Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Even the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal ...

Thomas Frank reports in The GOP Loves the Heartland To Death Wall Street Journal 09/10/08:

It tells us something about Sarah Palin's homage to small-town America, delivered to an enthusiastic GOP convention last week, that she chose to fire it up with an unsourced quotation from the all-time champion of fake populism, the belligerent right-wing columnist Westbrook Pegler.

"We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity," the vice-presidential candidate said, quoting an anonymous "writer," which is to say, Pegler, who must have penned that mellifluous line when not writing his more controversial stuff. As the New York Times pointed out in its obituary of him in 1969, Pegler once lamented that a would-be assassin "hit the wrong man" when gunning for Franklin Roosevelt.
Actually, "belligerent right-wing columnist" only begins to describe him. After all, this is a guy who was so far out that the John Birch Society kicked him out in 1964 for being too anti-Semitic.

Diane McWhorter provides some background on Pegler in Dangerous Minds Slate 03/04/04:

Pegler's career took off in 1933 when he became a nationally syndicated columnist with Scripps-Howard, roared along under the Hearst family, and ended 30 years later under the auspices of a twitchy sect of neo-Nazis and professional racists from the White Citizens Council and the Rev. Billy James Hargis' truly reptilian Christian Crusade. At his peak in the 1930s and 1940s, Pegler was a leading popularizer of one of the most concerted antidemocratic crusades in this country's history: the vicious backlash against the New Deal and the labor movement to which it gave legal protection. This anti-Roosevelt front included the country's major industrialists, anti-Semitic, red-baiting pamphleteers, Congressman Martin Dies' Committee on Un-American Activities, and an assortment of Depression-era demagogues (and men on horseback who conspired with Hitler's agents in this country).

Although Pegler did not turn against Roosevelt until the president's second term, he quickly became a shrill cheerleader for the right's campaign to paint the New Deal's democratic advances as an internationalist Communist plot. Pegler compared union advocates of the closed shop to Hitler's "goose-steppers." (In his view, the greatest threat to the country was the corrupt labor boss; his exposé of a union official's mob connections earned him a Pulitzer in 1941.) By the 1950s, however, Pegler was showing some nostalgia for the Third Reich. His proposal for "smashing" the AF of L and the CIO was for the state to take them over. "Yes, that would be fascism," he wrote. "But I, who detest fascism, see advantages in such fascism."
Yep, those neo-Confederate, Alaska-Independence Party/Constitution Party types are some fine Christian white folks, ain't they?

Shouldn't the press be demanding that she repudiate Westbrook Pegler and that McCain repudiate her use of his quote?

David Neiwert cautions, Sarah Palin And The AIP: Not So Fast With The Exonerations, Please FireDogLake 09/10/08. Neiwert is an expert on the far-right milieu. You know, the ones who are about to get one of their partisans in as the new Dick Cheney.

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