But those might just be the silver linings of these gathering clouds:
With the prospect of a bone-crushing election defeat staring them full in the face, the diehard rump of the conservative movement is already busy fashioning a narrative to explain the dissolution of its world — the one that Ronald Reagan built and that George W. Bush (with an assist from Wall Street) has thoroughly trashed.
And the emerging story line appears to be, roughly, that ACORN did it.
You have to admit: That’s a damned impressive revolutionary track record for an obscure group of community organizers operating on a shoestring budget.
However, as the McCain campaign descends into bitter futility (clinging to its guns and its religion all the way) and the band of the USS Republican Party assembles on deck to strike up “Near My God to Thee,” the anti-ACORN hysteria is starting to look less like a coherent campaign attack and more like a post-defeat rationalization. Clearly, conservatives are preparing themselves to take a knockout punch. Unfortunately it appears a big part of this psychological armouring will be convincing themselves the election was stolen, not lost. Even worse: stolen by the same “socialist” extremists who destroyed the American economy by forcing the banks to give loans to the n——.
This, of course, is not how the new stabbed-in-the-back myth will be expressed in polite conservative company (i.e. among the David Brooks and Ross Douthats of the world). But anyone who doubts that is the way it will be internalized among the many new members of the Sarah Palin Fan Club simply hasn’t been paying attention.
Choosing ACORN (and/or its constituents) as the scapegoat for the implosion of the biggest credit bubble in American history and, simultaneously, a wholly fictional attempt to steal a presidential election, may seem like a bit much. Why not pick on someone a bit more believable…?
We’ve crossed some more lines, in other words — in a long series of lines that have made it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ultraconservative wing of the Republican Party and an explicitly fascist political movement. And John McCain and his political handlers appear to have no moral compunctions whatsoever about whipping this movement into a frenzy and providing it with scapegoats for all that hatred, simply to try to shave a few points off Barack Obama’s lead in the polls.
To call this “country first” only works if you assume your opponents (and scapegoats) are not really part of that same country. And we all know where that leads.