Friday November 20, 2015
Paul Krugman has a column, “The Face Awakens,” on the fear-mongering/panicky GOP response in the wake of the Paris attacks, and how it's been this way throughout the Obama years. Anything Obama suggests (health care), or anything that goes wrong in the world (Ebola), is met with all the courage of a Barney Fife.
What explains the modern right's propensity for panic? Part of it, no doubt, is the familiar point that many bullies are also cowards. But I think it's also linked to the apocalyptic mind-set that has developed among Republicans during the Obama years.
Except it's not just the Obama years. This is been SOP for the GOP for decades. Here's Nora Sayre in New Times magazine reporting on the mood at the 1976 Republican convention:
Never has our social fabric seemed so fragile; today, imperiled by demonic forces that may shatter it from outside or from within, the mere “survival of the nation” is at stake—along with its safety...
Ford himself seemed to have forgotten that he had actually been in office, while Goldwater talked as though Carter had been elected eight years ago...
On the final night, Reagan caught the mood of his party to perfection when he mused on the letter that he'd been asked to compose for a time capsule that will be unsealed in Los Angeles a hundred years hence. He wondered if “the erosion of freedom that has taken place under Democrat rule” would have prevailed by the Tricentennial, and if “horrible missiles of destruction” would have eliminated “the civilized world we live in.” His readers of the next century “might not even get to to read the letter at all” if the Republicans should fail to preserve the liberties that their enemies yearn to demolish. Ecstasy greeted his bleak message, and his followers cheered on having their fears confirmed.