It’s no state secret that I like macadamias and dislike wingnuts. That’s in my Twitter profile. But some wingnuts are more distasteful than others. (More)
Take David Siegel, for example. Please. Siegel isn’t the first wingnut to warn employees there would be consequences if they didn’t vote his way. I first heard that from a friend who worked – at near minimum wage – for a veterinarian who pulled down a six-figure income. If his income taxes went up, he told her, he’d just deduct the difference from his employees’ pay.
But Seigel isn’t a vet making a mere six-figure income. He owns a string of timeshare resorts and lives in the biggest home in the U.S., which was patterned on Versailles … the palace inhabited by French kings until those pesky peasants finally had enough. Here’s what he told his employees in an email he sent Monday:
So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.
So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn’t? Whose policies will endanger your job?
Sure, he also told his employees “I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose.” He’s just letting them know that if his candidate doesn’t win … they may soon be looking for work.
Then we have Charlie Fuqua, a Republican candidate for the Arkansas legislature. He says parents should be able to have disobedient children executed:
The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellious children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21.
Because nothing says ‘family values’ like “Do as I say or I’ll have you killed.” It sounds less like respect for God or fathers and more like The Godfather.
To live and seethe in that world of conspiracy theories means rejecting any form of objective reality. When unemployment numbers make the administration look good, they are obviously “cooked.” When poll numbers put Mr. Obama ahead, they are skewed. Birth certificates are forgeries. Safety-net programs are giveaways to supporters. Health insurance reform is socialism. And campaign donation disclosure is antibusiness.
It’s an upside-down version of life, and it is not innocuous. When desperation leads political critics of the president to discredit important nonpolitical institutions – including the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve and the Congressional Budget Office – the damage can be long-lasting. If voters come to mistrust the most basic functions of government, the resulting cynicism can destroy the basic compact of citizenship.
It’s one thing to disagree on what facts mean. You can make a reasoned argument that our recoveries after other recent recessions prove unemployment should be under 7.8% by now, if President Obama’s policies were going to work. The reasoned counter-arguments would include that recessions after economic collapses like that in 2008 are deeper and last longer than ordinary business cycle recessions, and that employment would be under 7% had Republicans not forced so many public employee layoffs, and had they not blocked President Obama’s American Jobs Act. And you can make reasoned arguments around each of those contingent facts.
But when one party insists that positive employment numbers are fraudulent, denies that Republicans in the House and Senate pledged to reject anything President Obama and Democrats proposed, packs 27 lies into 38 minutes while accusing the opponent of lying … or threatens layoffs unless the boss’ candidate wins and says parents should be able to have disobedient children executed … you’re beyond reason and deep into political tribalism: “ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
That’s not just inedible. It’s toxic.
Good day and good nuts.