Archive for the ‘How Come the Right Gets All the Jerks?’ Category

Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPiere, has taken his organization’s paranoia to new heights with his latest anti-Obama tantrum.

In LaPiere’s speech to fellow gun enthusiasts in Florida last Friday, he accused Obama of plotting to take America’s guns by fiendishly NOT proposing any anti-gun legislation during his first term. Oh, that Obama–you gotta watch him every second.

“President Obama will remind us that he’s put off calls from his party to renew the old Clinton assault weapons gun ban, he hasn’t pushed for new gun control laws, and he’ll even say he looked the other way when Congress passed a couple of minor pro-gun bills by huge majorities. The president will offer the Second Amendment lip service and hit the campaign trail saying he’s actually been good for the Second Amendment.

But it’s a big fat stinking lie, just like all the other lies that have come out of this corrupt administration. It’s all part — it’s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in our country.”

Put aside for the moment LaPiere’s cloddish, “big fat stinking” characterizations of a president’s administration and intentions, and think of the persecution complex rattling around in this guy’s brain. You can almost hear the little metal balls clinking in his hand.

This man has access to firearms, for crying out loud.

I wrote “Double-D Breast Implant Deflects Bullet: NRA Cries Foul” a while ago as a snarky exaggeration of NRA’s paranoia. But after hearing LaPiere’s speech, I’m not sure how exaggerated it is.

*

Double-D Breast Implant Deflects Bullet

NRA Cries Foul

(originally posted March 10, 2010)

A miraculous combination of manufactured voluptuousness, luck and tensile strength saved Lydia Carranza’s life last summer when a bullet fired point-blank at her heart was deflected by her double-D breast implant.

After seven months of healing, Carranza was scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery last Friday.

Carranza’s Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Ashkan Ghavami, told KTLA News he believes “her implant stopped the bullet from hitting her heart.  The bullet fragments were millimeters from her heart and her vital organs.  If not for the implant, she might not be alive.”  He added that the implant absorbed much of the bullet’s impact, limiting most of the damage to the breast itself.

NRA Response

Upon hearing of Carranza’s close call, the National Rifle Association (NRA) issued the following statement to its membership:

Dear Member:

“Although we are glad that Ms. Carranza is alive and well, we at the NRA feel we must address the growing problem of bullet-deflection by breast enhancement implants.

We believe the 2nd Amendment gives all Americans the right not only to own and use firearms, but according to our legal experts’ interpretation, it also carries an implicit protection of the right to hit intended targets without fear of ballistic deflection caused by cosmetic medical devices–devices that left unchecked, could very well send us hurtling down a slippery slope to total gun confiscation in America.

In our ongoing struggle to protect your Constitutional rights, the NRA feels obligated to bring this issue to your attention.  As more American women opt for this type of procedure, the possibility of bullet trajectory impairment grows.  After all of our efforts on behalf of American gun owners, including the defense of your right to own 30-round handgun clips, military-style assault rifles, armor-piercing ammunition and untraceable cartridges, we believe it would be irresponsible to drop the ball on the issue of bullet deflection by breast enhancement.

As always, you can be sure your NRA is on the job, defending your right to total gun freedom in America.

To the manufacturers of bullet-deflecting implants and doctors who specialize in these types of anti-gun procedures: Know that the National Rifle Association has you in its sights.”

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Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West wants people to know two very important things: He encourages his opponents to speak out at his town hall meetings… and he is armed.

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Double-D Breast Implant Deflects Bullet

…NRA Cries Foul

A miraculous combination of manufactured voluptuousness, luck and tensile strength saved Lydia Carranza’s life last summer when a bullet fired point-blank at her heart was deflected by her double-D breast implant.

After seven months of healing, Carranza was scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery last Friday.

Carranza’s Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Ashkan Ghavami, told KTLA News he believes “her implant stopped the bullet from hitting her heart.  The bullet fragments were millimeters from her heart and her vital organs.  If not for the implant, she might not be alive.”  He added that the implant absorbed much of the bullet’s impact, limiting most of the damage to the breast itself.

                                                   NRA Issues Response

Upon hearing of Carranza’s close call, the National Rifle Association (NRA) issued the following statement to its membership:

“Although we are glad that Ms. Carranza is alive and well, we at the NRA feel we must address the growing problem of bullet-deflection by breast enhancement implants.

We believe the 2nd Amendment gives all Americans the right not only to own and use firearms, but according to our legal experts’ interpretation, it also carries an implicit protection of the right to hit intended targets without fear of ballistic deflection caused by cosmetic medical devices–devices that, left unchecked, could very well send us hurtling down a slippery slope to total gun confiscation in America.

In our ongoing struggle to protect your Constitutional rights, the NRA feels obligated to bring this issue to your attention.  As more American women opt for this type of procedure, the possibility of bullet trajectory impairment grows.  After all our efforts on behalf of American gun owners, including the defense of your right to own 30-round handgun clips, 50-round assault rifles, armor-piercing ammunition and untraceable cartridges, we believe it would be irresponsible to drop the ball on the issue of bullet deflection by breast implant.

As always, you can be sure your NRA is on the job, defending your right to total gun freedom in America.

To the manufacturers of bullet-deflecting implants and doctors who specialize in these types of anti-gun procedures: Know that the National Rifle Association has you in our sights.”

Click the “Sign me up” button on the left for email alerts of Buchanan’s latest screeds

[originally published by OpEd News]
Actually, there is no pat meaning or definition for the phrase “family values.” Like obscenity, I guess you just know it when you see it. 

Often used by social conservatives to conjure up a mythical America of yesteryear, the phrase evokes an era when everyone’s lawn was green, thick and well manicured, kids were obedient, and “Lassie” had no genitalia—long before liberals turned us into gay, pot-smoking abortionists, before minorities and women got so noisy and before movie stars said naughty words on screen.

Today many Republicans use the term as a weapon against same-sex marriage, legal abortion, the decriminalization of marijuana and a zillion other issues they find unacceptable.

To clarify our terms, I suggest we define “family values” as “valuing the American family.” “Republicans” will mean “the movers and shakers of today’s dynamic GOP.”

Valuing the Family… the Republican Way

To be fair, I think Republicans do value families — but only their own. Everybody else’s family is either trying to stay in the country illegally, getting rich and lazy on welfare, undeserving of a living wage, a terrorist cell, or immorally trying to become a family while being gay.

Though many Democratic leaders share the blame in the Great Stacking of the Deck Against American Families, these Democrats tend to be of the sneaky, corporate shill variety who are often at odds with American families’ wishes and their own party’s positions (see Public Option). Republicans, however, are very open about their willingness to throw the American family under the bus in the name of big business, bigotry, big business, bad judgment and big business.

There is really no reason—or enough room on my hard drive—to go into all of the sordid, headline-grabbing family values hypocrisies of such Republican pillars of wholesomeness as Sen. David “Escort Service” Vitter and Sen. Larry “Strokin’ in the Boys Room” Craigs. Though these indiscretions do highlight the dilemma of a party that professes to love America but can’t tolerate how Americans live, they are not the result of official party policy, as far as I know. Rather, it’s the official, loudly-touted policies of today’s lockstep GOP leadership that amply demonstrate the party’s disregard for the majority of American families.

With the possible exception of a proposed Wendell Willkie postage stamp, every major item on the GOP wish list would either be disadvantageous to most American families or devastating if put into effect.

Here are a few:

Deregulation

As homeless shelters burst at the seams with newly impoverished families, and old folks wonder how on earth they’re going to get through their golden years now that their 401(k)s are in tatters and their homes are worth borscht, Republicans are clamoring to let the Wall Street robber-barons who drove our economy into a ditch continue to speed along with even fewer rules of the road.

Rather than offering to commit public seppuku for creating the Reagan-Gramm deregulation free-for-all that made the Wall Street greed orgy and collapse possible, Republican enablers like Sen. Mitch McConnell and others call Obama a socialist for wanting more governmental oversight of the industry, whining in chorus that such intrusion into the private sector would kill jobs and stifle innovation.

Yeah, we saw the kind of “innovation” Wall Street is capable of.

By the way, whenever you hear a sentence containing any form of the words “job” and “kill” spoken by a Republican, remember who was steering the ship of state when the jobs began to die. You’ve got to admire Republican testicular strength, though—if nothing else—for even mentioning “deregulation” and “jobs” in the same sentence.

Anti-Unionism

For the last thirty years Americans have watched their wages shrivel while CEOs have increasingly taken home salaries and bonuses that would make the Sultan of Brunei blush. According to a University of California Santa Cruz study, the top 20% of households owned 85% of all privately held wealth in 2007—leaving the rest of us 80% to divvy up the remaining 15%.

Oddly enough, it was also during this time that Republican policies, votes and propaganda made it more difficult for workers to unionize. Organized labor has gone from representing one-third of America’s workforce in 1950 to just 11.9% in 2010. In the private sector, union membership is down to a feeble 6.9%. It’s no coincidence that Americans’ earning power accompanied that decline. Where did America’s middle class go? It committed suicide in the voting booth.

Yet Republicans continue to paint unions as enormously powerful bogeymen and have even ramped up their union bashing. Why? As organizations of and for working Americans, unions tend to favor Democrats. Republicans know if they can get rid of unions completely Democrats will lose the financial support and organizational strengths unions have historically given to Democratic politicians and issues. In the end, Republicans would have the support of Big Business and all the votes corporate money can buy while Democrats would be out on the street with a hurdy-gurdy and a monkey.

Incredibly, Republicans have managed to get a surprising number of American workers—low skilled through professional—to swallow this anti-union codswallop. Somehow the right has transformed the image of organized labor from Woody Guthrie rousing a room with his guitar into Vito Corleone spraying the room with a sub-machine gun.

Apparently, relentless Republican attacks on unions made some workers forget where living wages, worker safety, tolerable conditions and decent hours came from in the first place. Those who think these advances for American workers and their families came from the goodness of corporate hearts should be made to write “British Petroleum” 100 times on the blackboard, or at the very least, read this little heart-warmer about two high-level Massey Energy executives and their descent into the Upper Big Branch coalmine immediately after the mine’s deadly explosion. Heroic rescue attempt or an attempt to destroy evidence and rescue themselves from criminal indictments and billions in fines and civil judgments?

Anti-Same-Sex Marriage

By attempting to end these families before they’ve even begun, this Republican position affecting a large number of our countrymen and women may be the hands-down champ of blatant, Republican anti-family-ness. Good lord, fellas, I know this issue whips your Tea Party pals into a white-hot lather, but sometimes, reason, fairness and the U.S. Constitution must win over political expedience…mustn’t it…sometimes?

I really don’t think anyone with the power to reason still believes that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, a  naughty experiment or juicy flaunting of our moral code. No one really thinks that teenagers choose to be slammed into lockers by lettermen clubs, or look happily forward to the day they will tell their parents to “forget about grandchildren from me.”

So, what we have here is a major political party attempting to punish and marginalize a large segment of the American population by trying to prohibit them from doing what comes naturally: fall in love and get married. As gays and lesbians try to lead their lives despite cruel prejudice and religious dogma that holds approximately the same modern relevance as stoning your son to death for being a gluttonous drunkard (Deuteronomy 21:18-21), the Grand Old Party does its level best to keep anti-gay bigotry loud and alive by demanding prior restraint on would-be families with its Marriage Protection Amendment to the Constitution.

Lifting the Assault Weapon Ban

What can anyone say about this Republican wish and its potential effect on American families, other than “Lift the assault weapon ban?

Come November

The Republican Party’s long tradition of siding with big business over the American family continues to chip away at the average American’s earning power and standard of living. However, the damage a Republican controlled Washington could further inflict on American families isn’t limited to economics. When you toss in other family-unfriendly Republican positions on global warming, preemptive and continual war, education, reproductive rights and family planning, and their new jaw-dropper regarding unemployment insurance creating  “lazy” Americans, it’s not too difficult to figure out which party’s policies and worldview promote “family values.”

The truth is, until special interest money is removed from our electoral system, neither party will truly be the champion of the American family. Sadly though, with the Republican majority of the Supreme Court opening the corporate spigots wide with its Citizens United ruling, that heavenly day is likely to be a long, long way down the line.

