The New GOP: All “Whacked”

by A. Jay Adler on March 24, 2010
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If you are an individual of cosmopolitan inclination, yet native affections, you are bound to have moments that rupture your sensibilities. On the eve of the new millennium, Julia and I were in Venice with our dear friends Ashley and Mark, all of us marveling at how an event long anticipated in the far horizon of our lives had arrived so quickly. One day we wandered the Piazza San Marco, my mind traveling among cultural associations both sublime and sublimely ordinary, and decided to ascend the campanile, or bell tower. Julia and Ashley descended before us, as Mark and I lingered over the view. When at last Mark and I entered the elevator for our own return to ground, we found ourselves with two companions – two other Americans, as traveling fate will have it. In fact, they were a couple from New York, an Italian-American couple. Practically homies to us, Mark being a native New Yorker also, the two were making their first visit to the ancestral home. I felt that warmth one feels encountering another person from home while traveling in a foreign land. It was only when Mr. Homie asked, “Where youze guyz from?” that I realized I was sharing an elevator with Paulie Walnuts.

We told him.

L.A.?” Paulie declared. “Everybody in L.A.’s whacked –”

He pointed his index finger to his head, his thumb cocked.

“They’re all whacked.”

Clinical diagnosis? Prediction of the largest rub out on record? He was a master of ambiguity, that Paulie.

So, now this Harris poll, to be released today, reported by John Avalon at the Daily Beast.

Sometimes one engages in analysis, and there will be analysis for decades to come of what happened to American conservatism in the first decade of the twenty-first century, and the various forces – political hacks, politicians, think tanks, media personalities and organizations, and some purported intellects – that produced this dreadful phenomenon.

Other times one needs to be allowed to be stopped by wonder, to stand in dread and amazement. The wonder? How anyone who is not so untethered from reality as to believe any of these things, who might actually hold cogent and respectable conservative political views, does not cringe with embarrassment at the possibility of any association with this catastrophe. I suggested some months back that the GOP had gone of Prozac. It begins to appear antipsychotics are more like it.

AJA


4 comments

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

copithorne March 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm

The grammar of these poll questions and answers look as though they are describing a set of beliefs.

And yet I think they may have more of the meaning of expressions of anger. Most Republicans feel angry towards Barack Obama. And then they reach for rhetoric to convey their anger to others and justify their anger to themselves.

Calling Barack Obama a socialist or Muslim or a Kenyan or the antichrist may have more of the meaning of calling him an a**hole or **gger than it has to do with a considered belief in his disposition towards state ownership of the means of production.

That’s more of how I experience these kinds of conversations. I am curious as to the real reasons that Barack Obama or Bill Clinton trigger this kind of anger. Because in my experience, the policy explanations that people present to justify their anger don’t meet even a minimum threshhold of coherence. All the incoherent policy arguments are a smokescreen that conceals the real origin of the anger.

Finding an object of anger has been one of the most common uses of politics throughout human history. Being angry and having enemies is a surprisingly attractive way of discharging internal conflicts.

It is always an urgent question throughout the world of what kind of food can be prepared for people trapped in this position so that they can return a constructive role in society’s political life.

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Kris March 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Jason… you’re rambling again. How about stating your counterpoints without spitting all over the keyboard? Can people not debate in this country without appearing completely psychotic? Calm down, for God’s sake. It’s an embarrassment.

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A. Jay Adler March 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Kris, actually Jason makes a very good point. People who believe that Bush was a Nazi, Hitler-like, behind 9/11, evil – are fools. Maybe at some point he’ll grow tired of being in their company.

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Jason March 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm

And the great number of Democrats suffered Post Election Stress Disorder and deep depression after Bush won remember? How about the Democrats that said Bush was the Anti-Christ? Or the number of people who STILL believe that Bush planned and caused 9/11? Oh wait, they’re not crazy.. only the Republicans that believe that Obama, who recites an entire Muslim prayer in perfect Arabic, might be Muslin are nuts. And how is Obama NOT socialist? He’s slowly taken over many private companies most notably GM and Chrysler! That’s not socialist? He controls the banks as well and has now made a grab for Health insurance!

And yeah, Obama is doing things Hitler did. One of the Nazi party’s FIRST acts was HEALTH CARE REFORM! The Nazi’s were also VERY pro-environment as Obama is. Because guess what? The Nazi’s were socialists and Obama is a socialist.. that’s only crazy talk because Obama is a Democrat.. not a republican like Bush right? Because many on the left claimed Bush WAS Hitler not doing a single thing LIKE Hitler. That’s OK though b/c Bush was a republican and that’s not crazy talk b/c they’re democrats saying it.

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