Variations on the term “Bush Derangement Syndrome” are common on both the right and the left (a Google search for “Clinton Derangement Syndrome” yielded roughly 180,000 results). Therefore, it wasn’t surprising to see Indiana University law prof Steve Sanders modify Charles Krauthammer’s famous coinage in order to trash religious conservatives.
“The Christian right is deep in the grip of gay marriage derangement syndrome,” wrote Sanders in a Thursday article for The Washington Monthly. “Conservative Christians grew accustomed to hegemony in a world where judges and lawmakers frequently deferred to their preferences…But as Americans become markedly less religious, things are changing, and the law’s treatment of homosexuality is a cutting edge of that change. So far the Christian right is reacting exactly like an indulged child throwing a particularly stormy tantrum.”
A few months ago, many liberals, including much of the bloggerati, were afraid that Walker had a good chance to win not only the Republican presidential nomination but also the presidency. Now that Walker’s out of the GOP race, several lefty pundits have weighed in on why.
In March 2013, the Republican National Committee released what soon became known as the “autopsy report,” which looked at how the GOP might reverse trends that recently had caused the party to lose the popular vote for the fifth time in six presidential elections. Washington Monthly blogger Martin Longman believes that conservatives’ hostile response to the report’s big-tent ideas paved the way for the disruptive candidacy of Donald Trump.
“This was all supposed to turn on a dime when the presidential election started,” wrote Longman in a Tuesday post. “All this hate and resentment and bigotry was supposed to just get turned off and Jeb Bush would waltz in with his sunny Reaganesque nobility and his love of amnesty and Common Core and his Mexican wife and family…and the hive would settle down and get back driving around that ideological cul-de-sac like good little stormtroopers. But these aren’t good little stormtroopers. These are genuine ruffians. And they’re having a block party and they’ve got their own music provided by Donald Trump.”
On Friday, Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones contended that the conservative war on political correctness is a tempest in a teapot, and that being politically correct is pretty much synonymous with not being a bigoted jerk.
Conservatives tend to be religious, but is conservatism itself akin to a religion? Yes, opined Washington Monthly blogger David Atkins in a Sunday post. “Many consider modern conservatism to be an almost cultic movement,” Atkins wrote. “Its adherents long since stopped caring about the evidence or empirical results. It’s all about who can prove truest to the faith, and maximally annoy and rebel against the evil liberal heathens.”
Atkins sees a resemblance between today’s conservatives and followers of the 20th century’s major pseudo-religion: “In a way, modern conservatives are similar to the Communists of old. No matter how obvious the ideology’s failure, the response is always that the policies were not enacted in a strong and pure enough manner.”
When you think of tough crowds, Philadelphia sports fans or the audience for Amateur Night at the Apollo may come to mind. The Washington Monthly's D.R. Tucker thought of the “right-wing Republicans” he expects will heckle Pope Francis when the pontiff speaks before a joint session of Congress late next month.
“Joe Wilson’s…infamous 2009 'You lie!' outburst will be considered a term of endearment relative to what ultra-conservative Republicans will holler when the Holy Father discusses income inequality and climate change in his speech,” wrote Tucker in a Sunday post. “Right-wing obnoxiousness has no known limits, and it’s a guarantee that you will see Republicans on their worst behavior on September 24…Their contempt will thrust forth like the ‘chestburster’ in Alien. Their voices will vibrate with venom.”
“The blue-collar white males who make up the GOP base” are between a rock and a hard place, suggests The Washington Monthly's David Atkins. The Republican party doesn’t represent their economic interests, but “their inherent racism, sexism and distrust of government” won’t allow them to vote Democratic.
As a result, argued Atkins in a Sunday post, they’re waging an ideological “insurgent war,” and, moreover, “many of them see a day coming when their nativist, secessionist political insurgency may become an active military insurgency, and they intend to be armed to the teeth in the event that they deem it necessary. The GOP electorate isn’t choosing a potential president: they’re choosing a rebel leader. The Republican base doesn’t intend to go down compromising. They intend to go down fighting.”
Much of the left would be thrilled if Bernie Sanders became the Democrats’ presidential nominee, but that, suggests The Washington Monthly’s Martin Longman, is what Al Gore might call a risky scheme. A Sanders win in the general election would make him the POTUS of progressive dreams, but a Sanders loss “would be a total epic disaster” and a boon for right-wingers who are “capable of great evil.”
“Some people like playing with matches in an armory. I don’t,” wrote Longman in a Wednesday post. “When it comes to the modern conservative movement, I am not inclined to mess around…Giving [conservatives] greater control of the Supreme Court, not to mention the Pentagon, is the rough equivalent of pouring gasoline on the world and lighting it on fire.”
Conservatives have an ideological fever, and the only prescription is to wait until their crazy ideas vanish. That’s the word from Washington Monthly blogger Martin Longman, who opined in a Wednesday post that many on the right have suffered from a sort of “heat-fever” when confronted with President Obama and his policies.
Longman explained that “a fever is something that comes over you suddenly, causing addled thinking, hallucinations and other delusions, but which eventually breaks and goes away as quickly as it arrived...[T]he Obama Era has been marked by an unusual number of these outbreaks of mass insanity,” such as rage against the Affordable Care Act.
It’s likely that most NewsBusters readers are familiar with the grimly humorous saying “the beatings will continue until morale improves.” Last Friday, UCLA professor of public policy Mark Kleiman opined in so many words that the Republican party’s beatings in presidential elections will continue until its mental health improves.
In a Friday Washington Monthly post, Kleiman mocked conservatives for their allegedly fanciful belief that their “frivolous” arguments in King v. Burwell would carry the day and predicted that Republicans probably have a few more years of delusion and defeat ahead of them: “It’s possible that a convincing [Hillary] Clinton win and a Democratic recapture of the Senate in 2016 will shock the GOP back to reality. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Feeding right-wing fury is a profitable venture financially, and it works well enough electorally in off-years to keep the hustle going. My guess is that it will take a Clinton re-election landslide in 2020 to do the job.”
Presidential nominees sometimes choose one of the candidates they defeated during primary/caucus season as their running mate for the general election. In that tradition, the Washington Monthly's D.R. Tucker recommends that Hillary Clinton, assuming she’s the Democratic nominee, name Bernie Sanders to the ticket, adding that Hillary “would have to signal that [Sanders] would be something of a co-President, the progressive answer to Dick Cheney.”
Tucker sneered that “a Clinton-Sanders ticket would, of course, put the American right on suicide watch” and asserted that if the two were elected, it would “finally put the corpse of Reaganism into the ground once and for all. Sanders is the living refutation of Reaganism, and the Vice Presidency would provide an effective bully pulpit to push back against the false arguments made by those who still worship the false idol who was the 40th president of the United States.”
Several years ago, an episode of The Simpsons featured a Fox News helicopter emblazoned with a fictional slogan for the channel: “Not Racist, But #1 With Racists.” Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore seems to think that those words fit the modern Republican party.
Kilgore acknowledged in a Wednesday post that “if you go back far enough the Democratic and Republican parties were very different beasts,” but argued that these days, “the ideological realignment of the two parties has left just about all the racists in the GOP. That doesn’t mean all Republicans are racists, but it does mean racism is the GOP’s problem at present.”