A Chalicesseur sent me a clip from the Rachel Maddow show about "the Family" and suggested it as a subject for this blog. I watched it.*
If you want to watch it, it's here.
But I have to say that as I watched it, I didn't find myself thinking about the subject of the piece, though I stuck that in a footnote on the off chance than somebody cares.
I was like "People actually WATCH this stuff?"
For the past few weeks, I've been listening to radio and TV personalities wax on about Walter Cronkite. Let me say up front, loud and clear, that I am certain that Cronkite was a great guy. But the way people talk about him kind of creeps me out.
First off, he is usually talked ABOUT by old white guys going on about how nothing is as good as it used to be and technology is ruining everything. I'm a pretty serious believer in free speech, but if I had the power ban old white guys bitching about technology and how life used to be better, I'd give the matter serious consideration.
But even looking at how Cronkite's contemporaries talked about him creeps me out. I mean, everything I've seen suggests that LBJ actually said "If I’ve lost Walter, then it’s all over. I’ve lost Mr. Average American" when Cronkite came out against the war.
Even assuming the less scary interpretation of those words, that Cronkite was a bellwether and that LBJ thought Cronkite would figure out the war was a crock around the same time a majority of Americans would, it still gives Cronkite a creepy amount of power.
I'm really cool if my reporters never come out against a war, and watching Maddow made me realize how strongly I feel this way. Y'all know from my previous post today that I pretty much agree with Maddow when she says that Birthers' cause is the "Fringiest of Fringey McFringerson conspiracy theories."
Yet I really don't want to get my news from somebody who says that. I'd just like to hear the arguments and bssic facts, then make my own judgments**, looking up primary sources up on the internet as necessary.
At the same time, the Maddows and the O'Reillys and the Olbermanns and the Hannitys have no lack of fans, so maybe I'm alone on this one. And I can accept that. I mostly get my news from the internet, and I can't deny that Maddow is the latest in a proud tradition.
*IMHO, the best way to judge the spookiness factor of "the Family" is by their results. One of the reasons that Obama's win was a relatively easy one is that the Christian right didn't get much of what it wanted from Bush despite his promises. While Roberts and Alito don't make my top five Supreme Court justices, they are hardly as scary as what the Christian right had in mind. After eight years of the Bush presidency, Roe wasn't much weaker than it was when he took office, mainstream acceptance of gay marriage was looking more and more likely and one of the few things the Christian right got out of the administration, abstinence-only education, has lead to more pregnancies in the places where it was implemented and will be abandoned in some of them as federal support decreases.
So yeah, the "Family" doesn't exactly have me shaking in my boots despite their attempts to be kingmakers. Frankly, with their bit about dictators, they sound more like a bunch of frat boys than an actual political organization. That they keep cheating on their wives and making racist comments on the floor of Congress is not a big surprise.
If the Family DO turn out to be evil overlords, my bad, but there's my take.
** As someone who likes creative legal arguments, I have to give the Birthers props for "The constitution say that to be president you have to be 'a natural born citizen.' but the founding fathers didn't define 'citizenship' the way we do. They likely were thinking of something like the definition from "The Law of Nations” by Emmerich de Vattel written in 1758, which requires your parents to both be citizens for you to be a 'natural-born citizen.' de Vattel's definition was likely what the founding fathers meant and we should use a definition of the word "citizen" that matches what the definition of those writing the law would have been. Ergo, Obama isn't a citizen."
It's bull hockey, but it's really enjoyable bull hockey.