Just when things were going so well. Bill Clinton lit up the Democratic National Convention this past week. Then Barack Obama came through with a slow-building heart launcher of a speech. Yet in between the two, the news broke that under questioning by one of the right wing media's interchangeable blondebots, a leading Dem pol let himself be prodded into an exasperated rant fueled by 5000 years of ethnic beatdowns, the choicest bits recorded and gone viral to the digital horizon.
Thank you very much, Mark Alan Siegel.
Not that there was anything wrong with a good deal of what PB Dem chair Siegel told the interviewer from Patriotupdate.com. He made the case that Christian fundamentalists who advocate Israeli expansionism undermine Israeli security. Agree or not, it's simply a question of policy choices: Either 1) barter captured Palestinian land for peace or 2) stand your ground.
Siegel went off the rails, however, sounding like aged Uncle Sammy having a cossack flashback after too much schnapps, when he declared that "The Christians just want us to be there so we can be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ."
There are, in fact, certain weird Christians who hold a mish-mash of apocalyptic beliefs about the creation of the State of Israel, the coming of Armageddon, and the conversion of a good portion of the Jews and destruction of the rest as a necessary prelude to the Second Coming. Blame author Hal Lindsey's wildly popular The Late, Great Planet Earth and Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series.
It's not the kind of crackpottery political leaders of any persuasion want to attribute to Christians at large, however, and Siegel was widely pilloried for his comments. He resigned his position Friday night.
Fire Ant is curious, however, about what led up to Siegel's meltdown. The offending clip was just one minute, two seconds out of an interview of unknown length, and the chance anyone outside of PatriotUpdate.com will ever see the complete document is slim to none. Was Siegel's interviewer a legitimate journalist (whatever that is) or simply out to trip the guy up?
The malevolent intent can't be ruled out, considering PatriotUpdate.com's lineage.
An aspiring propaganda machine like the late, unlamented Andrew Breitbart's "Breitbart TV" or weepoid creepoid Glenn Beck's "The Blaze," PU is an offshoot of Christian right webglomerate Liberty Alliance, which is "dedicated to defending and celebrating the American way of life. From conservative politics and Christian publishing to the great outdoors and stock car auto racing."
Business appears to be pretty good. LA claims to operate 23 websites and 5 webstores, "with just under 15 full-time staff members," reaching "over 3 million conservatives each day." That's a lot of conservatives.
PU founder Brandon R. Vallorani and brother Jared K. Vallorani, chief information officer, are part of a coven of similarly minded rightwing Christian activists based around Creation Ministries International, an Atlanta area non-profit whose charter is to "proclaim the truth and authority of the Bible, especially in the area of science and origins."
Fire Ant isn't letting Siegel off the hook for his deranged rant, and we're glad he's stepped down. But we challenge anyone to look over CMI's set of beliefs (it's called Young Earth Creationism) and tell us: Who's crazier?
Fire Ant is an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes fatal bite. He covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.