Cliff Schecter, 6/15/2012 [Archive]

The Conservative Closet

The Conservative Closet

By Cliff Schecter

Ultra-conservatives really love the closet. And no, I'm not just talking in a Larry Craig-kinda way. Sure, some of them use it to protect themselves, but many more use it to protect their agenda.

You see, the closet can hide all sorts of truths among its shadows. Americans and any facts about America that don't fit the right-wing narrative can be shoved into this enclosed recess--either bullied into silence or simply ignored--and conservatism can continue to prosper. Quite frankly, conservatives need a big enough closet to house a combined Imelda Marcos/Kerry Bradshaw shoe collection if they're to continue prospering after the economic, foreign policy, and social destruction they've wreaked upon this nation.

Right-wingers can then tell you that gays and lesbians are some strange breed of misanthrope intent on intergalactic sexual dominion, and if you've never met anyone who is gay before, you just might believe it. Enough of us might even be convinced by television advertisements that most Americans want to cut Social Security, think closing the gun-show loophole is unimportant or believe the Citizens United decision makes any sense whatsoever. On all of these, the "progressive" or non-Ted-Nugent position polls at or north of 70 percent in "swing states" and nationally, making people possessing these ideas the silent majority Richard Nixon once considered worthy of song.

As a result, the protectors of the status quo will fight like hell to keep you and your ideas safely behind their folded khakis or under the Etch-A-Sketch. This is what makes Sandra Fluke, Ellen DeGeneres and interviews with those who've lost their jobs due to Mitt Romney's machinations dangerous. If we see people we can identify with going through a crisis, or making a sensible decision, then it might not seem unreasonable to us. This is also the reason most of us react to Mitt Romney in much the same way we do to a malfunctioning fax machine.

All of which brings us to last week, at a progressive blogger conference in Providence, Rhode Island, called Netroots Nation. At this conference, former Microsoft software developer and current congressional candidate from Washington State's 1st District, Darcy Burner, stood up and courageously spoke about the issue of abortion during a keynote address.

Most people don't know that one in three women have had an abortion, because the Right has successfully shamed women who made a legal, medically-based decision into hiding in those shadows in the closet. Burner, not one for running meek campaigns, asked women in the crowd to stand if they had had an abortion, and felt comfortable doing so. She then asked if the other women there would join them and stand up, showing support for the women around them. Then, Burner rightly said, "this is how we change the stories in people's heads."

Enter comical right-wing blogger Melissa Clouthier, who misquoted Burner and claimed the women in the hall were "celebrating" abortion.

Common sense was also lost on Joe Connelly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, as he took to Clouthier's misquote and spin. And of course Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson's publication, The Daily Caller, got in on the mythmaking too. But after being fired from most known television networks founded since about 1973, I guess Carlson has to do something to keep his 4 names in the press.

Burner, on the other hand, was doing what must be done in an age dominated by right-wing moneymen, pouring millions of dollars into everything from telling us Jesus was a car-elevator-owning hedge fund manager to global warming isn't happening.

This is why it is so important that Burner brought some sunlight to the truth. And we'd be all be the better for it if there were many more like her in our politics.


©Copyright 2012 Cliff Schecter, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Sales at 800- 696-7561 or email

Cliff Schecter is the President of Libertas, LLC, a progressive public relations firm, and the author of the 2008 bestseller "The Real McCain." Email Cliff at

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

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