Something has gone wrong on the Right. Become sick and twisted and tumorous and ugly. To visit Michelle Malkin's cave is to see politics at its most savage, its most ferocious, its most rageful. They say they've spent the past week smearing a child and his family because that child was fair game -- he and his family spoke of their experience receiving health care through the State Children's Health Insurance Program. For this, right wingers travel to their home, insinuate that the family is engaged in large-scale fraud, make threatening phone calls to the family, interrogate the neighbors as to the family's character and financial state.
This is the politics of hate. Screaming, sobbing, inchoate, hate. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to drive to the home of a Republican small business owner to see if he "really" needed that tax cut. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to call his family and demand their personal information. It would never occur to me to interrogate his neighbors. It would never occur to me to his smear his children.
The shrieking, atavistic ritual of personal destruction the right roars into every few weeks is something different than politics. It is beyond politics. It was done to Scott Beauchamp, a soldier serving in Iraq. It was done to college students from the University of California, at Santa Cruz. Currently, it is being done to a child and his family. And think of those targets: College students, soldiers, children. It can be done to absolutely anyone.
This is not politics. This is, in symbolism and emotion, a violent group ritual. It is savages tearing at the body of a captured enemy. It is the group reminding itself that the Other is always disingenuous, always evil, always lying, always pitiful and pathetic and grotesque. It is a bonding experience -- the collaborative nature of these hateful orgies proves that much -- in which the enemy is exposed as base and vile and then ripped apart by the community. In that way, it sustains itself, each attack preemptively justifying the next vicious assault, justifying the whole hateful edifice on which their politics rest.
It is a blessing and relief that these mobs, as of yet, do nothing more than smear, that the blood they exult in is figurative and the inflicted harm is emotional or occupational. But they are howling, braying, thirsty mobs nonetheless, and their frequent, communal savagings of chosen representatives of their enemies is ugly and unsettling. It's impossible not to wonder when the first one will drive by a house, and then decide to ring the doorbell, and then. Indeed, it's already come damn close.
Christy Hardin Smith, has more, as does Digby. Think Progress has the facts of the story. And it's worth following some of the links, including the one to Malkin's attack on college students from years past. Malkin is, last I looked, the highest traffic rightwing blogger. What she's channeling is real, and it should repulse and worry decent people, no matter their political orientation.
And then Ezra Klein follows up in another post:
Some are saying that the Frost family brought this on themselves when they let their child tell his story. They are saying that when they explained the difference that S-CHIP made in one family's life, they invited personal attacks, smears, harassing phone calls, the interrogation of their neighbors, etc, etc etc. That's madness. These are the same individuals, moreover, who were appalled that anyone would levy a personal attack against General David Petraeus, who'd made himself into a major national figure through a press strategy relying on profiles, interviews, and public testimony.
There is no coherence here. No principle. Only a vicious ritual of destroying those who disagree with them. And I use my words carefully. They are not arguing with the Frost family. They are not questioning their decision to share their story. They are trying to destroy the family's credibility and intimidate them, and others who might step forward to enter their personal stories into the public discourse, into silence.