Long a target of frenzied right-wing smear campaigns, Hillary Clinton faced attacks during her tenure as secretary of state from activists and pundits who claimed she was trying destroy the U.S., impose Sharia law and shut down churches across America. And that doesn’t even include the Benghazi truthers who have tried to exploit the deadly 2012 terrorist attack on an American diplomatic compound in Libya by coming up with bizarre, easily debunked, conspiracy theories about Clinton’s handling of the incident.
Now that Clinton has officially announced her second presidential run, the right-wing media has kicked off its latest round of Clinton-bashing. Here are just five of the lowlights from the last five days of right-wing anti-Clinton hysteria.
5. Maybe She’s A Lesbian…
While Family Research Council President Tony Perkins argues that Clinton’s inclusion of two gay couples in her campaign launch video shows that she ultimately seeks “the complete demotion of the natural family,” the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios has a different explanation. Rios said on her radio show yesterday that “rumors swirl” about Clinton’s own sexual orientation, claiming that the former first lady and senator has a long history of “embracing homosexuality” and promoting “lesbianism.”
4. ‘Permanent Darkness’
Shortly after the news of Clinton’s impending announcement broke on Friday, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre kicked off his group’s annual summit — attended by several GOP presidential hopefuls — by rolling out a list of purported “scandals” that he blamed on Clinton, including the 1993 death of White House aide Vince Foster.
Rafael Cruz, Sen. Ted Cruz’s father and close adviser, delivered a similarly bleak message in a speech to a Georgia Tea Party group, asserting that “if we have someone like Hillary Clinton elected in 2016, you might as well kiss this country goodbye, this country’s gone.”
3. Chipotle? Scandal!
In another sign that Clinton will be criticized no matter what she does, one Fox News panel slighted her for visiting an Iowa Chipotle with her aide Huma Abedin, whom host Andrea Tantaros suggested was hungover. Tantaros even speculated that Clinton only ordered food from Chipotle because she is afraid that Sen. Marco Rubio may be consolidating the Latino vote.
2. Persecuted White Men
Bill O’Reilly, a staunch defender of the persecuted white Christian man, said that Clinton’s candidacy has potential because “traditional American values” are under assault. Reacting to the announcement of Clinton’s presidential bid, the Fox News host said that she has an “advantage” in a climate like today’s where “if you’re a Christian or a white man in America, it’s open season on you.”
1. Too Ugly To Be President
Surprising nobody, sexist attacks on Clinton’s age and looks began as soon as the news broke about her announcement. Fox News pundit Sean Hannity laid out his compelling case against Clinton like so: “She’s aging, out of ideas, often shrill, apparently, according to oral reports, angry and clearly not inspiring.” Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman called her the “Wicked Witch of the Left,” saying she is only “technically a woman.”
Don Feder, a Religious Right activist with the World Congress of Families, took it even further, writing that Clinton’s “hideousness factor” should preclude her from the presidency.
“Lyndon Baines Johnson was the last profoundly ugly candidate to be elected president, and he was a legacy of the martyred JFK,” Feder wrote. “Voters don't want a leader who looks frazzled or frumpy. We're told that Lincoln was too homely to be elected president in an age of television and paparazzi. But Lincoln's homely face had a dignity, a gravitas. If nothing else, we want a face that reassures us, not one that scares us, a la Night of the Living Alinskyites.”
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre dedicated his speech today at the group’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, to attacking Hillary Clinton, at one point even resorting to listing a series of “gate” scandals attributed to her and her husband, including “Vince Foster Gate” and “White House Coffee Gate.”
“Hillary Clinton has more ‘gates’ than a South Texas cattle ranch,” LaPierre said. “And Americans know it.”
Later, he warned that “Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair, forced upon the American people to endure.”
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
This week, here at Right Wing Watch we have been monitoring the Conservative Political Action Conference, the American Conservative Union’s annual summit that has been packed with typical right-wing blustering over taxes, Benghazi, Ronald Reagan, not to mention plenty of good old fashioned anti-government conspiracy theories:
5) Wayne LaPierre’s American Nightmare
NRA head Wayne LaPierre told CPAC attendees yesterday that “political and media elites” have conspired against gun owners and conservatives in general, working to “punish anyone who disagrees.”
“The media's intentional corruption of the truth is an abomination and NRA members will never, and I mean never, submit or surrender to the national media,” he said.
Even though crime rates have been falling steadily since the 1990s, LaPierre described his dark vision of an America in which happy and peaceful neighborhoods have been transformed into places of violence and death filled with “knockout-gamers.”
4) IRS Just As Bad As Deposed Leader Of Ukraine
Plenty of CPAC speakers have mentioned the crisis in Ukraine as a supposed failure of President Obama, but Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch went as far as comparing the Obama administration to the government of overthrown Ukrainian president and Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych.
Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports that Fitton told attendees of CPAC’s “IRS Targeting Scandal: Protecting the Voice of the People” panel that Obama’s IRS, which has been falsely accused of targeting conservative groups, is operating much like how the Yanukovych government violently suppressed anti-government protesters: “People are dying in the streets in Ukraine. People being oppressed by the political regime. That's what the IRS was doing.”
