The fevered delusions of the Rapid Right are even more wacky than the corresponding hallucinations of the Angry Left, and I can only stomach a limited dose of either until my mind shuts down and I find myself wanting to watch back episodes of “My Little Pony.” The recent hysterical column by bona fide Tea Party wingnut Gina Loudon, however, held special interest for me, first, because it is such a wonderful example of partisan paranoia gone to Cloud Cuckoo Land, and second, because it singles out Ethics Alarms. I’m so honored.
Let me try to explain this without giggling. There is a federal program that provides discounts on basic cell phone service to the indigent under certain conditions, and it has been around since the Clinton Administration. Some Tea Party zealots got the idea that the phones were an Obama Administration hand-out, and spread the rumor while calling them “Obamaphones.” Rush Limbaugh picked up the charge, and turned it into a rant on his radio show, saying…
“So all of us are paying $1.6 billion in our phone bills to cover free phones and accounts for 12.5 million people. Well, I guess you could probably apply to get you a government phone with your government mortgage payout. Yeah, you should go for it. You don’t even have to be underwater. You can apply. Some of these people have more than two phones, more than two accounts. That’s the thing. Obama’s stash. What else is in there?”
Buried in Rush’s rhetoric was the fact that Obama had nothing to do with the phone policy, so his whole riff was intentionally dishonest. I repeat…it’s not an Obama program. It’s been around for more than a decade, and various Republican Congresses could have gotten rid of it as easy as Obama could.
Now here comes Dr. Loudon…track with me on this…and she has a new slant on the “Obamaphone” fake conspiracy. And it’s baaaaaad. Just read:
“When Hitler wanted to subjugate the German people, he proclaimed that every household deserved a car. Thus was born the “Volkswagen” or peoples’ car. Though cheap, they were cars, widely available, and from a benevolent leader whom they believed cared for their good. Even the narcissistic, megalomaniacal Hitler didn’t have the audacity to call them “Hitler cars.”
“Enter Barack Hussein Obama in 2012. His way of spreading the wealth around is “free” healthcare. But as Obamacare lies in peril, his landmark bill unpopular with most Americans, now he brings free cell phones and free high-speed, broadband internet. No cheap DSL for Obama’s subjects, err, constituents. Why did he stop short of fiber-optics and T-1 lines? He has unemployed and underemployed masses that scream for free things, and direct their hostility for a poor economy to the rich people who have jobs and can afford things like cell phones. Under the guise of access to emergency services, the left repeat the slogan for the masses that communication is a human right and should not be reserved for the rich.”
“If you are already receiving any public service, you are probably entitled to a Volksphone. There are upwards of 20 million people enjoying what they are told are “free Obama phones”. The rest of us are forced to subsidize the Volksphone through hidden taxes assessed by the Obama Federal Communications Commission (FCC), through the universal service fund.”
Yes, you read correctly: President Obama is like Hitler because of a discount cell phone program he didn’t start, that has been dubbed “Obamaphone” by conservative rabble-rousers like Rush Limbaugh. Got that? It gets worse.
Loudon is outraged because somebody or some organization has a website up promoting the virtues of “Obamaphones,” providing a link to acquire them, and including a picture of the President. She fumes…
“The website, Obamaphone.net is flagrant propaganda. The site denies Obama is taxing anyone, but gives him credit for giving the phones away. This website, owned by an anonymous person or entity, features a flattering image of candidate Obama and serves as a campaign tool by expressly giving Obama credit for ‘spreading the wealth around’…clearly, there is a significant propaganda campaign to give Obama credit for expanding the home phone subsidy program into giving away free cell phones”
“The Federal Election Commission needs to investigate this site as being an unreported campaign contribution. Is this operated by a Super PAC? If so, it is legal, but slimy and corrupt and that should discredit the Super PAC. Obama should be called to account and to demand a retraction of it.”
You see? The Tea Party and Rush Limbaugh derisively call the discount cell phones (they are not “free”) Obamaphones. Some independent Obama supporter launches a website continuing the myth, and now the same people who helped perpetuate the lie that this was Obama’s “hand-out” are accusing the President of deceiving the public because he doesn’t explicitly deny his connection to a program they dishonestly linked him to in the first place!
This goes beyond irony; it goes beyond unfairness, it leaves honesty far, far behind. This is insanity.
Loudon concludes, as the men in the white coats and butterfly nets broke through the door…
“This scam could drive millions to the polls for Obama, and change the election. By the time investigations are complete, just like last time, the election cycle will be long past, Obama will be elected again, and the media will be happy to talk about something else. Anything else. Conservatives and all ethical Americans need to cause a major uproar over this flagrant misuse of the public treasury.”
And all because of “Obamaphones.”
Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at firstname.lastname@example.org.