For those who read my column on rage in US politics, and for others as well, no doubt, here is an interesting article by Lou Cannon (noted biographer of Ronald Reagan, among other distinctions) on “the once and constant opposition”.
My foray in the archives casts doubt on two assertions that have been made so often they seem as if they have the force of fact. The first is that Obama faces slurs and slanders of unprecedented magnitude. This is sometimes been attributed to racism but more often to the coarsening of the public dialogue arising from the decline of newspapers and the rise of talk radio, 24-7 cable news, and an Internet that puts legions of amateur bloggers on equal footing with professional journalists and historians.The second assertion is that conservatives and/or Republicans are out of ideas and time, a contention made provocatively by Sam Tanenhaus in his new book, “The Death of Conservatism.” “Today’s conservatives resemble the exhumed figures of Pompeii, trapped in postures of frozen flight, clenched in the rigor mortis of a defunct ideology,” Tanenhaus writes.
[Y]ou do a disservice to your readers when you equate right-wing birthers questioning whether Mr Obama was born in the US and leftwing counterparts who argue that George W. Bush stole the 2000 election. There is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Obama was born anywhere outside Hawaii, whereas there are serious grounds to question the legitimacy of the outcome of the 2000 election. At least four Supreme Court judges would agree. Furthermore comparing conservative claims that Congress’ (not Mr. Obama’s) healthcare plan is a plot to turn the US socialist to former president Jimmy Carter’s (impolitic) suggestion that much of the opposition to Mr. Obama is mere racism is also misguided. Carter clarified his (arguably misinterpreted) remarks saying that some attacks on President Obama were tinged with racism. Few Republicans have backpedalled on claims of a socialist plot.