Is Sanity Restored?

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 — 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 — the party of country-club corporatists, and the range-war West — 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 — 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 —

It’s important to understand that righties are always on defense. Even when they attack, attack, attack, it’s defense. Even when they are in the majority (not their current status), it’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.

20 thoughts on “Is Sanity Restored?

  1. Bonnie gave a great link to something BadTux the Angry Penguin had written. It’s worth a look at the two short video’s and the comments, where someone tries to deny the “fact” that conservatives are the way they are, because of who and what they are.
    I’d be curious about any psychological studies about children, to see if ‘current behaviour is a guarantee of future results.’ I’ve always thought, in watching my nieces and nephews interact with other children, that I would be able to guess whether the child will be a Democrat or a Republican once he/she grows up. There are kids who’ll share their toys, even their last piece of candy, and there are those who don’t or won’t share, and who take, or, when they think that an adult isn’t looking, steal. I’ll leave it to you to guess which are the ones I think will grow up to be Liberals, and those who will grow up to be Conservatives. And yes, I realize that there are many different factors in shaping what a child becomes, and that’s why I’d like to look at something by someone with some empirical data (yes, how Liberal of me).

    Glad we were able to help get Miss Lucy’s remains home.

  2. Glad to hear Peace, Love, and Comedy outdrew Mr. Angry White Guy.

    The hypothesis about Righties makes a lot of sense. It explains why they get all bent out of shape about issues that are totally none of their business, like who marries whom and what women do with their bodies. Of course, we have laws about immigration which serve the public good, but the Righties always seem to get excessive hyperventilated over non-WASP illegals, as well.

    Another idea I’ve heard is that Righties are into order/authority. Also a good idea, but the self-esteem issue you raise may explain WHY Righties are so into nastiness.

  3. Of course there were more people at Stewart/Colbert party… people standing take far less room than people on motor scooters, therefore more can fit in the same space. (For the record, I have mobility problems and use a cane. This is an observation and only a little bit snarky.)

  4. PurpleGirl,
    I’m handicapped and use a cane, too.
    My parents, 78 and 85, wanted to go to the rally. I talked them out of it, since we all have mobility issues. I’ve been to many DC rallies and know how far you have to walk.
    So, instead, we watched the rally on TV. They weren’t big fans of the music – but, that’s a 40 year argument, since my Mom’s was a classical Lyric Soprano who sang solo at Carnegie Hall. Thankfully, Tony Bennett came on at the end, to make everything all right.
    I wish we could all have gone, but, all in all, they really enjoyed it, and I enjoyed watching it with them.
    After all of these years, my parents are finally cool! 🙂

  5. “Righties are fueled by a subconscious inferiority complex and a deep-seated resentment of everyone and everything they subconsciously feel inferior to.”

    Wasn’t this mindset essentially birthed from the Nixon Administration? Not to suggest the ingredients didn’t exist before, but that he basically baked the ingredients, pulled it out of the oven and the righties have been feasting on it ever since.

    Just sayin’

  6. I don’t agree entirely with Junot’s assessment of Teabaggers/Righties. It’s a little too broad to put them all in the same boat, but one attribute of the Righties that stands out as predominate to me is their lack of compassion/ empathy/understanding. Many times I’ll read a story on line and then read the comments to see how others perceive the same story. Without fail I can identify the Righties, they are the commenters devoid of understanding and compassion.

    As an example I recently read about Angelo Mozillo’s settlement with the government and his 67 million dollar fine(that somebody else will pay). In the story was the mention of Angelo’s 80/20 mortgage scheme that essentially was a financial trap in which naive, unsophisticated, or desperate home buyers would enter into not knowing they were guaranteed to be overwhelmed by it’s terms and default was the only possible outcome. The rightie commenters on the story would types mindless comments like, ” Pay your bills, deadbeat”, ” A deal is a deal”, “They tried to get a house without money!”, It’s Obama’s fault”, and of course there’s always that comment of ” I’m keeping my powder dry” whoever that mentality can be attributed to.

