Saturday, October 13, 2012

Shot Fired at Obama Denver Field Office. Also: The Rovian Bargain


This sort of thing is a foreseeable consequence of the right's propaganda strategy. For four years they've pushed the "Evil Obama" tale. According to this yarn, Obama is a foreigner who is in the White House illegally, a Manchurian Candidate responsible for all the nation's woes, and intentionally seeking its destruction. He's going to take our guns, close our churches, heard us into concentration camps, and hand the country over to the U.N. In fact, he may very well be the Antichrist.

This yarn is aimed primarily at and consumed by a segment of the population that we might politely describe as cognitively vulnerable. And some of them obviously believe this story to at least some non-trivial extent. In fact, on the more cognitively vulnerable end of the curve, some fair number of them will believe a fair bit of it.

Now, if you do believe the "Evil Obama" theory sketched above, violence is not an unreasonable reaction. Who among us, in fact, would not begin planning violence if we believed such a thing?

The right, the GOP, and the right-wing noise machine cannot be surprised at such events. They've spent four years fanning the flames of hatred and fear.

The GOP's strategy is to trade reason and national unity for votes. They know that by destroying part of the foundation of rationality and good will that are requisite for democracy, they can increase their odds of winning elections. This Faustian--or, rather, Rovian--bargain* as been the centerpiece of their strategy since the Clinton administration. They are playing with fire, betting that they can fan the flames of unreason just enough to make their irrational policies winners, but not enough to burn down the country. They think the risk is worth it.

* Probably more accurately described as "Atwaterian"


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