Saturday, March 27, 2010

saturday morning: reports from a pathological period

From broken windows to euphemistic "pay them a visit" posts to a cut gas line, heaping spoonfuls of racism and dashes of homophobia, there has been a mild (and I mean historically really mild) upswing in violent rhetoric and action. (I mean mild: somewhere, anti-labor thugs and whoever threw the Haymarket bomb are chuckling at the MSM's shocked reaction to all of this). Some Tea Partiers are denouncing violence, which is laudable but also takes the edge off their message. Ultimately the Tea Partiers are not smart enough to understand the political space that transcends the violence/reformist dichotomy. They can't conceive of a nonviolent revolution (which is one of the reasons their symbols are from the agitation that culminated in the Revolutionary War).  BTW-Time's Alex Altman is right to say that GOP leaders are winking at the violent reactionaries in their attempts to run some kind of reverse politicization play against Obama and the Democrats over all of this.

Sarah Palin's trip south is interesting on many levels: It is another instance of what an opportunist she is. It obviously makes no sense ideologically, since J.D. Hayworth's ideology is identical with Palin's. Hayworth is willing to say what McCain's handlers cringed at from Palin during the election (although he felt compelled to disavow birtherism). Palin's very presence on the ticket was meant to mobilize the Hayworths. And, Palin's self-identification with various Tea Party causes suggested that she had signalled that her relationship to the institutional GOP --precarious throughout her political career-- was permeable. My own interpretation: Sarah Palin is contemporary conservatism. Pulled in a thousand different ideological directions, she shrugs her shoulders and follows the money.

Really, MSNBC? Special coverage of the McCain & Palin event today? What a sad statement on the state of mainstream media. I'm all for critical journalism about prominent political personalities. But in this case, you're just feeding the dying, angry beasts. Isn't there some tent revival or carnival freak show you can cover somewhere? How about a rerun of To Catch A Predator?

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