GOP: Obama Is Responsible for “A Culture of Intimidation”

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Apparently this is the latest Republican thing. They can’t show that Obama has been actually involved in the IRS scandal—or in any of the other squabbles currently roiling Washington DC, for that matter—so now they’ve gotten together and agreed on a new party line: Obama is responsible for all of this stuff anyway because he’s relentlessly stoked a “culture of intimidation” against his adversaries. “The president demonizes his opponents,” Mitch McConnell said with a straight face on Sunday, and this is at the root of all our problems.

Paul Mirengoff correctly suggests that this sounds whiny—”the kind of thing I’d expect from Democrats.” But he agrees with the basic premise that Obama demonizes his opponents, and points us to an NRO piece by Eliana Johnson that provides the proof. I was curious, so I clicked the link. Just what has Obama done to strike fear into Republicans’ hearts?

Well, only three things apparently. First, he dissed Fox News and then tried to exclude them from the network pool. Second, at an explicitly partisan DNC fundraiser following the Citizens United decision, he castigated “groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates all across the country.” AFP, of course, is supported by the Koch brothers. And apparently Obama has also said some uncomplimentary things about Rush Limbaugh. This is the full bill of particulars.

I’ll give them the Fox thing. Trying to keep Fox out of the press pool was bush league nonsense. But really. Kicking back at the rancid bile that spews out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth on a daily basis? Telling a bunch of rich Democratic donors that they’re up against lots of rich Republican donors, so please open your wallets? This is a culture of intimidation?

Conservatives, of course, have fostered a culture not of intimidation, but of rank hatred so insane you can practically see the spittle flecks every time they talk about Obama. And yet, when Obama returns fire, even with his trademark restraint, it’s time to bring out the smelling salts. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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