Posts Tagged ‘packer

07
Jan
12

‘un-american activities’

George Packer (New Yorker): In the tenth paragraph of a Times piece, Rick Santorum accuses Barack Obama of engaging in “absolutely un-American activities”. What are they? The article doesn’t say. The quote appears without explanation or comment ….

…. this kind of gutter rhetoric is so routine in the Republican campaign that it’s not worth a political journalist’s time to point it out…. once demagogy and falsehoods become routine, there isn’t much for the political journalist to do  ….political journalism long ago stopped being about what is true or important…

The great puzzle of the Republican campaign is that, in an era of unprecedented ideological fervor, the party will almost certainly nominate the candidate who is the blandest …. Romney understands his situation acutely, and he’s telling anyone who will listen that he loves America … hates illegal immigrants as much as the next guy, and thinks that Obama has destroyed this country at home and abroad …. He’s doing a credible job playing an intellectual thug, because that’s the only way to win the nomination.

It would be a mistake, though, to believe that, if he’s elected, Romney could suddenly flip a switch, clear the air of the toxicity left behind by the Republican field, and return to being a cautious centrist whose most reassuring quality is his lack of principles. His party wouldn’t let him …. once a sellout, always a sellout; once a thug, always a thug.

Full article here

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Chat away, will be back later ;-)

10
Jan
11

‘it doesn’t matter why he did it’

George Packer (The New Yorker): …. maybe the gunman had no idea why he was aiming for Giffords either, maybe he didn’t know how she voted on health care or what her position on Arizona’s draconian immigration law was …

…but even so, the tragedy wouldn’t change this basic fact: for the past two years, many conservative leaders, activists, and media figures have made a habit of trying to delegitimize their political opponents. Not just arguing against their opponents, but doing everything possible to turn them into enemies of the country and cast them out beyond the pale. Instead of “soft on defense,” one routinely hears the words “treason” and “traitor.” The President isn’t a big-government liberal—he’s a socialist who wants to impose tyranny. He’s also, according to a minority of Republicans, including elected officials, an impostor….

This relentlessly hostile rhetoric has become standard issue on the right … and it has gone almost entirely uncriticized by Republican leaders. Partisan media encourages it, while the mainstream media finds it titillating and airs it, often without comment, so that the gradual effect is to desensitize even people to whom the rhetoric is repellent. We’ve all grown so used to it over the past couple of years that it took the shock of an assassination attempt to show us the ugliness to which our politics has sunk.

The massacre in Tucson is, in a sense, irrelevant to the important point. Whatever drove Jared Lee Loughner, America’s political frequencies are full of violent static.

Full article here




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