Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rage of the Party People

In my Friday post about how the legitimate anger at the heart of the Tea Party movement has metastasized into something more ignorant and more ugly, we established how the ignorance is embodied by the O'Donnells and the Angles (and, by extension, the Palins).  The ugliness is exemplified by New York's thuggish gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, also a Tea Party pick, who's managed in just a few short weeks to elevate the art of cartoonish bigotry to astonishing heights.

Paladino's unfiltered bile -- violent, racist, and nativist to the core -- has needed only some vague "other" at which to point to be repeatedly deployed, and the way he's managed to verbally bulldoze through group after group of New York constituents on his Quixotic path to Albany has been sort of breathtaking in its own way.  Still, while Paladino's electoral loss in a few weeks is all but inevitable, Frank Rich makes the case that the formless and shapeless nature of his rage is emblematic of the Tea Party itself, which no longer even has a clear target at which to be directed:
That wave of anger began with the parallel 2008 cataclysms of the economy’s collapse and Barack Obama’s ascension. The mood has not subsided since. But in the final stretch of 2010, the radical right’s anger is becoming less focused, more free-floating — more likely to be aimed at “government” in general, whatever the location or officials in charge. The anger is also more likely to claim minorities like gays, Latinos and Muslims as collateral damage. This is a significant and understandable shift, if hardly a salutary one. The mad-as-hell crowd in America, still not seeing any solid economic recovery on the horizon, will lash out at any convenient scapegoat.
More from Rich at the link.

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