A Republican friend sent a link from the Fox Noise machine where the wingnuts are busily stirring up a war on Christmas charge against Barack Obama over an Agriculture Deaprtment plan to impose a 15-cent-a-tree charge on large sellers of Christmas trees.
You don't need to know the facts to know this is a slogan campaign tailormade for Fox, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity and friends. But I also intuited instantly that this sounded less like a presidential declaration of war on Christians than a marketing fee just like those paid by soybean farmers, dairy farmers, cattle ranchers and others to pay for programs to support promotion of the things they produce.
Who could think Christmas trees need image work, everyone from Limbaugh to the Kochhead stooges at the Arkansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity parroted — as if they'd invented the wheel?
Easy answer: tree farmers and retailers of their product who've seen a big share of tree business go to fake Christmas trees, reusable year after year.
It didn't take a genius to figure this out if I did. But Talking Points Memo did the legwork. The drive for this fee began before Obama took office and came straight from tree farmers.
“It has absolutely nothing to do with Obama, it’s not a tax,” National Christmas Tree Association spokesman Rick Dungey told TPM. “I’m slowly but surely narrowing down who the culprits are who put out that sinister little statement for whatever reasons there were.”
“Growers have been working on this for three and a half years,” Dungey added. “It’s just sort of interesting timing, and unfortunately somebody decided to smear it. It’s growers pooling their money to promote the crop that they grow on their farms.”
I need not tell you that the facts don't matter when it comes to right-wing memes. You CAN fool most of the people most of the time. Obama is stealing Christmas with a confiscatory tax (can 15 cents buy ANYTHING anymore?) on a symbol all Americans hold dear (though many fewer buy it in the raw.) This will be Twittered, Facebooked and e-mailed a zillion times today by the fruitcakes and wackjobs who'll pin any lie, from small to monstrous, on Barack Obama. There's no reeling it back in.
PS — Don't expect the Obama administration to stand tall even when the truth is on its side. It's delaying the fee.