Sunday, September 26, 2010

Too Little, Too Late?

Today's Times has a front-page story about attack ads now, finally being launched by Democratic Congressional candidates. It seems that these campaigns have finally recognized that many of the Republicans running against them are sleazy, corrupt, tools of big business, or out 'n out lunatics.

The question, of course, is whether it is too late to alter the dynamics of these races. Had they been run right after Labor Day, perhaps; in the last week of September, I dunno.

At the risk of stating what is so obvious it is cliche, the issue now is voter turnout. There is no question who the angry motivated voters are: they are the roughly 30% of Americans who are, in their own way, fascists. I don't use that term glibbly - we ought to be forthright that a sizable portion of the tea baggers, the Palinites, the Bachmann-ites, were they a political movement in a European country, would be described as "far-right" "ultra-nationalist" and "neo-fascist." Like the National Front in the UK or the Le Pen movement in France. In this country, however, we call them a major and respectable political party.

So will these ads wake up the rest of us and get us out to the polls? It is too late to change minds, I suspect, but it isn't too late to turn out voters.


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MSS said...

I agree that the term, fascist, can still be used other than as an epithet. It does describe a certain constellation of political views.

But are the tea partiers fascist? One thing about fascist movements is that, in addition to wanting to deploy the power of the state in the service of xenophobia and racial-religious exclusivsm, they also want to deploy that power in the service of, well, services. They tend to be well to the left of the mainstream conservatives on social policy (pensions, healthcare, etc.). Look at Wilders in the Netherlands for a recent case (which I summarized at Fruits and Votes). There is a reason why the term, "national socialist," was apt, after all.

So while tea-partiers have in common with fascists the building of a movement around the perceived losers from social and economic trends (middle-class whites unhappy about foreclosures, plus old bugaboos like affirmative action, etc.), the fact that I have not heard the tea-party blowhards say a lot about harnessing the state to actually compensate people for their actual slippage in wealth makes me conclude that they are not fascists.

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