Haters

In this week's New Yorker, Steve Coll remarks that at McCain-Palin rallies "the mood has been not so much socialist as national-socialist." This comes on the heels of last week's New Yorker, in which Hendrik Hertzberg described McCain-Palin rallies as "bloodcurdling hate-fests." I thought of these claims while I was reading this Ben Smith item, on New York "street art" posters depicting Sarah Palin as a fanged creature with blood dripping down her chin:

There's a classic genre of New York street art that casts Republicans as, literally, the devil. Some of my earliest memories in Manhattan are of being somewhat freaked out by large posters of Ronald Reagan with red eyes and horns; some of my kids' first memories of Brooklyn will be of stenciled images of George W. Bush with horns.

It's a sign of the odd dynamic of the Republican ticket that ultra-partisan New York Democrats never really came around to loathing John McCain with the passion Reagan and Bush inspired. Indeed, that was initially a bit of a strength of the ticket: McCain has preserved his appeal to moderates, and wasn't a polarizing figure.

But Palin, as she's rallied the base, does seem to have filled that slot, as this reader picture from 38th Street and 9th Avenue shows.

For a closer look at the image, you can check out this website. (It features a quotation from none other than Ezra Klein!) I would say that the picture resembles Nazi propaganda, but then I suppose I'd be stooping to the New Yorker's level of political analysis. Suffice it to say that if somebody showed up at a McCain-Palin rally with a poster depicting Barack Obama in this guise, I'm pretty sure nobody in the media would wax nostalgic about the "classic" Republican street art of yore.

But of course, everybody knows that conservative hate - especially when it comes from anonymous hecklers at massive rallies, or when it involves booing the press - is fascism come round again, but left-wing hate is just, well, kitschy and adorable.

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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