I sat down today to write a post about LR-121, a rather disgusting piece of racist legislation passed here in Montana and now being held up in the courts. I got into a “Discussion” about this legislation with Ingemar Johannson on Intelligent Discontent this morning and it seemed like a good topic. While I was working on that article, I ran across another article on Montana Cowgirl (yes, I am doing a trial run on that site now that the Cowgirl is moderating comments) about a Montana House race for District 84 (Helena). The article had some factual issues and I commented on those issues, but what struck me was the connection between these two articles – the attempt by both Republicans and Democrats to “Monster Make”.
Anyone that has been around the Montana political blogs for a while should be able to remember Rob’s series of articles on Monster Making a number of years back. They were well written and made the point very well – even if they did focus only on the Republican attempts to do so. They really need to make another appearance (HINT HINT, Rob) because they are just as germane now as they were then.
In the intelligent Disconnect article, Don was pointing out the failings of one of the more disgusting Montana Representatives – David Howard, Senate District 29. This Republican makes no effort to hide his racist and bigoted agenda. He is responcible for a number of really vile things but one of his crowning “achievements” was selling LR – 121 to the Montana Public. LR – 121 was a bill aimed at the horrible problem of Illegal Aliens in Montana –
AN ACT DENYING CERTAIN STATE-FUNDED SERVICES TO ILLEGAL ALIENS; ESTABLISHING PROCEDURES FOR DETERMINING A PERSON’S CITIZENSHIP STATUS; PROVIDING THAT THE PROPOSED ACT BE SUBMITTED TO THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF MONTANA; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE AND AN APPLICABILITY DATE.
Now while I will be writing a post about this legislation (and it is really just as disgusting as it is unconstitutional), I want to point out that this legislation was passed by the voters of Montana – 79.51% to 20.49%. That is a landslide and there is no other way to look at it. So how did Howard manage to sell an unconstitutional and blatantly bigoted bill to the people of Montana in such a way as to get almost 80% of the voters (liberal and conservative alike) to vote for it? Easy. Monster Making.
When Howard set out to get this bill passed, he created a Monster for the voting public – the filthy, disgusting and greedy Illegal Alien. He told us that these leeches were sucking our treasury dry with their constant attempts to gain free services and goods from the state. Most Montanans were so enthralled by this monster story, they never stopped to ask a few basic questions like “How many illegal aliens are there really in Montana?” and “How much money in public services are these illegal aliens actually getting?”. In point of fact, these questions were never answered by Howard or his group (though they were answered by those that opposed this legislation – the answers were just ignored).
Howard had put the monster in the very room with us and we were so afraid of the monster, we swung that pen and put a stake through the very heart of the monster by passing this legislation – a piece of legislation that will cost Montana taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars if it is ever allowed to be enforced.
Now the dust has cleared and the lights are up. The workers are sweeping the popcorn out of the aisles and we realize that we – in our fear of the Monster – passed a horrible piece of racist legislation. This law was legally challenged before the ink was even dry and the courts (rightly) found it lacking – in every way. An injunction was slapped against it and now it sits – another piece of paper with crap written on it – until the courts make a final decision. It will be found unconstitutional (like every other bill of this nature has been found unconstitutional) but Howard gets to pat himself on the back for saving us from the Monsters.
The Cowgirl article uses the same kind of Monster Making only it is the Democrat version. In her article about Mary Dunwell filling as a candidate in House District 84, she attempts to create a Monster out of the Republican incumbent for that seat. She attempts to tie Rep Steve Gibson to failed Republican Representative Todd Akin. Unless you live under a rock, you know who Todd Akin is. He is the idiot that coined the phrase “legitimate rape” and made the statement that women shouldn’t have to worry about pregnancy after a “legitimate rape” because “the body will shut the whole thing down”. Now I completely agree that Todd Akin is a disgusting piece of crap that should have been flushed down the political toilet long before he was finally defeated, but with no real evidence or source, Cowgirl attempts to scare liberals by trying to link Gibson to Akin.
This is a much weaker attempt at Monster making than the previous example and it fails quickly on even a cursory examination. That said, it is still Monster Making and just as duplicitous as the Howard example.
Fact is, Democrats have never been as good at Monster Making as the Republicans have (at least not in my experience). I am sure Rob has his own reasons why that is, but I believe it is for a very simple reason. Conservatives are easier to manipulate with Monster Making than liberals are. Stay with me for second.
Conservatives – at their very core – are about maintaining and fixing the status quo. They do not like change and any change that does occur has to be done in a slow, measured way. Liberals, on the other hand, embrace change – in fact, they thrive on it. It is one of the things that makes compromise in our political system so important – unrestrained change leads to chaos, and no change leads to stagnation. The compromise between these two makes America the Great Experiment.
Because conservatives don’t like change -even resist change violently – creating a Monster is easy. Creating a monster for a liberal is much harder and takes a great deal more work. Liberals are also more likely to question the monster… let’s examine the monster and see if really is a monster… I am not saying that liberals are any smarter than conservatives – just that they tend to question things more.
Let’s be clear here – Monster Making is dishonest and should be called no matter who is doing it. If we are going to have clear and honest debate about the issues we face today, we need to leave the special effects and makeup kit at home. Let’s all take the time to look behind the mask and stop accepting Monster Making.