by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
March 14, 2002
THE RAVINGS OF RIGHT-WING LOONS
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- First of all, I want to apologize to the loons, those shy, Web-footed, black-and-white, fish-eating diving birds. I don't know much about them, but somehow their name has become attached to different kinds of craziness, i.e., loon, lunatic, loony bin.
These words, and their negative implications, probably derive from "luna" and the ancient idea that some people go mad when the moon is full. But the moon isn't full often enough to account for the current plethora of Republican right-wing loons among us.
The past month or two have been banner ones for their ravings, and I've started collecting them.
The best, of course, come from President George W. Bush. Topping my collection of his whoppers is one from the President's recent trip to Japan, where he said - really! - "My trip to Asia begins here in Japan for an important reason. It begins here because for a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times. From that alliance has come an era of peace in the Pacific."
Afterwards, I didn't see any headlines reading, "Pres. Bush Says World War II Didn't Happen," but honestly, folks, aren't you embarrassed?
The President's's quote was widely reported at the time, but I took it from the great Media Whores Online (MWO) site (http://www.mediawhoresonline.com), whose motto is, "The site that set out to bring the media to their knees -- but found they were already there."
"We suggest [the President] pay a visit to the George Bush Presidential Library, where, at the Museum Store, he can purchase a model of the fighter plane flown by George H.W. Bush in the war against Japan," MWO said.
Another wonderful President Bushism came not long after the Sept. 11 attacks; it was reported by the Associated Press: "As the war on terrorism began, President Bush ordered aides to produce a photo 'scorecard' of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network, crossing off faces with an 'X' as members were captured or killed."
"I'm a baseball fan, I want a scorecard," the President told The Washington Post. "And I understood that when you're fighting an enemy like al-Qaida, people - including me - didn't have a sense of whom we were fighting. And I actually got a chart."
Note the "didn't have a sense of whom we were fighting" part. Sometimes I think this guy came out of a Cracker Jack box. And now, in our names, he's waving around nuclear weapons and planning the Arabian Nights version of World War III.
Another right-wing loon always good for a laugh is syndicated columnist Ann Coulter. She has strong opinions and isn't afraid to share them. She was the one who, after the Sept. 11 attacks, said we should invade the Arab world, kill all their leaders and convert all the Muslims to Christianity.
Now she's back with another great idea. At a recent Conservative Political Action Committee conference, she said: "We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors."
Out with the Bill of Rights! Out with the Constitution! Out with the First Amendment! Uh-oh, is that a knock I hear at my door? Off with my head!
In the same vein, long-time right-wing loon Rush Limbaugh turned President Bush's phrase "axis of evil" into a vicious attack on the "evil axis" of Congressional Democrats.
He was speaking abut Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), who criticized the President's use of the phrase "evil axis."
On "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," Daschle said, "I think we've got to be very careful with the rhetoric of that kind. We've already seen the moderates in Iran scramble to draw distance between 'us' and 'them,' and I think we've got to be very careful with how we approach all three countries."
According to MWO, Daschle later moderated his comments in an article in The Washington Times, saying that "[t]here is no difference between myself and the President on the importance that we allput on dealing directly with these three countries."
But Limbaugh was already on the attack. "Daschle's allies in this situation include the barbarians who run North Korea, the Islamic extremists who run Iran and the mass murderer Saddam Hussein who controls Iraq," Limbaugh said. "That's the company Tom Daschle has joined... . In essence, Daschle has chosen to align himself with the axis of evil."
MWO isn't the only place to get right-wing ravings. The New York Times is also a rich source. Take the recent story about some loons up in Montana who call themselves "Project 7." They were caught with 35 guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, body armor, pipe bombs, exploding booby traps, bomb-making chemicals, and "a vast inventory of survivalist gear and military rations."
As the local sheriff explained, "The logic of their plan, if you can call it logic, was that by killing local law enforcement people, the state of Montana would have no choice but to send in the National Guard. Then they hoped to wipe out the National Guard. And then they hoped that NATO troops would be sent in and that would trigger an all-out revolution."
The local dogcatcher was one of the officials on their hit list.
There are historical loons as well, and our old favorite, President Richard Nixon, was back in the news recently. According to the New York Times, newly-released White House tapes from 1972 reveal that President Nixon, wanting to escalate the Vietnam War, listened to a list of suggestions by then-Secretary of State Henry J. Kissinger, and responded, "I'd rather use the nuclear bomb."
When Kissinger demurred, the former president said, "I just want you to think big."
As the Montana sheriff said about the Project 7 leader, "It was always his mouth that got him into trouble."
From the same newly released tapes, we learn that the "saintly" Rev. Billy Graham disliked Jews. He (and President Nixon) believed they owned the media, and that, according to Graham, their "stranglehold has got to be broken or this country's going down the drain."
Once the tapes of this conversation were released, Graham first pleaded amnesia, then apologized. "(These statements) do not reflect myviews," he said. Instead, the lasting legacy of his ministry, he said, would be his working for stronger bonds between Christians and Jews.
But there's always a punch line and this one is a classic. Later in that same conversation with Mr. Nixon, Graham actually said, "A lot of Jews are great friends of mine." However, before President Nixon got the wrong idea about this famous "legacy," Graham rushed to say, "But they don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country."
"You must not let them know," the former president replied.
To quote MWO once again, "Are we in a bad movie, or do these people really have power?"
Joyce Marcel is a freelance journalist who writes about culture, politics, economics and travel.