Forced to choose between the two parties, however, the American family would be wise to go with the Democrats. The Grand Old Party is too darned busy trying to keep people from voting, selling American families to the highest corporate bidders, undermining the Obama presidency at the country’s expense and coming up with new and better ways of converting Americans’ lesser angels of fear and bigotry into political power to even care about how American families are doing.

For a scary trip down the Republican rabbit hole:
2012 Texas Republican Platform: A Frightening Look Inside the New Republican Brai

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The worst PR for the rabid right   (Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia)

The worst PR for the rabid right (Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia)

Glenn Beck—An American Original

The wonderful thing about the Glenn Beck show is Beck’s complete lack of self-restraint and good judgment. It’s like watching an Id on amphetamines strangling a defenseless 90-pound weakling Superego every day at 5 o’clock. With no  internal editor counseling Beck against buffoonery and the endless spouting of easily disprovable “facts,” he stands intellectually and morally challenged before the world as the worst PR imaginable for the New Republican Party.

A Few Recent Gems from the Beck Collection:

Regarding the history of race relations, Beck believes things were “moving in the right direction” “…until the lead up to the Civil War.”

According to Beck: Joe McCarthy—the infamously unbalanced red-baiter of the 50s—was right.

Beck has suggested that predator drones would be used by Obama to monitor Tea Parties.

Beck: “We have more in line today with the communist goals of 1963″ than with the Constitution.

Inspiration

Just take a moment to think about Beck’s take on race relations in America during the early to mid 19th century: “…moving in the right direction.” What could he possibly mean by that? Was there less whipping by slave owners? Listening closely to that show’s clip, he seems to be implying that blacks and whites of the late 18th and 19th centuries got along handsomely until politicians started making such a big deal out of slavery. If they just had shut up about that little divisive matter of one human being owning another, things would have been fine.

If you don’t count the Beck faithful, Beck may be the only non-straight-jacketed individual on the planet to find the works of discredited Mormon historian W. Cleon Skousen to be of any value at all, let alone central to his very being. Skousen, the man Beck claims “changed my life,” believed President Eisenhower was a communist agent, and was considered too far right by famed anti-communist FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, who kept a 2,000-page dossier on the guy. An avid supporter of the John Birch Society (famous for warning us about the commie plot known as fluoridated water), and a big believer in one-world conspiracies and end-times dogma, Skousen was marginalized as too radical and loopy by Goldwater Republicans during the sixties, and was treated by his own Mormon Church as an embarrassment. Beck, however, has scraped the mildew off Skousen’s books and papers, and repackaged them as prophesy.

The Right vs. Wrong

These are just tiny glimpses into the astonishing nuttiness of Mr. Beck. His bold incoherence, his open-your-mouth-and-see-what-comes-out approach to philosophical discourse, and his knack for self-promotion are driving more sensible conservatives, like Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard, to distraction. Continetti’s piece  in the Standard is as merciless to Beck as anything penned by the left—with a lot more sting.

Continetti has good reason to be concerned. Beck stands as a constant reminder of the hijacking of the Republican Party by those who increasingly waddle over the line between extremist ideology and certifiable.

Keep Beck on the Air

Those boycotting Beck’s sponsors and calling for his dismissal believe Beck’s rhetoric often oozes into hate speech, and has directly or indirectly caused violent behavior by some of his more unstable devotees. When I recall the TV images of some of the folks who attended Beck’s “9.12” gathering in Washington, the accusation isn’t difficult to believe. However, suppressing anyone’s speech, no matter how inflammatory or moronic, is a dangerous thing to do.

The best reason to keep Beck on the tube, though, is his headline-grabbing absurdity. Reasonable conservatives and independents may not watch his show, but the mainstream media—always on the lookout for outrageousness—make sure that such gems as Beck’s  “exposé of FEMA concentration camps” and conviction that George Soros is planning to kill him are always fresh in people’s minds.

As the most visible face of the New Republican (read:Tea) Party, it is imperative that Beck’s latest outrages continue to be fresh in the minds of independents and embarrassed Republicans, especially at voting time.

The isolated cases of alleged Beck-inspired violence wouldn’t hold a candle to what the world would be in for if Beck’s breed of Republicans were ever voted into power.

