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    “Blowing Smoke” Blows Away Right-Wing Narratives

    Following the election of Barack Obama to the office of President of the United States, writer Michael Wolraich surveyed the political aftermath and came to a simple conclusion – the Right-Wing has gone utterly mad.

    Wolrich’s new book “Blowing Smoke” (longer title: “Blowing Smoke: Why the Right Keeps Serving Up Whack-Job Fantasies about the Plot to Euthanize Grandma, Outlaw Christmas, and Turn Junior into a Raging Homosexual”) takes an in-depth look at what Wolraich calls “Persecution Politics,” and how the right-wing has worked overtime for years to create a brotherhood of victimhood for Conservatives.

    “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,” writes Wolraich, founder of the popular blog “Dagblog”.

    “Blowing Smoke” is available now on Kindle and in book stores near you. Published by Da Capo Press, the book is the latest in a string of books that have come out in the past year by liberal authors.

    Wolraich talked about the book during an e-mail interview:

    Q: Why did you decide to write about the right wing?

    Wolraich: Morbid curiosity. After Obama’s election, conservative politicians and media stars began telling their constituents that white people were suffering from horrible oppression at the hands of Barack Obama, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and various self-hating white liberal elites.

    I wanted to understand why so many people would fall for such obvious crap. Liberal pundits offered plenty of facile explanations–racism, stupidity, recession anxiety, even sexual repression–but I had the sense that most of them had not looked beyond their own asses.

    So I went digging. It turns out that this stuff had been slow-cooking since the 1970s. Religious right leaders like Jerry Falwell pioneered some deviously effective psychological tactics decades ago. Fox News and talk radio just repackaged them for mass-consumption, turning a fringe movement into a national epidemic that exploded after Obama’s election.

    Q: So what’s their secret sauce?

    Wolraich: I call it persecution politics. It’s a rhetorical strategy to convince millions of white, heterosexual, Christian, conservative gun-owners that an evil conspiracy of liberal elites, black radicals, illegal immigrants, gay fascists, and other disturbing bad guys are taking away their rights, their guns, their health care, their freedom, their traditions, their children, and their favorite television programs.

    Q: How connected is education, or lack thereof in the persecution politics movement?

    Wolraich: Last spring, a New York Times poll found that Tea Party supporters were better educated than the average American. The next day, I overheard liberals at a bar trying to wrap their heads around the revelation that most Tea Partiers were not spelling-challenged halfwits. One concluded that the poll respondents lied. The rest blamed the American education system for failing to teach people not to be spelling-challenged halfwits.

    But the truth is that there are plenty of bright, educated good-spellers who believe in all sorts of lunacy. Most of Glenn Beck’s listeners are quite capable of applying their critical faculties, and they do so joyously whenever President Obama opens his mouth. But when Beck’s spins tales of communist plots and fascist revolutions, these same listeners turn off their bullshit-filters. They believe his stories because they want to believe his stories. Why they want to believe them is the central question of Blowing Smoke.

    Q: What is the answer to the central question of Blowing Smoke?

    Wolraich: Short answer–because it feels good. Long answer–read the book.

    Q: Do I have to?

    Wolraich: Blowing Smoke isn’t the kind of book that wears its thesis on the back cover, and it’s not a litany of Tea Party antics. I structured it as an investigation in which the reader follows my path through history, sociology, and some very funny right-wing ideas to find the answer. My hope is that readers will have an a-ha moment about three quarters through when it all comes together.

    Q: Are there pictures?

    Wolraich: Five. And some funny bits. I think that you’ll enjoy those.

    Q: Who was the worst person you dealt with? Just a scary far-righter?

    Wolraich: The notorious Glenn Beck. Other media stars, like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, are more hostile, but they’re mainly mouthing off for ratings. Beck is more of a McCarthy type. He’s trying to sell Americans a wicked delusion, and he’s very good at it. If he succeeds in seducing enough people into his land of make-believe, he could be really dangerous.

    Q: Would you want to literally party with a tea partier?

    Wolraich: Depends on the Tea Partier. Some of them will just spray you with saliva while telling you that Obama is racist Muslim goatherding fascist. Not my idea of a party, though some people might be into that. But I think it would be fun to have a beer with Glenn Beck…if he drank beer and weren’t…uh…destroying the country.

    Learn more about “Blowing Smoke” at the book’s official Web site, and order online here or for your Kindle here.


    Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles


    Great interview.  Youse guys are too much!  Just ordered the book from WalMart.  WalMart, you say?  Yes, WalMart.  I was torn between not giving them money for books and shoving this book in their lousy, RW faces.  I wibbled and wobbled and finally looked at Michael's in-your-face cover and decided it would be way too much fun to flash it around that store.

    This summer I stood in their book aisle looking for liberal authors to go along with their many conservative/Right Wing jackasses.  This is what I found:

    Glenn Beck - Glenn Beck's Common Sense

    Sarah Palin -- Going Rogue

    Laura Bush

    Newt Gingrich - To Save America

    Schweikart/Allen - A Patriot's History of the U.S (featuring interview with Rush Limbaugh)

    Dick Morris - 2010 Take Back America

    Did I find any liberal/Left Wing books?  Only if you count Kitty Kelley's "Oprah" and Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird".  That was the closest I could get.  (Interesting to look at their online books and compare the ones that are online only with the books available in stores.  They just can't bring themselves to put "our" books on the shelves.) 

    So when I go to pick up "Blowing Smoke" I'm going to walk that store from one end to the other and flash it.  Should be fun in this bastion of Right Wing "conservatives".  I hope I run into the old woman I heard bragging about being able to pick up "Glenn Beck" on the radio.  Maybe I'll run into the guy who was grilling her about where she was and what station she picked up so he could find it, too.  At any rate, I'm pretty sure that 8 out of 10 people I run into will absolutely HATE that cover.  Yeah!


    I like Ramona's plan.

    Great interview, Wolfie. And I'm jealous that you managed to swing an interview with Mike. How'd you do that? Every time I ask, it's all like "Talk to my people about setting up a preliminary meeting." And they never return my calls!

    Two words: Incriminating photos.

    Hell, we've all got those. Seriously, what's your secret?

    I think you misunderstood. The incriminating photos in question are of William K. Wolfrum.

    We've all got those, too. Guess I'm missing something.

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