Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Paranoid Style in American Democratic Politics

Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics gives us an example of how much the political landscape has changed since the early 1960s:

In November, 1964, Professor Richard Hofstadter penned an essay in Harper's Magazine attempting to explain the paranoia and anger manifested by the right wing of the Republican party in the era of McCarthy and Goldwater. Forty-one years later to the month, however, it's impossible to read Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics without seeing similarities to the mood and mentality of today's Democratic party.

Well, what goes around comes around. Poetic justice, indeed.

Hofstadter pointed out that the paranoid style is exacerbated by a lack of political power and control:

The situation becomes worse when the representatives of a particular social interest—perhaps because of the very unrealistic and unrealizable nature of its demands—are shut out of the political process. Having no access to political bargaining or the making of decisions, they find their original conception that the world of power is sinister and malicious fully confirmed. They see only the consequences of power—and this through distorting lenses—and have no chance to observe its actual machinery.

Five years ago I'd say the "paranoid style" described an extremely small percentage of the Democratic party - no more so than the Republicans' own version during the Clinton years. Today, however, after three lost elections and the tumultuous events of September 11 and the invasion of Iraq, that number seems to be much larger and growing by the day.

Elections have consequences. One of them is the unhinging of the perennial losers. ;-)

Although it is questionable whether or not web sites like The Daily Kos and Moveon.org represent the average liberal in the US, what can't be argued is that these sites are increasing in influence. Any non-Kool-aid drinker who spends much time at these sites must be left scratching their heads at some of the conclusions drawn by the posters and, especially, the commenters. In order for the Democrats to take advantage of the openings the Republicans have given them, they have to have to see the big picture. That's hard to do if you're paranoid.

UPDATE: This just in from Democratic Underground:
itzamirakul: I don't believe the "failed bomber" woman woman was involved at all...I think this is just one more staged event by BushCo..

Every d*mned time BushCo gets in trouble, somewhere in the world gets bombed...New York, Spain, London and now Jordan. So Al Quaida wants to make the entire world mad at them, huh? No, BushCo wants to make the entire world at this phantom organization they started right after 911 and named it Al Quaida, which simply means, "the base".

How about you? Do YOU believe this woman is truly a failed terrorist?

H/T: Lorie Byrd, guest blogging at Michelle Malkin.

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