When Paul Waldman wrote an excellent editorial last week for The American Prospect about the “Circle of Scam” that is the modern conservative movement, we hoped that “liberal” media would give this problem some notice. We have not been disappointed. Politico unearthed the scandal that is the Senate Conservatives Fund two days later, and yesterday Alex Pareene dissected the story beautifully…but it does not matter:

The thing about this grand bamboozling is that the marks want to be bamboozled. When you tell them that Glenn Beck is paid to have certain opinions, they truly do not care. Sending people money to fight for a cause you strongly believe in feels good. The apocalyptic pitches may be obviously manipulative to anyone outside the target demographic, but they obviously work. And for years, the scheme actually worked in the larger sense, of enriching people and advancing the conservative agenda. With the financial (if not political) success of the SCF’s nihilistic approach to strategy, conservatives invested in the actual policy agenda are starting to worry.

The conservative movement cannot change. Change is a shibboleth to conservatives. Nevertheless, Americans should know that a primary and consequential electoral movement lives in a state of deep capture to scam artists. We have attempted to tell part of that story at this blog, and as it happens, so has Alex Pareene. Here is his segment on All In With Chris Hayes last night with Tara Dowdell, who observed that fraud may be epidemic in so-called “super PACs.” That is pretty much what we have been saying for a while now, so we hope this panel will reconvene and invite Dan Backer, the man who created super PACs, to talk about all of this.

  • This explains why Jimmy Swaggart continues to raise money hand over fist after his scandals. He tells the people what they want to hear. He gives voice to their hate and fear. This is why Rush Limbaugh succeeds despite his four marriages and drug convictions. He understands the fears and bigotry of his audience and he tells them it’s OK to feel that way, and here’s why. Any charlatan with a microphone can become a conservative media success if he has a well-modulated voice and tells the people that what they already fear is true and that they have good reasons to hate the things they already hate. Hence, Fox News.

    • The reason why Fox News comes across as a full-time fear and loathing channel is that Fox News spends its entire day channeling its viewers’ fear and loathing.