The Neighborhood Of Make Believe


Producer Larry Massett visited Mt. Shasta, CA for Soundprint Radio during the 1987 Harmonic Convergence. He noticed that many channelers, UFO seekers and other New Age pilgrims began their sentences with “for me.” Massett saw “for me” as a kind of “universal prepositional solvent, dissolving external reality.”

Decades later, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and lesser priests and priestesses of the conservative Ministry of Truth dissolve external reality every day – brought to you by Goldline and Sleep Number Beds. In the logic of Beck’s world, it would be no coincidence that his program runs in the same after school time slot once occupied by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make Believe.

Like channelers, crystal healers and multi-level marketers, “good, healthy right-wing exuberants” (now including the core of the GOP) inhabit personal realities where they imagine themselves mythic heroes – right-wing Dungeons and Dragons characters, but instead of fighting dragons and wizards, they fancy themselves rescuing the republic from fascists, socialists and other make believe foes.

But it’s not just faulty economic theories that led to economic ruin for the middle class that disqualify the right from holding power again. It’s how eager they are to squander the country’s time and energy on every tempest-in-a-tea-party that comes along instead of attending to the pressing needs of real Americans in economic distress.

Behold, a sampling from over a decade of ginned-up controversies Republican leaders found worthy of wasting their own (and their countrymen’s) time:

Clinton Impeachment
Freedom Fries
Terri Schiavo
War on Christmas
Flag Pins
Anchor Babies
Bill Ayers
Climate Gate
Death Panels
Van Jones
FEMA Camps
ACORN (again)
Terror Babies
New Black Panthers
Shirley Sherrod
14th Amendment
Ground Zero “Terror” Mosque

There is more of the same awaiting America next January if Democrats stay away from the polls this November and allow extremists to drag the country further down the rabbit hole.

And economically? “We need to go back to the exact same agenda…” Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) told Meet the Press in July.

Right, back to the future when we were going to drastically cut taxes, build a 600-ship navy and balance the budget all at the same time. Back to the future when we deregulated savings and loans. Back to the future when manufacturing went offshore and we were all supposed to get rich shuffling data from here to there. Back to Reaganomics’ thirty-year legacy of squeezing America’s middle class so hard it became an endangered species. Mourning in America.

General Electric co-chairman Jeff Immelt gave a post-mortem on the period to a conference this week in Butte, MT:

“It was just wrong. It was stupid. It was insane,” Immelt said of the push for a service-based economy. “The future of the economy has to be as an exporter.”

Unless you’re still living in the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

Speaking with Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden issued a pre-election admonition progressives, “Get in gear, man!”


  1. Tom Sullivan says:

    Operator error led to this being posted a day earlier than planned.

    Here’s a link to the show: