Can the former mayor of New York City, a man who, as USA Today put it, "marched in gay pride parades, dressed up in drag and lived temporarily with a gay couple and their Shih Tzu" - that was between his second and third marriages - really get away with saying that Barack Obama doesn't think small towns are sufficiently "cosmopolitan"? Can the vice-presidential candidate of a party that has controlled the White House, Congress or both for 26 of the past 28 years, a party that, Borg-like, assimilated much of the D.C. lobbying industry into itself - until Congress changed hands, high-paying lobbying jobs were reserved for loyal Republicans - really portray herself as running against the "Washington elite"?
Yes, they can.
On Tuesday, He Who Must Not Be Named - Mitt Romney mentioned him just once, Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin not at all - gave a video address to the Republican National Convention. John McCain, promised President Bush, would stand up to the "angry left." That's no doubt true. But don't be fooled either by Mr. McCain's long-ago reputation as a maverick or by Ms. Palin's appealing persona: the Republican Party, now more than ever, is firmly in the hands of the angry right, which has always been much bigger, much more influential and much angrier than its counterpart on the other side.
What's the source of all that anger?
Some of it, of course, is driven by cultural and religious conflict: fundamentalist Christians are sincerely dismayed by Roe v. Wade and evolution in the curriculum. What struck me as I watched the convention speeches, however, is how much of the anger on the right is based not on the claim that Democrats have done bad things, but on the perception - generally based on no evidence whatsoever - that Democrats look down their noses at regular people.
Thus Mr. Giuliani asserted that Wasilla, Alaska, isn't "flashy enough" for Mr. Obama, who never said any such thing. And Ms. Palin asserted that Democrats "look down" on small-town mayors - again, without any evidence.
What the G.O.P. is selling, in other words, is the pure politics of resentment; you're supposed to vote Republican to stick it to an elite that thinks it's better than you. Or to put it another way, the G.O.P. is still the party of Nixon.
One of the key insights in "Nixonland," the new book by the historian Rick Perlstein, is that Nixon's political strategy throughout his career was inspired by his college experience, in which he got himself elected student body president by exploiting his classmates' resentment against the Franklins, the school's elite social club. There's a direct line from that student election to Spiro Agnew's attacks on the "nattering nabobs of negativism" as "an effete corps of impudent snobs," and from there to the peculiar cult of personality that not long ago surrounded George W. Bush - a cult that celebrated his anti-intellectualism and made much of the supposed fact that the "misunderestimated" C-average student had proved himself smarter than all the fancy-pants experts.
And when Mr. Bush turned out not to be that smart after all, and his presidency crashed and burned, the angry right - the raging rajas of resentment? - became, if anything, even angrier. Humiliation will do that.
Can Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin really ride Nixonian resentment into an upset election victory in what should be an overwhelmingly Democratic year? The answer is a definite maybe.
By selecting Barack Obama as their nominee, the Democrats may have given Republicans an opening: the very qualities that inspire many fervent Obama supporters - the candidate's high-flown eloquence, his coolness factor - have also laid him open to a Nixonian backlash. Unlike many observers, I wasn't surprised at the effectiveness of the McCain "celebrity" ad. It didn't make much sense intellectually, but it skillfully exploited the resentment some voters feel toward Mr. Obama's star quality.That said, the experience of the years since 2000 - the memory of what happened to working Americans when faux-populist Republicans controlled the government - is still fairly fresh in voters' minds. Furthermore, while Democrats' supposed contempt for ordinary people is mainly a figment of Republican imagination, the G.O.P. really is the Gramm Old Party - it really does believe that the economy is just fine, and the fact that most Americans disagree just shows that we're a nation of whiners.
But the Democrats can't afford to be complacent. Resentment, no matter how contrived, is a powerful force, and it's one that Republicans are very, very good at exploiting.
Well, of course they are. Perceived slights are their stock and trade. Why, pray tell, do Americans resent anyone they perceive as smarter than them? Why do they want to vote for someone they would like to hang out with, have a beer with or whatever other stupid reason to vote for anyone? Why does anyone want the president to be an average Joe or Josephine?
Identify an "enemy" or a group of scared people, depending on the intended use, and say you will 1) defend them against the "enemy," with real or imagined super-powers, like a comic book character; A Lex Luther type. or 2) that you understand the scared peoples' fears and frustrations and you will not tolerate liberals, progressives or anyone to the right of Attila the Hun, calling you a bible toting, gun nut. Of course no one actually said that in that way. But beyond that, I don't give a hoot what someone thinks about my religious /spiritual practices or whether they approve of my Smith and Wesson.
What I do want to know is, how does a candidate plan to lead this nation through one of the hardest times we have ever faced as a nation. I want to know that he is not delusional or out of touch with rank and file Americans and the issues with which they are already being faced, and we all know it's going to get much worse before it gets better. I want him to know that and be honest about it; lay out the problem and have solutions in mind.
We are facing a major, national and global catastrophe and Sarah Palin and others have spoken with condescension and belittling barbs about Obama's community organizing . Obama was the head of the Harvard Law Review. No shortage of brain-power there. He chose to serve a broken community. The U.S.A. is one hell of a big broken community. If we, the people, can't bring ourselves to vote on the most intelligent, compassionate community organizer we can find, we can watch, in abject powerlessness, while our nation crumbles under the weight of corporate imperial corruption and inhumanity around the globe.
The modern-day GOP is famous for "projection." Example: the old saw of Eastern, establishment elite (which includes all news media except the Right-wing echo chamber, the flag-ship being Faux Noise).
One doesn't get much more elite than Mitt Romney. My God, the guy doesn't have a real name, like most of the Buffys, Fluffys and Muffys one runs into at the local private club
Just don't even get me started on Rudy. What a piece of work! He's so damned privileged and entitled, he thought he could have his own little haram in Gracie Mansion while being the mayor of NYC. If Rudy isn't mobbed up somehow it wil be one of the greaest shocks of my life. Remember Benard Kirik?
Not every U.S. soldier, marine, sailor or airman got to come home as a hero like McCain did, dump his crippled wife for a hot heiress and who, now, has more houses than he can count, never having to face the prospects of dying on the streets of his country, broken and alone. Yet, McCain, other than denouncing it as distasteful, had little to say when John Kerry was being pilloried, his service questioned, even though Kerry volunteered for Nam, won several purple hearts and a silver cross or something. (I'm not all that familiar with the rewards of war.)
Let us not forget the group of effing crazies who got us into the horrendous mess in Iraq, as well as at home, with out-right deception. Wolfowitz, Bolton, Hadley, Addington, Gonzales, Card, Libby, Kristol, Ledeen and other Neocon egg-heads, dotted around the administration like flies on horse-shit.
Talk about elitist!!
Talk about theorists, who have no practical knowledge about their fixation/obsession, heads-in-the-clouds, pointy-headed idiots and who actually believed that the U.S. could simply re-make the Middle east in their own image or at least to the benefit of the American Corporate Empire!!! (probably still can, just as soon as they get rid of all those damned, elitest liberals)
Who can forget the cloth-coated Pat Nixon? Who can forget very wealthy Bebe Rebozo?
If Goopers aren't elite when they get to Washington, they soon will be. I imagine that can be said of a few Democrats as well. The problem with the Goopers is that they always seem to be talking about themselves while describing or smearing someone else. It's really quite amazing; "projection as group-think."
God, they really are a sick lot and a dangerous one as well.
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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.