Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Doug LaMalfa's Gamble

Out of morbid curiosity, I follow the North State’s new Congressman, Doug LaMalfa, on facebook.  This morning, I noticed that he had ‘liked’ the page “Let’s Make Fun of Liberals—a Political Stomping Ground”.

“A Political Conspiracy Ground” might be a slightly more accurate title for the site that LaMalfa or his minions apparently spend their time chuckling over, because posts on the site run to the bizarrely paranoid, claiming that the President doesn’t pay his fair share of tax and suggesting that Obama is building a “Muslim States of America”.  Then there are the clowns who just can’t give up on the Benghazi conspiracy theories, and some gloating over the fact that the bombing of the Boston Marathon proves that the President was wrong about Al Qaeda being on the run (never mind that there is no actual connection between those bombers and Al Qaeda).

There are also, of course, the vitriolic, dog-whistle attacks on immigrants we have come to expect from the more hateful on the right, with one post suggesting that all undocumented immigrants are drug dealers.

I understand that the good Congressman wouldn’t necessarily vet all of the sites he supports.  But given that his job is to do serious work in government in the service of his constituents—who include a significant number of non-Republicans and people who did not cast votes for him—it seems like both a less-than-productive use of his time to be giggling over and supporting this kind of delusional, hatemongering, and often wildly-inaccurate propaganda echo-chamber.

I think the Congressman’s tacit support for this kind of nonsense does tell us a lot about how he sees himself: as a voice for the most fearful, hateful, paranoid people around  I suspect that LaMalfa hopes that so long as he functions as a megaphone for this constituency, he can get away without doing anything to actually support their working conditions, without trying to provide them with a living wage, without offering them access to the public sphere and public assistance when they are on hard times, and without working to better the economic conditions of the working classes in our country.  His gamble (like that of his predecessor) on the gullibility of his constituents, paid off handsomely in the last election. 

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