- Television sensation Glenn Beck warns of White House plots to institute fascism, communism, and other terrifying "isms."
- Radio titan Rush Limbaugh charges that a racist Obama regime encourages black schoolchildren to beat up white kids.
- Evangelical luminary James Dobson frets that Christians will be arrested for thought crimes and people will be allowed to marry donkeys
- Protesters in knickers and colonial-style hats march on Washington with signs that order Hitler-like caricatures of President Obama to return to Kenya
As madness reigns, pundits, politicians, and cab drivers debate the source of the hysteria. Some blame ignorance; some blame racism; some blame the economy.
After poring over mountains of political screeds and heedlessly subjecting himself to countless hours of Fox News, author Michael Wolraich discovered the secret formula that turns ordinary men and women into fire-breathing, smoke-blowing right-wing maniacs. It's "persecution politics"...again.
In Blowing Smoke, Wolraich documents, dissects and deconstructs the myths that underlie the right's growing reliance on the politics of persecution, from Joe McCarthy to the Tea Party movement. In the process, he delivers an original and compelling hypothesis with penetrating insight and blistering wit. At turns hilarious, disturbing and edifying, Blowing Smoke is a must-read account of modern American politics.
There's a reason that only one percent of Tea Party supporters are black and only 41 percent believe that Obama was born in the United States. For over three decades, the right wing has been developing a powerful narrative according to which an alliance of liberal elites, racial minorities, and other marginal groups seek to persecute white, Christian conservatives.
In the age of Fox News, talk radio, and conservative political dominance, that narrative is more popular than ever before. And at the very moment that this persecution mythology flooded into the mainstream, the government was taken over by Democrats and led by a man who by his skin color, his ancestry, his church, and his politics perfectly symbolizes the fearsome adversary that right wing leaders have been warning their constituents against. Just as Sarah Palin personifies the righteous conservative victim, Barack Obama personifies the dangerous alliance between elites and minorities.
That Obama's policies are no more liberal than Bill Clinton's and a good deal less liberal than Jimmy Carter's or even, in some ways, Richard Nixon's, is irrelevant. The myth of Obama's secret revolutionary intentions is so entrenched that the right wing's view of the man has become completely detached from reality. No matter what he says or does, the Tea Party conservatives know him only as "the socialist ideologue in the White House."