Inside The 9.12 Project: “Get The Gov’t Out Of My Social Security!”

While Fox News cameras covering the so-called 9.12 Project on the National Mall lurched away from signs morphing President Barack Obama’s face into Adolph Hitler’s, I zoomed in. Histrionics and manufactured paranoia were hard to avoid at the massive September 12 anti-Obama rally orchestrated by Fox News host Glenn Beck and former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s corporate lobbying front group, Freedom Works.

When I dove into the angry mob with a camera, I captured scenes of self-proclaimed “real Americans” declaring that the community organizing group Acorn was Obama’s version of Hitler’s SS; that the President planned to establish concentration camps for right-wing dissidents; and that Obama was raising a private army in the guise of a civilian volunteer force. The death panel rumor is just one of a rapidly growing array of conspiracy theories reverberating through the Republican base. Each one is more hysterical than the last.

Conspiracism has proven a useful tool for distracting many of the 9.12 Project participants I met from their own economic interests. Having been convinced through endless hours of right-wing media that government involvement in their healthcare would lead to totalitarian slavery, some demonstrators told me they were content to not have healthcare at all. Others said they would stop collecting their Social Security as soon as “the government gets out of my life.”

My video tour of the 9.12 Project is yet another exhibit of how the Republican Party’s big tent became a one-ring circus that operates according to the rules of P.T. Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

(For the inside story of how the radical right took over the GOP and drove it to the margins, check out my new book, “Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party.”)

9 thoughts on “Inside The 9.12 Project: “Get The Gov’t Out Of My Social Security!”

  1. ckennedy

    MB, You’ve done it again. Holy cow. It may all boil down to low IQ and personality disorders. What a group!!

  2. mok

    My God, where on earth has this sudden anti-Obama sentiment sprung from? Seems like it was only yesterday that millions of Americans were out on the streets for the the Presidents inauguration and today? They’re chanting Hitler and Nazi and concentration camps. Get a grip America!

    Your 43rd President may actually have been Hitler incarnate yet where were these people and placards back then? Where were they when their 43rd President openly stole their freedoms – in broad daylight no less? Where were they? Oh, that’s right they were protesting from the comfort of their couches no doubt with a bag of family sized potato chips in one hand and a can of diet soda in the other.

    Hypocrits.

  3. barry

    terrifying. max, what would your guesstimate be of
    the percentage of the signs that were overtly racist
    (confederate flags, that sort of thing)?

  4. cognitive dissident

    Thanks for the video–it’s an interesting view into the mindset of protesters who don’t even understand the issues about which they’re so upset. There’s some very disturbing stuff there.

    I wonder if the guy holding the “Politians are like dipers” [sic] sign (at about 3:20) would support an English-only movement that also included spelling?

  5. fatlibertarian

    Actually, it was closer to 2 million protesters. And yes, it was VERY broad. We all (should) know that you could have done the same thing at any leftist rally as well but few of them would have been so big.

    I think a big difference is how angry everyone is today. Both sides are. The bailouts, the economy, corruption of the mainstream media and the huge deficit is going to bring out lots of people who are angry. At whoever is in power. You probably ignored those who were intelligent and coherent and were angry at both sides.

    I’m curious if you think everyone should vote? I remember John Stossel doing a piece on how it may be stupid to suggest that everyone should vote, perhaps even those who have no idea what their talking about. He even found an example of someone who was literally mentally challenged, going to vote. Is it best for those people to vote? Of course the media, assumes EVERYONE should vote regardless of their mental capacity. These interviews reminded me of that piece. In this case, however you seem to suggest that these people are too stupid to protest, and that these events need to be better organized, with everyone speaking from the same talking point memo, and thus it needs to be more fake and/or “astro-turf”. The reason these are so broad is because their centrally organized by any one group or channel. It was many groups, with many beliefs.

    As a libertarian I have my many frustrations with the GOP and worry the christian-war right will once again destroy the true conservative message. But these people deserve every right to protest. I just don’t like dishonest political hacks who insult people because they have no substantial message of their own to convince people with. This is in response to the video, not your book. Ron Paul’s, End The Fed is first on my list. But if your book, actually convinces people of your argument, let me know. I might take a look.

  6. 2btruth

    An appalling display of “WILLFUL” ignorance and the full range of the definition of stupidity.
    Lobbyists, (freedomworks), tabloids like Fox, (jonah goldberg’s assessment of Fox), and the bigot (the definition fits) Beck are manipulating these idiots to protest against their own best interests.
    Talking about stupid. At least I KNOW when I’m getting screwed.
    I lmao at some of the conflicted responses of the protesters. The part that’s NOT funny is there are SOO many that are that ignorant.
    Like the ‘English only’ guy insists that immigrants must learn english to become citizens, there oughtta be a test for stupidity before allowing these people to vote or breed.

  7. MrMe

    Wow, I’m impressed. Almost 7 whole minutes of people looking dumb supporting the Right side of things. Sure, these people appeared “stupid” or “crazy”, but you’ll find the exact same ratio at any large Left gathering or protest as well – there’s some in every crowd. You can take your camera, film the event, come back home, edit out 99%, post it on youtube, and pretend everyone there got off the same boat. You could have also filmed some actual debate about the issues with some of the more knowledgeable attendees. I know, as you surely do too, that there are plenty of people who actually know the facts of what they are talking about, and who have opinions and reasons to support their disagreement with the current administration.

    But your site isn’t really about that is it? It’s about finding those crazies and using them to promote “you”. Hell, you might be on to something here. Since you got the righty’s covered, I call dibs on the lefty’s.

    Genius……..Our mother’s are going to be so proud!!!!!!!!!

  8. rags

    The anger, frustration, and fear is warranted, just very misguided. It’s true that folks have every right to express and protest, even with reckless stupidity and rage. But I do take exception to those in leadership positions, and in our media outlets whom are supposedly bound to FCC regulations and basic standards of public interest, balance, truth and integrity, leading the charge. In some cases, they (Congressmen, gov’t officials,’journalists’, ‘news anchors’) are actually inciting the very ripe masses to act out in some very unsavory ways. Not to mention self-destructive ways, like throwing us all under the bus. Being a person who reads some history and tries to keep an open mind, I am outraged at what has happened to our poor, low & middle class under both the Republican and Democrat watch. I don’t need a shrill figurehead screaming at me to acknowledge the injustices that have been perpetrated by our hybrid government-Wall Street over the last 3 or 4, maybe more, decades. But having the media, like Fox News and their yellers, joining the fray is just over the top insanity. Obama hasn’t actually even done any thing yet to justify the harsh graphics and t-shirts Max so poignantly highlighted in this video. Again, the fear, anger and frustration is real and warranted, it’s the manipulation of it, and the rampant ignorance of so many, that is truly a domestic terrorist threat.

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