MISTAH KURTZ -- HE JUST GETTING REALLY WORKED UP
For years now, right-wingers have been accusing other people of being enemies and traitors, but Matt Taibbi watched the Republican debate on Wednesday night and saw something that seemed new to him: the right turning on its own, in the person of the previously unchallenged culture warrior Rick Santorum.
Taibbi thinks it's the beginning of the end:
This is the last stage in any paranoid illness. You start by suspecting that somebody out there is out to get you; in the end, you're sure that even the people who love you the most under your own roof, your own doctors, your parents, your wife and your children, they're in on the plot....
This is where the Republican Party is now. They've run out of foreign enemies to point fingers at. They've already maxed out the rhetoric against us orgiastic, anarchy-loving pansexual liberal terrorists. The only possible remaining explanation for their troubles is that their own leaders have failed them. There is a stranger in the house!
... These people have run out of others to blame, run out of bystanders to suspect, run out of decent family people to dismiss as Godless, sex-crazed perverts. They're turning the gun on themselves now. It might be justice, or it might just be sad. Whatever it is, it's remarkable to watch.
I'm not sure. It seems to me that the point of maximum paranoia isn't the moment when the paranoiac just turns the gun on himself -- it's more like the moment when he burns his parents' house down before setting off on a random killing spree (one that will, admittedly, end in suicide), or the moment when the personality-cult leader starts returning the FBI agents' fire while making arrangements to torch the compound.
Or maybe that's the wrong analogy -- after all, look who emerged the winner from the Santorum show trial: Mitt Romney. What this really reminds me of is a moment in a totalitarian regime when then the purges and rehabilitations seem to defy all logic, when the longtime loyalist with a few minor blemishes on his record becomes an unperson, while a former unperson becomes the chief inquisitor just because the regime has developed a new appreciation for his viciousness and willingness to apply the screws. But that's not a reassuring moment in the history of such a regime, is it?