Andrew C. McCarthyism

I have written and spoken frequently, and especially recently, about the blurring of lines on the right, between legitimate conservative discourse and crazy extremist conspiracy. But I think it's hard for those who don't pay close attention to this stuff to get what I'm talking about. So I thought I'd show you an example: Andrew C. McCarthy.

McCarthy is a major voice of movement conservatism. He is a regular columnist at National Review, blogs regularly on that magazine's site, holds positions with a couple of think-tanks, writes articles and op-eds that appear in a variety of publications (including, at least once, the New York Times), appears as a guest on any popular conservative talk show you can think of, speaks at conferences, and is cited by roughly half of the top-selling conservative books of the past two years.

All this, when any responsible person should treat him like a raving loon.

McCarthy's latest book, published by Encounter last May, is titled The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. That's not merely a provocative title; the actually claims that President Barack Obama, with the full knowledge and support of American liberals, has joined forces with Muslim extremist advocates of global sharia government, to bring about the fall of the United States.

The book was almost completely ignored, rightly, by everyone outside movement-conservative circles -- but within those circles, it was treated like one of the most important works of our time. Limbaugh, Bennett, Levin, and Malkin provided blurbs; every conservative talk host, on every medium, had McCarthy on for gushing interviews. "Serious" Republicans have cited it.

As far as millions and millions of people in the conservative audience can tell, McCarthy is a serious thinker whose utterances are perfectly accepted mainstream conservative discourse.

To understand how nutty that is, you should read for yourself. The following are exerpts from the early pages of McCarthy's book, and I think fairly present his claims. For your reference, the "prostration" is the much-ballyhooed gesture made by Obama when greeting King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in April 2009; and the "messenger" quote (emphases McCarthy's) comes from an October 2007 Tavis Smiley interview.

Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam. More specifically, it is the bottomless purse and symbolic crown of a movement which aims at nothing less than supplanting Western political, economic, and cultural values. The subversion of those values is Obama's fondest wish: the work of his presidency....
The Koran endorses the prostration of an infidel before his Muslim better -- or, writ large, the subordination of the West before the might of Islam... It signifies that dhimmis, non-Muslim subjects, have not only surrendered but "feel themselves subdued."...
The left... has made common cause with Islam -- or, at the very least, with Islamism, Islam's large fascistic subset that is driven by the religion's dehumanizing supremacism...
"I am the messenger who can deliver that message," the candidate had told PBS. Would anyone seriously believe that Obama, a deft communicator and no stranger to celestial imagery, was not intentionally evoking images of Islam's Prophet?...
As Obama deployed it, [his middle name] Hussein was not merely a name... antiwar leftists in America and their Islamist allies worldwide instantly got the message... Obama was offering an overture of empathy, of like-mindedness. They would seize on Obama's ties to Islam, and the "hope" those ties portended for undermining the last remaining superpower, the object of their mutual disdain....
It is vital to bear in mind that the president is an Alinskyite... They have, in substance, the same goals as open revolutionaries: overthrowing the existing free-market republic and replacing it with a radical's utopia....Their single, animating goal is to overthrow the capitalist social order... Everything else -- including the cultivation of like-minded Islamists -- is negotiable...
[Obama's] formal religion is nearly irrelevant. The faith to which Obama actually clings is neocommunism... It should have surprised no one when Obama staffed his White House with race-baiting Marxists... [H]e has methodically... crush[ed] the capitalist system... This 'change' is not designed to create a new system. Its purpose is to destroy the old one. What comes next is negotiable. That is why neocommunism aligns so seamlessly with revolutionary movements catalyzed by religious fervor...
The Bolsheviks tolerated Islamist elements before the Stalinist purge. Iranian Communists backed Khomeni against the Shah, the Muslim Brotherhood aligned with Nasserite socialists against the Egyptian monarchy, and so on... there is nothing novel in this latest alliance between political socialists and religious extremists...
Like the neocommunist, the Islamist works to impose his version of "social justice"... the essentials of their visions coalesce: They are totalitarian, collectivist, and antithetical to the core conceit of American constitutional democracy, individual liberty... America's 44th president and America's enemies have a common dream. The president's bow to the Saudi king should have surprised no one. It was a submission to their mutual aspiration: a symbolic moment in the transformation from the America that was to the America of Barack Obama's fancy, a vision that would mark a giant leap forward for the global Islamist project... Its purpose is to supplant American constitutional democracy with sharia law, just as it would establish sharia throughout the world.
To be clear: McCarthy contends that the President is guilty of high treason, subjugating America to foreign hostile powers, to assist them in destroying this country -- and that "the left" knowingly elected him to carry out this plan.
That's crazy -- it is a baseless fantasy entirely dreamed up in McCarthy's head, with no connection to the real world.
If McCarthy and these nut-job conspiracy delusions are worthy of conservative praise, then why not believe someone like, say, "birther" attorney Stephen Pidgeon, when he argues that Obama uses symbols to gain power through the occult; or the quackery-drenched Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (best-known member, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul) when it argues that Obama uses "neurolinguistic programming" hypnosis techniques to perform mind control over the American people (yes, that's right); or those who claim outright that Obama is the Antichrist?
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