Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Spruce up the gulags.

Last week I wrote a post about Powerline blog's accusation that Jimmy Carter is a traitor and how this is part and parcel of the American right-wing's increasingly dangerous radicalism. Well, as it turns out, John Hinderaker, the guy who runs Powerline, has outdone himself. Whereas, he was once content accusing Jimmy Carter of being a traitor, he has now decided(warning: link is to a movie) that "the entire Democratic engaged in an effort that is a betrayal of America."

Wow! Who knew. My grandmother, an 83 year-old Democrat in New York state, is out to betray America. My dad, a life-long Democrat, retired and living peacefully in north Georgia, is out to betray America. My friends, spread among many states, working in the private and public sectors, raising kids, buying houses, leading their lives, and voting Democrat. ALL of them out to betray and destroy America.

Can I ask one question, please? Here it is: What the fuck do these people smoke?

I'm serious. I've read Richard Hofstadter, I know about the paranoid style in American politics. But please. The entire Democratic mainstream out to destroy America? This isn't paranoid, this is just plain dangerous and crazy. What he is essentially saying is, if you don't buy into the Republican party line, you're a traitor. What else can that quote mean? In the last election, 59 million people voted for the Democratic candidate. Does he serious mean to imply that these people, most of them mainstream Democrats, are out to betray America? If not, what portion of that 59 million people are, and what does he propose to do about it?

This is dangerous, dangerous logic folks. And, as Matt Yglesias suggests, when you start demonizing vast swaths of the population, calls for the gulag can't be far away.