Monday, October 27, 2008
Leaving Nixonland for good
Howard Wolfson, writing about Rick Perlstein's book "Nixonland":
Perlstein correctly states that Nixon came "to power by using the anger, anxieties, and resentments produced by the cultural chaos of the 1960s," and defines Nixonland as the state of total political warfare over class and cultural conflicts.Wolfson points out that Barack Obama challenged this vision of America as early as his 2004 speech at the the Democratic convention, asserting "there's not a liberal America and a conservative America — there's the United States of America." In contrast, John McCain has embraced the usual Republican tactics.
Wolfson has McCain pegged:
John McCain, raised in Nixonland, calls Senator Obama a socialist, trots out a plumber to stoke class and cultural resentments, and employs his Vice-President to question Obama's patriotism by linking him to terrorists. Nixonland 101 -- and if its rules still applied, Senator Obama would be in trouble.For a similar take on McCain's failed attempt to run on the worn-out and discredited politics of polarization, see also Tim Egan in the NY Times, who makes the case that "John McCain made a fatal error in turning his campaign over to the audience of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity." Egan makes a different argument than Wolfson, but reaches a similar conclusion. By embracing a pessimistic politics of resentment and division, Republicans have become the party of yesterday.
For the good of America, I hope that the GOP learns the lesson of this election. But I'm guessing they will be slow to change their ways.
Technorati Tags: Nixonland, McCain, Election 2008
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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