This week, wingnut heads exploded when President Obama took right-wingers to task for shaming low-income Americans and Michelle Obama spoke about her experience as the first African-American first lady.
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to get wingnuts going. It takes even less for President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama to get wingnuts frothing at the mouth. The first couple can send wingnuts into fits without doing much more than going about their day-to-day business.
Right-wingers have been outraged at President Obama pretty much non-stop since he failed to resign from office and give Mitt Romney the keys to the White House after the 2014 midterm elections. But the president no longer appears to care much what his detractors on the right have to say about him, if he ever did. He caused howls of protest on the right with his performance at the White House Correspondents dinner.
This week, President Obama took conservatives — and Fox News in particular — to task for shaming the poor, and portraying low-income Americans as “leeches.”
There’s always been a strain in American politics where you’ve got the middle class, and the question has been, who are you mad at, if you’re struggling; if you’re working, but you don’t seem to be getting ahead. And over the last 40 years, sadly, I think there’s been an effort to either make folks mad at folks at the top, or to be mad at folks at the bottom. And I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leaches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving, got traction. And, look, it’s still being propagated.
I mean, I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu—they will find folks who make me mad. I don’t know where they find them. They’re like, “I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obama phone”—or whatever. And that becomes an entire narrative, right? That gets worked up. And very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress—which is much more typical—who’s raising a couple of kids and is doing everything right but still can’t pay the bills.
And so if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues and how people’s impressions of what it’s like to struggle in this economy looks like, and how budgets connect to that. And that’s a hard process because that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have on the nightly news.
Naturally, Fox News responded with utter shock and denial.
- Fox News host Steve Doocy offered low-income Americans some advice to avoid being shamed for being poor: Get a job. Of course.
- Fox News Host Stuart Varney went right back to flogging his favorite talking point: that food stamps are designed to “buy votes” for Democrats.
- Rush Limbaugh told his listeners, “I assure you” that Fox News doesn’t shame the poor. “I want somebody to produce somebody who has used those words in a [Fox] news story,” Limbaugh said.
Per Limbaugh’s request, here are several examples.
But “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart nailed it.
First Lady Problems
When Michelle Obama held the Bible as her husband took the oath of office to become the nation’s first African-American president, she instantly became a historic figure as well: the nation’s first African-American first lady. She and her husband assumed “the burden of being first,” knowing that their every move would be subject to greater scrutiny and harsher criticism than any of their predecessors.
There is an unwritten rule about “the burden of being first”: one must at least appear to bear it perfectly, and one must never speak of it. Michelle Obama has borne it with grace and dignity, while facing a level of vitriol that — with the exception of Hillary Clinton — no other first lady has had to face. It was with that same grace and dignity that Mrs. Obama broke the last part of that unwritten rule, by speaking honestly about being “knocked back” by racial perceptions of her as first lady, as the commencement speaker at Tuskegee University.
Naturally, the wingnut-o-sphere went berserk. Some tweeted their rage.
— Josh (@AllAmerVet) May 11, 2015
Oh my gosh @FLOTUS Please stop playing the victim. Start encouraging others. Stop the blame game.This is America!
— Maria Vondrachek (@vondrachek) May 11, 2015
@FLOTUS PLEASE stop the race baiting! You missed a great opportunity to encourage young people to reach for a dream on personal hard work!!
— Barbara Abbott (@barbya1) May 11, 2015
— David Miller (@DaveDavidMiller) May 11, 2015
— Defund NPR PBS & NEA (@Jarjarbug) May 11, 2015
— BAMCIS-SMEAC (@RetiredMoonBoot) May 11, 2015
Right wing media got in on the act, too.
- Glenn Beck was furious that Mrs. Obama dared to note that America still struggles with racism.
- Rush Limbaugh accused Mrs. Obama of “playing the race card.”
- Fox News went out and found a woman of color, Angela McGlowan, to ask, “Why didn’t the First Lady share the reason why she got into Princeton was probably because of affirmative action?”
- Ann Coulter remarked, on Sean Hannity’s show, “She’s just letting out her Reverend Wright now,” and complained that the Obama’s were just reviving the kind of racial hatred that America “had gotten rid of” with the OJ verdict.
This time, Larry Wilmore of “The Later Show” said it all.
Here’s the best of the worst in wingnuttery this week:
- In an interview on the Family Research Council radio program, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson warned that “immoral behavior” is leading American to become worse than Nazi Germany.
- Former congressman Allen West declared that “sharia” law had come to Walmart, because some ostensibly Muslim checkout clerk wouldn’t ring up alcohol. Except, the reason the clerk couldn’t ring up alcohol was because he was under 21.
- Speaking at the South Carolina Freedom Summit, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said that Christians were being persecuted in the U.S., but couldn’t come up with examples when asked.
- Fewer and fewer Americans are religious, and Rush Limbaugh says it’s because of gay marriage.
- Bill O’Reilly blamed “the rap industry” for the decline in God-fearing Americans.
- A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that 32 percent of Republican primary voters thing the federal government is invading Texas, and another 28 percent just aren’t sure.
- Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt blamed President Obama for the Jade Helm 15 paranoia. “This administration has not earned our trust,” Pratt said, “They have lied repeatedly. So even if what they’re saying happens to be true, who’s to know?”
- Glenn Beck warned that free community college is really a plot to “enslave” people to government through student debt. Yes, “debt” from a free community college education.