3) Trump’s Immigration Solutions
Donald Trump seems to think Jimmy Carter is dead, and that the US may die too if Congress passes immigration reform. The real estate mogul told CPAC yesterday that immigration reform would mean that America would no longer exist, as immigrants flood into the country, destroy the GOP and “take your job.”
2) Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration of CPAC
Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney hosted an alternative CPAC event yesterday, prompted in part by worries that the right-wing gathering has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood through Republican activists such as Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan. Gaffney joined other conservatives in denouncing Norquist and Khan as Muslim Brotherhood agents who are advancing “civilization jihad” and undermining America.
Diana West yesterday took to WorldNetDaily to warn CPAC that Norquist and Khan are “a pair of influential men with track records of working with America’s enemies – Islamic organizations the U.S. government has linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and larger world of jihad.” She claimed that they are allied with those who hope “to destroy the United States and transform what is left into an Islamic-ruled land,” and pushed the Muslim Brotherhood “straight into the inner sanctum of the Bush White House.”
1) President Obama Is George Wallace
When the Justice Department challenged Louisiana’s voucher scheme over evidence that the program would resegregate the state’s schools, conservatives were unsurprisingly outraged. At CPAC today, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Religious Right leader Ralph Reed likened President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace.
There are few regular CPAC speakers who can match the NRA's Wayne LaPierre when it comes to peddling wholesale paranoia and nightmarish visions of the future as he did while speaking today when he warned that neighborhood streets that were once filled with laughter and freedom now sit ominously silent because Americans are in fear for their lives, which is why they are loading up on all the ammunition and weapons they can get.
"In the world that surrounds us," he proclaimed, "there are terrorists, and there are home-invaders, drug cartels, car-jackers, knockout-gamers, and rapers, and haters, and campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse our society that sustains us all."
"Do you trust this government to protect you?" LaPierre asked the crowd, which responded with a resounding "no!"
"We are on our own. That is a certainty":
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre spoke at CPAC today, where he was introduced by a video full of clips of people in the media calling him a radical lunatic before launching into a speech where he repeatedly called everyone else crazy for thinking that his positions and views are crazy.
And he proved how reasonable he is by saying that any effort to create a database of gun owners would either be hacked by the Chinese government, handed over to Mexican government, or used by the American government to confiscate them:
By now everyone has seen NRA head Wayne LaPierre declare that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” while calling for armed guards in every American school. The NRA’s proposed solution to gun violence can be boiled down to even more guns, and the group wants concealed weapons in all public spaces – including churches, schools, bars and airports.
If there’s one place that I would expect to be able to take a concealed gun, it’s to a gun show. That’s why I was struck by the advice doled out by the NRA’s National Firearms Museum on “How to be a Gun Collector.” In the article, authored by NRA museum director Jim Supica, would-be gun collectors are directed to “practice basic gun safety” at gun shows.
Supica starts off with the most basic rule of gun safety, warning against allowing “the muzzle of a gun you're handling to point at other folks.” But then he stumbles badly off-message (from the NRA party line) with some commonsense advice that, were President Obama to say it, would hasten comparisons to Mao and Hitler.
The NRA’s Supica directs gun collectors to “keep your guns tied inoperable” (like this) when attending a gun show, noting that this is a “requirement at the better shows.” And he isn't done.
Supica then directs gun collectors to “never bring a loaded gun into a show,” even if it’s a “legal concealed carry gun.” Furthermore, collectors should never “test chamber a round in a show.” Of course, your typical armed guard or concealed carry enthusiast already has a round in the chamber, but never mind that.
Supica observes that “negligent discharges are very rare at shows.” However, when they do happen they typically involve “a concealed carry gun that was brought in loaded.”
You might be wondering why this namby-pamby Supica character hates the Second Amendment so much or whether the NRA knows it has a gun-hating pinko running its museum. But in their defense, Supica’s article bears this disclaimer: “Opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of NRA or the National Firearms Museum.” Well, that’s a relief. Supica may be an NRA employee and run their museum, but at least his commonsense, life-saving advice can’t be pinned on the NRA.
But maybe Supica isn’t such an outlier. As Scott Keyes reported in January, gun shows typically ban attendees from carrying loaded guns. Yet the NRA categorically supports efforts to expand concealed carry to “previously prohibited places.”
The takeaway, then, is that guns should be unloaded, tied inoperable and held out in the open at gun shows. But if you’re at a church, school, bar or shopping mall, you should feel free to conceal and carry a loaded gun with a bullet in the chamber. And that is how you practice basic gun safety.
During halftime of Sunday night’s NFL football game, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas weighed in on the recent murder-suicide carried out by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, noting that the prevalence of guns in our culture is making such tragedies more common.
This commentary has, predictably, outraged the Right, most notably NRA President Wayne LaPierre, who appeared on Glenn Beck's television program to frantically warn that "the media in this country hates the Second Amendment rights of American citizens and they'll do anything to try and take that freedom away from average citizens" by teaming up with the Obama Administration to carry out a wholesale "siege on the Second Amendment in this country like we've never seen before":
Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association uncovered a "massive Obama conspiracy" during his remarks at CPAC, explaining that the administration hasn't done anything on gun rights in the first term intentionally in order to lull gun owners in a false sense of security and keep them from voting so that he can win a second term and finally "destroy the Second Amendment":