I Support Some of the Troops ...

Some of them seem willing to fight for you
--Abraham Lincoln

A quick tally -- cheering the death penalty, cheering letting people die, booing gay soldiers in Iraq, cheering continued discrimination against gays in the military.


The other day a commenter was noting that there was something admirible in Sarah Palin's right-wing populist attacks on "crony capitalism." In the hands of Sarah Palin, I have no idea what "crony capitalism" actually means. It strikes me as applicable to anything from George W. Bush's business career to affirmative action -- for Palin's audience, likely more the latter than the former.

But either way, my point is, as it has always been -- the legacy of  populism in this country is ambiguous. You are seeing echoes of the darker aspects of that legacy--cheers for the vigorous enlistment of death, an unthinking antipathy toward the sick, and now an utter disdain for minorities. When one talks about 2012, it is the specter of handing the country over to people who represent that legacy should scare you.

Not one person on that stage stood up for that soldier. Not "moderate" Jon Huntsman. Not "sensible" Mitt Romney. Not libertarian Ron Paul. And not Rick Perry:

One of the reasons that I'm running for president is I want to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of the United States respects highly the president of the United States.

Define "every." 


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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