Republican make-believe

Great column today by Gary Yonge on the US presidential election. He’s especially good about Republican supporters.

Having warped their understanding of how the world works to suit their ideology, they now have the terrible burden of having to live in it. On the whole, these are personally affable and politically angry people. The targets of their rage are clear: Hillary Clinton, the liberal media, illegal immigrants, Muslims, taxes, the government and nationalised healthcare all take their turns in the crosshairs.

But the source of their rage is a mystery. In George Bush, Conservatives have had almost everything they wanted. Tax cuts, war and conservative supreme court justices have all been forthcoming. For much of the time he has been in the White House the Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress too. To the faithful, that the economy is nosediving, the war has been judged a failure and the president’s approval ratings scrape historic lows are tiresome details. Since they only have themselves to blame, they simply change the subject and hope no one will notice.

When Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney declares “Washington is broken” before a cheering crowd in Bluffton, you have to wonder who they think broke it. Romney went on to say, with a straight face, that he drew his inspiration from “Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush”. When a leading presidential contender says he is enthused by the president’s mother but won’t mention the president himself, it becomes clear to what extent those who wish to be head of state must first occupy a state of denial…