Wednesday, July 15, 2009


In a way she's America's Jörg Haider.
That gem came from a commenter, Charles, referring to Sarah Palin over at FiveThirtyEight. It might be useful to take a refresher course on Jörg Haider's political views. Indeed there are some definite similarities between the two in terms of politics, and (for different reasons) in propensity to self-destruct.

In a way, the GOP is very similar to the sorts of right-wing nationalist parties you run into in places like Austria. I'm sure there are some differences, but in general you'll probably find a combination of wealthy elitists (the so-called "country club set") and a relatively impoverished cohort who are comfortable with provincial and jingoistic sentiments. The latter are the "base" without whom the elitists cannot hold on to their power and of course loot, as I've certainly hinted at before, many moons ago:
Another theme worth repeating is the apparent tacit support of the ruling elites as the extremists do their grunt work for them. Racial hatred in this country gets plenty of play among so-called mainstream conservatives and populists - just spend some time reading or listening to the likes of Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, or Pat Buchanan who come by syndicated columns, book deals, and talk show hosting gigs with relative ease and you'll quickly know what I'm getting at.
The "base" itself can be characterized as paranoid. I had my say on a series of dispatches on willful ignorance, which was on display in full force during last year's electoral silly season. As David Neiwert duly notes, the paranoid style of politics in America has merely continued unabated in the aftermath of last year's election, with some potentially (and in some cases actual) deadly consequences.

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