If you happened to catch Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce this morning on MSNBC, you got a glimpse of just how low America’s political discourse has sunk. Interruptive, combative and utterly boorish, Pearce let loose with a barrage of non-facts that would make Rod Blagojevich blush.

Just a couple of this morning’s Pearce-isms:

According to Pearce, the horde of illegal immigrants crossing our border is composed chiefly of child molesters, drug dealers and rapists (fiendishly masquerading as people looking for work, I guess).

Asked to comment on Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s assertion that America’s addiction to illegal drugs is partly to blame for the violence and racketeering of Mexican cartels, Pearce countered, “Those drugs are illegal; you can’t even get them in the United States.”  Evidently, the narcotraficantes are moving copious amounts of blow and Mexican tar northward just in case Gringos ever do find a way to “get them.”

Say What?

I’m not sure that even Pearce knew what he meant by that last one, but both statements are prime examples of the new “Proudly Dumb” movement galumphing its way into cable news and talk radio.  Just yell louder than your opponent, and make up any darned “fact” you please, no matter how easily disprovable. Oh, and remember to shake your head emphatically while the other guy is speaking. According to Students Against Drunk Drivers (SADD), one-in-six American high school seniors has driven high on reefer during the last year alone –If that ain’t demand, what is?

On this particular morning, however, Pearce didn’t even have an opponent. He was being interviewed by MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer, whose only challenge to Pearce was her seeming inability to make sense of what he was hissing at her. Pearce was in full combat mode, nonetheless.

The Face of SB 1070

To a certain segment of the listening and viewing public, Pearce’s debate style probably seems commanding and effective (much like a well-slammed folding chair across the back of a WWE wrestler seems commanding and effective). To thinking people, however, it comes off as the raving of a guy who is sorely lacking a fundamental understanding of illegal immigration — and manners.

The real losers in Pearce’s performance were supporters of SB1070, Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law. As the author of the legislation, Senator Pearce did for the law’s detractors what no demonstration could ever do. In one 3-minute tantrum, Pearce managed to lend a lot of credence to those who claim the law is mean-spirited, reckless and vindictive.

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My determination to find out why and when Republicans decided to lop off the “ic” from “Democratic” and begin referring to the loyal opposition as the “Democrat Party” led me to discover the minutes of a secret strategy session held by the Republican elite a few days after the party’s dramatic defeat at the polls in 2008.

Strangely, the minutes were written in verse.

A meeting was held in the town of DC
The Party’s elite were invited
There was Palin and Cheney and Sean Hannity
Their leader Rush Limbaugh presided
Rush called to the crowd, “We’re in trouble, my friends
We’re shrinking with each day that passes
We need new ideas for two thousand ten
Or the Dems will again kick our asses
We can’t argue issues – they win at that game
And just saying ‘no’ has grown old
Drowning them out makes us look quite insane
We need something clever and bold”
“How ‘bout a catchy new phrase?” Palin said
“That says what we’re really about
Like, ‘If you’re not worth millions you oughta be dead!'”
“Sarah, sit down!” yelled the crowd.

So they thought and they thought ‘til their heads throbbed with pain
You see, thinking – for them – was exotic
Then a pudgy guy called out, “Karl Rove is my name
And by George the Second, I’ve got it!”
He ran down the aisle like a man on a mission
And snatched the mic from Limbaugh’s hand
The people fell silent – when Rove speaks, they listen
He smiled a big smile then began
“That name, ‘Democratic’ is simply unfair!
It gives such an edge to our rival
As a name, sure it’s only a noun – fair and square  –
But the voters think it’s adjectival
It makes them sound more democratic than us
A typical liberal plot
The fact that they’re commies is hidden because
Their name makes them sound like they’re not

Well, I’ve got a plan that will end all of that
And recharge the great GOP
We’ll change ‘Democratic’ to just ‘Democrat’
We’ll chop off their ‘ic’ at the ‘T’”
The crowd was ecstatic, and shouted “Hooray”
“You’ve done it again, Mr. Rove
You’ve given to us a sure-fire way
To get back the voters in droves”
Yes, that’s how the “ic” was removed from our name
Believe it or not, you still hear it
It seems everyone to the right of McCain
Is completely insane, or darned near it
They’re down to just one out of five voters now
Soon it will be one of seven
And those who remain will be in Idaho
Storing food for Armageddon

