The Myth of the Passive Conservative

Right wing frat boy superstar James O’Keefe, in an interview with Phyllis Schlafly’s niece Anne Cori, offers up what I call the myth of the passive conservative. For the extremist, nothing is ever taken far enough, no one is ever sufficiently zealous, and today’s incredibly aggressive right wing has to be recast as being passive wallflowers who just don’t fight hard enough.

O’Keefe: I think the problem with the Right, the Right – that is, the conservatives – they don’t like blood in the water. I mean that in a figurative sense. They don’t like shaking things up. They’re afraid to be effective because to be effective is to be hated. One of the things that Rush Limbaugh said, I can’t remember where he said it, but he said, ‘You have to understand that when people hate you and fear you, it’s a sign of respect. And I think it’s impossible to be effective as a conservative without being feared and hated and attacked in a very nasty way. These people don’t play nice, they don’t debate you. They try to destroy you using the government.

And I think people need to realize, the book ‘Breakthrough’ is about what one must go through in today’s society to speak truth to power. It’s very different than it used to be, I think.

Cori: Well, James, do you have advice for people who wilt in the face of criticism?

This is one of the key differences between liberals and conservatives. Liberals, generally speaking, think brains are more important than “balls.” We value intelligence and thoughtfulness over machismo and bluster. This isn’t true in every case, of course. We have our Ed Schultz’ too, which is exactly why he annoys me so much. He’s exactly the kind of blowhard that conservatives tend to love.

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  • kantalope

    Trouble is, in a democracy being hateful, spiteful, stupid, feared, and despised will only get you about 25-33% of the vote. That is why it was so important for the conservative supremes to overturn the voting rights act. If you don’t let the people who don’t like you vote – you still can win elections.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    And I think it’s impossible to be effective as a conservative without being feared and hated and attacked in a very nasty way.

    Yes, as a conservative you will be feared and hated and attacked in a very nasty way– that is, people will say nasty things about you– for advocating that the government do very nasty things to them.

    As a liberal, you will be feared and hated and attacked in a very nasty way….for existing.

  • John Pieret

    I suppose you intended to include O’Keefe’s advice in answer to Cori’s question:

    O’Keefe: Advice for them? To speak frankly: Get some balls.

    Of course, most of the criticism wingnuts get is because they speak frankly about their bigotry and lunatic ideas of what the country should do.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    ‘You have to understand that when people hate you and fear you, it’s a sign of respect.

    Conservative ideology in a nutshell. Inflict as much harm on people as possible, sit back and enjoy the “respect”.

  • cottonnero

    If you multiplied Ed Schultz by -1, he would fit in perfectly on Fox News.

  • gshelley

    I’m not sure. Do they just equate being noticed as a sign of respect, or is there some underlying assumption that everyone secretly know s they are right and is just angry because they are being made to face their own hypocrisy or something?

  • trucreep

    This idiot fits in well with the neo-con crowd – lie and deceive in any way possible in order to get people to believe you.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    James O’Keefe: yet another weak, whiny, babyish, cowardly loser biting the hand that feeds him for not being strong or manly enough to earn his respect. This guy is a chickenhawk among chickenhawks.

    And no, trucreep, he’s not a neo-con — neocons are at least a little bit college-educated. O’Keefe is still an overgrown frat-boy wannabee who had to be kicked out of a dorm (if not the college), literally crying and screaming, because he couldn’t deal with the scary black people in his hall.

  • ottod

    “You have to understand that when people hate you and fear you, it’s a sign of respect.”

    I disagree. I had no respect for Reagan, and I have none for G. W. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Boehner, Cantor, et al.

  • colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #8

    Neo-con Charles Klutzhammer is a psychiatrist.

  • brucegee1962

    I guess I have a lot of respect for zombies, vampires, Godzilla, and spiders, then, eh? I probably have almost as much respect for Republicans as I do for cockroaches. Less, actually, because the roaches are likely to do less damage

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I didn’t say the neocons were better people, I just said they had better formal education.

  • eric

    Rush Limbaugh said, I can’t remember where he said it, but he said, ‘You have to understand that when people hate you and fear you, it’s a sign of respect.

