Thursday, January 20, 2011


Here's Greg Sargent's gloss on a House speech by GOP congressman Morgan Griffith on the subject of the health care law:

"As Virginians, we did not accept the chains of George the Third." Griffith said. "Nor will we accept the chains of Obamacare."

... you hear this kind of stuff all the time on the right.

Rush Limbaugh has compared Washington D.C. to "the old south" for Republicans, describing them as an "oppressed minority." Glenn Beck has lamented America's return to the 1950s, "except the races are reversed." Sarah Palin, of course, compared criticism of her incendiary rhetoric in the wake of the Arizona shooting to "blood libel." The Washington Times recently complained of "an ongoing pogrom against conservative thinkers." And so on.

.... It's almost as if these folks are suffering from what you might call a world-historical inferiority complex. They're desperate to imagine themselves as actors in an ongoing drama that rivals the most momentous struggles and conflicts in human history. So they just play-act the part....

Are they really desperate to imagine themselves as persecution victims because of their own psychological needs? Or is it just that they've concluded -- accurately -- that the voters in their base are desperate to see themselves as persecuted?

If they're play-acting the part solely because they think it's what their base wants, then they're just giving the audience porn -- persecution porn.

And it's true that they deliver it, hardcore and uncut, on a daily basis. But when they seem to be really getting into it, they may be faking it.

I'm not sure that's true for all of them -- Glenn Beck and Michael Savage, in the throes of persecution passion, seem to be experiencing something genuine. Some pols -- Palin, Bachmann, O'Donnell, Louis Gohmert, Steve King -- seem to have graduated from heavy-breathing audience members to enacters, and they seem sincere as well. The rest? They may just be going through the motions.

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