Friday, November 26, 2010

The TSA, the Right, and My Busted Watch

William Rivers Pitt

What I do know is that the leading voices of outrage over this issue are the likes of Charles Krauthammer of the Post, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, incoming House Transportation Committee chairman John Mica (R-FL), a bunch of rabid right-wing websites which are also leading the "Obama is not a citizen" birther charge, and a "mainstream" media that continues to push messages that auger inexorably toward the claim that the "Tea Party" is right about everything even remotely related to government.

That is not the kind of company I like to keep, and it gives me great pause about jumping on the TSA-outrage bandwagon. I mean, sure, I have a busted watch at home that's right twice a day, so it's possible these far-right mouthpieces may have stumbled onto some truth for a change. But the fact that the attacks against Obama and the TSA happen to be coming from the same people who have made a cottage industry out of claiming Obama is a secret terrorist who wants to bring Sharia law to America, yet who are now saying he has gone too far in defending the nation from terrorism, even in the face of credible threats to the airline industry, leads me to suspect there is a different game afoot.

Bank on this: if the year was 2002, and President Bush declared these TSA measures to be absolutely necessary to the security of the nation, the same right-bent people currently screaming about the heavy-handed Obama TSA policy would be defending those exact same policies to the teeth, with the "mainstream" media right with them all the way down the party line. For the right, this is opposition simply for the sake of opposition itself, and thanks to the media, they have once again managed to shoehorn another "Government sucks" screaming match to the forefront of the national conversation.

Nothing from the "mainstream" media about how the GOP is scuttling the all-important START treaty for no other reason than the fact that a Democrat is in the White House. Nothing from the "mainstream" media about how the GOP is letting unemployment benefits for millions of Americans lapse for no other reason than the fact that there is a Democrat in the White House. Nothing about how 71% of air travelers, like me, do not appear able to work themselves into the seemingly-required media-driven froth over the issue. That's no fun to report on. And it's awfully, awfully convenient that, instead, we have yet another circus inspired by the always-effective loudspeakers of the right.

His busted watch? It's right twice a day, a helluva lot more often than the Right.