Monday, May 26, 2008

Politics of Fear

In a recent cover story, Newsweek "breaks new proctological ground for the depth and breadth of its butt-kissing of the Obama campaign," according to Jonah Goldberg in the print edition of National Review. Newsweek claims (in a cover story, mind you, not an editorial) that "the Republican Party has been successfully scaring voters since 1968, when Richard Nixon build a Silent Majority out of lower- and middle-class folks frightened or disturbed by hippies and student radicals and blacks rioting in the inner cities."

Do Republicans sometimes play on people's fears? Of course they do. Fear is a powerful motivator. Believe it or not, there are things to fear on this planet and I don't see anything wrong with addressing them. However, Republicans do not have a monopoly on fear, as Goldberg points out.

It might strike some as odd to start at 1968 when, four years earlier, the Democratic party ran its infamous 'daisy' ad suggesting that a vote for [Barry Goldwater] might well render The Children into radioactive cinder.

How Al Gore can emit so much CO2 about Bush's fear-mongering without spontaneously bursting into flames of hypocrisy is beyond me, given that his whole post-vice-presidency has been dedicated to scaring the bejeebers out of the whole planet about global warming. 'Hurricanes! Cyclones! Famine!'

Liberals, Democrats, Clintonites, and environmentalists would respond to all of these counter-examples by saying... it's 'raising awareness' and 'highlighting the issue.'

I guess it's only fear-mongering if we're not supposed to be afraid. Clearly the media, in labeling the Republican party as the party of fear, has decided for us that we should fear global warming, "two America's", and the free market, but not terrorism or porous borders.

No comments: