When it comes to the Clintons, many pundits have simply stopped requiring themselves to adhere to the most basic evidentiary standards. It has become acceptable, even normal, to say whatever the hell you want about the Clintons, and if you insist on anything approaching real evidence, you're just a party-pooper. The "Clinton rules" governing punditry about them are that there are no rules.
It seems that the Right Wing Noise Machine, with little else to promote has taken to hunting the President-elect. The unstoppable rumor-mongering about Obama's birth certificate, and the insatiable appetite in the gossipy puntitry, not to mention the right wing blogosphere, concerning Illinois corruption case show us that the RWNM is back to it's old tricks. Conason again:
Questions are raised. Connections are drawn. Conspiracies are theorized. Guilt is imputed, implied, asserted and very widely associated. And more of the same feckless fingerpointing is exactly what Barack Obama should expect from the Republicans, the right-wing propaganda machine and their enablers in the mainstream media...
Tried and true or desperate and stupid? My buddy, Michelle Malkin, recently wrote a piece that declared,
"I believe Trig was born to Sarah Palin. I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. I believe fire can melt steel and that bin Laden’s jihadi crew — not Bush and Cheney — perpetrated mass murder on 9/11. What kind of kooky conspiracist does that make me?"Was she finally signaling a truce in the political arena? Or maybe it was just a blip, a brain fart, a momentary glimpse of reality? In her very next Op Ed she recovers her lost bearings by declaring,
Fitzgerald says President-elect Obama was not implicated in the plethora of charges against Democrats Blago and Harris. The national media went out of their way to absolve him, too. But declaring Team Obama’s hands clean — especially with Blago crony and indicted Obama donor Tony Rezko in the middle of it all — is premature.So.... picking up on the Rezco blather, adding in an obscenity-laden rant by the hard core Governor of Illinois, adding the word Democrat and presto! Obama in an orange jumpsuit!
The Clinton Rules have once again been adopted and are in full force. The Right Wing is trading journalism for Conspiracy Theorizing. Here's a great piece by Alex Koppleman. He says basically that the psychology behind conspiracy theories prohibits any contrary evidence or information that contradicts the theory to be believed and any presentation of contrary evidence, no matter how truthful, just makes the theory stronger.
..according to several experts in conspiracy theories, and in the psychology of people who believe in conspiracy theories, there's little chance those people who think Obama is barred from the presidency will ever be convinced otherwise. "There's no amount of evidence or data that will change somebody's mind," says Michael Shermer, who is the publisher of Skeptic magazine and a columnist for Scientific American, and who holds an undergraduate and a master's degree in psychology. "The more data you present a person, the more they doubt it ... Once you're committed, especially behaviorally committed or financially committed, the more impossible it becomes to change your mind."
Any inconvenient facts are irrelevant. People who believe in a conspiracy theory "develop a selective perception, their mind refuses to accept contrary evidence," Chip Berlet, a senior analyst with Political Research Associates who studies such theories, says. "As soon as you criticize a conspiracy theory, you become part of the conspiracy."
This sounds a lot like the pundits and wingnuts who can't let go of the Clinton Rules. It also sounds like many local wingnuts who bend and twist every political maneuver, issue, or statement into a partisan political point. Anything goes, especially with those who would rise to the defense of Obama and the rest of the Democrats. To the RWNM, any defense of any Democrat simply strengthens their resolve.
What to do? I love Obama's response to all of this. He knows that it is just Kindergarten chatter. He plays it by the book, is the adult in the conversation and continues his work with barely a glance or a pause. The famous moment in the campaign when he showed us all how to deal with the nattering nabobs of righteous wingnuttery should never be forgotten... brush it off, just brush it off and move on.