It’s time to say goodbye to 2014, and wrap-up the first year of “Wingnut Week In Review.” But first, let’s trudge down memory lane and recall the best of the worse in wingnuttia this year.
It all started when Cliven Bundy declared a “range war” against the federal government, over grazing fees he refused to pay, for grazing his cattle on federal land (i.e., not his). After repeatedly losing in the courts, Bundy resorted to threats of violence, as criminals typically do. Once the local and national news got hold of it, Bundy became a right-wing media darling.
Wingnuts, “sovereign citizens, ” and future cop killers flocked to Bundy’s ranch, to have fun pointing weapons at sheriff’s deputies and federal agents, and hoping for the shooting war that would spark their “revolution.”
Then Cliven Bundy spoke in defense of slavery. On camera.
Shocked by the swift backlash, Bundy backpedaled.
And right-wingers tripped over themselves backing away from Bundy.
It’s usually cause for celebration when an American prisoner of war is released, and comes home safe and sound. Unless you’re a wingnut, that is. Conservatives slammed President Obama for acting swiftly to secure Army Sgt. Bowe Berghdal’s release from his Taliban captors, based on evidence that Bergdahl’s “safety and health were both in jeopardy.”
Never mind that former Bush administration official John Bellinger said that George W. Bush would have made the same decision. Never mind that Dubya negotiated with Sunni insurgents in Iraq, working with and even paying people who had killed American soldiers in the Iraq war. Never mind that Republicans called on President Obama to get Bergdhal released.
This summer, the plight of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors streaming to our southern border from Central America — many fleeing grinding poverty and violence that have roots in US policy — made headlines. While the rest of us agonized over sending children back to such conditions, right-wingers gave new meaning to the name “Ugly American.”
The Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court boosted the number of gay marriage states to somewhere between 30 and 35. Needless to say, the floodgates of wingnuttery opened wide. Not that anyone expected conservatives to “forever hold their peace.”
With mid-term elections around the corner, conservatives went into full fear-mongering mode, and turned a few US Ebola cases in to a near-panic. Fox News contributor Stacey Dash called for the federal government to set up “special centers for Ebola in each state.” Because it would be so convenient if the president finally built those mythological FEMA camps that wingnuts have been talking about for years.
Dash also demanded, “We need a surgeon general,” without acknowledging that Republicans are the reason we don’t have a surgeon general. Or they were, before Sen. Ted Cruz’s grandstanding backfired, and gave Democrats an early holiday present.
The rest of wignuttia sounded the alarm.
When the grand jury in Staten Island, New York decided not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold, Americans were shocked and appalled. Right-wingers showed how low they could go, by blaming Garner’s death on everything but officer Pantaleo’s chokehold.
In August St. Louis County police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed, black teenager Michael Brown, and the streets of Ferguson exploded with outrage that was only intensified when the police responded to protests with paramilitary force. When the Ferguson grand jury declined to indict Wilson, unrest returned to Ferguson, and protests spread across the country.
Former New York Mayor and failed presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani didn’t wait for the grand jury’s decision. On “Meet the Press,” Giuliani trotted out the usual right-wing trope about “black on black violence,” only to get shut down by sociologist and author Michael Eric Dyson.
Giuliani may have beat the rush, but the rest of wingnuttia did not disappoint.
When the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on the CIA’s torture program, conservative media burst into a rapturous celebration of torture, while the GOP morphed into the pro-torture party.
Basically, America is “awesome” when it tortures and “awesome” when it stops torturing.
Does wingnuttia get worse than this? It’s hard to imagine. That is until you remember that next year, the party that brought you all of these moments and more will control both houses of Congress. That probably means we ain’t seen nothing yet.