Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Alternative Realities

Michael Lind in his recent essay on the Tea Party points out that they are neither crazy nor stupid, that there is method in their apparent madness, that their actions are rational in light of the goals they want to achieve.

Perhaps, but to those of us outside that charmed circle, their methods look reckless and fanatical.  They may not be stupid, but all the denialism in that movement over so many issues makes them look incurious and parochial.

I find it so very striking how thoroughly they've managed to dissociate themselves from the rest of the country.  They have their own think tanks, polls, publications, and a teevee network that tells them only what they want to hear.  I wonder just how well they are served by such insularity.  I'm struck by how surprised Republicans in general were on election night in 2012.  All the polls outside the right wing orbit predicted an Obama victory.  Over on Fox News, everyone from George Will to Peggy Noonan were predicting a Romney victory; Dick Morris predicted a landslide.  What happened to that "conservative realism" we heard so much about 30 years ago?

There is no parallel universe on the other side.  So many left and center commentators (like Lind) spend a lot of time trying to read the Right Wing id.  Some like Robert Frank and Kevin Phillips have built careers trying to understand and explain why the Right thinks and acts the way it does.  I'm confident that there is no corresponding effort on the Right to understand the Left.  What few books there are on the Left by Right Wing authors are books like Anne Coutler's; books that have no interest in understanding the Left, but only in mocking and belittling it.  What's more, these few publications are less about explaining anything to constituents, and more about pointing out the "illegitimacy" of the opposition, including their voters.

Remarkable that a political movement built on über patriotism could hate their fellow Americans so bitterly (even the majority of them); and refuse to see them as fellow citizens, but as usurpers and parvenus.  Reminds me of the old anarchist hippy poster from the 1960s: "Overthrow the People!"


Gerrit said...

USA politics is not about democracy. It is about power.

MarkBrunson said...

It isn't Dems vs Repubs, it's the United States of America vs. the Tea Party.

Murdoch Matthew said...

It's the 99.9% vs. the .1% One dollar, one vote.

We're close to a handful of billionaires (of inherited wealth)buying the planet and telling the rest of us to get off their property.