What’s going on in the US now is really scary. The attacks on Obama make the ‘Revd’ Ian Paisley — even in his bigoted heyday — look like a bleeding-heart liberal. At the root of it is a sense of frustrated entitlement: it’s as if the Right in America simply cannot believe that its God-given right to run the country has been denied as a result of a liberal swindle. We saw some of this in the Clinton era (witness the continuous campaigns to harass and even impeach him), but what we’re seeing now is something else. It’s psychotic.
In that context, Andrew Sullivan has an interesting blog post this morning. Sample:
The pattern is now clear: the imperative to play the political game has won on the right. The longer-term pattern is just as clear: a faction of congressional Democrats sometimes backed Bush on his initiatives (such as his tax cuts). No one in the Congressional Limbaugh-run GOP will back anything this president does. Not only that; they will assault him, race-bait him and insult him in a continuous reel of populist bile.
It seems to me that the GOP was once recognizable as a human personality. It had an id; but it also had a series of responsible egos – Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush I and, to some extent, Bush II; and it had a super-ego – some kind of conscience that made it think of the broader society over partisan warfare. What we've seen in the last few years is the removal of both ego and super-ego.
What you have now is just the rage at the world and its confounding trade-offs and compromises. The knowledge of the Rove right’s total failure in the last eight years has only made the far right more fervent in its theo-ideology. Do they have a plan to balance the budget? To salvage or cut losses in Afghanistan? To integrate illegal immigrants rather than use their lives as political fodder? To get the working middle classes reliable healthcare insurance? Not that I can see beyond utopian platitudes.
But they do know that anything this president does is a threat to them. And the noise they can make and violence they can foment is out of all proportion to their numbers…
It reminds me of the old definition of ‘fanatic’ as someone who keeps bombing after he has forgotten the objectives that bombing was supposed to achieve.