Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Crazies Are All on the Right

According to Rick Perlstein.

So the birthers, the anti-tax tea-partiers, the town hall hecklers -- these are "either" the genuine grass roots or evil conspirators staging scenes for YouTube? The quiver on the lips of the man pushing the wheelchair, the crazed risk of carrying a pistol around a president -- too heartfelt to be an act. The lockstep strangeness of the mad lies on the protesters' signs -- too uniform to be spontaneous. They are both. If you don't understand that any moment of genuine political change always produces both, you can't understand America, where the crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy, and where elites exploit the crazy for their own narrow interests.

Perlstein goes on to attach every crazy, evil, racist conspiracy group to the right. Conveniently, he forgets about every nutjob group the left has ever produced. But fortunately for him, Steve Bainbridge makes a short list for him, including the Weathermen, Code Pink, Act Up and the eco-terrorists ALF and ELF. I had a short discussion (I left) with a friend where I also included the nuclear winter believers of the 1980s, the winter soldier liars of the Vietnam era, and the actual communists who supported overthrowing the American government.

The stunning part about Perlstein's argument is that so many people want desperately to believe that there are no crazies on their side of the political spectrum. But there are always extremists in each party. They don't represent the vast majority of Americans.

But what's worse is Perlstein's (and many Democrats') attempts to paint normal, everyday Americans who are concerned about Obamacare as Nazis, thugs, astroturfers, mobs, un-patriotic and downright evil people. They aren't any of these things. What they are is involved.