So, when you hear “Democrat” Party these days
Please try to restrain your laughter
It’s just a Republican’s final hooray
On the way to his party’s hereafter

When not playing footsie with men in next stalls
Or at presidential talks, yelling
They campaign with tea-bagging Neanderthals
Who don’t like black folk…or good spelling
They ran Sarah Palin, they outed Ms. Plame
They green-lighted torture to our lasting shame
Compared to all that, the mere change of our name
Is not something to go to war on

We’ll just put our “ic” back where it’s always been
And hope for their sake that this childishness ends
Then as a gift to our Republican friends
We’ll shorten “Moronic” to “Moron.”
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Why can’t the right come up with a likable talk show host or pundit? Sensible folks generally do their best to avoid loud, boorish and obnoxious people, but in the world of Fox News and the imbroglio we call talk radio, it is exactly those types who live in ratings rapture.

Being an ACLU card-carrying, “public option”-supporting liberal makes me a bit biased, of course, but it also compels me to try and find at least a spark of goodness in everyone–that’s what we good Libs do.  Believe me, this is no easy task when confronted with such raging dysfunction as:

  1. Bill O’Reilly (bullying, loud-mouthed narcissist)
  2. Grover Norquist, (aura of self-importance and nastiness that would make Il Duce blush)
  3. William Bennett (classic “do as I say, not as I do” moralist)
  4. Anne Coulter (psycho-sexual mess / borderline sociopath)
  5. Sarah Palin (chronic synaptic misfire / finds reality to be optional)
  6. Rush Limbaugh (same problems as O’Reilly–only less subtle)

[For propriety’s sake, I am purposely leaving Glenn Beck out of this because his disorders appear to be far more serious than the garden-variety personality problems suffered by his colleagues]

Any one of these six listed blowhards could clear out a dinner party before the entree was served.  And, if they all happened to be guests at the party, something akin to The Lord of the Flies would surely break out — the entree ultimately consisting of each other.

Where are the Loons of the Left?

To be fair, I’m sure we have a few famous progressives with personality problems, as well.  But, they must do a better job at keeping them in check because, try as I might, I can’t come up with a left-leaning host or pundit with a temperament even approaching the bad-natured, mean spirit of  O’Reilly, Coulter and Limbaugh.  Even when Michael Moore goes predator, there is almost always an underlying decency and good humor about him–the Charlton Heston interview notwithstanding.

Imagine Rachel Maddow doing Bill O’Reilly’s  “Fuck it, we’ll do it liiive!” song and dance. Doesn’t compute, does it?  Or, how about Ed Schultz urging all good Democrats to begin roughing up Republicans, as Coulter once suggested – in the reverse, of course – on the Lou Dobbs Show.  Or, imagine Keith Olbermann displaying the astonishing insensitivity to suggest that a tax hike is comparable to the Holocaust, as Grover Norquist did in an NPR interview.

This may be why the Left has such a hard time competing with the Right on talk radio.  Like trout and babies, American audiences love things that wiggle.  And nothing wiggles more than mindless, incendiary statements like Limbaugh’s “I hope Obama fails,” or the endless list of 50,000-watt Neanderthals shouting, “The ‘Democrat’ Party [check out “How the ‘Democrat’ Party Lost its ‘ic'”]  is a bunch of America-hating, communist-Nazi-sissies!”

We demand our wiggles, and because Jerry Springer can’t be on twenty-four hours a day, we look for them elsewhere.

The Genesis of Jerkdom

What exactly is it about the Right that gives them such a leg-up on the Left in the jerk department?  Sure, some of the loud, obnoxious stuff is phony, P.T. Barnum-style pimping for ratings and book sales, but a lot of it seems to be genuine, heartfelt ugliness.

If Freud was right, the Limbaughs and Coulters of the world were doomed to be jerks by the age of six.  What sent them down the rightward path is anybody’s guess — their parents, perhaps.  Maybe they were poisoned by an influential teacher or classmate during high school or by reading “The Fountainhead” one too many times.

Or could it be that a worldview based on militarism, nativism and the marginalization of the poor and minorities just feels like home to a bullying, narcissistic loudmouth?