Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Yelling You Hear Is Coming From the Losers (Duh)

Consider these words written about the president of the United States:
"We have arrived at a fearful crisis. Things cannot long remain as they are. It behooves all who love their country -- who have affection for their offspring, or who have any stake in our institutions, to pause and reflect. Confidence is daily withdrawing from the General Government. Alienation is hourly going on. These will necessarily create a state of things inimical to the existence of our institutions, and, if not arrested, convulsions must follow, and then comes dissolution or despotism, when a thick cloud will be thrown over the cause of liberty and the future prospects of our country."

No, not about Barack Obama was the specter of despotism invoked. These words were written against Andrew Jackson in 1834 ("American Lion," p. 277). He was the Democratic president tarred with the word TYRANT in his day, but unlike our current courtly, constrained, and cautious president, Andrew Jackson actually did have a streak of thug in him that bore watching.

Rick Perlstein writes this a.m. that "the crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy, [when] elites exploit the crazy for their own narrow interests." Dick Armey, whose FreedomWorks astroturf group is behind much of the orchestrated anger over health-care reform, could not keep from rubbing his hands together this morning and grinning like a cornered possum about the manipulation, though the words that came out of his mouth on Meet the Press were all denial and deflection.

In the early 1950s, Republicans referred to the presidencies of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman as "20 years of treason" and accused the men who led the fight against fascism of deliberately surrendering the free world to communism .... Before the "black helicopters" of the 1990s, there were right-wingers claiming access to secret documents from the 1920s proving that the entire concept of a "civil rights movement" had been hatched in the Soviet Union; when the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act was introduced, one frequently read in the South that it would "enslave" whites.

Perlstein sums up the failure of the mainstream media (not Fox News, obviously, which ain't mainstream): "Conservatives have become adept at playing the media for suckers, getting inside the heads of editors and reporters, haunting them with the thought that maybe they are out-of-touch cosmopolitans and that their duty as tribunes of the people's voices means they should treat Obama's creation of 'death panels' as just another justiciable political claim."

Philip Kennicott, in writing about the transformation of town-hall meetings into rageholic self-help sessions, quotes Alexis de Tocqueville, that "local institutions," such as town meetings, were "to liberty what primary schools are to science" (HT: T.O.). Science, you say? Conservatives are against that too.

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