Thinkprogress.org reports that the Lafayette County Republican Central Committee has taken out the billboard advertisement at right, urging local citizens to rebel against the US government. Mad props to Big Game James Horak for the link. First of all, hey Amanda Terkel of Thinkprogress.org: You know what your internet news article needs? Some indication of where Lafayette County, Missouri is, or when the billboard went up, or a quote from someone at the Lafayette County RCC, or any additional information at all besides two links, one of which doesn’t work. Let’s hope the New York Times stays in business a little while longer. Second of all: JESUS CHRIST—THIS IS SEDITION, RIGHT? I mean, I didn’t go to law school, but telling people to not pay their taxes and “prepare for war” against the government is pretty much the definition of the term. Meanwhile, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, local businessman Phil Wolf has erected a slightly more not-treason billboard asking the serious political question, “President…or Jihad?” It features a cartoon of Barack Obama in a turban and urges us to “remember Fort Hood.” It’s also emblazoned with the legend “BIRTH CERTIFICATE…PROVE IT!” Phil Wolf, I hope you’re reading this, because here you go. Wolf is not operating in the capacity of official representative of the Republican Party—although I think it’s safe to assume he’s not a registered Democrat—so his actions aren’t quite as damning as those of the Lafayette County RCC. Still, it’s hard not to see his behavior as partly consequent of a Republican Party whose elected representatives are actively fomenting mistrust of the federal government. At this point, the assessment that the GOP has settled into the role of opposition party is old news. What’s weird and mildly terrifying, though, is their emerging willingness to be a deliberate obstacle to American democracy.
Wouldn’t it be great if the American military seized control of the government, deposed our duly-elected President and enforced their own interpretations of the Constitution without the oversight of Congress or the judiciary? No? Um, yeah, I don’t think so either—I was just asking. I’m going to go over here now and absolutely not advocate the armed overthrow of the U.S. government.
That’s essentially the position of John L. Perry, who two days ago used his Newsmax.com column to advocate a domestic military coup to solve “the Obama problem.” I’m going to go ahead and use the word “advocate,” despite Perry’s assertion—possibly deployed to prevent, you know, his being arrested for sedition—that “describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it.” He says so just before reminding us that “Officers swear to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to ‘obey the orders of the president of the United States,'” rhapsodizing for 350 words about the possible reasons why this possible coup would be totally justified, and winding everything up with a completely hypothetical, non-advocating question: “Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a ‘family intervention,’ with some form of limited, shared responsibility?”
Rick Perlstein had a terrific editorial in the Washington Post yesterday, in which he points out that populist hysteria has historically broken out every time the United States embarks on a period of significant change. Whether it’s the insane red scares of the postwar era—when the combined FDR and Truman presidencies were called “treason” by disgruntled plutocrats—or widespread rumors that the 1964 Civil Rights Act contained a provision for enslaving whites, shrill rhetoric and ridiculous claims have been midwives at the birth of every new American era. Gross.
Perlstein also points out that the two ready explanations for why legions of Social Security beneficiaries have appeared at the same meetings to make the same baseless claims create a false dichotomy. It’s not that A) everyone is retarded or B) insurance companies and conservative politicians are in league to manipulate public perception. It can be both!
Great men don’t volunteer themselves—they are chosen by history. Jerome Corsi is one such man. A simple writer from East Cleveland, Ohio, Corsi was swept into the flow of national events by sheer coincidence. The author of Unfit For Command—in which former swift boat crewmen question the validity of John Kerry’s war medals—and a leading voice in the Birther movement, in which elderly white people and former Watergate conspirators question the validity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate, Corsi suffered the awful burden of being the only man in America with access to information disqualifying a popular Democrat from holding the office of President. Twice.