Tuesday, July 27, 2010


A lot of people right now would say that there's something pathological about The American Spectator's Jeffrey Lord, who insisted yesterday that Shirley Sherrod was a liar when she called the beating death of a handcuffed Bobby Hall in 1945 a "lynching," and today insists that he was right all along because three people don't constitute a lynch mob (never mind the fact that a 1922 bill proposed in the U.S. Congress defined a lynching as precisely the act of three or more people). Surely only an unusually depraved individual would continue to pursue this line of argument after being widely ridiculed for it -- right?

Well, no, not really. What Lord is doing is simply routine among right-wingers these days -- he's refusing to acknowledge the right of his political opponents ever to prevail. This is wingnut boilerplate right now: the belief that every issue is resolved only when Republicans and the right win, and is otherwise the subject of endless partisan combat until any liberal or Democratic victory can be reversed.

This way of looking at politics is utterly incompatible with democracy -- with the belief that elections are supposed to have consequences and bills should eventually be voted on and in some cases become the law of the land -- but it's what we get these days from virtually all Republicans. Reversal of the Obama presidency (and, after that, of the twentieth century) is practically the entire agenda of the contemporary GOP. It all must be reversed, just as, in Lord's view, the current conventional view of Sherrod must be reversed. Republicans won't stop fighting until they've obliterated every trace of what they hate; Lord's just a version of them in microcosm.

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