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The Right Wants Race Riots In Denver

What is it with the wingnuts and their fantasies about riots in Denver?

The other night on MSNBC’s Hardball, Michelle Bernard of the right-wing Independent Women’s Forum chimed in on a discussion of Hillary Clinton’s hopes for winning the Democratic nomination resting on what might happen at the Democratic National Convention in Denver:

BERNARD: Hillary Clinton is going to become the Ron Paul of the Democratic party. There’s no way the super delegates can take this away from Barack Obama. There will be race riots in the streets if he wins enough super delegates—

Everyone interrupts at this point with laughter, but presumably Bernard was about to finish along the lines of "– and Clinton manages to still take the nomination."

Seemingly, Bernard was making this pronouncement from the vantage of actually being African American, though in reality, Bernard is as much a spokesperson for black people as her IWF colleagues Kate O’Beirne and Charlotte Allen are for women. As dnA at Two Sense observes, Bernard recently penned a column complaining about blacks’ use of the N-word and acidly notes:

My closest friends call me nigga all the time and it’s never offended me. But Bernard just called us all niggers on TV, and she didn’t even have to use the word.

But Bernard is in fact just parroting an increasingly common hope among Republicans and wingnuts generally — that the Denver convention will produce race riots if Obama is denied the nomination. Back in January, the Ole Perfesser and the Spawn Of Lucianne were heard speculating along the same lines (ably limned, as always, by Glennzilla).

And then there’s Rush Limbaugh, who’s been running his "Operation Chaos" schtick with the intention of making that fantasy a reality.

And the only thing it tells us about the American right, really, is how they view black people.

Rick Perlstein likes to point out that one of the main reasons that movement conservatism is floundering right now is that its whole conception of liberals is based on an antiquated view of effete urban liberalism from the 1960s, embodied by former New York Mayor John Lindsay. It’s an image it was successful at selling for a long time, but it’s running aground on the rocks of reality in large part because today’s progressives no longer fit the description.

The same could be said of the stereotypes of African Americans the right is fond of propagating: violent, criminally inclined, likely to riot at a moment’s notice. A lot of those stereotypes were similarly built out of the 1960s, though many of them well precede that.

And not only are they antiquated, they were never true in the first place. But Republicans will cling to them all the way down into the political abyss.

The only real concern progressives should have about this is: What will the wingnuts do when they’re disappointed by the lack of riots in Denver? Knowing them as we do — and how in recent years they’ve become capable of anything — it wouldn’t surprise me if they tried to start their own.

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David Neiwert

David Neiwert

David Neiwert is the managing editor of Firedoglake. He's a freelance journalist based in Seattle and the author/editor of the blog Orcinus. He also is the author of Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, June 2005), as well as Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2004), and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest (1999, WSU Press). His reportage for on domestic terrorism won the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000.