A reader writes:
Several months ago I read Paranoid Style in conjunction with All the King's Men. I now worry about Peronism in this country...the offspring of Palin and Dobbs.
This part of the quoted passage from The Paranoid Style gave me my own memory flash:
The two-party system as it has developed … hangs on the common recognition of loyal opposition: each side accepts the ultimate good intentions of the other. The opponent's judgment may be held to be consistently execrable, but the legitimacy of his intent is not … his Americanism is not questioned.
It was this: Bush Sr. protesting that he wasn't questioning Dukakis' patriotism, just his judgment.
He had to protest thus because he had built his campaign on questioning Dukakis' patriotism. As Bush Sr. now waxes solemn about incivility, we should remember that he kicked off the modern era or what we now call Rovian tactics -- and that, when asked about the swiftboat attacks on Kerry, he stuck the shiv in a bit deper, saying, to paraphrase, there must be something to these allegations or these people wouldn't be making them.