The Stewart/Colbert rally looked like a great party. I caught a bit of it on streaming video today. As Alex Pareene says, liberals at heart really do long for reason and civility; righties at heart are all about anger and resentment.
Speaking of which, last week there was an article posted at the Esquire website by Paul Junot that I’ve been meaning to link to. He argues that wingnut politics really are identity politics, but it’s an identity politics that has to deny it’s identity politics, because those who identity with the “identity” in question see themselves as the default cultural norm, therefore they can’t be an “identity.” Basically, teabaggers/righties are “a
privileged majority that perceives itself as an underprivileged minority,” also known as “Sore Winners.”
The Sore Winners are people consumed by the idea that other people (we’ll call them “liberals”) look down on them, and this is the chief canker in their souls.
It is one of the biggest dividing lines between liberals and conservatives: sensitivity. Liberals are supposed to be the sensitive ones, but even the liberals who worked themselves into a froth over George W. Bush never really cared very much about what he thought of them. But conservatives care what President Obama thinks. They care to the point of imagining what he thinks. I get the same feeling listening to them that I’ve gotten living in the South and listening to Southerners tell me about Yankees and the War of Northern Aggression. Well, although I’ve lived in the South nearly 30 years I’m a Yankee born and raised, and I can tell you with reasonable authority that no one in North thinks or talks about the Civil War. Nor do they talk about SEC football. Nor do they worry about what Southerners think of them, whereas I’ve heard many Southerners explain the football prowess of SEC schools in terms of self-esteem â€” i.e., that success on the football field is what allows Southerners to feel they’re “just as good” as everyone else, even though everyone else is blessedly unaware of the outcome of the Iron Bowl, or even where it’s played.
Worrying about what someone who doesn’t think about you thinks about you: this is the essence of Sore Winnerdom, and it is no accident that it also the essence of the Republican animus. The Republican party was small and hidebound â€” the party of country-club corporatists, and the range-war West â€” until, with the Reagan Revolution, it began grafting unto itself the legions of the disaffected: the Christianists, the Southerners, the blue-collar workers displaced by the collapse of America’s industrial base and estranged from the unions that failed them. The Tea Party, in this sense, is not a new development so much as it is part of an ongoing migration of the perpetually petulant, a political phenomenon grounded in a demographic one: the creation of a class of baby-boom retirees who have been deprived of meaningful work but given personal computers as Christmas presents. The skin on the Republican Party’s “Big Tent” is by definition thin, and under it gathers a volatile throng of people with nothing in common but the fear that outside its environs someone is laughing at them â€” or simply having a better time.
Yes, righties, we are having a much better time. And we don’t care what you think about that. Deal with it.
I really do think Junod is on to something here, and I’ve said so in the past. Like, in 2005 —
Itâ€™s important to understand that righties are always on defense. Even when they attack, attack, attack, itâ€™s defense. Even when they are in the majority (not their current status), itâ€™s defense. Righties are fueled by a subconscious inferiority complex and a deep-seated resentment of everyone and everything they subconsciously feel inferior to. People who disagree with them and their worldview are not just a threat to their ideology but to their fragile self-identity. They must attack.
In their minds, their crazy aggressiveness is justified because are defending themselves from some awful thing that Everyone Else is doing to them. But it’s all phantoms. They are crazily attacking phantoms, while the real evil is completely off their radar.
Also, thanks to everyone for your great support during the Miss Lucy Memorial fund drive. I definitely will be able to pay for Lucy’s crematory costs and bring her ashes home next week, and pay off some other bills as well.
Update: Take that, Glenn Beck:
Expert company hired by CBS to do aerial count of turnout at Glenn Beck’s rally in August–they came up with 87,000, give or take a few–just announced its findings for the Stewart/Colbert demo. The number: 215,000, or 2 1/2 times the Beck turnout.