    Assuming O’Keefe didn’t make this up whole cloth (which is entirely possible), I can’t help thinking this is someone’s dysfunctional childhood coming to the fore. “That’s the way my daddy treated me, so that’s the way I’m gonna treat others.”

  • maudell

    Finally Limbaugh admits he fears and respects feminazis.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I think the problem with the Right, the Right – that is, the conservatives – they don’t like blood in the water. I mean that in a figurative sense. …

    I effing hope so.

  • uzza

    He keeps using that word ‘respect’, says Inigo Montoya.

  • busterggi

    “it’s impossible to be effective as a conservative without being feared and hated ”

    And that explains the entire conservative movement.

  • Nemo

    Ed has the temperament of a conservative because he used to be one. As such, I want to give him credit for his reformed conscience more than I want to condemn his blowhard tendencies.

  • caseloweraz

    O’Keefe: One of the things that Rush Limbaugh said, I can’t remember where he said it, but he said, ‘You have to understand that when people hate you and fear you, it’s a sign of respect.

    It would be nice to know where that Limbaugh quote ends. Hardly necessary, though, since O’Keefe and Limbaugh are of one mind.

  • Sastra

    ‘You have to understand that when people hate you and fear you, it’s a sign of respect.

    I guess it depends on how you’re defining “respect.”

    Some crackpot writing rambling, incoherent screeds about conspiracy theories and standing on street corners railing on about his ‘theories’ on science, politics, and what’s wrong with the world? You neither hate nor fear him enough to do anything but duck your head and hurry on, quickly thinking about more important matters than some random kook.

    Same random kook starts placing active bombs around to make his points clearer? You and I now grant him the “respect” to hate, fear … and pay attention. Not to his message, necessarily.

    It’s a very low-bar variation of respect, though.

  • cptdoom

    Mary, please – you want to see someone who’s hated and feared? Take a look at any effeminate gay man, who also BTW has more guts and balls than all the chickenhawks put together.

  • cynix

    When people hate you and fear you its generally, in my experine, a sign of hate and fear. People who are fundmentalyl insecure and can’t earn respect coerce it.

  • http://www.themindisaterriblething.com shripathikamath

    Thanks, Ed. One more myth propagated by the mainstream media gets dispelled.

    There are no moderates in the GOP. I disagree only in your distinction.

    The only distinction today between elected liberals and elected conservatives is that the liberals are slightly to a lot more socially liberal. Otherwise, there is little to choose from

  • vmanis1

    I am always careful to give each person the respect she or he deserves.

  • left0ver1under

    The Myth of the Passive Conservative

    ….today’s incredibly aggressive right wing has to be recast as being passive wallflowers who just don’t fight hard enough.

    You almost said it yourself: the reality of passive-aggressive conservatives.

  • http://rationaldreaming.com tacitus

    We have our Ed Schultz’ too, which is exactly why he annoys me so much.

    Yeah, but we also have our Rachel Maddow’s too, and therein lies the difference.

    Disclaimer: I haven’t watched any cable news in the last five years, but I assume she hasn’t changed much in that time.

  • http://thebronzeblog.wordpress.com/ Bronze Dog

    I really think we need to decouple the ideas of fear and respect from one another. People who are feared typically gain the illusion of respect from the people who respond to fear with submission. It’s not sincere respect, just social armor. I think the best way to describe the problem here is that acknowledgement and attention are being conflated with respect.

    It’s pretty much in line with one pop psychology explanation for some children’s tantums: They want attention and fear being ignored more than they fear negative consequences.

  • freehand

    eric” Rush Limbaugh said, I can’t remember where he said it, but he said, ‘You have to understand that when people hate you and fear you, it’s a sign of respect.

    Assuming O’Keefe didn’t make this up whole cloth (which is entirely possible), I can’t help thinking this is someone’s dysfunctional childhood coming to the fore. “That’s the way my daddy treated me, so that’s the way I’m gonna treat others.”

    More than that; I’ve heard adults males in violent households say “I’ll teach you respect!” right before hitting someone weaker. And it’s a common gangster meme: respect = fear.

    Probably because in those circles the only folks who get a semblance of respect are the scary ones.

  • lpetrich

    So they are calling themselves victims. Shame, shame, shame. They ought to suck it up and take responsibility for their actions. Which is what they demand that everybody else do.