erik lundegaard

The More Republicans Change: Anger, Paranoia, and Visions of Apocalypse at the 1976 Republican Convention

When Patricia moved to New York in 1975, she worked as an editorial assistant at New Times, a short-lived but impressive feature news magazine that included Richard Corliss, Frank Rich, Robert Sam Anson and Bob Shrum among its writers. She still has some bound copies.

I was leafing through these the other day when I came across a piece by Nora Sayre on the 1976 Republican convention. It's startling how familiar the language is. In the wake of Watergate, in the face of an almost-certain Jimmy Carter victory, these Republicans offer nothing but complaints, paranoia, conspiracy theories and visions of apocalypse. Some samples:

That entire shower of joy—the celebration of a happy and healthy America [at the '72 Republican convention]—was a spectral memory in Kansas City in 1976. 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...

[This female delegate's] sense of an America in shreds was echoed by both Ford and Reagan delegates, and reinforced by the speakers, who emphasized that we're in a race with the clock. Goldwater warned that we must “save the last stronghold of freedom on earth,” since this “may be the last time” that we'll be able to “defend ourselves against our suicidal slide toward socialism”...

A Texan screamed at the nearby New York delegation, “If we fought the Civil War today, we'd win!” His friends broke into a Rebel Yell...

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...

Glenn Beck's shit is old...

Posted at 07:18 AM on Thu. Oct 22, 2009 in category Politics  


Mister B wrote:

...and tired.

The past is prologue.
Comment posted on Thu. Oct 22, 2009 at 09:27 AM

Rick Persltein wrote:

Wow, I wish I'd seen that.

Comment posted on Mon. Sep 01, 2014 at 06:58 PM
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