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.

Nixonland, the book, ends in 1972, but Nixonland, the place, endured, through the 70s and 80s, up until George W. Bush's re-election in 2004. Welfare queens, Willie Horton, Swiftboats; all Nixonland tactics, all designed to cleave Americans along racial and cultural lines. Perlstein writes, "What Richard Nixon left behind was the very terms of our national self-image: the notion that there are two kinds of Americans. On the one side the "Silent Majority"...On the other side are the "liberals."
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.

But they don't.
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:

posted at 7:13:00 AM by Neil

| +Save/Share | |

Links to this post:

Create a Link




FEATURED QUOTE

"It is the logic of our times
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?


ABOUT US

  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse

  • RECENT POSTS

  • The Republican Spirit
  • McCain + Iraq = Clueless
  • McCain Re-Imagined
  • How was your weekend?
  • Unbuckling the Bible Belt from the Legacy of Slave...
  • Obama's foreign policy and "humanitarian intervent...
  • Lack of Judgment at Pittsburgh by Robert S. McElva...
  • Another tough break for McCain
  • The destruction of Iraq
  • How has the press malfunctioned this year (so far)...

  • ARCHIVES




    RECENT COMMENTS

    [Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
    SEARCH THIS SITE
    Google
    www TBV

    BLUE'S NEWS





    ACT BLUE











    BLUE LINKS

    Environmental Links
    Gay/Lesbian Links
    News & Media Links
    Organization Links
    Political Links
    Religious Links
    Watchdog Links

    BLUE ROLL


    MISCELLANEOUS

    Atom/XML Feed
    Blogarama - Blog Directory
    Blogwise - blog directory

    Blogstreet
    Haloscan


    Blogger

    hits since 06-13-2005

    site design: wonky muse
    image: fpsoftlab.com