Furious campaigning in New Hampshire in the run-up to the primary resulted in a litany of absurdities from the right-wing conserv-o-verse this week. Republican candidates and Fox newsians had a great deal of trouble with the fact that President Obama visited and spoke at a mosque, obviously completely forgetting that George W. did so (though considerably less eloquently than Obama).
Just in case you missed them, here were some of the truly head-scratching right-wing moments this week.
1. Marco Rubio has a mixed-up notion about what it is to be smart and also about everything.
Marco Rubio has been closing in on Donald Trump in the polls in New Hampshire this week. Wonder why. Could it be his perfectly preposterous and hateful reaction to President Obama’s visit to a mosque on Monday? For some reason, this infuriated Rubio. He could barely contain his fury. This dang president is always trying to divide people, by...by...visiting their places of worship. How dare he!
That is roughly how the reasoning went.
During an interview on Monday, Rubio segued from a question about what his management style would be as president. (Please, no.) “I’m tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president’s done," Rubio said. "Always pitting people against each other. Always.”
Okay, wait, what?
“Look at today—he gave a speech at a mosque,” Rubio blustered. “Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims. Of course there’s going to be discrimination in America of every kind. But the bigger issue is radical Islam. And by the way, radical Islam poses a threat to Muslims themselves.”
There’s a lot of wrong-headedness packed into that sort-of-paragraph, including the notion that the very act of giving a speech in a mosque is de facto wrong, no matter what is said. Also, what’s this “Of course there’s going to be discrimination in America of every kind"? Shouldn’t we maybe try to do something about that? Rubio also routinely denies the highly observable reality that Muslim-Americans do face discrimination and a five-fold uptick in hate crimes.
By week’s end, Rubio was surging and even picked up the super-valuable endorsement of Bobby Jindal. In thanking him, Rubio called Jindal, “one of the smartest people in American politics.” Apparently to Rubio, smartness means believing in creationism and teaching it to schoolchildren, denying science and insisting on a link between homosexuality and tornadoes.
And never ever visiting mosques.
2. Bill O’Reilly is still in the throes of Trump worship.
Despite the fact that Trump rebuffed Bill O’Reilly’s offer to buy him milkshakes in exchange for participating in the Fox debate before Iowa, Papa Bear still loves him some Donald.
When Trump lost decisively to Ted Cruz in Iowa, O’Reilly just refused to believe it. The caucuses were “nonsense,” he said, because who needs the democratic process when it doesn’t work for your guy. “All those who say [Trump] has been damaged by his loss in Iowa are full of it,” O’Reilly argued eloquently. “The media despises Trump and will paint him as a loser if they can, but here on the Factor we’re fair, and the truth is Trump remains very formidable.”
Here on the Factor, we’re fair! Oh, good one, Bill!
3. Fox Newsian has not heard of any anti-Muslim hate crimes, therefore they don’t happen.
To no one's surprise, the intrepid reporters at Fox News did not like the fact that President Obama visited a mosque any more than Marco Rubio did. On Tuesday, “The Five” hosts wondered why in the world the president found that necessary. Co-host Juan Williams mentioned the fact that hate crimes against Muslims have been on the rise since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. Really? Eric Bolling and Kimberly Guilfoyle responded. It’s kind of amazing how much you can not know just by refusing to know it.
The conversation went like this:
Guilfoyle: I think that Christians are being driven out of the Middle East in droves, being raped and tortured, murdered. Religious Christian sites and churches not being allowed to be rebuilt. What is the president doing to stand for them? Instead every time he gives one of these speeches we hear a little excerpt from the book of Obama of how Christians should be living their life and that Muslim is a religion of peace. Show me the evidence.
Williams: The challenge at the moment has to do with the spike in attacks, hate crimes against Muslims in the United States. And don't forget you've had Donald Trump say we should ban....
Bolling: Are there a lot of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States? Because I haven't heard of any.
Guilfoyle: Where are the numbers for that?
Well, the numbers are to hard to find, of course. We could suggest Guilfoyle and Bolling check out this Washington Post article about a five-fold increase in attacks on Muslims since 9/11.
They won’t, but you can.
4. Another Fox co-host’s extremely “with it” take on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
America may be ready for a woman president, but Fox News clearly is not. That may be because they are stuck roughly in the ‘70s in terms of their perceptions of feminism and women wanting to do stuff, like lead the free world.
Hillary Clinton—she of the overly loud voice and overreliance on pants suits, and other extremely important and substantial critiques of her policies and positions—is nothing but one of ‘dem bra burners! Yep, bra burners! When’s the last time you heard that phrase?
This comment came from astute political commentarian Heather Nauert. For your reading pleasure, we give you her comment in full:
“I wonder how her remark about, oh, I'm certainly not an establishment candidate, I'm the first woman running for president. I wonder how that bra-burning is going to play this year. Maybe that was something that people liked four years ago, or previously, but it doesn't seem like that's going over too well.”
Honestly, we don’t have the foggiest notion what she is saying, other than the fact that Hillary Clinton is, in fact, a woman.
5. Jeb Bush really did kind of beg people to clap.
Jeb Bush's mama raised him to be polite. Polite, but not the brightest, or the funniest, Barbara Bush recently implied in an interview that almost (but not quite) made us feel kind of sorry for the guy. As he limps toward New Hampshire, having pretty much lost his exclamation point along the way and a good deal of his mojo, Bush was caught basically begging an audience in Hanover, New Hampshire to clap after he issued this apparently not terribly rousing sentence:
“I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter [than whom, it is not exactly clear], but send a signal that we’re prepared to act in the national security interest of this country to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world.”
Then he stopped, and because of that mannerly upbringing, he said, “Please clap.”
Thus prompted, his audience did.
Poor Jeb. He must have forgotten he was speaking to a Republican audience. If he really wants them to clap, he’ll need to say things like, “Let’s carpet-bomb them to smithereens.” When is he going to learn?
According to his mother, not soon.