I think there's an element of "Stupid by Design" going on here.  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
details, details (0.00 / 0)
Most people don't understand the electoral college and many don't even realize it exists.  So I'm almost willing to give the benefit of the doubt that this particular stupidity and ignorance can be chalked up to stupidity and ignorance.

Oh wait....

Most people (0.00 / 0)
can't even name the three branches of government!

[ Parent ]
Uh, earth, wind, and fire? (4.00 / 1)
Something like that. Or so.

[ Parent ]
No, Stupid! (4.00 / 1)
That Army, the Navy and the Marines!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
c'mon people (4.00 / 2)
the three branches, think about it.

stem, leaf, and root.

[ Parent ]

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