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The Kool-Aid Society Strikes Back

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SAFE IN THEIR IDEOLOGICAL BUNKER and oblivious to the fact that their dream of a conservative epoch collapsed under the weight of its dogmatic excesses, cronyism and corruption, the right wing media's true believers have lashed out with increased ferocity, recklessness and venom. Nothing illustrates this more than the completely fabricated story that Senator Obama "spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia" and Dinesh D'Souza's latest polemic "The Enemy at Home" blaming the American left for 9/11 - both of which may be a preview of what is to come over the next two years.

The Obama story reminds me of the fact that before launching his presidential campaign in late 1991, Bill Clinton received a call from the White House warning him not to run. "You're the only one who might cause us some trouble and so, if you do run, we're going to have to knock you out early." Sixteen years later, the story is the same except the targets have changed.

Within weeks of New Republic writer Jason Zengerle's prediction that conservatives would "launch a savage and despicable whispering campaign against the guy (Barack Hussein Obama, etc.) and then blame it all on Hillary," the conservative Washington Times' online magazine cited "anonymous sources" to launch its two-part smear that Senator Obama attended a Madrassa and that the Clinton campaign was leaking the story. For the next week, the right wing media was in frenzy over the story even though basic fact checking revealed that it was a double hoax.

Now comes D'Souza's "The Enemy at Home," which blames the "cultural left" for 9/11 and claims that only by winning the "political struggle against the left and its pernicious political and moral influence in America and around the globe," can we win the war on terror. D'Souza, who gained notoriety as editor of the Dartmouth Review and his subsequent books and apparently is now the chief dispenser of Kool-Aid at the Hoover Institute, has never let facts, or even decency, interfere with the expressions of his intolerance and myopia. As editor of the Dartmouth Review, D'Souza reportedly published correspondence from the Gay Student Alliance stolen by the paper to "out" several gay students; in "The End of Racism" he denounced the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and claimed that American slaves were treated "pretty well" and in his current book he claims Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay are "comparable to midlevel Middle Eastern hotels."

In the "The Enemy at Home" D'Souza, in essence, embraces the statement of his friend Jerry Falwell that "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU [and] People for the American Way" are to blame for 9/11. The thrust of his argument is that 9/11 is the result of the export of "abortion rights and same-sex marriage and the entire social liberal agenda in the United States" and that since 9/11 the Democrats have formed an unholy alliance with bin Laden in opposing Bush's Iraq policies.

D'Souza wants us to believe that suicide bombers are motivated by opposition to same sex marriage and not the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia or alliance with Israel when bin Laden's fatwa against the United States contains nearly 70 references to the latter but never mentions homosexuality or same sex marriage. (Even assuming D'Souza is correct, are we to embrace fundamentalist intolerance in exchange for our security?)

D'Souza's allegation of a treasonous alliance between the Democrats and bin Laden is laughable since that would mean that seventy percent of Americans and many Congressional Republicans were also guilty of treason. D'Souza also chooses to ignore the fact many of those opposing Bush's Iraq policies are far from being allied with bin Laden as they want to devote our resources to fighting al Qaeda instead of pursuing the neo-con's Iraq fantasies.

When 9/11 Commission staffer Warren Bass reviewed D'Souza's book, he criticized D'Souza's publisher, agent, editors and publicist for "going along for the ride" for such a "dim, dishonorable" and calculated "incendiary polemic" designed to create controversy and sell books. D'Souza's book and the Obama hoax demonstrate that the right wing media is eager to go along for the ride for any attack regardless of its credibility.

It is a guaranty that D'Souza, Ann Coulter, the Washington Times and the rest of the Kool-Aid Society will continue to lash out like wounded bears, but they will be increasingly marginalized as political circus acts by the ridiculousness of their arguments. Who will be willing to go along for the ride then?

The Obama hoax suggests that there are many in the right wing media eager to do so, but the jury is still out on the question of whether they too will be marginalized by pedaling such sewage or if the public will continue to respond to the right's insidious smear campaigns. Sadly, history favors the latter result, but we can always hope for the former.

(Originally Published by The Huffington Post)
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Bennet Kelley is an award-winning columnist, a political commentator, radio host and the former Co-Founder and National Co-Chair of the Democratic National Committee's Saxophone Club (its young professional fundraising and outreach arm during (more...)

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