  7. This is sort of a minor quibble with Junot’s piece, but…yes, of course “Northerners” discuss SEC football, it’s the best league in the country. Possibly people in the Northeast discuss it least, but it’s the part of the country where college football is least popular.

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  10. It’s a shame that it is even necessary to compare the rally to restore sanity with Glenn Beck’s feeble attempt to meld religion and extreme right wing politics with patriotism. Beck is such a blowout and it irks me to think he should be held up as any kind of a standard or gauge where sanity is mentioned anywhere in the comparison.

    Far,far,far be it from me to make a derogatory statement regarding anyone’s religious preference or faith…BUT…Glenn Beck is a Mormon.. A believer in the angel Moroni and all of the attending nonsense that comprises Mormonism. That’s Moroni like in “moron” with an I at the end added to give it the right amount of intellectual flare while subtlety ridiculing the rubes who bite on the golden plates nonsense. Stupidity Squared equals Mormonism – S²=M

  11. “NoOneOfAnyImport’s BLog” may be the most appropriate name for a site I’ve ever seen. The only way it would have been better named, was if it was ‘SomeOneInsipid’s Blog.’

  12. “people standing take far less room than people on motor scooters”

    Good one, and most of them scooters were paid for by that evil socialist ponzi scheme medicare!

  13. I think there’s a lot to Junot’s argument. I almost always walk away from interactions with wingnuts thinking, “they are SUCH (self-absorbed) babies!”.

    A few years ago, there was that long term study that concluded

    …Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.
    At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals….

    Was glad to read of the overwhelming turnout for the Sanity rally.

    Swami brought up Angelo Mozillo – I recently saw Inside Job, a great, in-depth documentary about the financial melt-down. If you took the subject matter of “Capitalism: A Love Story” but let the crew from “FrontLine” or “60 Minutes” produce a film out of it, “Inside Job” would be the result. Go see it if it comes to your town.

    Glad to read that Miss Lucy’s ashes will make ithome.

  14. Sorry, Swami, but did divine revelations end with the Christian or Muslim religions? Everyone holds them legitimate, while a guy in the 1800s could not possibly have seen the angel Moroni? God is or is not sending us updates? What? He quit after Christ?

    I find all religions absurd. I mean “son of god” – god’s prophet, Mohammed – Mr. Smith, they were all making it up – but you have to hold them to equal standards to evaluate. They all had dubious claims of receiving messages from a being no-one else could hear or see. Hmmm.

    So no, the Mormons are no more nonsensical than anyone else.

  15. Jennifer.. You are right about the Mormons being just as nonsensical as other revealed religions. I guess what I was trying to say is that Joseph Smith showed an amazing lack of creativity when he concocted his sequel to the New Testament, and he pushed the nonsense meter further into the red zone than it had previously pushed before. That’s why I used the equation Stupidity squared… Think magic underwear!

  16. This was an insightful post and I generally agree, though any generalization about the identity and motive of a liberal or conservative will fail in some specific cases.

    For me the test in HCR was the inclusion of the public option – which I wanted. Ultimately we could cover 30 million people and legislate out some of the more offensive practices of the insurance industry. so my conflict was over including the public option to PUNISH the insurance companies. And in the end most but not ALL progressives decided that helping people was more critical than retaliation. Insisting on both put the benefits of HCR at risk – I was willing to compromise.

    Generally, conservatives are against liberalism because they want to PUNISH the unworthy – the cheats and parasites. Those folks DO exist, and conservatives are willing to burn the house down to rid the carpet of fleas. I look at a program with flaws and also look at who is benefiting – and I want to find a way to reform the process of vetting applicants.

  17. errr… I’m a lefty, but saying you don’t care what the right thinks of you would ring more true if you didn’t follow it with the “take that Glenn Beck” follow-up… of course we care what they think of us. We don’t just start life or approach every situation from the position of a massive inferiority complex.

    • of course we care what they think of us.

      I don’t, or not that much. If I let it get to me every time some whackjob called me a Marxist or accused me of hating my country I’d end up being as poisoned as they are. But I do get angry at what Beck et al. are doing to my country.

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