Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The McCarthy Code

By Capt. Fogg

"The creation myth of modern conservatism usually begins with Barry Goldwater,"

says Neal Gabler in the Los Angeles Times, but was Goldwater really anything like Sarah Palin or George Bush or indeed any Republican president or candidate since his disastrous run?

Gabler thinks the true story bears no resemblance to the heroic epic of Goldwater, Reagan, and the Bushes, but rather that the blood line descends from Joe McCarthy to Dick Nixon to the Commander Guy. Wisconsin Senator McCarthy with his witch hunts, fake lists of Commies in the State Department, Hollywood, the schools, and under your bed was the prototype, seting the stage for the aggressive use of bogeymen to divide, antagonize, and conquer.

"McCarthyism is a way to build support by playing on the anxieties of Americans, actively convincing them of danger and conspiracy even where these don't exist."

Even a man like John McCain couldn't resist the temptation to demonize, to invent doubt and suspicion, to enlist people like Sara Palin -- and perhaps without the vertiginous descent of our economy, so reminiscent of the Biblical plagues upon Egypt, he would have succeeded.

All the pundits are pretending to ask themselves, "whither the GOP?" Now that McCain has sold his withered soul and slithering Sarah is in the spotlight, supporting unscrupulous candidates and hunting witches, Gabler thinks he knows and I think I agree.

"There may be assorted intellectuals and ideologues in the party, maybe even a few centrists, but there is no longer an intellectual or even ideological wing. The party belongs to McCarthy and his heirs -- Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Palin. It's in the genes."

Let's hope we acquire some immunity.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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