But the vicious anger from the far right, which is to say what is currently the right, seems totally out of proportion to these reforms. Where does that come from? It comes from the same place as the tea-party protests. It's partisan, of course - most Republicans, including Glenn Reynolds, ignored the deficit under Bush, blamed Obama for it within minutes of his election, and never refer to the impact of the recession on deficits. But it is also surely cultural - an expression of the rage some in white America feel at the new social make-up of their country. I just sat through a PJTV segment on Sarah Palin, in which the host blithely referred to the heartland as "real America."
If that is what you really believe - that people in cities or suburbs, that minorities, that gays, that blacks and Hispanics are not part of "real America" - then of course, you are angry. You believe a fake America has taken over. You cannot understand this. So you start believing that we have a fascist/communist dictatorship, that there was some fraud allowing a non-citizen to become president, that the government is about to "take over" all healthcare provision ... and on and on. And no one is left in the GOP to challenge this, to calm it down, to present practical alternatives to the obvious crushing problems the country and the private sector have in paying for increasingly costly healthcare.
To me, this is a triumph of ideology. And conservatism is now an abstract anti-government ideology, fueled by cultural, racial and sexual resentment. This is a recipe for more violence, and more marginalization.
(Photo: an infant protests Hitler at a Nancy Pelosi town hall meeting.)