Michelle Goldberg has a great article up about the rightwing nuts at The American Prospect. She's right - the rightwing grassroots activism we're seeing now is a whole lot less Christian and a whole lot more Confederate than what we've seen since the mid-90's.
Indeed, we saw the Religious Right "move on" from racism these past few years, but it's not like they ever really moved on. The entire point of their movement is, ultimately, to get votes for rich people to lower their taxes, and they'll latch on to whatever prejudice they need in order to get people to buy into their dogma. And racism's selling a lot better than homophobia these days, what with Obama in the White House and people getting more and more worried about their finances. When people's concerns aren't about morality and are instead about whether they'll be able to visit the doctor, get a job, or have enough to feed their family, the bogeyman then becomes those scary/lazy minorities who want to take your hard-earned wealth away from you (in much the same way as Jews were blamed for stealing people's wealth during the Great Depression in Europe in the first half of the 20th century).
It's no surprise that FOTF is having budget issues and their issues are barely even mentioned at the teabagger protests (who's talking about snowflake babies there? Gay marriage? Tiller the Baby Killer?), which have been notable for their lack of coherent message, their blaming of seemingly everything for this country going down the tube. It's not a message that can resonate right now because people aren't willing to pay attention to issues like that if they're not being taken care of. Instead, they want to blame someone for the fact that they're not doing as well financially.
Goldberg defines "producerism":
Producerism has often been a trope of right-wing movements, especially during times of economic distress, when many people sense they're getting screwed. Its racist (and often anti-Semitic) potential is obvious, so it gels well with the climate of Dixiecrat racial angst occasioned by the election of our first black president. The result is the return of the repressed.
It's a ridiculous ideology, just as statements that "moral values" could prevent kids from dropping out of schools were, but the American right has a flare for the ridiculous. Here's how it works:
It wasn't just two million people who showed up at the big dipshit rally in D.C., says MC Shan. Of course, it wasn't two million people at all, but leave that alone: the impressive part is that it was "two million people with jobs". This is a preciously guarded bit of wingnut mythology, repeated wherever two dickbags are gathered together: sure, half a million might turn out to protest a bogus war of aggression, but that's not a big deal, because what else do a bunch of bums, hippies and college dropouts have to do with their time? But if seven guys show up on a street corner to bitch about President Nigger giving our awesome health care away to immigants, and it really means something, because they have jobs.
Even Glenn Beck peddles this notion: in the come-fly-with-me video he put together for the 9/12 march, Glenn's whiny voice can be heard bitching that hard-working Americans have to give up their precious vacation and leisure time to protest Obama's tyrannical whatever he's doing. (As an aside, only white people, am I right, folks? I mean, seriously, can you imagine blacks in the '60s complaining that they had to take a sick day to go march on Washington with MLK for their civil rights?) So clearly, it must be true. Those flag-shirted thousands who piloted their Rascals towards Washington to protest the president's communo-socialist Hitlerfascism must be a hardworking bunch of gainfully employed solid citizens.
As ol' Giovanni Gaspari once said, easy enough to find out, idn't it?
- "Richard Brigle, 57, a Vietnam War veteran and former Teamster, came from Paw Paw, Mich. He said health care needs to be reformed -- but not according to Obama's plan. 'My grandkids are going to be paying for this. It's going to cost too much money that we don't have,' he said while marching, bracing himself with a wooden cane as he walked."
Well, hey. On disability and probably collecting a pension from your liberal, staunchly Democratic labor union, that's almost like having a job. Let's see who else was out there.
- "Quinn Ryan, 11, stood in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, near the spot where Obama and his wife Michelle walked on a bitter cold day in January after he was sworn in as the first black American president, brandishing a sign reading: 'Born free, taxed to death.'"
Okay, well, thanks to liberal reformers, 11-year-olds aren't forced to have jobs anymore. But imagine what this poor kid's tax burden must be like! Moving on.
- "'I want Congress to be afraid," said Keldon Clapp, 45, an unemployed marketing representative who recently moved to Tennessee from Connecticut after losing his job. "Like everyone else here, I want them to know that we're watching what they're doing. And they do work for us.'"
Look, he's a professional! He just happens to be unemployed at the moment! And I'm sure he's the only one.
Lots more examples at the link of productive people with jobs who just so happen not to have jobs. But this wouldn't be the first time right wingers proved themselves to be ridiculous hypocrites.
But the right can never work alone when it comes to demonizing someone. They need to find allies:
"Racial reconciliation" became a kind of buzz phrase. The idea animated Promise Keepers meetings. "Racism is an insidious monster," Bill McCartney, the group's founder, said at a 39,000-man Atlanta rally. "You can't say you love God and not love your brother." The Traditional Values Coalition distributed a video called "Gay Rights, Special Rights" to black churches; it criticized the gay rights movement for co-opting the noble legacy of the civil rights struggle.
Throughout the Bush years, homophobia and professions of anti-racism were twinned in a weird way, as if the latter proved that the right wasn't simply still skulking around history's dark side. At a deeply surreal 2006 event at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church, an African American church in downtown Philadelphia, leaders of the religious right invoked Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks on behalf of gay marriage bans and Bush's judicial nominees. At the end of the evening, several dozen clergymen, black and white, joined hands in prayer at the front of the room. "Black Americans, white Americans," said a beaming Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council. "Christians, standing together." The whole premise of compassionate conservatism -- which shoveled taxpayer money towards administration-friendly churches like Greater Exodus Baptist -- was that the right cared as deeply as the left about issues like inner city poverty.
Indeed, if history is any indication, the right is going to try to peel off LGBT voters with producerism, just as Tony Perkins was joining hands and praying with Black Christians that gays wouldn't be accepted by society. I'm sure they'll get a few - part of being "the same as everyone else" means that we'll buy into idiocy the same as everyone else. And we've already seen it as a rallying cry for LGBT rights (usually LGB rights), along the lines of "I pay my taxes, I should have equal access to marriage!" and "I have a job, I shouldn't be discriminated against!" and "My foreign partner should have more of a right to come to America than other immigrants because she's a productive member of society!"
Like all rightwing tropes with any success, it has an ability to reach the lizard brains of people who aren't generally rightwingers. It's not like we've advanced all that much as a species.