Jimmy Carter's accurate remarks observing the racial animus that is the bedrock of a good deal of the outrageous animosity directed at President Obama have right-wingers like Sean Hannity all in tizzy.
The two of them promptly commiserated on Hannity's Fox News show last night about how awful it was for Carter to bring up the issue:
Gingrich: Well, it first of all is amazing to me that when the Left hated George W. Bush, when they booed him during the State of the Union, when MoveOn.org attacked him relentlessly, when Democrats used vicious language, somehow it wasn't inappropriate.
Now, I don't know if Jimmy Carter thinks there was racism involved in disliking a white president, but I would say that the amount of anger, hostility, and nastiness on the Left against George W. Bush was vastly greater than anything that's happened with President Obama.
OK, done laughing? I know you all got a good belly laugh outta that one. Because we all remember what it was like trying to speak up about Bush, especially after 9/11. Merely criticizing the man brought instant charges of treason.
Bush is routinely portrayed as a Nazi on left-wing Web sites, which post pictures of Bush with a Hitler mustache and sell T-shirts with Bush's name spelled with a swastika. The anti-war Web site Takebackthemedia.com features a Flash movie complaining that "the media will not tell you of the Bush family Nazi association" and theorizing that in order "to offset their reputation as World War II traitors, former President Bush joined the U.S. Navy as a pilot." (Clever, those Bushes.)
The rest of the piece is devoted to similar examples of Bush-hatred. All of which, as you can see, involved a handful of fringe writers on obscure sites.
Unlike the frothing hatred -- and outright extremist wingnuttery -- we see demonstrated daily by major "news" anchors on cable TV like Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs.
Moreover, as I noted back then, the animus directed at Bush throughout his inept tenure still paled in comparison to the vicious bile directed at Bill Clinton by the likes of Newt Gingrich and his crowd.
Bob Somerby similarly tore apart both Lowry and Byron York for peddling fake facts in the process of claiming an equivalency between Bush-hatred and Clinton-hatred.
There was, in fact, a significant difference between Bush-haters' reasons for hating Bush and Clinton-haters' reasons, such as they were. The former tended to involve factual matters and real issues, even if they ultimately inspired extreme reactions -- Bush's dubious election, his invasion of Iraq, his handling of Katrina -- while the attacks on Clinton were predicated in many regards on right-wing fantasies: Clinton knocked off Vince Foster, he had dirty dealings in the Whitewater scandal, he was part of a drug-dealing operation out of Mena, he had a black "love child" lurking somewhere in his background, and he was part of a "New World Order" conspiracy to place America under a one-world government. All of these claims actually made their way into the mainstream press -- usually as right-wing talking points -- at the time, despite all of them having not a grain of truth to them.
The same is true of the attacks on Obama: he is alternately a "socialist," a "communist," or a "fascist" (depending on the mood of the talker, though they often seem to be used equivalently), not a real American citizen, actually a citizen of Kenya, and secretly a radical larding up his "czars" with fellow radicals with the intent of turning America into a communist state. He's going to take away your guns and lock conservatives up in concentration camps, after he convenes "death panels" to see who lives and who dies.
It's all a freaking fantasy cooked up in the paranoid fever swamps of the far right, and mainstream conservatives are wallowing right in. Newt "Sarah Palin was right" Gingrich included.