Eric Boehlert analyzes, the "Fox News, health care, and the right-wing nervous breakdown." He asks, "So how did it all go so terribly wrong for health care haters?"
My hunch is that over the past few months, the right-wing media, along with self-adoring Tea Party members, made the mistake of believing their own hype. They convinced themselves that not only did 2 million people take to the streets of the nation's capital last September to protest Obama (a number that was off by 1.9 million), but that "millions" more had marched coast-to-coast over the past 12 months (a number that was completely fabricated). They fastidiously constructed their own parallel universe and convinced themselves that last summer's mini-mobs at local town hall forums had defeated health care reform. They thought their rowdy show of force, complete with Nazi and Hitler posters, and even some protesters parading around with loaded guns, had changed the debate.
Listening to Limbaugh, they thought they were dictating the agenda. Watching Fox News, they though they reflected the mainstream. And reading right-wing blogs, they thought they had killed health care reform.
What really happened?
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. It was the sudden and rude realization that, instead, they'd spent the past few months trapped inside an echo chamber, I think, that created the volcanic and unhinged response we've seen play out in recent days. It's the kind of childish and hysterical reaction I didn't think we'd ever witness from a major political movement.
What if Democrats behaved as if the sky was falling?
Indeed, imagine if this is how progressives and Democrats had behaved during the run-up to the Iraq war, the last time the country found itself in this kind of national public policy "debate." Imagine if the liberal pundits and opinion makers had reacted to the prospect of war not with thoughtful anti-war analysis (analysis that, it turned out, was dead on), but instead opted for tantrums and shameful vitriol, the way right-wing pundits have in recent days and weeks.
For instance, imagine if the anti-war movement, and its highest-profile media supporters, had attacked military families whose sons and daughters were fighting in Iraq as the invasion unfolded. That kind of abhorrent behavior would have been universally condemned as just being beyond the pale. Yet last week, as its opposition to reform grew increasingly futile, the GOP Noise Machine dedicated lots of time and energy to mocking and attacking cancer-stricken patients, as well as a motherless 11-year-old boy who had the audacity to speak out in favor of health care reform.
Limbaugh's immortal words to the boy: "Your mom would have still died, because Obamacare doesn't kick in until 2014."
How do you describe this kind of erratic, disturbed behavior?
To me, the attacks indicated a withering of the right-wing media's shrinking moral compass, not to mention common sense. (Mocking the seriously ill is a winning political strategy?) It was another tell-tale sign of the unfolding, and unstoppable, nervous breakdown.
Because how else do you describe this kind of erratic, disturbed behavior? And it's worth repeating: This wasn't coming from minor, fringe players. It's been coming from the supposed leading lights of the conservative media; leading lights who, blinded by paranoia, have suffered a collective collapse and can no longer make sense of their surroundings.
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