Monthly Archives: August 2009

Sinator Vitter Welcomes The “Angry Mob,” Suggests Secession

While Democratic members of Congress confront indignant town-hall crowds opposed to President Barack Obama’s health-care policies, Republican Sen. David Vitter is enjoying a Louisiana love fest. Vitter is barnstorming through the Bayou backwoods, hosting town-halls meetings before packed houses of ferociously anti-Obama audiences. They come to praise rather than shout. Billed as public forums to discuss Obama’s health-care proposals, or what Vitter has derisively referred to as “Obamacare,” the pre-screened events appear to be functioning effectively as surrogate campaign rallies for the scandal-scarred senator’s 2010 reelection bid.

On August 8, inside a chapel at conservative Louisiana Baptist College in the rural town of Pineville, an evangelical minister reportedly saluted Vitter before a packed house for “doing God’s work.” When Vitter took the stage, he mocked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s concerns about those she referred to in an op-ed as “angry mobs” disrupting meetings across the country.

“Please know that this and any other angry mob is welcome at my town-hall meetings whenever you want to come,” Vitter declared, bringing the audience to its feet with a raucous ovation. In the back of the chapel, an elderly woman waved a placard reading, “Send Obama & congress back to USSR.”

Vitter earned even more enthusiastic cheers with a not-so-subtle appeal to “states’ rights.” When an audience member asked him if Louisiana could withdraw from Obama’s health-care plan if it passed, Vitter proclaimed, “The first thing we need to do is elect members of Congress who respect the Tenth Amendment.”

Invocations of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution” to the “states respectively, or to the people,” have become common among secessionists seeking a veneer of constitutional legitimacy. Texas Gov. Rick Perry stoked a national controversy in April when he endorsed a non-binding resolution in the state legislature supporting the Tenth Amendment’s supposed guarantee of “states’ rights,” then warned that Texans were so fed up with the federal government the state might secede. With Vitter’s recent exhortation, the far-right fringe has gained another ally within the Republican mainstream.

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Buy my book and support Buzzflash

Buzzflash has published the first review of my forthcoming book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party. The book will be in stores on September 1.

When I was freelancing during the dark days of Bush’s first term, Buzzflash’s Mark Karlin gave me my first job in journalism, hiring me to work as a night editor. Back then, Buzzflash was a pioneering aggregator of critical reporting on the Busheviks and a growing publisher of original liberal commentary and reporting. As the blueprint for newer aggregation blog sites like HuffPost, Raw Story and The Daily Beast, Buzzflash remains one of the web’s most indispensable news sources. Support Buzzflash and my book by pre-ordering a premium copy here, and receive free shipping and handling.

Now, here’s Buzz’s review:

This is an explosive book that gets to the heart of the winger psychoses. Max Blumenthal sees the inner truth that “many of the [right wing] movement’s leading figures are united by more than political campaigns; they are bound together by a shared sensibility rooted in private trauma. Their lives have been stained by crisis and scandal — depression, mental illness, extra-marital affairs, struggles with homosexual urges, attraction to drugs and pornography, serial domestic abuse, and even murder.”

And that’s for starters.

“Inspired by the work of psychologist Erich Fromm, who analyzed how the fear of freedom propels anxiety-ridden people into authoritarian settings, Blumenthal explains in a compelling narrative how a culture of personal crisis has defined the radical right.”

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