“Orwellian” — I hate to say so, but…
[This is a cross-post, with some editing, of a comment I made at THE CARPETBAGGER REPORT. The initial quote referred to Penn’s statement that ‘Obama could not win the general election.’]
Later, a reporter asks what he meant. Clinton campaign communications chief Howard Wolfson jumps in to say that “Mark did not say that.”
Regrettably, he already had.
THIS is what scares me more than anything about the Clinton campaign. Some of their tactics have gone ‘over the line’ yes, and others have pushed it to the limit, but some of that is ‘just politics’ or ‘giving Obama a taste of what’s waiting in the General.’ Maybe I don’t buy these, but at least there is an argument to make for them — except for the ‘endorsing McCain over Obama’ part.
But its the Wolfson attitude, which has permeated the Clinton campaign, is why I have become more and more anti-Clinton. This attitude is, more than anything else, the hallmark of the Republicans and the Radical Religious Right, and is why fighting them is so important for me.Now one of my ‘guilty pleasures’ is watching THE PEOPLE’S COURT. And one of Judge Milian’s pet phrases — when responding to a litigant who is obviously lying — is “So what you are saying is, ‘Judge, who you gonna believe, me or your own lying eyes.'”
That’s what I am hearing more and more from the Clintons and why they are scaring me — maybe not quite to the point where it really might not be important to choose between her and McCain, but closer to that point than I would have thought possible.
Because what she is saying is in effect, what we hear from Bush, from Malkin, from Robertson, from Creationists, from Limbaugh, from every religious right spokesman, most of all from Rove and his pupils:
“Reality is what WE say it is”
and if you remember it differently, or have evidence that contradicts it
“who you gonna believe, me or your own lying mind?”
This is simply a blatant — if minor — example, but there have been so many:
“Our firewall is Ohip and Texas. Once we win there, we will be ahead.” turning into “If Obama doesn’t win all four states, he’s behind.”
Ferraro’s comments, first in a radio interview, repeated several times in interviews over several weeks being changed to ‘something she said to a reporter’ (implied, ‘like the Power thing’)
and her Texas closing speech being followed the same week by the first ‘I have experience, Sen. McCain has experience, Sen. Obama has a speech.’ statement.
and so many more.
It isn’t just the changes, but the contempt she sees for people. It is as if she is saying ‘they are such fools that they won’t remember what I said last week if I say the opposite this week.’ And she attempts this, and what is worse, seems to get away with it even in the era of YouTube and blogs.
Just the way the right-wing does. And this may be the most important reason why i have always fought them, in secular or religious garb.
[Now just a personal note for those who don’t usually feel up to working through my long-windedness but are attempting this. I’ve always tried to be ‘strong in opinion, moderate in language.’ I’m a New Deal/Great Society Liberal Democrat — with strongly libertarian (small L) ideas in personal matters. But I’ve always considered conspiracy thinking better left to the farthest reaches of the right wing, feel that Occam’s Razor usually implies that stupidity is a better explanation than malevolence — with plenty of exceptions — and I feel that terms like ‘the Bush Crime family’ and ‘Rethuglicans’ and the like — or cries of ‘fascist’ — only hurt our points and have never used them.
I only say this because it may heighten what I am saying below.]
THIS attitude I have mentioned is, as Orwell points out, the essence of all totalitarianism.
No, I am not saying that Clinton, or any of the others I’ve condemned ARE totalitarian. They aren’t. But they are using the tools of totalitarians, and it is those tools, those attitudes that are what is dangerous.
Again, remember what Orwell actually wrote in 1984 and ANIMAL FARM. Forget the catch-phrases, the Cliff Notes and Classic Comics versions we all carry around in our head. Go back to what the books said (and if you’ve never actually read them, it’s worth doing so).
In every case, the way Orwell shows a victory by the totalitarians — over the populace in general or over a particular character — is by showing the character accepting the Leader’s version of reality over his own memories.
Let me repeat this: I am not accusing Hillary Clinton, or the Republicans or even Rove of using these tools with a totalitarian intent. I believe they are merely using tools they think will work to gain advantage in the short-term, and simply are ignoring the long-term effects. But the danger lies in just that, that unless we fight them, it will be true that they do work.